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Feel I could lose everything - help

  • OBEs 1 canoodly
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08 Aug 07 #1833 by OBEs 1 canoodly
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Hello new to this so bit nervous!

Nearly 18months into Divorce. Had 1st Appointment and FDR Not Good either time!

I left my wife in the marital home 7 years ago by agreement (not desertion). Always agreed 50/50 split of house and pension.

I lived in several lots of temporary (not good) accommodation for 5 years whilst still paying the mortgage on my former home (now completely paid for) and in the last 18 months have moved in with a new partner who I have only known for 3 years so didn't leave wife for her.

We have bought a house together but I haven't contributed financially because all my money is tied up in FMH (new partner contributed large deposit)I was only able to help by using my wages to help achieve the mortgage which is on interest only so not contributing to the capital value. I was just desperate due to failing health to have a decent roof over my head. I am 61 my ex2be is 59.

I have a very physical job and a degenerating illness that will never get better although I am ok at the moment but I do feel the pinch when it comes to my job (getting more tired as the years go by). Feel like I have had to start my life all over again. My ex wants me to sign over all the interest in the former home to her and for me to keep my pension which isn't worth the paper it is written on!

House: £140,000 (no mortgage)
Pension: £28,000

My exwife is a very stubborn woman and each time we have gone to court and the judge has advised us to talk to each other and has expressed just how costly a final hearing would be she has always nodded in agreement that she doesn't want that. Thinking this to be true I have tried to put lots of ideas forward i.e. that we meet and that we talk but she won't. I have suggested through solicitors letters (very costly) that on the sale of the house I would take the minimum to enable her to buy another place outright. No she won't do that! I have suggested equity release which isn't as bad as it used to be - highly regulated now she could stay in home I could get my money. No she won't do that either!

My daughter made her a fantastic offer which would mean we could have both received our equal share on the sale of the home and she would have been well looked after for the rest of her life with money in the bank. She has turned down all of this! She is adamant she wants the house and that is that. She is also heading for the very final hearing that she has been warned about. She is not legally aided and I really don't know where the money is coming from (her fees so far:£10,000)to pay for it if she is saying she can't raise the money to pay me and doesn't want to sell the house???

My new partner was very concerned as to what her position would be in all of this and was advised to draw up a Trust Deed in unequal shares between us. She sought 2 lots of advice from different solicitors and came up with the same answer from both. The final soicitor who drew up the deed confirmed for a third time that we were doing the right thing. However it is that very deed that went against me at the FDR and the judge said that if he were at the final hearing he would not order a sale of the marital home.(SO a Final Hearing not looking good for me either!!!!) He has ordered my ex2be to look into how she can raise some money to pay me BUT only at a level that she could afford which really did put all the balls into her court! I get a horrible feeling she will work on the lowest amount possible and she is also playing on illness saying she may not be able to work for much longer ~ well what about me? How do I stand in all of this? I have two pensions that total the above. The first has matured at £50 per month (big deal) and the second for some reason doesn't mature until age 70(if I get there after all this worry)for a similar value. I feel I am set to lose everything at an age where I cannot afford for that to happen. I need some stability too. Yes my very physical job does pay good money but only because I am having to travel further afield and work longer hours to achieve that when at 61 I should be calming down.

My wife has always worked part time even when she was in a position to work full time she wouldn't. Even since I left she has continued just part time. We only have the one daughter who is 38 so independant. She has always been a stubborn person but I really don't understand why we cannot settle this amicably apart from the fact she has an ankle snapper for a solicitor and it is both my belief and that of my solicitor that my ex's solicitor is not advising her to settle this by talking to me and that she is the one that is leading my ex down the path towards a final hearing. Maybe she gets a massive bonus or promotion at the end??

Anyone had a similar experience? I keep reading on this forum advice where it is quoted "judges don't like to make an order that means the man loses all his entitlement in the former home" but that is exactly how it is looking in my case. It really is making me quite ill! I've never been a particularly lucky guy but I have worked hard to maintain our home all my life, I have never been a sherker!

Maybe someone out there has a brilliant idea of a way I could retain some sort of interest in the home I have maintained, loved and paid for all my life! Sorry to bore you all but pretty much fed up!

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08 Aug 07 #1840 by DownButNotOut
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Old Blue Eyes,

The missing info you need to supply is how much you earn and what access to income does she have (job, benefits, disability etc).

Reply with this missing info and I could give you a better idea.....

- If she is successful in convincing court she cannot earn anything then you may be in trouble.

