Hello all, new here so be gentle with me. This is long I apologise.
I am posting on behalf of my partner who is the respondent in a divorce.
This is long with a lot of information, but I would like someone to let me know their thoughts on this matter. I have been reading lots of other threads and see some of the problems my partner faces other people have faced too so I hope someone can shed some light on the situation and whether this is or isn’t s fair offer – as well we what you may think a judge would say on the offer or if the offer is refused and more legal costs are built up.
Husband – self-representing (he doesn’t have a penny to his name for legal representation)
Wife – solicitor and has built up a bill of £8000 so far
Split happened early 2017
FDA – rescheduled as both parties only provided the form E a few days before
FDA – October 2019
FDR – Feb 2020
Final hearing - JULY
Cohabitation before marriage 9 months
Marriage of 4.5 years.
During the marriage the wife had multiple affairs, the final affair was the cause of the break down of the marriage. The husband could not afford to apply for divorce due to very tight finances and pressure from his employment giving him 0 free hours in a day (that is a whole other story). Because of this the wife applied for divorce on the grounds of ‘unreasonable behaviour’ the unreasonable behaviour was ‘an inappropriate relationship with a female co-worker’ – however this is false and my partner did reply to the court explaining this but he was happy to get divorced.
There is very little assets.
The FMH was purchased undervalue as a gift from the husband’s farther at £115,000.
The wifes’s parents put £3000 in and the husband put £10,000 in as a deposit.
The husband has no pension.
The wife has a private pension of £20,000 that was built up during the marriage. (the wife competed her studies just after the start of the marriage and then found work in her field which built up the pension)
There is a family dog the husband would like to keep, 3 family cats the wife would like to keep. There is a horse considered a joint asset. This has been valued by us at around £1900 however the wife claims the horse is worth £700 due to him not being ridden right now – although posts on social media say otherwise.
4 Valuations that vary from £125,000 - £145,000
FDA they agreed on a valuation of £137,500 but the wife still argues it is worth £150,000 (no ides where this figure is from)
Husband has been advised by local estate agents to expect more around the £130,000 region due to COVID, but this is unknown at the moment.
There is lots of lies and inconsistencies within the wife’s form E which I don’t have the time to go into, originally in capital needs she wanted £70,000 for a house deposit and £15,000 for a horse box. (there has never been a horse box in the marriage)
MORTAGE - £89,000
Husband – £9500 remaining on a loan for solar panels – this is a long term loan and will be paid monthly until after 2030.
Husband – £2000 for a kitchen improvement.
Husband – £10,000 Credit cards – this is various stuff and work purchases however £1600 was for underfloor heating within the house (evidence for this)
Wife - £2000 kitchen improvement loan.
Wife - £22,000 student loan
Both have personal business loans for a failed business of £18,000 each.
The husband has a person debt of £35,000 to his farther that was taken to try to save the business. (it did not)
Originally the husband wanted to remain in the FMH with his new partner and new child. However this is now not looking possible.
Because of COVID both parties are out of work and on 80% of wages. Because of this the husband applied for a mortgage holiday, the bank was happy to do this but the wife refused. The husband got a letter from the wife’s solicitor about this and he replied that as due to COVID neither of them would have the funds to meet the full payment and it would affect their credit. They have still not replied over a month later and there has been 2 attempts to take the mortgage payment causing charges for the husband on his account and an effect to both their credit scores. The husband has since wrote to the wife’s solicitors saying he can see no reason for this behaviour other than to cause him financial hardship and force him between feeding his family and paying a mortgage when the bank where more than happy to apply a 3 month payment holiday.
Because of the recent missed payments and COVID the bank have said he wouldn’t have enough equity left in the property after buying his wife out to retain the house. So now he is having to have to agree to sale and have his family homeless until a home is found (due to funds this wont be able to done until the house sale as he will need funds to put a deposit on a rented house)
At the FDR the judge said the liabilities on both sides were pretty equal and the home improvement debts taken out to benefit the marriage would not be taken into account when splitting the equity. The husband argued this point as surly the student load should not be taken into account as it was taken out before the marriage – the judge argued it benefited the marriage but it did not as there is documents proof that the wife paid £200 a month towards the house, bills etc. The rest of her wages were spent on clothes and stuff for the horse.
This is the disagreement that caused no resolution at the FDR. The wife’s solicitor refused to negotiate and then asked the judge for an application for ‘costs’ as she said the husband refused to negotiate. But this was not the case. The husband doesn’t have a penny to represent himself and still to this day things this should have gone to mediation but the wife refused mediation – he is worries an order for costs will mean he will have to pay some of their £8000 legal bill which by the time of the final hearing we estimate to be £10,000.
(note the furniture in the house some was taken to the wife after the split, some was bought on the husbands credit card and some was bought by the new partner after the split)
The wife retains 100% of her pension
The wife retains her wedding ring
The wife retains the 3 cats
The wife retains the horses and all horse equipment.
The husband retains the family dog and all paperwork for the dog.
The husband retains the furniture in the house.
The house is marketed for the agreed value of £137,500.
This is revisited every 3 months and reduced every 3 months - £137,500 - £135,000 - £132,500 - £130,000 etc because of the uncertain market due to COVID and this divorce has gone on since 2017 and needs to come to an end sooner rather than later.
The cost of the remaining mortgage is deducted from the sale - £89,000
The cost of sale is deducted - £3000 (estimate)
The remaining kitchen improvement debts are deducted and paid directly to the third party debt companies. -£2000 -£2000
The remaining solar panel debt is deducted and paid directly to the third-party debt company. -£9500
(the argument for this is all of these debts were taken out during the marriage for the benefit of the marriage and the solar panel debt especially would mean the husband is paying £130 a month until after 2030 which is a total payment of £15,600 which would cause financial hardship after the house sale – there is enough equity to clear these debts that benefited the marriage and we strongly believe this is fair)
The credit card debt for home improvements is small and we are not arguing for this as husband just wants to move one.
The split of the remaining figure would be 55% husband – 45% wife.
(this was the split discussed at the FDR to reflect the assets retained by the wife.)
Please can someone let me know their thoughts on this situation and the offer. Also, I have read here on this site that a judge at a final hearing would not be happy with someone building a massive legal bill when a fair offer is on the table. Also, can someone please explain to me the order for ‘costs’ that the wife’s solicitor applied for and how much of their £8000 (possibly even £10,000) legal bill the husband will be required to pay and why? This does not seem fair to me as he has made offers and cannot even afford legal representation himself.
My concern is the wife originally wanted £75,000 equity that never existed, after the FDR the husband made another offer of £18500 but this was refused. Before the FDR the wife wanted £25,000 and lowed to £22,000. I feel she won’t take into account COVID affect on the sale and because she still thinks the house is worth £150,000 she won’t agree to the offer despite £137,500 being the amount agreed at the FDA. There is also a worry that even if this goes to a final hearing and the judge orders the same as this offer that the wife will drag out the house sale until she gets a high offer so this could be going on for years.
The final offer made by the wife was without prejudice offer and it was when the husband hoped to retain the house. It was that the husband pays a cash sum of £23,000 and if he cannot do that the house is sold and the first £23,000 before mortgage and cost of sale deductions is given to the wife – which I will be honest the husband laughed at because he isn’t stupid and a sale split like that would leave him with £13,000 debt and f this house sold for as low as 130,000 he would have £15,000 along with that debt compared to the wife’s £23,000 and all her assets.