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House Deeds

  • mickt
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10 Oct 07 #4578 by mickt
Topic started by mickt
I have just left my wife of 5 years after I got a solicitors letter stating she was filing for divorce on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour and giving me 7 days to leave my house. The house was rented and I had been living there for 7 years paying all the bills.I have a stepdaughter 19, stepson 15, two daughters 8 and 3. The oldest stepdaughter has been the cause of all of our arguements and she has taken out loans upon loans without any possibility of paying them back and generally mixing it up between us. My wife has stuck up for her in every arguement and our marriage has broken down because of this.
My question is this. I bought my mothers council house about 10 year ago before I met my wife jointly with my mother although I have the mortgage. My wife has not contributed anything or lived in the property. She is intending to claim this as part of my assetts which I am not very happy about as I think the first thing she will do is pay off my stepdaughters debt, indeed this is the sole reason she wants a divorce. I have tried to patch things up for the sake of the kids but she puts up a brick wall and still wants a divorce.
My mother signed over the deeds about 3 years ago to make me the soul owner. Is there any way I can sign the deeds back to my mother, i have a mortgage on the property. I could get her to change her will to leave the house to me when she died. My will currently states that the house goes to my wife only whem my mother dies.

  • LittleMrMike
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11 Oct 07 #4590 by LittleMrMike
Reply from LittleMrMike
Oh heck.

Can I get this right. Your mother was living in Council accommodation and you gave her some financial assistance to buy it. The property was originally in your mother's name ( well it had to be, because she was the tenant ) and she presumably still lives there. But she has transferred it to you.

I used to work for a local authority and as part of my responsibilities, had to set up a system for handling the newly introduced right to buy in the 1980's. I can assure you that it was a very common occurrence for children to finance their parents so that they could buy their Council house, and the idea, of course, was that when Mum popped her clogs, they would inherit a house bought at a discounted price which could then be sold at a profit. The idea was so frequent that there was even a standard form of Trust Deed in the Encyclopaedia of Forms and Precedents.

If your mother had asked my advice at the time, I would have advised her not to do it. You now know why. In addition there is a far more serious risk ; the risk that you could go bankrupt. In that case she would probably find herself on the street. Was she advised about these risks at the time ?

Later on, when I was a CAB Bureau Manager, I was asked the same question - Granny wants to transfer her house to her son and thus avoid the possibility of the house being taken to pay care home charges. The advice I would give was always the same - namely that if you give away your house you don't own it any more. Obviously the children would never evict Granny, but there could be problems if the donee died before Granny, got divorced, or worse still, went bankrupt.

I honestly don't know what view a Court would take of this.

If I were arguing your case, I think I would say that the Court must look at the realities of the situation, rather than whose name happens to be on the deeds, and
the reality in your case is that the house is your mother's. You can't sell it and line your pockets while your mother needs it as a residence. Therefore, it is artificial to regard the house as belonging to you.
But you might get an unsympathetic judge.

To transfer the house back to your mother would not, in my opinion, make a great deal of difference. The Court has wide powers to set aside a transaction intended to defeat a spouse's claim for financial relief.

As to your will - you need to review your will NOW.

I would advise you not to leave until you have to, unless you really can't stand living with her any more, but I think, subject to any legal advice you might get, is that it is very likely that a Court would order you to leave sooner or later. After all, you've got a house of your own , haven't you ? Well, at least it could have been worse. You don't own the house, so that you don't risk losing your share of the equity.

I am sorry to be rather blunt, but I always used to give this advice and I don't think clients took a blind bit of notice. In 99% of cases the arrangements worked, but in the other 1% it can backfire badly. I think your wife is going to pursue this one. Whether it will work is probably guesswork - might depend on the view an individual district judge takes. But I think you need legal advice just the same.

Mike 100468

  • Sera
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11 Oct 07 #4591 by Sera
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You will both need to claim all your financial assets when you divorce. Sadly, I read a very similar story in the press. (An elderly lady lost her home when her sons' wife filed for divorce).

If the Deeds are in your name, then any attempt to now change them, would be deemed 'disposal of Marital Assets', (in other words, you finding fraudulant ways of hiding what is legally yours!).

In divorce, the 'needs' of both parties will be looked at. If your wife currently rents (?) then that is her residence sorted. If, however, you leave the house, (and own elsewhere) then that should be your housing needs met.

(Yeah! I know you probably don't want to go home to mum!)

I'm pretty much being 'embezzled' of money too in my own divorce. However, you can't just change reality. (My husband also bought a second home, a rental property, he had the money from his parents 7 yrs ago, to avoid inheritence tax)... and now he's trying to make it look like a loan to his parents. (Nope, it's Mortgage free and only his name on the Deeds)... he then tried to say his sister had interest in it, (since the money came from their parents). No she doesn't, that's just the line for divorce.... (his sister has first dibbins on his parents house when they die!).

Word of advice. A solicitor can legally advise. They cannot 'Order' you out of your home. You don't need to leave - yet. She'd have to take out an Occupation order thru' the Courts, currently that is taking about 2-3 months for most of us. (I'm going through that at the moment). Your partner changes their mind, and you're ousted!!!

It'll be for a judge to decide if you have to go. But, they don't consider the 'emotional' stuff behind it, they just want a solution. That you own a house elsewhere, is indeed one hellofa big solution!

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11 Oct 07 #4592 by Sera
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Mick,

I just love it when you get a nice sensible answer from someone like Mike - who has actual experience, rather than my tongue-tied answer based on the school-of-knocks!

Just wanted to mention: When you divorce, the settlement will be based on what there is. You mentioned that your x2b might use a settlement to pay off (adult) daughters debt.

You should make sure that you get a 'Clean Break' divorce, (whereby she cannot make a further financial claim against you). Then if she does 'waste' her assets repaying someone elses' debt, that's her lookout. Sadly, it's not for you to care what she does with her money - and if she leaves herself short, in re-paying irresponsible teenage spending, so be it!

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11 Oct 07 #4598 by LittleMrMike
Reply from LittleMrMike
Looking at my post, I think I may have been slightly ambiguous.

I should have said that I would have advised your mother against transferring the property to you. I would not have advised her against buying the house in the first place, but normally, for obvious reasons, the person who does the financing wants to protect his or her investment, to make sure that when the house is no longer required as a residence, eg where the parent dies, the son who provided the finance has his or her interests fully protected.

Mike 100468

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