- If she could work part time and claim tax credits then you could get a reasonable share of the equity, but court may be reluctant to order sale of the house so you may hav e to wait

I'm not totally clear on what you mean by co-habiting but not contributing financially....but paying the interest only mortgage, but....
One word of caution:dry:

be careful about putting yourself in a position where you are earning a wage, but being almost fully supported by your new partner. You are in effect reducing your own needs/outgoings, and giving the court the chance to say "hey he's got loadsa spare cash, his new piece o fluff is paying all his bills, so lets dish out a good chunk of that lovely loot to his missus" (Not Good!!)

Top Tip:lol: : Make sure you arrange things with your new partner so that you are paying your own way. She can treat you with holidays and stuff, but pay your own way in rent/bills/food etc. Make sure you can prove your outgoings.

Good Luck:silly:

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08 Aug 07 #1841 by LittleMrMike
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I hate to tell, you, but I think you might be on a sticky wicket here. May I explain why, as gently as I can. I am not necessarily suggesting that I agree with this or that it is fair, or that I have no sympathy with your situation - just a gut feeling as to how a Court might react ( and the comments of the judge only reinforce what I suspect )

A Court's first priority is to make sure that both parties have somewhere to live. Your case would be stronger if you were totally inadequately housed, but you say that you have moved in with your new partner and have drawn up a deed setting out your rights in the home - which suggests to me some degree of permanence. Therefore, you have solved half of the Court's problem for them and all the Court now has to consider is your wife.

You say the house is worth £140,000, but don't forget your wife is going to have a legal bill probably running into five figures. Snag is, I don't know where you live so I don't know what £140K gets you in your neck of the woods. Downsizing may be a possibility for her but it may be that there still wouldn't be much left for you and with costs included the effect could possibly be that your wife finishes up in a smaller house/flat and it doesn't really benefit you all that much, and the judge may think the minimal benefit to you isn't worth the upheaval for your wife.

The next problem is that you have drawn up a deed with your partner which gives you an interest in her house. So then the judge might reason that you have an interest in the house you are living in, even if it isn't the same house. So yes, that trust deed could well go against you.

And finally, you are keeping your pension, apparently. I'm afraid that's quite a common form of trade-off for the loss of the FMH.

By now you will probably be thinking like ringing the Samaritans, but I do see one option for you, and yes, I know it isn't much.

You could ask for a deferred charge on the house which is realisable if your wife dies, re-marries, co-habits or
voluntarily leaves the accommodation. That does at least recognise your intrerest in the house, and I think that
if you ask for this, you might well get it - even if only as a sop to the judge's conscience, because they don't like taking a man's whole interest in the FMH. Yes, I know it's pie in the sky when you die.

I never thought I would live to see the day when paranoid ol' me would be making comments like this, but I am afraid I don't think your wife's case is unarguable, and it might well succeed. I would be interested to see what other posters to this site think.

Mike 100468

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08 Aug 07 #1844 by mumof2
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Hi . could you please let me know did you pay the mortgage independant of your ex until it was paid off. O r was it paid off before the split and who paid it, whose name was on the mortgage was it both,
I have just come from court re the F/H today and may be able to give you a little help.
My ex is wanting to make the children and I homeless as he pays the mortage and feels he has an unfair deal.My case is extremely complicated and it will be used as a guide line in future cases so wont bore you with the details, but if you can answer me I will tell you what the judge has asked for and what hte outcome is likely to be.
Please as has been stated in a previous post protect yourself from living together as you may well end up with nothing the legal ruling for co-habitees is not as yet gone through and you could end up on the heap.
Take care and will help if I can

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09 Aug 07 #1850 by OBEs 1 canoodly
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Thanks to all three and to answer each:

downbutnotout:

I earn around 19,000 per annum but as I said earlier due to my age and health deteriation don't know for how much longer I can keep up this job!

She works part time and earns around 10,000 a year including tax credits (and by the way works for an organisation that is very good at housing its employees either renting or shared ownership!! But she won't do that either and hasn't offered up this information at any stage!)

As far as contributing to my new home my NP does not earn a great wage around £7,000 a year so I do pay my own way. Because of our age there is a time limit of years on the mortgage and we could never afford to pay it as a repayment mortgage so we are in effect only renting the house as we will never own it by paying the interest only. Therefore by not being on a repayment mortgage I/we are not contributing to its value because the interest remains the same every month. Any value that the house may realise would be due to the cash that my NP has contributed by way of her deposit. Does that make better sense?

Answer to Mike:

The above gives you an idea of where I am financially but you ask about the deed which was drawn up to show 99% in my NP favour - advice given to her by 3 different solicitors. I only have 1% which covers a small contribution I made towards the conveyancing fee. I suppose I could have been dishonest and got her to have 100% but being an honest sole I always end up getting it wrong!

