Partner separated from
His ex 8 years ago with no assets. They both had pensions though. Married 2.5 years, cohabited for 5 before that.
We’ve been together 7 years. My partner is resident parent of their son and we have a baby. Last year we bought a house.
They did not sign a consent order when they separated. The divorce has reached nisi stage. We asked her to sign a clean break and She is now threatening to take us to court as she doesn’t work due to health issues and struggles for money. She has suggested she will want a share of our home. She will cite domestic violence and apply for legal aid.
I don’t work and I am so incredibly stressed and upset that she could be awarded equity from our house - I don’t even know how this would work. Maybe we’d have to remortgage. Maybe my partner will be ordered to pay her maintenance. My partners salary gets us by but we would struggle to pay her spousal support.
I am anxiously asking for help as I’m not sleeping
If the house is owned in joint names, AFAIK the court cannot order a sale. They may order a lump sum to be paid.
Your partner's needs are greater than hers if he is providing a permanent home for their child. A court will consider needs first.
Spousal maintenance is based on demonstrable need and ability to pay. If she is claiming benefits she should be aware that benefits are reduced £ for £ by any SM payments.
Depending on the size of the pension there may be an adjustment but without knowing the figures it is impossible to advise.
As far as getting legal aid goes, she would have to be able to provide hard evidence such a police reports etc. Legal aid is not a gift, it may have to be repaid.
If you want to call her bluff, your partner could consider their own application to court. It is perfectly possible to self represent - we have various services to support self reppers. Once you have financial disclosure you could book a fixed price legal consultation to assess the likely settlement.
Alternatively you could look at the costs of going through the courts fully represented (likely £5-10k to FDR where you can settle by agreement) and offer a small lump sum now in return for cooperation with the order. Such sum would be set out in the order and not provided until it has been approved by the court.
I was hoping you’d say there’s no chance of a judge giving her anything out of our house.
We are considering making an application. We don’t have money lying around to give her - our savings are a couple of hundred rather than thousands. She has refused the offer of £200 and made it clear she wants something substantial.
I don’t understand how a judge can order us to pay her a lump sum we don’t have. It also seems desperately unfair that after 8 years she should be entitled to what we have worked so hard to get, and is the roof over our children’s heads. It is a small 3 bed house, nothing massive. A big chunk of it my mother in law is about to do a second charge on as she invested in it. The pension isn’t such a worry we hers is an nhs pension and probably worth a similar amount to my partners.
My partner would be acting as litigant in person. His ex has managed to get a GP’s referral letter to women’s aid and so this should entitle her to legal aid. Obviously there is no ‘hard’ evidence or police reports, as the domestic violence never happened.
they were only married for 2.5 years, I think that should say it all?
I was just divorced and walked away with nothing, my choice, from someone who had at least 250K in equity. We were together 5 years married, 2 years before that. I got nothing.
I really hope it’s the case that the fact it was a short marriage means she won’t be able to get anything.
I am extremely emotionally invested in this - my grandmother is 94 and I am desperate for her to see me in my wedding dress this summer, covid allowing. Obviously this won’t happen if this goes to court.
The length of the marriage has much less relevance where children are involved. In any event where cohabitation runs seamlessly into marriage the entire length of the relationship is counted.
If the relevant time period has passed, there is nothing to stop your partner going ahead with an application for Decree Absolute that would allow you to marry.
If he was the petitioner and ticked the yes box re financial proceedings he would avoid the remarriage trap. If not he can issue proceedings ahead of marriage.
If she objects to the Decree Absolute being granted he may need to give an undertaking not to sell your property until matters are settled. He may not though and it could just be granted anyway.
Every case is different. Without a full examination of the details it is impossible to give a categorical answer as to what the outcome would be. On the basis of what you have said it would seem likely that a clean break with no funds changing hands is a strong possibility.