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Divorce?

(24 Posts)
WhatToDo0 Wed 18-Mar-15 21:07:11

Advice please (have name changed).

Have been separated from H for 5 years and due to time and cost haven't yet divorced.

We have 2 DC (8 and 6). The kids live with me in a house H paid for (inheritance). Small terraced house, not expensive. H hasn't ever paid maintenance, I have supported kids myself working full-time. H is unable to keep a job and has been unemployed for most of the last decade. He's also not paid any upkeep costs of the house (-I don't actually expect this).

It was agreed I would keep the house when we split-up. He's now saying he wants half. From legal advice I'm aware he can't force the sale of the house until kids are older and no longer in full-time education or force me to buy him out with half the cost -I would struggle to be able to get a mortgage anyway.

Would it be best to divorce now, hoping he'll stick to original agreement and agreed in a divorce I keep the house? Or despite divorcing can he still have a claim on the house when he changes his mind?

The house isn't worth a huge amount - 150K max. I don't see why we should be expected to move into rented accommodation and myself have the cost of rent as well as financially supporting the kids solely. His attitude of 'half' doesn't extend to the cost of kids! He'd also be unable to buy a house with half the funds from current house and would just spend it in the next couple of years (He lives off JobSeekers allowance and Housing benefit pays his rent - 1 bed flat so doesn't even have kids overnight stays).

I have always managed to support the kids but it's been tight at times. Now I no longer have full-time childcare costs we have some spare funds (annual holiday, few days out. Something he hasn't ever done with the kids) but nothing extravagant and I still have breakfast, after-school and holiday clubs to pay for.

I'm getting so stressed about possibly losing the house now or later on. Especially furious when this turns out to be the only thing he has done for the kids. (He refuses to help with childcare, looking after them to save me paying some of the fees so that he is free for interviews and to start jobs, that never happen). He sees the kids a few hours now and again a day at the weekend. How can it be right he can have half the house when he's left me to look after totally by myself, 2 planned and much wanted kids.

butterfly2015 Wed 18-Mar-15 21:43:48

Yabu. He paid for the house and should be entitled to a percentage of it. If he's not paying maintenance then contact csa.

I agree sale of the house should be when children reach 18 but you can't retain 100% of the assets from the marriage.

John4703 Wed 18-Mar-15 21:45:12

You say "It was agreed I would keep the house when we split-up" so speak to a lawyer and make sure he sticks to what was agreed.

WhatToDo0 Wed 18-Mar-15 21:55:21

Butterfly He's unemployed and has been all of the kids life. I can't get maintenance from him, he doesn't earn any money.

I believe he agreed that I keep the house and then 'He'd done his bit'. I don't think he should then be entitled to half the house when he hasn't ever paid (and I can't see it changing) food, clothes, shoes, uniforms. Childcare costs. Hobbies, days out, anything at all for the kids. Even birthdays and christmas are just a t-shirt or similar each.

If I have to sell-up and pay him half of the proceeds and then rent, we're really going to struggle financially with the additional cost of the rent. (Just maintaining the house can be a struggle - boiler goes, roof needs repairing etc).

John That's what I'm hoping for but worried he can change his mind later.

BurningBridges Wed 18-Mar-15 22:00:05

What can you report and get this moved into relationships as that's the thread where all this can be thrashed out by people who have been there. I too think you will find you have the right to stay in the house till the youngest is at least 18 - you definitely have to see a solicitor though.

DoJo Wed 18-Mar-15 22:01:29

Would his benefits not be reduced to take any lump sum received into account? So he might not actually be any better off for having it, and you would be considerably worse off. Could you reach a compromise that you will not pursue him for child support if he goes back to the original agreement about the house or similar? It does sound as though he's being awkward just for the sake of it.

butterfly2015 Wed 18-Mar-15 22:07:11

Just playing devils advocate but you planned two children with a man who has never held down a job. He received money and paid for the house and you expect him to just give it away. You knew he wasn't working but still had a second child so I don't think you can be surprised he's not contributed anything. However csa will dock his benefits if you pursue it.

I would assume the courts would award him something. Without his inheritance you would be living in rented accommodation anyway. I would suggest offering something when the children have finished education.

WhatToDo0 Wed 18-Mar-15 22:19:14

Burning Thanks, I just thought I'd get more traffic from here. When I took legal advice I was advised we could stay in the house until the kids are finished with school but I was also warned I'd be better off now paying him 'his share' with house prices increasing in the (then) 17 years. I can't afford to buy him out though.

DoJo I don't think he'd get any benefits with £70K approx. in the bank and I know him to well, he'd just spend it (on himself) and within two years max. it'd all be gone and he'd want more from me. He wouldn't see it as not being better off, just living a good life for the next year or two. I think now he's had quite sometime of not having money he doesn't like it and is after the house. Instead of getting a job and having spare funds. He hasn't ever paid child support, when we were together he was constantly unemployed with me supporting him, the main reason we eventually split-up (I'd had enough of working full-time -with no choice not to or even part-time, with babies and missing them. Paying for full-time childcare, plus paying to keep him watching films and drinking beer all day!)