I was already inadequately housed before moving in with NP my health could not have stood another winter but was advised at that time that my ex2be would still have had a strong case against me because I still had "a roof" and the rent I was paying was low (and the FMH would have been worth less at that time) so that I would have had more disposable income, been younger and probably would have ended up with a spousal maintenance order??? Can't win eh? and they reckon divorce is based on "no fault" these days, look who's getting the blame!!! Well, that's how it feels!

Mike, you say my wife may have a legal bill running into 5 figures and you sort of suggest this will have to come out of the FMH, well I have a large bill running up due to her - so where does mine come from to pay that! Why should her legal bill be taken out of my share of the home? I thought these days we had to settle our own court fees so why should her bill be taken into consideration over my financial future needs? She's the one that is being stubborn here not me. I would have settled for a lot less amicably a long time ago she just won't speak!

I was thinking of the legal implications on the subject you touched on about keeping my interest in the home? How would that work? Could I suggest that at this stage rather than go for a final hearing? I fear once at the final hearing it will be too late for me to make any further offers and that the judge will make the worst decision in my favour. I know I could do with the money now but your idea would at least take the pressure off what I am going through as I don't actually want this any more! Or, would you suggest I make several very reasonable offers in writing to her all of which I know she will turn down and then get my barrister to bring this up in court to show how unco-operative she is being? What are you thoughts on going ahead with a final hearing it's something I desperately want to avoid because of the cost involved.

If I do ask for a deferred charge would that still be at 50% my half share or would my share be less and why? Would I still have to pension share at this point? Or, as she gets to live in the house rent free would I be allowed to keep my pension - the WHOLE £50 per month? Only one has matured at this point and the lump sum (£3,000) would help towards my legal fees. I wouldn't worry too much if I died before her because at least I know I can will my share to my daughter and I don't think she could argue with that! I feel something is not completely true in all of this and I am just worried about her plans with the house after the divorce is over I just can't prove anything unfortunately! If I was to get a deferred charge how would I stand with a "Clean Break" would she start travelling down the road of maintenance? Could I get a clean break if I still had an interest in the property? At least I could allay my fears about what her plans for the home would be after the divorce if I still held a charge! Is this like a mesher order?

Her solicitor did put an offer to mine at the FDR of £15,000 to me on her death!!!! Obviously I turned that one down!

To Answer mumof2:

Its lovely to have a womans opinion - I thank you!

Yes, I did pay off the mortgage independant of my ex. I continued to pay it after leaving so she has had 7 years rent free living! I have only just finished paying the mortgage - the house is now paid for. It is in joint names and the solicitors have severed our joint tenancy.

My NP drew up the deed because the downfall of her previous relationship was due to financial disaster (mostly at her expense) and therefore she did not want to go through that again so she took advice as I have previously explained and drew up the deed to protect her contribution knowing that I was going through divorce. We haven't known each other long and the idea was to help each other as friends at the offset to have a decent roof over our heads (are we stupid or just human?)as both our ex's are comfortably living in our ex homes!! Our relationship has blossomed but I have to say the strain is taking its toll!

I have been a good hard working husband all my life, I have maintained the home to a very high standard and worked long hours to keep my wife and child happy.(But she never was!) Is this my reward?? It is so refreshing to have a woman offer help - you must be one of natures lovelies and I wish you luck with your complicated case. All I would add as my advice to you is try not to do it all through the legals. If you can find a way to talk to each other and make compromises, do that, then get on with living the rest of your life for you and your kids!!! Be happy! It's the best route to a healthy life! Legals will just stir up hatred between you and your ex and bring you both down whilst simply feathering their own ego's and nests!

If my ex2be had been a bit more reasonable and willing to talk to me I know I could have found a way to keep her in the home and me have some financial benefit whilst any money she has now spent on legals could have gone towards my daughter and her childrens future! I just feel that the greed of her solicitor has filtered through to her and she only has ££££££££££'s signs in her eyes and a renewed hatred for me for some very unknown reason but this is what the legals are good at! (not all - but most!)


Can someone also explain to me why we can't consider equity release? My pensions would never have provided a comfortable lifestyle for us anyway if we had stayed together so at some stage we would have had to downsize or do equity release to survive. I have gone through an excellent plan with a financial advisor and these companies cannot put you in debt, will only lend a very small percentage based on age so that it doesn't run up an interest bill, as the house increases in value there will always be something left for inheritance and the main thing is you cannot lose your home because you already own most of it unlike when you take out a mortgage where the BS usually owns the larger share! I don't think this sounds like an unreasonable way to go forward based on the fact I would have had to consider it anyway during marriage??

Any thoughts anyone?

I like this site by the way nice and clean, fresh and friendly unlike a few others I have been on!

