Hello, Can I briefly explain my situation ( I say brief but its complicated !), Just been divorced by my wife but not had a financial settlement yet, These are my circumstances and would appreciate any comments or advise, I am 53, My Ex wife is now 41, We have a son of 15 months and I have a daughter of 19 from a previous marriage and she lived mainly with me since she was born, She has severe learning difficulties and is Autistic.
My wife left the matrimonial home shortly before it was sold, She is now in rented accommodation as am I, The equity left from the sale is now with solicitor, My Ex wife feels she should have all the remaining money from the sale to assist her purchasing a property for her and my son to live in, I also require a property for my self and my daughter although she has now got a placement in a specialist residential college but can come home at weekends and usual school holidays.
We both have debts but not in joint names, I have credit card debts as well as personal loan and a Business loan, She also has personal loan and credit card debts.
When we first met I had my own property living with my daughter, My ex was just divorcing and selling her property but there was very little left after the sale, After 3 years of marriage we decided to sell my home and purchase a larger home near by, I paid all the deposit to purchase the property (38k) from the sale of my property, I also had endowment policies mature recently and the majority was spent improving our property.approx (30k).
Can I point out I am paying maintenance for my son via CSA and have contact with him 2 days per week.
My questions are..
1, Would she be awarded all the remaining money under these circumstances
2, As my daughter is now 19,( remembering her circumstances ) would she still be considered in any settlement.
3, Would it be advisable to seek mediation before I considered going to court, I do have a solicitor acting for me but cant seem to get any clear cut answers to my question.
4, Would the courts leave me still in debt and struggling to keep a roof over my head.
Thanks if you have managed to read this far and look forward to any respose.
To answer some of your questions, people will need to know more about your financial circumstances,
Eg length of marriage & previous cohabitation , what your respective incomes are (including any benefits you are entitled to as a single parent, eg if you are entitled to benefits on behalf of your daughter), equity in the house, savings, how much the debts amount to, pensions, as these all have a baring on what a likely settlement would be. Try and set it out in bullet points as a list so it''s easy to follow!
Your daughter''s needs and your responsibility towards her would certainly be taken into consideration.
Going to court would certainly leave you in debt, unless you have enough to cover it with savings - your thinking £3000 - £10000, maybe more if it gets ugly. You are definitely best to try mediation. I,d be suspicious of a solicitor who dodges this question, some solicitors are. Good, but some will push to go to court as they make more money that way.
The easiest question to answer is your third one. I have a vested interest in saying this as I am a mediator, but it really would be adviseable to go to mediation before going to court which can be very expensive.
As far as 1 and 4 are concerned, it is impossible to give a useful answer without knowing the whole financial picture and other matters, such as length of marriage and so on.
I may be wrong, but I assume that allowance was made for your daughter in your previous divorce settlement. This commitment should be allowed continue, and one of the advantages of mediation is that it is the two of you (and nobody else) who decide what happens. So, if provision is to be made for her, that is what will happen.
If you wish to know more about mediation, I am trackable through this web-site.
Hi Thanks for the quick response, I will try and answer best I can,
We were married for 9 years and cohabited for 1 year previous to that,
When my first marriage broke down My then wife left me and my daughter and took absolutely nothing from the property or any financial settlement, I had residence of my daughter and she had access to her 2 days per week. She has since stated to me having heard of my position that the reason she never took anything financially from that marriage was to ensure that my daughter had some form of legacy if anything happened to me, although this was never legally documented.
Incomes, I am self employed and earn approx 7k after deductions and qualify for working tax credits and child tax credits, My daughter received Disability Living allowance which went in to my our bank account and was used to provide her with accommodation and daily care.
As my daughter is approaching 20 she will have to apply for benefits in her own right but I will be responsible for these as previously.
My Now Ex wife was earning approx 14k but has since reduced her hours down to 18 per week and receives Housing benefit, Tax credits and Child care allowance.
Equity, We purchased the house for £180k Spent up to £45k on improvements, It was valued for sale at £230-£240k It was sold for £212k, There was £153k outstanding on mortgage leaving a balance of £59k that is now being held at solicitors.
I have debts totalling £22k for credit cards Personal loan and business loan and struggling to meet payments each month.
Your marriage was long enough for who brought what into the marriage not to count any more. So it won''t matter that you paid for the deposit on the house. However...
From what you''ve said, your stbx certainly wouldnt be entitled to 100% of the equity. She may have it in her head that she has the child therefore she has the priority to be housed. However, this need is balanced out to some extent by the fact that you have a dependent too.
Also, you have the lower income. Lower than your figures would suggest too, as you will need to pay her child maintentence which will lower your income and increase hers. This is a factor as sometimes the person with less mortgage raising ability is awarded more of the equity to help them get back on the market.
The other factor to take into account, is how much of the equity your stbx would need in order to get back on the housing market with the limited mortgage raising capacity she has, whether in fact either of you would be able to independently? This is something you will have to consider further as house prices vary so much - and I''m in london so my view of house prices is somewhat skewed!
In the judges eyes, you are both currently housed adequately, as you are both in rented accommodation and paying for that rent under your own steam, even if she is receiving housing benefit towards hers. So neither of you *need* the lump sum in order to house yourselves.
One more thing, as food for thought, if your stbx does receive a lump sum, and it isn''t enough for her to be able to purchase a property with, then it will effect her benefits and she would no longer be entitled to housing benefit. The cut off point for me was £11500, although I have seen the figure stated at £16000 too. So, for her, it might be undesirable to have 50% of the equity if it means she can neither get back on the property ladder nor then receiving benefits.
Ok, one more thing, if you were to agree to use the equity to pay off the loans, (which will be seen as joint, matrimonial debts regardless of whose name they are in) then you actually only have £20000 left. You could easily end up paying this between you if it goes to court. So I would say, you pay of the debts, and split that 50-50. Won''t be enough to affect her benefit entitlement and would put you on equal footing to rebuilding.
Hopefully, though, someone else will be along today to give you more insight, might know about how you having a dependent (nearly) adult affects things.
Many thanks for the advise, Hopefully the solicitors can come to an agreement before it needs to go to mediation or even worse !!, I am just worried that I will end up with no money from the sale and still have crippling debts !
Update.. A date has now been set for a court hearing regarding Financial settlement in my case, Both solicitors met yesterday to try and come to some sort of agreement, They didn''t, My Ex wants most of the equity ( approx £59,000 ) to enable her to purchase a house, In the mean time she has suggested for me to have £10,000 and her to have £10,000 and the remaining £40,000 go towards her purchasing the property. I still have £20,000 in debts so obviously refused this offer, I have asked for a total of £23,000 that would enable me to pay of my debts and have a deposit towards moving in to different rented accommodation, I am currently in rented but is up for sale so would need to find somewhere else shortly.
Spoke to my solicitor briefly today and am awaiting a letter from her with some options.
Now should I accept the offer of £10,000 and walk away still leaving me with debts or should I continue and see if the courts could come to a reasonable solution.
My ex is claiming that she would be in a position to purchase a house provided she got majority of equity, She works part time ( 18 hrs a week) , Claims housing benefit and tax credits, Would she be able to get a mortgage under those circumastances ?.
I have access to my son on two occasions a week Day time Tuesdays then Staying contact from Friday evening till Saturday evening, I am in the process of obtaining further staying contact with him for 3 nights per week, My Ex is refusing any extra contact so may now have to go via the courts.
I would accept walking away debt free and have extra contact with my son, I just dont know what to do for best,
Any advise would be good