Hi, all! I'm Sez, and I'm hoping someone can point me in the right direction, because at present I'm tearing my hair out .
(I hope I'm posting in the right place! )
Got married to my teen sweetheart just over four years ago (we're both now 22) and he walked out on me in April 07, saying that he "Just didn't love me". I found out a few days later that he was already sleeping with someone else (I wonder how long that was going on ).
We bought our home together in May 2005. Between May 05 and April 07, when he left me, he spent a long period out of work, and we lived solely on my wages, as we were not entitled to any benefit, and the mortgage payments went up and up. As a result, I am in a lot of debt and have bad credit, although I have never missed a mortgage payment. In the last two years, we have paid off about £4,000 of the mortgage (and a small fortune in interest!).
I have worked out that HE actually contributed towards the house during his two brief periods of working (not including money swallowed by interest) £1,000. The other £3,000 of the mortgage payments was money that I paid out of my wages whilst supporting him during his unwillingness to work. I am also prepared to let him have half of whatever the value has increased by between May 05 and now. He has agreed with this.
His belongings have all been removed from the property, and I have informed as many relevant parties as I can think of that we have separated.
I am quite content to remain "separated" for the time being, despite his confession of admitting adultery, because neither of us can afford to pay for a divorce. Even the quickiedivorce.com website is too expensive! However, I want the house to be in my name and mine alone, and I am concerned that this is going to be expensive. I don't have any spare cash (my mortgage is most of my salary), although when my new partner finds a new job, that will ease the burden.
It all sounds incredibly complicated. I phone the Land Registry and was told that I had to send them various consent forms, provide a letter of permission from my mortgage company (my ex and I were tied into that particular mortgage for 6 years), and speak to the Inland Revenue about stamp duty (we didn't have to pay this when we bought the house, as it was classed as a "deprived area"). I'm terrified that a solicitor is going to cost a lot, and I don't think I will qualify for legal aid. I thought about applying for a loan to pay off my other debts and pay for the divorce and all associated proceedings, but I know I will be turned down due to my poor credit rating...
Is there an Idiot's Guide to getting divorced that I can follow? It's so much more difficult and expensive than getting married!
Firstly, I think you are probably right in thinking that legal aid is not available, but you can easily check this on the Citizens Advice website called adviceguide. Look up legal help + divorce and it should give you the current limits.
So then, what are your options here ?
1. Sell the house and divide the proceeds. You will of course need to decide how the net proceeds are to be split, because if the property is jointly owned, both of you must sign the transfer.
2. Carry on living in the house and manage as best you can.
3. Get divorced and deal with the house as part of the process.
4. You could, I think - at least in theory - apply for an order for sale under the Law of Property Act 1925, but if you're going to do that you may as well get divorced.
With all these possibilities except number 2, you will have to find yourself somewhere to live.
My suggestion is, first of all, don't panic. . Your are under stress at the moment and decisions taken under stress are usually bad decisions.
The first thing I would do is to have the house valued. At the same time, find out how much you owe on the mortgage. That would at least give you an idea of how much we are talking about here.
I would do that as a start. I am assuming there are no children involved . I am also assuming that you probably would want to get divorced and it is just the cost which is stopping you - but please don't let me put words into your mouth. If you want to remain in holy matrimony, well, it's your life, not mine !
I think it would be a good idea for you to find a solicitor who will offer you a free legal appointment for 30 minutes or so. But I don't think you should do that yet. Get your facts together first. Is there any possibility of talking to your mortgage lender to ask if they will accept reduced payments or interest only for a time, while you work out a solution ?
Finally - please remember that I am not an expert in this field. Getting a valuation etc does not of itself commit you to anything, but it is a first step. Sooner or later I feel you will need some legal advice here. Do not decide on any course of action without this advice.
Thanks for that! You're right - I do want to divorce, but it's purely the expense that is putting me off.
I have already decided that I want to continue living here, and my husband is quite happy with that. My new partner has moved in with me to ease some of the financial strain, and I have already informed the mortgage company. I think at this point, I need to find out where my next port of call is. It's just all so expensive!I phoned around a few estate agents for a quote on valuing my house on the grounds that it is not going on the market for sale (as this house is convienient for my disability and well placed for access to my place of work), but the cheapest I came up with was £50+ VAT - I don't even have £50 left to live on this month:( .
The problem with remaining separated is it often makes things complicated sometime in the future. For example, the initial guilt of having an affair wears off and your sep spouse makes a claim based on the value of assets at the time of divorce rather than when you separated.
So, if you are skint this month and next it won't make an awful lot of difference putting off divorce, but if the months turn into years you could put at risk any increase in value of your assets and large legal bills sorting out a complicated situation. If you are married your husband will still have a claim to your property regardless whose name it's in.
Aidranter is perfectly correct, and has covered adequately all the points I would have wanted to make. I might add that your husband might want to divorce you in the future, in which case you would have to deal with the issue of the house.