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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 14465
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I'm going through divorce and things got so messy I left my

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Hi, I'm going through divorce and things got so messy I left my house in London and moved up to Leicestershire to where I lived prior to moving to London to be with my wife. The house was our marital home but was bought before our short two year marriage.
For the last year I have been covering the running costs of my house up north as well as the one down south. It has crippled me financially. I have Parkinsons and it is hard to work so my outgoings far exceed my income.
I haven't finalised my settlement with my wife but we are getting close. She lives in our five bedroom home rent free with no overheads and I suddenly felt a bit silly. She has no incentive to go, so on this basis and the more prevalent basis that I simply can't afford it, I have told her that she needs to meet the overheads of the house but I will still cover the mortgage.
Is there any legal grounds which binds me to paying or can I simply inform the utilities that I no longer reside there and give details of her for billing?

Good afternoon. I will assist with your question - be aware this is an email not chat service therefore i maybe delayed in replying.

how long were you together before marrying?

any children under 18?

the house in london was your marital home?

whos name is mortgage in?

and you dont live there but are paying the mortgage - is this correct?

can she afford to pay the mortgage and bills?

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
we never lived together prior to marriage. No children. Yes it was our marital home. My wife kept her house and rents it out. Mortgage is in my name and whilst I don't live there I pay this solely. I am not asking her to pay the mortgage just the bills. She works so has disposable income
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
she does state she cant afford to pay but she is a personal trainer and very fit. She works on average 15 hours per week and spends the rest of the time windsurfing. She could easily up her hours
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
hi can someone answer my question and response

I am sorry, but this is not a chat service. It’s an email reply board and therefore there may be a delay getting back to you because we have clients and travelling and other users to deal with.

Sometimes we will get back to you in minutes, other times it will be longer.




A person is not responsible for the mortgage or rent or the bills of a house that they do not live in although they remain liable to the lender or landlord if the other person stays in the property and doesn’t pay the mortgage or rent.

In that case, the non-occupier would be entitled to recover any mortgage or rental payments made by the non-occupier, from the occupier within the finances of the breakup of the relationship/marriage.


The court will not get involved in marital finances or the house unless you have started divorce proceedings and only then when you make an application for a financial order.



As part of the divorce process, you may want to apply for a financial order:


Which draws a line under the finances of the marriage and prevents either of you coming back to the other, in some years time, asking for more money if circumstances have changed (the lottery?).


As you appreciate, your wife has no incentive to move and that’s because you have been paying everything. Tell her that after the end of this month, you will not be paying anything.


As part of the application for a financial order you can apply for an order for sale.


No one can be compelled to continue to own a property which they no longer wish to own and they are able to force a sale through the courts if necessary.



The remedy is to make an application to court for an order for sale under section 14 of the Trusts of Land Appointment of Trustees Act (the Act).

Anyone wishing to sell may find that a strongly worded letter from a solicitor threatening a court application and an application for costs, may focus the mind without actually having the need to get to court.

Check house insurance to see if there is legal expenses cover that would pay for the legal cost of taking the matter to court.

If I were advising anyone who has received a letter threatening an application to court under the Act and an application for legal costs, I would tell them to get the agents sign up immediately and cooperate with the sale because if they make the court application, they are likely to get it and they are likely to get costs awarded against them.


If you have only been together a couple of years, it is highly likely that both of you are going to go out of the marriage not much differently than you came in.



It’s unlikely that she would get spousal maintenance, it would just be a lump-sum settlement.


Can I clarify anything else for you?


I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.


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Thank you.


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


Best wishes.












F E Smith and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Thank you. We have started financial discussions but we have come to a bit of a standstill and she is holding me to ransom by refusing to move until she gets what she wants. can I just test my understanding of your response?

I am reading that there is no responsibility for me to pay bills but what would happen if she refused to pay. Will the responsibility fallonmy shoulders as the owner or her as the occupier
Customer: replied 3 days ago.
Hi I have not received any reply to my message

I apologise for the delay in getting back to you. I have been off-line.

You need to separate responsibility for bills within the marriage and responsibility to the utility company. You remain responsible to the utility company but can recover from her within the marital finances.


The same applies to the mortgage.


The fact she is an occupier makes no difference with regard to financial liability outside the marriage.


As part of the divorce process, you make an application for a financial order and as part of the application for a financial order, the house is in joint names, you apply for an order for sale to compel it to be sold.