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Flat bought during marriage - marital asset or not

  • noodledoodle
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27 Mar 12 #320238 by noodledoodle
Topic started by noodledoodle
Hi everyone
Got Decree Absolute last year. Still cannot agree on some assets - he wants a Clean Break but I think I am owed!

In 2003 he bought a flat as an investment, in his name during the time we were married. He still owns it but on his financial disclosure has put the value down as what he paid for it in 2003 rather than current value. Also claims to only get £1200 a year income from renting it. I think not.

The flat was not the marital home - we sold that and divided the equity some time ago. He now lives in a big house (mortgage free) and I bought a more modest property and still have a mortgage :(

This flat has never been discussed as a marital asset yet given that he bought it using his earnings during our marriage (far higher than mine were or are) I am sure it is.
Despite a buy to let mortgage on it, there is approx £35K - £50K equity in it & this is something I don''t want to let go of (particularly as he is offering pitiful child support due to being self employed - yes, that old chestnut).

I know he won''t want me to have a stake in it or "get my hands on it" but what can I do? Before agreeing to a Clean Break or as a condition of agreeing to it, can I register an interest or claim to it or insist it is put in our daughter''s name so that she inherits it?? (he now lives with a new partner). I don''t want him to sell it necessarily but nor do I want to walk away from something that I see I have a claim too.

Both his solicitor and mine now are pushing me to give in to a Clean Break rather than the expense of taking it to court. It seems that he is going to win and I will walk away with nothing unless I can find a breakthrough.

Thanks for reading
noodle

  • jonathancj
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28 Mar 12 #320481 by jonathancj
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It''s a marital asset - simple as. Whether there should be a Clean Break, that depends on all the other usual factors but the flat is in the pot. How long was the marriage? How old are the two of you? What are your respective income and asset positions? Clearly the 2003 value is entirely irrelevant - it''s what it''s worth now which matters. £1200 p.a. rent? Yeah, sure, whatever! I don''t believe that either.

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28 Mar 12 #320492 by ArchStanton
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It sounds like an martial asset to me and should be included on his financial form, I''m guessing you''ve got no savings or assets of your own to counteract it ?

  • noodledoodle
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29 Mar 12 #320601 by noodledoodle
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Married 2000, separated 2007, divorced 2011.

Whilst we were married he earned up to 6 times my hourly rate as he was a consultant.
We never had a joint bank account though!
We are both in our 40s.

His current income is the tricky bit as he''s self employed, bought his own business 2 years ago and didn''t enclose a tax return with his financial disclosure. Or business accounts as there were none available at the time. Nor did he sign the form, or get it sworn......call me cynical, but...!
On paper it looks like I earn twice what he claims to - I am well within the low tax bracket - but his lifestyle contraindicates. He lives with new partner in large house worth twice what my house cost and has no mortgage. I have a new partner too and we do have a mortgage. Ex husband''s and my own respective savings are probably about the same (just ISAs etc).
If his earnings really were as low as he claims, then surely HE would be chasing me for child support in view of our shared access! But so far he hasn''t dared try that.

What I want to know was, can I insist there is some register (e.g. something like a beneficial interest?) placed on the flat he bought. If not, and if I do have a claim to the flat because it is a marital asset (which I am sure it is), what is the best way for me to deal with this?
Can I say he can have the Clean Break but only if the flat has X placed on it (whatever X might be)? at least then I protect my share of the investment / asset in the future if it is rightfully mine.

I don''t want to go to court but we seemed to have reached stalemate as he seems to believe that as we sold the FMH and split the equity, I''m not owed anything further. Obviously he wants a Clean Break but to coin a phrase "he would say that, wouldn''t he?" !!!

For now I am going to ask for his accounts and his tax return.
Any advice very welcome. My solicitor seems to have run out of steam and I have spent a few grand on fees already but got nowhere and having recently had a snotty fob off letter from his solicitor in response to mine mentioning the flat being an asset, my solicitor seems to think I should just give in to the Clean Break - probably because of the ongoing legal costs.
But £30 - £50K (equity in the flat) is an awful lot of money....

Please help!
:unsure:

  • somuch2know2
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29 Mar 12 #320607 by somuch2know2
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It would be marital property- but how much energy and money will it cost to get a piece of the flat?

You have been divorced for a year and you have a new partner, yet when I read your post you sound very angry and jealous of your ex. Maybe his new partner paid the majority of the property he lives in now, or maybe his lifestyle is built predominenantly on debt.

I hope I dont sound harsh, its just that divorce is draining, both financially and emotionally and the longer you stay in that space the longer it will take to really move on.

The child support issue should be raised though, perhaps he can agree to give you more monthly if you stop pushing on teh flat?

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30 Mar 12 #320848 by noodledoodle
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Oh dear. I must sound very bitter & twisted!

Angry - yes. Jealous - no.
We may both have moved on but the injustices remain.
Your points about his current lifestyle may be built on debt etc is valid - you could be right. I do see where you''re coming from.

What we are talking about here is fairness - or lack of it. He is hiding the extent of his wealth - when we were together and now. There are other misdemeanours which i can''t go into here.

I do know what you mean about letting go & believe me it is tempting - who needs the hassle not to mention the expense?
But if I take the easy way out (let him keep what he wants) I may feel like I have been shafted and I have to live with these decisions forever.

As for paying me child support, that has gone nowhere as he claims he has no money since buying his business (which seems to be doing well).
I wouldn''t have bothered about a claim to the flat if he hadn''t been dishonest about the child support & his ability to pay.


At the end of the day it is money for our daughter - not handbag and shoe money for me - that he is withholding.

I still need to know what my options are with the flat. As you say, it could be long-winded and costly to do anything - but at least I could weigh it up.

I haven''t even pursued my claim to the flat so I am hardly "pushing it". I am just trying to get some facts about what my options may be regarding (entitlement to)it, that''s why I came on here. My sol has gone on holiday....


thanks
noodle

  • somuch2know2
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30 Mar 12 #320854 by somuch2know2
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Understood.

Someone will have to clarify but I think it will mean going back to court based on new evidence. So the cost of a barrister, lawyer and court need to be taken into account plus all the admin before.

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