I apologise in advance for the lengthy nature of this post but I have tried to include all relevant information.
1977-1983/4 met girlfriend at college and moved in together. At the end of my degree we moved to London in rented accommodation.
1984 we split up as she is having an affair and I buy a flat.
1985/86 she buys a flat we reconcile and both move into her flat. My flat is rented out but due to our joint excessive lifestyle (it was the 80’s in London) my mortgage was not paid and eventually the flat was repossessed and auctioned off by the mortgage company. The excess was returned to me , some £4000 and was spent by my girlfriend and I.
1989 girlfriend sells her flat and we use the increase in value (approx. £20000) for a deposit on a house in the country. My name is not on mortgage due to previous financial problems
1989-1999 we get married in 1993 and subsequently have two children. During this period I developed a gambling problem which caused a number of difficulties and eventually to me leaving the marital home (not my choice). During this time the mortgage was always paid (admittedly sometimes late) as I ended up borrowing money from friends and family, which I eventually paid back.
1999 house prices in doldrums and my wife sold the house and used the equity around £35000 to pay off debts and put down £20000 deposit on a smaller property for her and children.
2001 my wife decides to sell up and move up north to be closer to her family. 2 days before they are due to go she asks me if I want to come back to which I agree and we all move to a new house (still in her name as I was not in the picture when house was bought.) again there is now £40000 equity in property. This is used as deposit on new house £20000 and living expenses and furniture as neither of us has a job when we move north.
At this time I also contribute £20000 to living expenses as I receive this for previous unfair dismissal claim
2002 Yet again we split up and I am asked to leave the home which I reluctantly agree to.
2003we reconcile and in 2004 we remortgage the house to raise £45000 to fund gap year trip round Europe in a motorhome with the children. At this time my name is added to mortgage.
2005 we return to UK and I begin working immediately as my wife has no income for 5 months as she is starting her own business and I am sole breadwinner.
2006 in February my wife announces that she is filing for divorce and moves into rented accommodation locally (This time I refuse to leave).
We are both in agreement that the house should be sold.
In all my absences from the marital home I have paid for the children’s maintenance (substantially more than is required by law).
Equity in current house is now circa £90000. In February my wife cashed in an endownment policy for circa £21000
I am more than happy to pay the required amount of maintenance for the children.
There will be no arguments over child access
There will be disagreements over splitting of assets.
My questions are as follows. 1) Given the above circumstances what would be the likely decision of the courts. 2) Is it possible to handle this myself as A solicitor with whom I had an initial consultation has advised me that costs for resolving the financial issues could go to £10000 3) If I decide to handle this myself is it possible to use a solicitor on an ad-hoc basis.
If anyone has any advice whatsoever I would be very grateful.
Thanks for such a swift and informative reply. It has made me feel slightly less aprehensive about the whole thing. The extra information is as follows
1.the children, both girls are 11 and 13
2. They will live with their mother
3. due to the nature of my job( I am a truck driver, away a lot) I suspect their time with me will be mainly days out although I will take them away for a couple of weeks in the summer.
4. My earnings are around £25000 pa
5. my wife is self employed and has her own company. Last year (2006) was her first year of trading and she earned around £22000. However her minimum rate is £50 per hour and could obviously earn a lot more if she put her mind to it. She has no travel expenses in relation to her job as this is all charged seperately for to her clients.
Thank you once again for your speedy response. Sorry to be a pain but I have another couple of questions to which you may be able to provide some answers. It looks as if the house will go on the market so I take your point regarding the division of equity. However in my initial consultation with a solicitor I was given the impression that the endownment policy which my wife cashed in the week before she left would also be taken into the equation regarding a division of assets notwithstanding that it was in her name. Do you have any thoughts on this.
I originaly asked the solicitor if I could reasonably request my wife to contribute towards our ongoing mortgage but was told that this would not be acceptable as she had moved out and was renting elsewhere and I was the sole occupier of the former marital home. However it looks like the situation may be about to change in that I will be relocating to another part of the country for work and will have to rent accommodation for myself. In your opnion would it now be reasonable to expect my wife to pay half of the mortgage up until such time as the house is sold. If this is the case how would the court view it if I simply cancelled the direct debit and informed my wife that as from next month she will have to pay the mortgage and I will ensure that my contribution is in her bank before payment is due.
Once again thank you for your advice.