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Ask Clare Your Own Question
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 34885
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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I have an issue regarding my ex-wife who has been a

Customer Question

I have an issue regarding my ex-wife who has been a real menace ever since we split.
Whilst we were married we purchased a house for £400k which was later significantly damaged by fire, an insurance claim to repair the house and restore the house was put in, however, utilising a minor unrelated non disclosure the insurance company completely evaded their responsibility to pay out for that claim.
In 2014 I agreed a Tomlin order to pay the sum of 200k to the ex wife on the assumption/understanding the insurance company would settle the considerable claim for the restoration of the house. However eventually the insurance company refused to pay out altogether utilising a minor technicality (a minor non disclosure which as it happened had no on the claim).
As such I was left in a position where I did not have insurance money and/or the means to restore the property - a case was held on 30th November 2015 where I tried to represent myself without success, they successfully utilised the minor non disclosure to defend their position and their refusal to settle the claim was upheld in their favour.
As a result of the extensive damage to the property, the property is nothing but a burnt out shell now worth at most 150k which in itself is equal to the mortgage that is still remaining on the property.
The ex wife who is a joint owner and now (due to the fact that I was unable to pay her the £200k as per the order) went to the court and obtained a charge over the property; as such is attempting to sell the property to her friend for the measly sum of £120K to recover as much money for herself. It is my belief she also has a private arrangement with the individual to hand over some money personally/privately, as such leaving me out of pocket whilst maximising personal gain.
As such it is hardly fair for the Tomlin order to stand as per its original form and the subsequent charge she obtained resulting from the non payment of the £200k emanating from that order which was entirely based on me getting that insurance claim to repair/restore the house, leading it to achieve its original value of some £400k.
As such how can this be justice, for me to pay her the original amount of £200k as per that Tomlin order where the insurance company had, at that time not stated its (refusal) position at the time and there remains an all but burnt out property worth a paltry £150k and that in itself being approximately equal to the mortgage remaining on it.
Clearly the original order stating I must pay her £200k is outdated and unjust and I would like to have that outdated Tomlin order re-evaluated to correctly reflect the market value of the property and the current situation.As you can see she is utilising an outdated Tomlin order to make me sustain the entire loss of the failed insurance claim and as such be left with a burnt out mortgaged property worth no more than £150k, yet expects me to produce for her the full original amount of £200k without care for that situation. It beggars belief that why I should be the sole person taking the entire loss of that and not an equal loss from the other party. She is also taking advantage of the charge on the property and to hurriedly recover whatever amount she can for herself is attempting to sell the property for less than market value (please see the attached letter that illustrates the what happened).She has now filed to the court to take charge on all my properties etc for herself and sell them to raise money to pay for her amount.The court has advised that there will be a hearing on the 21st March 2016 to discuss the matters she has put forward to the court in her letter (as attached).However, the court has provided for an opportunity to allow me to have the order (attached) 'set aside, vary or stay this order' as long as I apply in writing.
Please advise what I should and how I can get order stayed and this charge removed as she is already trying to undersell the house to her friend, which in itself surely amounts to fraud, that being a private deal, as mentioned above.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
HiThank you for your questionMy name is ***** ***** do my best to help you but I need some further information firstI am a little confused.The letter refers to a number of properties - could you clarify this please
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi,Many thanks for your response.It refers to the properties owned by me - which are 3 in total, the one in question and 2 others, which are a smaller 2 bedroomed house and an apartment.She managed to persuade the court to put a charge on all 3 of my properties, i.e. that whichever is sold first she could recover the £200,000 that she has achieved via the Tomlin order.Please do not hesitate to ask if you should have further queries.Kind regards
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
What were the proceedings that led to the Tomlin Order in the first place?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The Tomlin Order resulted following a divorce/separation.My ex-wife claims she had invested some 250k of her own money into the said property and as such she was demanding it as per her divorce settlement. This was entirely untrue and the figure was actually much closer to £100k.However, in order to obtain the amount she was claiming she and her solicitors began creating a messy situation and as such the issue just dragged on for quite some time. Just prior to the matter appearing before the court, a day before in fact I just agreed to pay her 200k as full and final settlement simply for the reason of ending the matter once and for all, a decision I have later come to regret. This was with the proviso that she at least gave me written permission allowing me her consent to obtain planning permission for the house, and or restoring the house as it had suffered a house fire. I had no legal representatives.As such an insurance claim was filed for the purposes of rebuilding the house and it was expected that upon concluding their investigations the insurance would pay the amount required for the damage (somewhere around £250k) I.e. the approximate amount required to restore the building. At such time my plan was that I would re-mortgage the property and pay the ex wife the sum of 200KHowever for one reason or another, the planning did not go through and on top of that the Insurance Company refused to pay utilising an extremely minor non disclosure and that being in a grey area; although I challenged their decision in court, a hearing was arranged for the 30th November 2015 but due to lack of legal assistance I lost that case and as such the insurance company evaded their duties to pay out.Unfortunately this then meant there remained no further funds to restore or even repair the property as close as possible to its original state.However, to cut a long story short as a result of the above events the property is now worth no more than £120k as claimed by the ex wife and that being even below the remaining mortgage on the property which is approximately £150k.It is my belief that she is in fact attempting to make a sale at this very low figure just so that she can obtain that amount and take the rest in private payment maximising her own payout and leave me in further debt.
