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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 11843
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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My mother received a divorce settlement from my dad years

Customer Question

My mother received a divorce settlement from my dad years ago which she used to support her partner who was out of work. He has recently received his divorce settlement and played my mother th money back. They have just broken up and he has demanded all of the money back. She has returned £40,000 of the £103,000 but thinks she is entitled to the rest. They do not have any paperwork in place. He is now threatening legal action. Must she return it all? What would happen if she no longer had the money?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 10 months ago.

Hello - this is confusing

who paid your mother back?

what was the money for?

who has returned £40k?

who thinks shes entitled to the rest?

legal action by whom? for what exactly?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Sorry, my mother's partner paid her back out of his divorce settlement for the time she supported him with her own settlement. My mother has returned £40,000 to her now ex partner. But she thinks she is entitled to keep the rest of the money after using all of her divorce settlement to support him whilst he wasn't working when they were together. Her ex partner is now threatening legal action to recover the rest of the money he gave her which is approximately £60,000. Does he have a right to the money? If my mother was to spend or gift it, can he still recover it?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 10 months ago.

You say your partner recently received his divorce settlement and he paid her £103,000.

Do you know why the change of heart?

In respect of the support that she gave her partner when he was out of work when she got her money from your father some years ago, how was that quantified to £103,000?

On what basis does she think that she is entitled to £63,000 and £40,000 is a reasonable amount to return.

Did her partner give her the whole divorce settlement or was the 103,000 just part of it?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
His change of is down to my mother breaking up with him because she has recently been diagnosed with cancer and he is abusive.He gave her all of his settlement, some of which was used to pay off joint debts. But it was transferred to her as he is claiming benefits.My mother thinks she is entitled to half of it (£50,000). I have told he to stop transferred money until she has had legal advice.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 10 months ago.

There is a criminal offence here.

It’s him not her although she has aided and abetted this.

It is intentional deprivation of assets with a view to continuing to receive benefits and failing to advise change of circumstances.

I would advise your mother to report this to the benefits agency. She is unlikely to be prosecuted if she gives that information.

If you were to take her to court over this, she could raise the illegality of the money being transferred to get the matter thrown out because the court will not enforce an illegal transaction.

Whether she would be entitled to any or all of this money would really depend on the extent to which she supported him when he was unemployed and how much that was worth and whether there had never been an agreement that this would be repaid.

Regardless, any joint debts he is liable for.

Your mother is going to have to decide how she quantifies the amount of money that she is entitled to and she can put pressure to bear on him bearing in mind the benefit fraud I mentioned earlier. She has to be careful that she doesn’t receive to blackmail him although it should focus his mind.

Can I clarify anything else for you?

I’m happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

Please take a moment to look at the top right hand corner of the page and rate my service by clicking one of the stars at the top of the screen. It’s important you use the rating service because that gives me credit. It doesn’t just give me a pat on the head! (Although there is an incentive scheme where the more five-star ratings I get, I do actually get a pat on the head! :-)) All you need to do is press Submit. Thank you.

If you still need any point clarifying, I will still reply because the thread does not close.

Best wishes.


Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Where would she stand if she were to give away the money?If it did go to court could it be reclaimed if she had gifted it and that person had spent it?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 10 months ago.

If she gives away the money and he takes her to court and is successful, she still owes it to him.

If he gives her the money and the benefits agency decide they are going to stop his benefits and he wants the money back, he’s going to have to take her to court for it and that’s going to be risky for the reasons I mentioned earlier.

If she gifted it to avoid him claiming on it and the person receiving the gift were aware that in receiving it was being given to avoid a claim by him, the recipient could be dragged into the proceedings also.