This is a long story for which I apologise in advance, but please bear with me. I feel I need to relate all the details to put the question into context.
In January 2010 my wife of 27 years decided she''d rather live with someone else, a man she''d apparently been in a relationship with for a while, and moved out of the family home. I have two girls, now aged 17 (still in full time education) and 12, who both live with me and have done since my wife walked out, although they see their mother regularly (she lives in a one bedroom flat a mile or two away). There was no violence in the relationship or anything like that - she just decided she''d rather live with him and wrote off 27 years as if it had never happened.
Once she''d moved into her flat he proceeded to leave his wife and moved in with her - that was nearly two and a half years ago. Since then, he has moved out and gone back to his wife/ex-wife (they are now divorced) on at least four occasions. Currently, he lives alone in a four bedroom house about ten miles away having sold his matrimonial home following the divorce and splitting the proceeds with his ex-wife. My wife still lives in her one bedroom flat, although she is still in regular contact with her “boyfriend” (they also work together).
My wife served me with a divorce petition in 2010 for "unreasonable behaviour". On the advice of my solicitor I signed this, for the purposes of expediency, although I commented on the document that I admitted none of the allegations she had made. I wanted to cross petition for adultery but was advised this was pointless. My wife has not applied for the Decree Absolute, which she could have done since August last year, because she says she wants a financial settlement before making the divorce final. There can be no financial settlement for reasons I''ll explain below, so once the LSC have finished dragging their feet and I get legal aid, I''ll be applying for the Absolute.
We both work part-time - my wife because that''s what she''s done since the kids were born and myself because I took redundancy in 2009 to buy a franchise, which never made me a penny and has now gone, and I took a part-time job whilst running the franchise to "tide me over". I''m 60 this year and under no illusions that I can find a full-time job, although I have some self employed options on the back burner. At the moment, I receive the child allowance for both girls and child and working tax credits, but my income is slightly below my outgoings and the credit cards are taking a hammering.
There is very little equity in the house, and I pay the mortgage interest only, so eventually I’ll lose it. This is why there can be no financial settlement as, quite simply, there is no money. I will not sell the house as it is the girls’ home and they are happy here.
My wife informed me a month or so back that she is moving back in whilst the divorce is “finalised”. There is no suggestion of reconciliation, and there could never be – but she thinks if she moves back in I’ll have to make some sort of financial settlement. Basically, she’s moving back in to try and force me to sell the house so that she can get her half share (of next to nothing) and/or so that she can apply for custody of the girls. There is no room for her here – I have no spare room – and the girls have told her that they don’t want her moving back in. This is about money – she wants the child allowance and tax credits, and if that makes us all homeless, so be it. She has never made any maintenance payments, and I haven’t pushed the matter as she has no money anyway.
That’s it in a nutshell. My question is, given the following:
1. She’s been away from the matrimonial home for nearly two and a half years, but she still has a half share in the property.
2. The girls do not want her to have custody
3. The girls do not want her moving back in, although they’re happy to continue to see her regularly under the same arrangements as at present.
4. Her moving back in will be nothing short of a disaster, and hugely disruptive for the children.
5. If I’m forced to sell the house we’ll both be living in, at best, two bedroom rented flats which is hardly in the girls’ best interests.
Is there anything at all that I can do to stop her moving back in? My solicitor won’t talk to me at the moment as I’m still waiting for legal aid to be granted, but I get the impression that, unless there has been violence involved, there is nothing I can do.
Sincere apologies for the length of this post guys, but I thought it important to get all the relevant detail down. Hopefully someone can give me some hope!
My STBX suggested moving back in (as he could no longer afford the house he''d been renting for over a year). I was advised on Wiki that although he had a right to live here as it is still half his, I also have a right to privacy, which strengthens as time passes. I was advised to look into applying for a non-molestion / occupation order. I think the fact that your wife has been living elsewhere for so long would strengthen the case, as would the feelings of your children, who need to be put first, as you well know.
Good luck. It''s a sickening feeling, the thought of co-habiting again after all that time and I can see it creating nothing but grief.
Thanks for that. I''ve just been on the phone to the help line, which I didn''t notice until after I had posted this message, and was given the same advice - an occupation order. Did you apply for one, and was your application successful?
I was going to say occy order. This is what you need I reckon. Based on the fact that she has been gone 2 1/2 years, the oldest child (17) does not want her back and you dont have the room. Getting this order should stop her in her tracks.
Long term, something has to give. She could, sign over the house to you provided you could get a new mortgage and walk away with nothing or perhaps the property is sold when the youngest reaches say 18. But for now, get the occy order in place to stop her coming back. C.
Thanks for that. I''ve made the decision that, should the LSC still be dragging their feet by this time next week, I''ll apply for an occupation order without legal representation. I have to be quick as the intended "moving in" date is half term. I''ll be applying for an ex-parte order on the basis that if she is informed in advance that the order has been applied for, she''ll move in immediately.