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
So for clarity - this is about enforcing a Divorce settlement.Your current issue is that your ex has conduct of the sale and you believe she is selling at undervalue - is that basically correct?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes exactly
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Do you have Estate Agent evidence to back up that claim?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
She has put it in writing, claiming that is the value of the property according to 'the auctioneer' and that is stated in her solicitor 's letter, which she has sent to us and was also sent to the court as well. The potential buyer (her friend) she sent to visit the property on Friday confirmed he had already paid a substantial amount of money towards for it to her directly.
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Do YOU have evidence of the true value?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes I do, I have an independent estate agent valuation which shows it to be £180,000.At that time she also had it valued from her own estate agent who valued it at £200,000. That was in September. However it appears she has changed her tact since making these arrangements with this new 'potential buyer' who has come on to the scene recently, as it is now that she seems very keen to want to heavily devalue it and acting as if the estate agents valuations of £200,000 etc are no longer existent and instead quoting a (interestingly) an unnamed just 'auctioneer', whoever that is to have valued it at £120,000.
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
OkWhen is the hearing?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The hearing is on the 21st March 2016. However we only have 7 days to ask the court to reject their request for the hearing and that 7 day limit ends tomorrow.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Please could you respond to us today as it is our last day now?Many thanks in anticipationKind regards
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi, any update on your response?
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Most of the issues you raised in your original question actually masked the actual issue - the current plan to sell at an undervalue.I mention this as it is important that you recognise the actual legal issue and confine your arguments to that as otherwise your valid points will get lost in irrelevancies and will be missedI cannot see any basis on which the matter will NOT be listed for a hearing on order that these issues can be addressedIf you wish to oppose them (as I am sure you do) it is for you to prove that she is exaggerating the claims that the properties have been devalued by you and that you are actively taking stapes to liquidate your assetsPlease ask if you need further detailsClare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I'm a little confused at the last paragraph in that, as you know it is her that is devaluing the property so she can undersell it to her friend, the so called potential buyer lowly as per the official sale and take money from him privately. Is this not fraudulent?Also please can you elaborate further on the point of 'taking steps to liquidate your assets'Please reply urgently as I must write it today.Kind regardsPlease also advise as to your point regarding
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
HiThe thrust of all the arguments is that you are doing nothing to ensure that you can pay your ex the money that is due.If she did not have this as a reason for her actions then there would be no question of the properties being transferred into her nameSo part of your argument has to be that you are taking all the necessary steps so that she does not need toYou need to fight on all three fronts1. You are doing your best to raise the monies2. You have NOT devalued the properties so the property has not reduced in value3. The value of the property is more than the price she is trying to sell it forClare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi,Thank you for that.However what about the fact she now appears to have changed direction and is:1. Tying to sell it at a considerably lower value than what she has been demanding I.e. £120k which is even below the £150k still owed to the mortgage company.
2. The potential buyer having revealed (as we also know him personally) that he has already paid her a substantial amount of money for the house as a private settlement. The implications of this and If this can be deemed as a fraudulent activity If indeed true.
3. Anything you could add to help me to have that hearing stayed.Kind regardsPS - I will give you a greater tip for a more substantial answer
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Clare,Any news please?Kind regards
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi,I have realised I do have until tomorrow to send this in, as such I'll be really grateful if there is any more you can add, if you cannot then I will be grateful if you could still give any advice on her ulterior motives of secretly selling the property below is market value.Kind regards
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
I cannot see any argument that would allow the hearing to be stayed - unless of course you could raise the money which you cannot.You need to approach this on the basis that she does not NEED to have the properties transferred as you are actively marketing them and putting them into a marketable condition.If you have evidence that the buyer has already given her money to secure the property then you will need to produce that as part of the argument for refusing the transfer on the basis that she would abuse this.With regard to the ulterior motives you have already explained it.She has received some money already and the sale price is just the balance
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi,Thank you very much for all your help and guidance.I feel I have plenty of advice and information to take the right approach to it now.As such please feel free to close the question as concluded. I will give you full marks for your help and a tip as well.Many thanks for your help and patience.Kind regards
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Thank you I hope all goes as well as it can
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
I am sorry to ask but unless you deal with the rating I get no credit for the work I have done