Advice regarding possible settlement in divorce

(13 Posts)
left2cope Sun 10-Mar-13 21:24:41

Hi,
I am a new poster, and was just looking for a bit of advice.
Not sure whether i should post here or not, so if this is wrong pls let me know.

A brief history:
My stbx left myself and our now two year old twins in nov 2011.
Since that time, he has not contributed a penny in CM, or towards the huge debts we had when he left. He has had no contact with the chidlren and has moved abroad. He has now got a job there but is not giving me any details.

The situation at present is as follows:
house worth 145000
interest only mortgage: 142900 joint.
so practically no equity.
unsecured loan 29,000 left to pay over 8 years. joint.
overdraft joint account 10000.

i also have a credit card which was at 10000 when he left, as i was on maternity leave. solely in my name but debt due to IVF treatment mainly by mutual consent, so maybe it can also be divided in half? i don't really know.

So lots of debt, no assets, i did make multiple offers to my STBX, the last of which was to transfer the house to me, and take half of the joint debt, i.e. 19000 and we could call it a day but he is not agreeing at all.

I am loathe to drag it through the courts but feel i have no option. Can anyone please advise as to whether i am being reasonable in my offer, as i work part time due to childcare costs being horrendous, and as a single parent am struggling every month, i cannot take any more debt than what i have offered him, but also do not want to accumulate solicitors fees for no assets, so not sure what to do? whether to make my offer better or let a court decide.
Any advice would be very gratefully received.
Thank you

sagalsmith Tue 12-Mar-13 13:54:03

Not going through this situation but have been going through a divorce by proxy of my best friend for past 3 years- very involved as I was rewriting most of her letters, reviewing correspondance etc- we're both professionals in different fields so although this is not our field- we had a good grasp of it.
Long story short- he left her and DD, went abroad, has since found a job-lives with mother- crucial difference from yours is that he wanted contact with DD. Divorce finally over now- solicitors made her fill all sorts of forms of blame,finance etc- all billable but at the end- not useful as all the judge sees is your asset, his asset- divide it in half (each situ differs naturally), then tries to get the partner to contribute monthly- most judges consider this favourable as they see it as a way for father to see child. My friend decided to forego maintenance for 2 reasons- didn't want the hassle of chasing him for money every month (doesn't necessarily happen but she doesn't trust him), wanted a clean break. Because she earns marginally more than he does in his local currency, and because she is still in their mortgaged home (which is mortgaged to the hilt and reduced in value- so not much there), her savings (incl ISA)- all taken into account- she actually had to pay him 20k with no child maintenance. On top of that 15k sols bills. Her general view is that if her sols were honest- they would have told her the actual situation- not bother with all those billable useless hours and she could have cut her losses esp in regards to their bills.
If your partner is in a country where these things can be enforced, its worth a try, otherwise, might be better to cut your losses and move on- hard as it is. In terms of solicitors, my friend's partner happened to get a really aggressive solicitor- someone she wished she had- if you need someone in Manchester- send me a pm. There's also the not attractive option of filing for bankruptcy. What will he agree on btw?
This is all by proxy so take it that way- it was very painful to go through just watching and I can't imagine what its like to actually be in this situation.

Xenia Tue 12-Mar-13 14:34:41

The real problem here is he will probably pay nothing and it will be hard to track him down (depending which country he is in) and in the meantime all those debts will need to keep being repaid month by month.

Can you find out what his job is abroad? Is he on linked in? Is he on his employer's website? Will his parents tell you? It may be he is in a country where a regular monthly maintenance payment to you and the children could be enforced or it may be is working somewhere where there is no chance of that.

You can certainly start divorce proceedings. You do not have to use a lawyer if you have no money for that and if he never turns up and does not appoint a lawyer ultimately the judge will decide which may be that the house goes into your name but the mortgage stays in joint names (as lender unlikely to put mortgage into your name only if you only work part time). Do you think you will be able to afford to stay in the house ( assuming he pays nothing ever)?

I rarely advise this but there may be some merit in your going bankrupt unless you have parents who could help out or take over the mortgage. It might be worth seeing someone at citizen's advice. You would have to move too but at least it would leave all the debt behind. It does however have big implications for opening bank accounts, future mortgages etc so not to be done lightly. Woudl be much better if you and your family could somehow get to cope with the on going debt repayments whilst trying to get the divorce in the English courts with a decision about the finances from the court.

left2cope Tue 12-Mar-13 21:23:40

Thank you to you both for replying,
sagalsmith:
Your friend seems to have been in a very similar situation.
I too earn a little more than him due to currency conversion, and he too is living with his mom and started work there.
However the difference is no savings, no pension, nothing but debt.

