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Difficult housing situation: bought before wife

(26 Posts)
AnonymousCowherd Mon 29-Apr-13 16:09:26

I am afraid I have to keep this brief because I'm not sure if my wife checks these boards or not...

I am looking at filing for divorce, I won't bore you with the details (until I check her browsing history first) but wanted to know if anyone has come across this situation:

I own my house, jointly purchased with another family member, and purchased it a few years before I married my wife. My concern is now if I start doing what I want to do (move out, start proceedings, etc) then I have been told I will "forfeit" the house or will risk doing so.

We have two children between us which complicates the matter somewhat. I am interested in doing this as gently as possible but I am doing it for my health and happiness and my children's, and just want an end to this situation.

Any advice or links to info would be great. Signs are encouraging that I won't have to lose the house or do anything messy or expensive or remortgage (great for me and the kids) but I just want to know if anyone has any experience of this particular situation or any precedents have been set already.

Thanks in advance


Collaborate Mon 29-Apr-13 16:40:46

You've given far too little information for anyone to advise. Look at the factors set out in s.25 Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.

2cats2many Mon 29-Apr-13 16:46:40

Can I ask where are your children going to live?

AnonymousCowherd Tue 30-Apr-13 09:29:27

collaborate thanks - reading it now. Not sure what information is relevant or not and don't want to over-share. What else is important?

2cats2many children will more than likely go with mother just because she doesn't work and currently looks after them. But I am prepared and happy to keep them with me if required (highly unlikely IMO).

expatinscotland Tue 30-Apr-13 09:31:24

Where are your children going to live? Because the court is going to wonder about that.

expatinscotland Tue 30-Apr-13 09:32:13

'I am interested in doing this as gently as possible but I am doing it for my health and happiness and my children's, and just want an end to this situation.'

What situation is that?

JakeBullet Tue 30-Apr-13 09:37:14

Your children are still going to need somewhere to live which I am sure you know. Where will they go? I accept the house is yours (and another family member's) but a court will want to know provision has been made for the children. I don't really know the answer to your question.

toosoppyforwords Tue 30-Apr-13 11:24:38

I'm not a lawyer but would imagine you probably cannot look at the house in isolation. Your OP does not give enough information to possibly be able to say whether you will or will not forgo the house.
You say the children will stay with their mother - and also that she does not work - how old are the children and where will they and mum live? Also, can your wife work to support herself or is that not your (and hers) expectation? In which case are you paying significant maintenance?
The children need someone to live with their mum so if its not this house you need to think about where and who/how is that going to be funded? Clearly if you have significant assets then you may not have to lose this particular house but it sounds like that is not the case in which case you both need to understand clearly on how you divide what assets you have and paramount in that will be the housing of your children.

AnonymousCowherd Wed 01-May-13 00:22:32

expatinscotland not sure the ins and outs are relevant here.

JakeBullet yes, I'm not going to make my children homeless. If my wife can't find somewhere else they I would not throw them all out. I have made provision to stay at my mother's while she finds somewhere else stable and safe. She would probably get social housing.

toosoppyforwords there's no significant assets per sé and maintenance is proposed at the standard rate. She can't work as there are two children that are not in full-time education and childcare is going to be difficult.

My main concern really is if there is a precedent or anything that automatically says what happens (either way, tbh).

Thanks everyone for your responses, I really appreciate it.

caramelwaffle Wed 01-May-13 00:37:05

"My main concern really is if there is a precedent or anything that automatically says what happens..."

The main concern of the court will be the wefare and provision of any children of the marriage*

Each divorce is dealt with on a case by case basis, so there is no set in stone remit of what would happen.

Children of the marriage is not only limited to biological children.

expatinscotland Wed 01-May-13 03:24:16

'expatinscotland not sure the ins and outs are relevant here.'

Entirely relevant with regards to assets and how a judge sees fit to divide them, and again it is a case by case basis, hence, no asset is free from examination by the courts.

You would put your wife and children to the mercy of the social housing system when you own your own home in order to protect what you presume to be an asset untouchable to them, even though they are your children? They are to be supported by the taxpayer whilst you hang on to your asset? And who is to say a Tory government is not without its positive points . . .

I should think you had rather seek counsel than opinion here as it is not likely to be favourable to one who would throw his children to be housed by the state and taxpayer for his, oh, what do you call it, 'health and happiness' when he owns the home in which his children are living.

toosoppyforwords Wed 01-May-13 13:13:58

I still dont get where you intend for your children to live and how you expect your ex to support herself and the children is she is unable / unwilling to work. If you have a house which it is possible for her to remain in to house the children until they are 18 i would imagine that a court would order that rather than you pocket the cash/keep the house and for your children to go into social housing
Each divorce is looked at on a case by case basis but precedent being housing your children - if there is a house as part of the marital assets IMO i would think a court would allow your wife and children to stay there.

toosoppyforwords Wed 01-May-13 13:15:12

or at least be given a sizeable chunk of any equity on sale of it in order to provide your children with housing.