He didn't leave without anything, he took the car, he had some savings of his own (inheritance) and took the joint savings as well (all now gone and none spent on the kids either).

RandomMess Wed 18-Mar-15 22:21:39

Well 50:50 split when the youngest is 18 is the starting point for marital asset split for divorce negotiations.

As you are married he could also try and claim on your pension!!!

The fact you have no rent or mortgage costs is a financial help to you. Nothing excuses the fact he is not pulling his weight but being mortgage free all this time does help.

I would negotiate with him via email how that a 60:40 split (or similar) would represent the money you have spent on repairs and maintenance. I would also try and negotiate until your youngest is 21 unless they finish their education at A-levels and are then free to work and contribute to housing costs.

Whilst you are married debts and assets are both usually considered "joint".

RandomMess Wed 18-Mar-15 22:24:08

He may be tempted if you could buy him out for less than 50:50 if you cite the car, savings etc. If you could offer him what you could afford now as £x or a split in the future he may grab the former and do you a favour...

WhatToDo0 Wed 18-Mar-15 22:28:22

Butterfly He worked before we met and married and supported himself. I think he then just thought he didn't have to when he could get me to support him. I always believed it was just a bad time and he'd work again. Not a decade on still be blaming being over-qualified, the economy, government, whoever else.

Child support on benefits will be just £5 a week which he'll just refuse to pay. Plus I understand there's now a cost attached to pursing child support.

We would be living in rented accommodation without his inheritance and I would most likely have been on some sort of benefits to pay for this as would still be paying for the kids by myself. Where as if he'd paid child-support I could have used this as income towards a mortgage. But none of this happened.

WhatToDo0 Wed 18-Mar-15 22:35:01

Makes sense Random I wish I had a pension! I can't afford one, this is another worry.

I can't afford to give him anything now, it looks like it'll be when the kid are older and he gets a percentage from the sale and I move into rented accommodation then.

I think divorcing now is what needs to be done but it's also another additional cost I don't have money to waste on and H can't afford it either and would expect me to pay his costs as well.

RandomMess Wed 18-Mar-15 22:42:25

Well apart from needing to see a solicitor each minimally you can do the rest yourselves very cheaply (been there done that).

I believe you can get divorced without the finances being finalised - perhaps look into that to at least ensure any of his future debts can't tarnish you.

Any negotiations about future split you could do between yourselves via email. The mesher order usually has conditions such as if you met someone else and they moved in or similar that the marital home would be sold then.

I would start by writing a list of the value of the assets he took at the time, and the value of the house at that the time - use that to work out the percentage split of the house. Less any essential maintenance and repair costs on the property. Such as replacing the boiler, guttering, fascias - basic bathroom suite & kitchen type of thing. Keep all invoices etc.

You will still have benefitted from "free" accommodation over that time. If you were privately renting would you be entitled to partial housing benefit due to your income? That is your other option. If you won't be able to afford a smaller property when the marital home has to be sold would you better off having your share now and buying a new car, having some nicer years - or would shared ownership be an option? You could get rent assistance on the rental part and buy the other half outright?

butterfly2015 Wed 18-Mar-15 22:51:29

If he took no eyes from the marriage and has spent it that will be taken into consideration. I would seek legal advice. The wikivorce forum is excellent. I'm sorry I jumped in but with what you originally posted it seemed unfair but if he's already taken funds then I can understand your frustration.

RebootYourEngine Wed 18-Mar-15 23:05:47

last year when my exh was unemployed the jobcentre took 5 pounds straight from his jsa before giving it to him so if this is still the way your ex cant refuse to pay.

DisappointedCake Wed 18-Mar-15 23:45:22

CSA for two is £8.40 a week so about £440 a year if your boss gave you this as a bonus you wouldn't turn it down so make your child maintance claim tomorrow he can't refuse to pay it as long as he is claiming jsa ect they will deduct it automatically unless he's stupid enough to not claim benefits to begrudge the kids that small amount? He would shoot himself in the foot as he wouldn't be entitled to HB either.

Viviennemary Wed 18-Mar-15 23:55:54

The fairest way would be for the equity in the house to be split between you but his share would be minus the maintenance he should have been paying. I don't think he should get nothing since he paid for the house with his inheritance.

WhatToDo0 Thu 19-Mar-15 00:14:19

If I go ahead with divorcing now I'd want finances to be finalized and agreed now so that he can't change his mind again in the future.

I can't see us agreeing to a percentage of the house. I probably am BU when it comes to the house but I don't want him having a percentage of the house whilst paying nothing for his own children but the way things are now it'll be when they're older so they'll at least have the security of the house now.