Thanks again! Look forward to the next round of advice:woohoo:

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09 Aug 07 #1854 by LittleMrMike
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Oh dear, I knew that would happen. Honestly, I was not trying to upset you - merely to point out the difficulties as I saw them.

The fundamental difficulty about divorce in lower income cases is, simply, that two into one does not go. It can be very difficult for a Court to re-allocate resources between divorcing couples to give both of them a home and enough income to live in it. Almost inevitably, there is going to have to be a reduction in lifestyle for both the former spouses.

In your case ( correct me if I am wrong here ) you and your NP are joint owners of the home where you now reside. Now that I know you only have an interest of 1%, I agree that is far too miniscule to count against you. But you didn't say in your previous post that it was that small. I agree with you that your arrangement isn't that much different from renting. But the fact remains that you have a roof over your head, and you are the joint owner of the roof.

The issue to my mind is that, if, for example, the judge ordered a sale and said you were to receive, say, £30K out of the net proceeds, could she buy a house with what was left, given that your wife almost certainly has no mortgage capability ? I said I couldn't assess this because I don't know where you live. But the point that I was making about legal costs is that she would have to find her legal costs out of the proceeds, That is the main reason why a Court would want to have an estimate of both parties legal costs at the hearing - to assess the impact of legal costs on the viability of any proposed settlement.

I wasn't saying that you would have to pay her legal costs. merely that she will have to pay her own and that means less for her and would make it that much more difficult for her to find other accommodation. I know I am playing devils advocate here. But I am trying to give you the most honest advice as I can and what you do with it is your business.

I wish I could claim that the idea of a deferred charge was my own brilliant idea, but it isn't. It is quite a common device in cases where, for one reason or another, one former spouse is being allowed to occupy the FMH even after the children have grown up, on the basis that, if she were forced to sell, she would find it difficult or impossible to re-house herself. It does, at least, mean that if some Sir Galahad fell madly in love with your stbx and whisked her off on a milk white steed to his baronial hall, she couldn't sell the house and pocket the loot. I think it's a reasonable request for you to make. And by the way, there are tax implications here, so take your lawyer's advice as to how this should be done.

In answer to your question about going to a full hearing, I can only make the glaringly obvious point that the more the lawyers get, the less there is for both of you.

I can understand your worry that she may have another sucker lined up to marry as soon as the ink on your Decree Absolute is dry. She may think that's clever, but it isn't as smart as you might think. If the Court thinks your stbx has concealed her intention to re-marry or cohabit, they will come down on her like a ton of bricks. You will almost certainly get the order set aside and she will have to pay the costs.

You don't say whether spousal maintenance is an issue. Take it from me, my friend, spousal maintenance is something you do NOT want. A Clean Break means that you both go your separate ways and neither can make any further financial claims against the other. So it cannot be a clean break if you are under a continuing obligation to make payments to her. If you can, get a clean break, which means that you must ensure her claims to SM are dismissed. A deferred charge doesn't mean that it can't be a clean break.

I think that is probably enough, but would like to conclude by making the obvious point that you have a lawyer acting for you. You are free to check out this advice with your solicitor, and you should not act on this or any other post until you have checked it out with him/her.

Mike 100468

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09 Aug 07 #1858 by mumof2
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my ex2be had been a bit more reasonable and willing to talk to me I know I could have found a way to keep her in the home and me have some financial benefit whilst any money she has now spent on legals could have gone towards my daughter and her childrens future! I just feel that the greed of her solicitor has filtered through to her and she only has ££££££££££'s signs in her eyes and a renewed hatred for me for some very unknown reason but this is what the legals are good at! (not all - but most!)

I have pasted this as this is my case in reverse to a degree.
At my recent court case I was told that we have to agree to a final settlement to our case which means that I have to make an offer to pay him off, buy him out of the family home and some of the profit from the sale of my business, I had done nothing wrong except provide a good life style by working 24 hours a day. I received a max of £300 from him a month to support 3 girls and a home, he deserted us for a family friend whom left her children with her x partner. I feel bitter at the outcome, not of the affair or desertion I feel it is unjust that I should pay for his error of ways, butin all honesty OBE it may be worth it to move on. Life is unjust and those who dont deserve it pay the price as many on this board will agree in either finacial arrangements of with their children. I have decided and itis my personal view , those who wronged us make us pay the price for their guilt and do not like to see us happy and moving on with our lives as the grass they thought was greener isnt, but just faded and dried up just like any relationship when the effort isnt put in by both parties. I know this is not advice but pleae look at an early settlement get her out of your life and enjoy your new one. The price is hard to bear but the results are often sweeter.
I hope you understand where I am coming from
Good lick
Sandra

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