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Ex-wife has refused to complete on matrimonial home, legal options??

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12 Jun 21 - 12 Jun 21 #516951 by StressedButHopeful
Topic started by StressedButHopeful
First post (be nice!).

My ex-wife and I had agreed to sell the matrimonial home after getting divorced. We both have a 50/50 joint ownership of the house.

So, my ex has been staying in the house by herself (a period of 12 months) since I successfully divorced her for unreasonable behaviour. I had been paying the majority of the mortgage and all the utilities have been in my name. She cannot afford the property by herself. I had mistakenly thought if I kept things civilised, we could complete and go our separate ways.

On Friday, I find out she is refusing to complete on the house sale because she wants another 2 months to stay in the house. This was news to our conveyancing solicitor and to me. Her reason is that she needs more time 'to pack-up' to move to her parents home, which is a mere street away. I cannot afford a solicitor to fight her, and can just about afford to keep her in the house.

As a result, I decided to send her a formal letter stating:
  • Her actions have put a successful house sale in jeopardy where we could both enjoy a tidy profit
  • I have informed her I have cancelled all utilities/council tax under my name
  • I need advice: I have told her that I will claim for occupational rent
  • I need advice: I have told her that I will seek a property adjustment order
  • I've told her that I'll drop the occupational rent/property adjustment order if she just completes in the next 5 days as the buyer has said they'll walk away.
Folks, can I seek some advice:
  1. How do I go about doing seeking occupational rent? I have given her notice that I will do this on a basis of 50% of the market rent, which is £400pm.
  2. How do I go about seeking a property adjustment order to force the sale of the house? The alternative to not selling is giving the keys back to the bank, which is madness because I have a buyer!
Any help would be greatly appreciated!!
Last edit: 12 Jun 21 by StressedButHopeful. Reason: Editing for conciseness

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12 Jun 21 #516952 by WYSPECIAL
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Is there a court order in place saying the house is to be sold? If so who has control of the sale?

You won’t be able to claim occupational rent especially as you say she won’t be able to afford it.

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12 Jun 21 #516953 by StressedButHopeful
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No court order was put in place. She instructed estate agents to sell the house in the first place. I completed on the house only to be told very late in the day that she had refused to sign for reasons of needing 'more time to pack', thereby jeopardising the entire transaction.

I understand I won't be able to claim occupational rent due to her affordability, but what do you think of using it as a tactical measure to claim a nominal amount of occupational rent to convince her of the benefits of selling?

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13 Jun 21 #516954 by WYSPECIAL
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Usually when a couple separate whoever stays in the matrimonial home and pays the full mortgage. The argument being that the other party isn’t receiving rent so one balances the other. If she can’t afford it though then you are both liable for the full mortgage. Whoever uses the utilities pays for them.

You say you are divorced but haven’t sorted out the finances?

You need to get that done then the details of what will happen to the house can be included. Post details of ages, incomes, children, length of marriage and details of all assets including the house for someone to comment on what a fair split may look like.

Spousal maintenance is based upon need of recipient and ability to pay of payee. As it stands you have acknowledged she has a need and demonstrated you can afford to pay.

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13 Jun 21 - 13 Jun 21 #516959 by StressedButHopeful
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That's right. We had the Decree Nisi + absolute without sorting out the finances because the house was already on sale. I had reasonably assumed we would both enjoy a tidy profit of a house in positive equity. More fool me.

Details:
OP: Age: 30-35, Income: circa£60k, no children. Left matrimonial home after 7 months, divorced after 14 months. I don't have any substantial assets other than the house.

Ex-wife: Age: 30-35. Income: £25k, no children. Stayed in the matrimonial home throughout the divorce. Doesn't have any substantial assets other than the house.
Last edit: 13 Jun 21 by StressedButHopeful. Reason: Conciseness

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13 Jun 21 #516960 by WYSPECIAL
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No pensions?

How much equity in the FMH?

Where is she going to live when FMH is sold?

It's a short marriage but given disparity in incomes you're probably going to have to pay her something to get set up again.

Is it worth just letting her have all of the proceeds of sale?

In the meantime, if it went to court, there is a good chance you will be ordered to pay the mortgage until the house is sold.

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13 Jun 21 #516962 by StressedButHopeful
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Our pension pots are very small. Mine has £1500 in it. The positive equity in the house since we brought is £70k. We will get £c35k from the imminent sale she is blocking!!

She's going to live in her parental home, where there is plenty of space.

Is it worth giving her the proceeds of sale? A proportionate amount, sure. The whole £70k, I'm not sure that would be fair.

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