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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 7
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Property issue, impending divorce Wales’s: My wife and I are

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Property issue, impending divorce Wales’s :
My wife and I are about to get divorced and the main asset of the relationship is property which I bought for our benefit. I need to secure my interest in the property pending the final outcome of the divorce. My wife and I have been together almost 20 years but only married in December 2000 and are separated since 17th August 2016. I have funded 100% of the property. However, due to the ‘high risk’ nature of my profession I put ‘total’ ownership of the property in her sole name. She has made no monetary contribution to the house or the ‘household finances’ whatsoever throughout the relationship. My immediate concern is that I know she has just decided to get ‘internet access’ to the ‘offset bank account’ of the mortgage arrangement where a sum equal to the current redemption value of the mortgage is held. This offsets ‘capital cost’ (100% of the interest which would otherwise be due) and this account is also in her sole name. I would like the status quo to remain until the divorce is settled but I fear she will merely empty this account (circa £28K) and I will suddenly find myself trying to pay the monthly interest on the loan capital which will automatically fall due.Welsh property: This was purchased under a conventional “endowment mortgage” arrangement (circa £42k) again I paid the deposit and all the relevant fees and continue to do so. She is the sole owner on the deeds. However, the endowment policies were taken out in duplicate, presumably for ‘cross insurance purposes, separately one set in her name, the other in mine, designed to pay off this mortgage. I bought the property in the summer of 1999 the year before we got married and the finance was as per a conventional endowment mortgage with me paying the then bills until things changed in circa 2007 when I inherited money from my mum’s estate. I decided it would be beneficial to use it to minimise the mortgage costs! We changed the mortgage to a ‘repayment type’ with the original institution and created the ‘offset account’ to complement it. This is where I placed my inheritance. It neutralised completely the interest payments applied to the loan capital. This was/is a considerable saving on the/now my, overall housing costs. To date I am still repaying the mortgage (but without interest payments) plus the endowment policies originally designed to pay off the mortgage?
Discussion: I quickly need an interim solution, at least until the divorce is finalised. By that I mean that I’m still involved in risk pursuits. I urgently, need to make a Will and have something in place that ensures my assets go to my beneficiaries. And not, by default, to my wife whilst the divorce is still pending? I am currently living in the Wales property and she is living with our children in another property which I bought ‘out right’ in Scotland, June 2015.
Questions: 1) ‘Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common’ .........even though she is on the deeds as sole owner can I assume that legally, by virtue of the marriage, our residential status is one of the above? I would like to revert to ‘Tenants in Common’ status (without reference to my wife) my disproportionate contribution being recognised so I can quantify my portion of the asset in my Will to benefit my beneficiaries? How and what do I need to achieve this if it’s at all possible.
2) In any practical sense I don’t care if we remain married or not (I’m 64 years, she 44 years) so long as I can legally ensure that my portion of the assets will go to my beneficiaries (my children) without being ‘challenged’ at the appropriate time. My wife started then discontinued the divorce process and it has fallen to me to now carry the process through. I do so reluctantly. She appears to have been advised to wait me out so that the circumstances of the ‘failure’ of our marriage do not feature in any settlement. To date I have no idea why she initiated the process at all. She seems to be employing delaying tactics to achieve a ‘no contest style’ divorce with an unfair division of the assets?I’m sure I was advised that a ‘judge’ in Scotland (and presumably Wales as well) would not take kindly to such a move (ref depleting the Offset Account ) considering the impending divorce? However, once it’s gone, it’s gone. No judge is going to put her in jail (not with two children) for ignoring such advice and I will be again severely disadvantaged. Is there a way I can guarantee that she cannot access those funds (pending the settlement) and also prevent her using the property as ‘security’ against any loan or financing agreement she might be planning to enter into? I have a ‘note’ on the deeds of the property at the ‘Land Registry’ but that’s all.Thanks for your time.
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Scots Law
Expert:  clairep80 replied 1 month ago.

Thank you for your question

My name is Clare

I shall do my best to help you but I need some further information first

Where will the divorce take place - Scotland or England and Wales?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
The divorce is likely to take place in Scotland though that is not yet set in stone.
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
HI again Clare,I responded to your clarification query yesterday, have you not received it? It is showing on my screen timed as 02:44 /19th
I have repeated that response here:-."The divorce is likely to take place in Scotland though that is not yet set in stone".Regards, Paul