Thanks for all your advice. Unfortunately we cannot downsize (at least I don't think we can) as its a shared ownership property that we only bought 12 months ago and it has very little equity in it. So either he has the house and I move out with kids to private rental (then I worry he will gain full custody of kids)or we sell it or I try to have it signed over to me as a home for the children. I don't have a job other than a very very part time job from home.
Go on to the tax credit calculator to see what you'll get. Remember that the figure it gives you is what you'll get between now and 5th April. divide by 12/13 weeks, multiply by 52 then divide by 12 to get a monthly figure.
Just because you have friends who have struggled, doesn't necessarily mean you will. Sit and do a thorough budget to see if you can afford it. If not down-size. I have taken over the cost of the house in its entirety and I'm coping fine. You might be pleasantly surprised. I'm sure lots of women do it. Until you do a full and honest budget you just won't know.
Deferring a sale and paying a chargeback are so fraught with problems that the courts are actually very reluctant to order this kind of arrangement. Apart from the costs of maintaining the property there are often difficulties when it comes to selling the property because by the time the youngest child reaches 18 years of age both parents are at an age when they can't secure the usual 25 year mortgage. Therefore this type of arrangement is only recommended when there is no other way of keeping a roof over the heads of children. See; -
On a personal level I would prefer to downsize and not be worried about making ends meet and possibly be able to afford to do things with the children such as enjoy an occasional holiday with them before they grow up.
It's true that the council won't rehouse you if you're 'intentionally homeless'. You would only be entitled to help with the cost of renting if you don't have assets of more than £16k. Buying a cheaper property is probably a sensible option.
I was wondering whether I should follow my solicitors advice of having the house signed over to me because I have the children (until they are 18). I went to my sisters yesterday and her house is falling apart because she cant maintain it and my friend who got divorced ten years ago keeps defaulting on her mortgage and extending the term. Both of these women work bloody hard full time but just have not remarried since their divorce.
I am worried I might not be able to cope with the financial responsibility of the house and don't really want the stress but I feel under pressure to do it for the kids as it is their home. Also the solicitor told me that the council will be under no obligation to re-house me if I voluntarily make myself homeless!
I'm worried I might be commiting myself to a lifetime of more struggle than necessary.