I earn 28K which is good compared to some families, nothing compared to others (of course). It's not enough even with using the sale of the house percentage as a deposit to buy another at today's prices. As it is the house is only 2 bedrooms so I can't downsize and in a few years (DS and DD) I'll need to let DD have the bedroom and buy a sofa-bed!

Renting would be £800 for a 2 bed where we live, which I just can't afford now (I pay this amount monthly on average totaling before and after school clubs and then holiday clubs). A 3 bed is around £1K. The Schools are great here so I wouldn't want to leave the area and unfortunately not aware of any shared-ownership housing locally.

My wages go on childcare, food, bills. Plus clothes etc. I put some money aside for days out and a yearly (or every-other-year holiday). I don't even own a car now as I can't justify the cost -to keep one on the road, plus big costs when one breaks-down. We live near the train station and I commute by train, days out are by train and for a holiday I hire a small hatchback when needed.

It is good that child support would come straight from JSA, I didn't know that but H constantly goes on about how difficult life is for him, how poor he is (he talks about having just £1 a day to live-off, which doesn't add up) but I'd still feel bad taking £5 off him. He's able to work and I wish he'd get a job and pay reasonable maintenance, then him having a percentage of the house would seem less unreasonable.

I'm just tired as well. I'm the lucky one in that the kids are with me. I know it's the same for others and harder work for some. But also getting up early, all ready, walking the kids to breakfast club and then rushing back to get the train just after 7.30. Working all day. Rushing home intime to collect them for 6 and missing them in the week whilst I'm working and commuting. Negotiating less hours with work and the stress that comes with it for school holidays to meet the holiday club times and train times. Then tea, bath, stories and bed. Then after they're in bed washing-up, washing, making pack-ups and clothes ready for the next day. Responsible for all admin. for school, home etc. Housework and homework at weekends. The stress of money and worry about keeping my job. All whilst H other than going to the job-centre gets to do what he wants, lie-in, watch films/TV/surf etc. and just relax 7 days a week and not even worry about looking after the kids physically, emotionally, let alone financially. (I know I'm BU and off topic). He also goes out at the weekend one or two nights, plus out in the day. I haven't been out in years, I can't justify babysitter cost, on top of a night out.

But at least starting this post has given me more to think about.

WhatToDo0 Thu 19-Mar-15 00:19:54

Sorry, missed the last two replies due to my long last post!

Adding up the amount for 2 kids over a year isn't an amount to be ignored, thanks. he wouldn't give-up JSA as he'd have nothing to live-off. He inherited £250K, £150K bought the house. The other £100K went in a couple of years just living above his means and nice treats -and went on no-one else but himself.

I need to go to sleep, stop worrying and sort it all out finally.

vivideye Thu 19-Mar-15 00:26:51

Have some free legal advice: the starting point would be an equal split of assets but there appear to be compelling factors in this case to move away from that starting point. I think a 60 to 70% split in your favour would be likely given you've got the kids with you and he's already run off with some of the assets. One option is that he could get a charge and can redeem the charge by forcing a sale on the house once your youngest has finished full time education or reached 18 (whatever you agree). If i were you I'd try to get an order now because once the kids are grown up his argument for a straightforward equal division becomes more compelling. If you get divorced before you sort this out it could get sticky so you want to issue for divorce and ancillary relief. go to a solicitor, make sure it's someone who you trust and seems sensible. I wouldn't recommend a sole practitioner. There is absolutely no way a court would expect you to pay his costs in addition to your own, in the circumstances you describe. Another option is for you to take out a mortgage now and raise funds to buy him out now. You would be able to get away with giving him a bit less if he doesn't have to wait years for it.

Hope that helps. Good luck.

purplehandgang Thu 19-Mar-15 07:47:45

He will lose jsa if he gets half the house value and 75k won't last long if he has already blown 100k.

PtolemysNeedle Thu 19-Mar-15 08:27:20

It's fair for him to have half the house, he bought it.

It is not right that he doesn't pay any maintenance, but at least he has provided a home for his children and their mother, so I can't see that he's all bad.

I think it would make sense to divorce now, and if you're choosing to do that now then it is right that you should pay (not for him though). If you want to keep the house, then you have to find the money to buy him out, you were never going to be able to keep it indefinitely.

RandomMess Thu 19-Mar-15 17:31:28

If you were renting on a low income with childcare outgoings you would likely getting partial housing benefit.

I was just trying to get you to consider different options.

I would certainly force the CMS payment of £8.80 per week, if he took you to court to try and force the sale of the house he wouldn't get anywhere because the court would want to see the dc housed.

Familybarrister1 Tue 21-Jul-15 19:50:06

Crikey. Don't make it too complicated or expensive. If you need help drop me a line - I'm a divorce lawyer

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