Sorry this is a long post, but i think the background in necessary to fully understand the situation. I initiated divorce proceedings (without a solicitor) 10 years after we separated. The length of marriage prior to separation was only about 2 1/2 years owing to my husband commencing an affair within weeks of marriage, resulting in his having a child with the woman concerned. Since 2002 we have both had children with our new partners (he is still with the woman he had the affair with). I have 2 schoolage children and a partner of 10 years with whom I have held a joint mortgage since purchasing our house in 2005.
The crux of this post is that after finally getting an address and initiating divorce proceeding I received a letter from my husband''s solicitor asking for £20,000 from the property I sold in 2005 prior to jointly buying my current house. His claim was based on the fact that although I was the sole owner of the house, his contributions and work on the property led to a massive increase in its value.
I replied to his solicitor disputing the massively exaggerated profit my husband claimed I had made from the sale of the house (the net profits were around 24,000 and this was used as a deposit on my current home.)
I also strongly disputed any contribution made by him, I am very confident he has no evidence to substantiate the alleged contributions. In addition I stated that payment to my husbans would damage by children''s financial wellbeing. A minor point was also made about the violent, volatile and drug fuelled behaviour of my husband during the short marriage (supported by his arrest at the property on 1 occasion).
He either doesn''t work or is on a low income. I am reluctant to go to mediation as I can''t really afford it, but I don''t want to risk it going to court. I am worried about the fact that this situation is potentially financially damaging to my partner too.
Is a court able to force us to sell our home. We have overdrafts and bank loans like many people at the moment, but I suppose on paper out joint income is fairly healthy. Any advice most welcome.
As you and your husband had no financial settlement at the time the two of you separated, it is open to him to make a finacial claim now. His claim is against you, not your partner, so is claimwould be limited to a claim against your share of any assets you and your curent partner own.
In maing a claim, he would have to satisfy a court that it was fair in all the circumstances for him to have a share of the assets.
The court is entitled to take into account all relevent circumstances, which would in this case, include the length of time whihc has past since you separated, as well as shortness of the marriage.
What disclosure have you provided?
Do you acceot that he made any contribution at all?
If you had got divorced at the tiem tat you separated, it is probable that your ex would have been entitled to something, if only to reflect that fact that it was your matrimonial home and that he would probably have been able to show he made some contributions to your joint welfae, whether this was financial or not.
If you have not already done so, it is likely to be reasonable to provide information as to the original purchase price and the ale price, so that he can see that the net profits were not as much as he may claim. If the net profits were £24,000 then it is unlikely that any claim he would have had at that time would have been more than £12,000 at most.
It may also be worth considering making a small offer on a ''nuisance'' basis to obtain a final settlement - possibly offering somwhere in the region of £5,000 in full and final settlement, ratehr than face court proceedings which could cost a similar amount.
However, it would be sensible for you to invest in some professiobnal advice afrom a solicitor to whom you can provide full details including information about the value of the property, what if any contributions you each made, and whether there are any other assets.
Thank you for the advice. In answer to you questions I completely contested that he made any contribution, financial or otherwise. I also stated that he had taken marital assets such as a car, £3,000 gardening equipment that was as I understood it in lieu of a claim on the property. In addition he owed money to both my dad and granddad ( not sure if that can be taken into account) that I subsequently paid.
I listed at length the extensive repair and refurb that was undertaken by me after we separated. I am certain he will have no proof of any contribution to the property.
Any minimal work he did do was completely re done as it was so bad, including a living room ceiling that collapsed completely ( I have ins pics of this!) I can get statements from the various people who did work on the property to attest to its poor state.
I do not believe that had we sorted this at the time he would have been able to show he made a contribution to our joint welfare. He was away from the marital property for days on end ( due to his affair), was violent and volatile (found out later had a serious coke habit), the house had no heating and I lived in the bedroom when not at work.
I see no value in paying for mediation, unless it is likely he will get legal aid to pursue this to court, but how likely is that???
The response from his solicitor so far has been to enquire if I am still willing to go to mediation. If this went to court can I be forced to sell my house??so confused