Hi, I have been separated from my wife for nearly 8 years. When we separated I increased the mortgage on the marital home by £60k to use as a deposit on a house for my wife and daughter. I have been personally encumbered with this extra £60k borrowing since separation and it will remain ongoing.
I have paid ALL mortgage payments and all running expenses (council tax, fuel, insurance etc etc) for the last 8 years on my wifes home as well as my own.
This has caused me to incur substantial debt to maintain this support.
For at least the last 6 years, my income has never been sufficient to cover both sets of expenses so I cashed in a £10k pension to top up my income, I borrowed £25k from the bank for the same purpose (this debt is till current). In addition when my Mother died 2 years ago, she left me a £40k+ legacy which is now spent on supporting both households and servicing the resulting debt. I therefore contend that my wife has had the benefit of these sums introduced by me.
My wife is now seeking divorce and says that she is entitled to at least half the equity in my house as well as hers despite having had no financial input into either house since separation.
Both our names appear as joint owners and appear on both mortgages.
Theoretically ''my'' house has more equity than my wifes which is why she feels entitled to a major share of it.
She has just started paying the mortgage on her house as I am now unemployed and cannot maintain payments any longer, and my only income is state pension and a small work pension.
I am 65 years of age and my wife is 53, she is employed.
My contention is that as I have paid for everything (with a combination of earnings, debt and legacy) that at the very most I should agree that she keeps ''her'' house and I keep ''mine''.
I would also think it fair that if she re-marries or sells her house that I recover the £60k deposit which I am still paying.
We have a daughter who will be 18 years old in 3 months time and will be going to university.
Her solicitor has recommended a ludicrously high settlement payable by me.
This is all very painful for me as I still love my wife and have always tried to reconcile.
The value of assets (including pensions in payment) held in both joint and sole names minus any liabilities form the net value of the matrimonial pot. This is shared according to the checklist in s25 Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 and usually the needs of both parties, in particular for housing, comes at the top or near the top of the list.
If the needs of the parties can be met there may be arguments for assets originating not from family assets but from the efforts of one party alone during a long separation being considered non matrimonial. That wouldn''t apply to the former matrimonial home but it might apply to pension.