My partner and I (we never married) have grown so far apart, that we no longer think it
benefits either of us, or our children (12 & 10), to stay together. We were together 17 years. I have been out of the family home and living in the flat I used to rent out for 10 months. I’m very lucky to have had that. However, it’s been hellish. I’ve never experienced
separation anxiety before. I felt very ill. It’s taken me this long to calm down a bit, but it still bubbles under the surface. Despite all outward appearances, I can tell it has been no holiday for my ex and our children either, even though they have each other and the family home with all goods and
chattels and dog.
Right now, we are going through the family mediation
service and are at the stage where we have to fully disclose all financial information in the hope we can come up with a less expensive agreement that is as fair for all of us as possible. We are trying to avoid any further involvement of lawyers, as this is more money out of the pot for the family. - At first, we both sought individual legal advice
and this raised concerns for both of us, as they were keen to play hard-ball with the other side. I’m not so naive as to think we may need to go there again, but we are asset rich and cash strapped, so worried too about costs, and would prefer to avoid it as much as possible.
I would like to hear from people on this forum, who have either been through it or have helped others go through it so I can learn from your experience and maybe others can learn from ours.
We’ve not rushed into any agreement, as we want to manage this carefully, prioritising the kids and hopefully we can make a settlement fair to both parties.
Our view (most of the time) is to keep an eye on what would happen if anything happened to either of us. We need to safeguard what WE built together and hopefully ensure we prevent any 3rd party benefiting from what WE made.
Ideally, I would like to take everything that we built together over those 17 years and split it all in half – obviously, this would not include all the money I paid for all the goods in the house (or her credit cards etc,) just half of the equity, as what’s in her name is double what I have in mine. This seems fair.
We bought a house in my partner''s name back in 2004. She used the sale of her flat to pay down a large deposit. I put in £15K, but I have always paid the mortgage (interest only), all maintenance costs, most (if not all) of furniture and gadgets etc. These payments have more than surpassed all the deposit she initially put in. I’ve walked away and left all of it there. It was hard, but the kids wanted all those items to remain.
When we bought the house, I was able to let out the flat we used to live in and I had a buy-to-let flat nearby too. Year later, I also bought a flat miles away so we could work on it as a DIY project and we wanted to try living in another city. This lasted 6 months and we let it out. All 3 flats were in my name, so we put the house in hers.
Over the years, I have sold off 2 of the flats and paid off the mortgage on the last one. - The one I’m currently living in. I now have no money left from the other flats.
Access to children is fine and we agree:
Neither of us want the family home to be sold and the children upset.
Because my work takes me away from time to time, I cannot be the main carer.
Nor can I commit to a regular routine at the moment.
The children are far more comfortable at the house. My flat is not too homely because I’m not there enough, nor am I sure I want to stay here….
I also get sent a bill every month to pay half of the girl’s activities expenses, which is fair enough.
Where we disagree:
1) She thinks what’s in her name is hers and what’s in my name is mine. But,
the equity in the house is double what I have in the flat. So, I will be registering my interest in the property (see below)
2) Since moving out, I have continued to pay the mortgage. (The lawyer I went to recommended I do this until we have an agreement.) My ex says that is not me paying the mortgage, it is child maintenance
. We try not to mention it as it gets us both angry.
a) Question 9 – Do I say Yes or No? If I say No, it is simply my application to register my interest in the family home.
If I say yes, it would be because I want my ex to have an interest in my flat to be fair, but can someone confirm, she would need to fill out a separate HR1 for this?
b) Question 10 – I think I just simply say No, as we have not been to Court. Is this correct?
2) We’ve had to have 3 valuations on the house and the flat. My ex is asking for the valuations to be back-dated to when we separated. It looks as though the family mediation service is saying this is not legally correct, it should be current valuations, but the FMS has asked us to get valuations for both dates just in case.
This is significant, as the increase for the family home is 6 times! any increase I may have had in the flat.
a) How do I ensure we go with current valuations?
b) Also, my ex is unlikely/unwilling to buy me out as she (nor her family, I think) can afford to do so, though this may offer a relatively straightforward way out.
In this case the valuation differential may merely be used to establish either my percentage or fixed sum in the house when it’s eventually sold. Is this correct?
3) If I go to the CSA – based on my earnings – I would be paying less than half of what I currently pay.
I guess I should be contacting CSA and ask them to tell me how much I should pay and just pay that as CM, correct? Does everyone pay the minimum or do they pay far more than CSA recommends if they feel they can afford it? Or should I just pay it into the separate bank accounts of the children?
[I’ve read someone else’s thread who advises setting up standing order to list CM maintenance payments.]
Firstly well done for trying to put the interests of the children first.
I am afraid though that you won''t like what I am going to tell you. Unfortunately because you are not married
, it is property law and not family law that applies. The form you have is, I believe, for registering home rights if you are married or in a civil partnership.
Because you are not married, the property belongs to the person who has their name on the deeds. If you want to claim any of the equity in the house, you will need to use property law. This can be complex and expensive, especially if you are unsuccessful because the loser pays all the costs.
You should be paying CM at a rate agreed between you. This can be more than the csa rate.
Is the mortgage on the family home in joint names? If it is then you are both liable for it. If not then you have no need to pay it.
Of course you may reach an agreement between you which is fine. If you don''t, your recourse will be to property law. You really should take legal advice
from a property specialist.
It was Mediation advised filling in form HR1 and Land Registry said that it is the relevant document (maybe because of the length of time we were together and/or because we have children?) but I hear you and I will ask a lawyer about that.
The mortgage of family home is in hers only. I have consistently paid by standing order the full amount of mortgage to her bank account every month for 17 years. I''ve not stopped as a legal adviser suggested I maintain that until we agree.
Hope we don''t have to go to property law - the properties are our pension - so, we''ll just be reducing our pension pot!