It isn't easy, being in this sitaution at all, but the relief of having lost the physical, verbal and financial abuse is priceless. I am sorry if i wasn't clear, but i have already struggled through divorce applications and have the decree absolute coming through shortly.
So that is sorted. I also had to take out a prohibited steps order against him and his family as he didn't want contact but did threaten to take the twins abroad with him and not return them.
The only issue is the finances, I cannot unfortunately file for bankruptcy due to my job, i will lose my registration and be unable to work.
My family is thankfully very helpful, and have paid all the costs for divorce, but i do not want to continue to impose on them.
I am not in manchester, am in coventry actually, but thank you for the offer.

Xenia:
Thank you for replying, as i said earlier, bankruptcy is not an option, due to my job.
I am going back full time once the children go to school in about 2 and a half years, and will increase my earning potential then. I am definitely able to afford the house if i can get family to help with some of the debt.
They are willing, i just wanted to try and get at least the house in my name and then go for sorting out the finances. I have not missed a payment yet, but with family help(parents).
I don't really expect him to make any contributions at all, but at least if the home is secure, and he cannot bother me again i can move on in peace.
Again, thank you fro replying.
I really appreciate it.

left2cope Tue 12-Mar-13 21:35:05

just a quick update, i have opened today' spost which has a letter from a solicitor he has engaged for financial matters and she has said he does not trust me and is therefore only willing to go to court over the finances. So i guess thats the decision made.
The concept of Court is quite scary though.

Xenia Wed 13-Mar-13 09:12:47

In that case you want to push it to court as quickly as you can. If you earn more than him in theory you might pay him (my ex got 60% of our assets as I earned a lot more) but here there is not much money or equity in the house so I think it's more likely that you would get the house and if your parents are prepared to act as guarantors on the mortgage with you the lender would probably let the loan be put into yours and your parents' names and take your husband off them mortgage as part of a clean break.

You both have the £49,000 of other debts too. Those how made the loans are not going to let any in joint names go into single names I'm pretty sure. Assume your husband will pay nothing including debt repayments even after the divorce and even if the courts orders him to pay monthly sums and try to get the whole of the house and the tiny equity in it as yours in the divorce hearing. You could certainly put a written offer to his solicitors of what you would accept, setting out joint debts, your debt, house valuation etc etc You could tell them you will apply for interim maintenance (regular payments from him to you now to fund your lawyers and to fund his half of the mortgage and joint debts per month and towards the twins) now and that unless he agrees some sums to be paid monthly he will also have costs to pay if you apply to court for those payments.

You might also be able to sleep in the same room as the twins and rent out the other bed room and even the living room to lodgers to get a bit more money coming in perhaps.

left2cope Wed 13-Mar-13 12:18:15

Xenia,

I have just come back from an appointment with a local solicitor, and she has suggested as you have that the one thing I can probably count on is the judge in view of the lack of equity and huge debts would agree to transfer the Home to my name.
She does however think, that I should be able to get an order for child maintenance, and one for regular payments to me so as to pay towards the debt.
Whether he will pay or not is another matter. Looking at the case she has given me an estimate of about 5000 pounds to get it to settlement. Maybe less, if he agrees to a settlement before the three hearings.
I do desperately want him off the mortgage and have some security on the home and have spoken to my parents who feel the 5000 is a fee they will be happy to pay if that is all we get out of the settlement.
Having discussed the lodger possibility, My sister is also moving in from dorm rooms to live with me, and will pay me rent instead of the uni where she is. This will help both her, and I.
So, i should be able to make ends meet for now.
Lets see what comes of the court hearings. i have a lot of paperwork to prepare as per the solicitor.

Xenia Wed 13-Mar-13 13:41:31

So the legal fees will be more than the sum in dispute? Never a nice position given he probably will not pay a penny of maintenance. Could you not do the court application to settle the finances yourself without paying a lawyer? Not that recommend not using lawyers generally, but that is more than the sum in dispute and usually if you're given a figure the costs may well be double what is quoted as it may become very much more complicated than people expect.

I cannot see if you do it yourself you would get less than the house transferred into your name and both remain liable for the joint debts.

left2cope Wed 13-Mar-13 18:31:47

yes, not a good position to be in, and i fully expect him to renege on the court order.
I am going to try and do as much as i can myself, and maybe get the paperwork checked by the solicitor i think, just so i know i am saying and doing the right things.

RedHelenB Sat 23-Mar-13 14:47:48

Is he likely to be made BR? If so that could actually work to your advantage id the house is in negative equity.

left2cope Sat 23-Mar-13 16:45:10

He did threaten to go bankrupt initially after he left, as he felt it would stop my registration, and therefore capacity to work, as i am financially linked with him in mortgage and accounts etc...
But i have not heard anything since, i have had a couple of debt collectors turn up at home, with letters addressed to him but i have explained the situation and they have left.
So not sure, but how would his bankruptcy help me?

RedHelenB Sat 23-Mar-13 18:58:30

In that you could offer some money for his beneficial interest & take over the house that way as long as you can pay the mortgage by yourself.

left2cope Sat 23-Mar-13 22:28:48

Ah ok, thank you for explaining,
well i will see what he comes up with, or maybe make an offer of that sort and see what he says. would much rather sort it out without too much further debt/ solicitors fees.

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