JakeBullet Wed 01-May-13 13:18:25

The way social housing is at the moment will cause issues if the council consider your wife and children have a roof over their heads. It will be an issue and she wont necessarily get social housing because they will consider her (and the children) adequately housed already....even though the marriage is/has broken down.

AnonymousCowherd Thu 02-May-13 21:24:19

expatinscotland I don't particularly like your tone. If you must know I am leaving a mentally abusive relationship and doing this to further the livelihood of myself and my children.

My wife is a fantastic mother so therefore I have no problem with my

toosoppyforwords she is perfectly able to work, just chooses not to while I provide for the entire family and have done so for ten years.

Like many houses that were purchased during the bubble, there is no equity in my house. Any force of sale would result in me placing an additional burden on the social housing system and also would DEFINITELY result in the children having no stable roof over their head (at least if I have it my way and keep my own house, I can do things relating to childcare while I work and give them a fair level of stability).

JakeBullet thanks for that - I've not thought about that point actually so I will see how that fares if/when she goes for her housing interview.

Thanks all for the feedback. I'd just like to say this has not been a particularly favourable experience for me on this forum and find the tone of some of the messages to discourage me from returning here to seek further counsel. Or opinion.

AnonymousCowherd Thu 02-May-13 21:25:26


expatinscotland I don't particularly like your tone. If you must know I am leaving a mentally abusive relationship and doing this to further the livelihood of myself and my children.

My wife is a fantastic mother so therefore I have no problem with my wife bringing up our children while I work to provide for them as much as I can. What I want to get out of is the degrading situation that she puts me in.

Rosesforrosie Thu 02-May-13 21:30:44

Mentally abusive people don't make good parents. I'm not sure you can have it both ways.

JakeBullet Fri 03-May-13 06:51:52

Is she mentally/emotionally abusive towards you? Yes she might well be a great Mum but if the children are witnessing this then you are doing the right thing by trying to step away. The only issue might be that when she meets someone new the situation might well begin again ...but you wont be there to witness it sad.
Does she have any insight into this? Would she attend counselling to address it?

toosoppyforwords Fri 03-May-13 09:32:54

Look, this is a forum for opinions. People, including myself are just expressing their own - some of which you may not like. However, i think people are simply looking at your OP which, when read reads that you have a house, you dont want to share it with your wife and give no indication of how/where your children will be housed and provided for.
Marriages break down for a whole variety of reasons - i dont think people are questioning your reasons and most likely would be sympathetic - however, i still dont see from your answers where you intend for your wife and children to live and how they will continue to support themselves. It is, of course, your right not to answer these questions, but when divorcing the courts will look at how / where the children will be housed and provided for: this as priority.

You really need to seek proper legal advice on the marital assets and how to apportion them - however, if you have been married a while, with a mother who does not work, is the primary carer of young children and will continue to be, it is quite possible that a significant proportion of those assets will be given to her, regardless of whether they are in joint names or yours only and who actually paid for them (and btw i am not necessarily advocating that you continue to support your wife indefinitely, if she is able to work then IMO she should do so) But courts look at earning capacity and if hers is dented by not having previously worked (for whatever reason) then i think the balance is in her favour.

Please seek legal advice.

ChaosCatt Sat 04-May-13 19:24:01

I am in the situation of the partner. Look at this. I have no equity in this house (he and family member own), we have two children.

Trust me, if I could leave I would. However, I too have put many hours into looking after the children and therefore have no income. I have also paid for many expenses using ctc, and do a lot towards the house.

I am expected to uproot and really disrupt our children, because my partner wants "his house" ?

I am sure that we may get a grotty B and B somewhere, miles away from their schools and friends. He'll be alright though, he can sit in the big garden admiring all the plants and trees I planted for us. He can even have a go on the swing. Me and the kids don't after all need an open space to play in do we? Do you really want to rattle around in "YOUR" house all alone?

You are being selfish. Either she's a mentally abusive mother and should perhaps not get the house + kids, or she's not. So, selfish for leaving the kids to the situation and again, selfish for removing them from THEIR home.

RedHelenB Sun 05-May-13 10:19:11

I think the likelihood is that she would get to stay in the house until youngest turns 18, particularly if there is no equity in the property unless of course the mortgage can't be paid.

Gay40 Sun 05-May-13 10:28:59

If you come here asking for advice and opinions, that is what you will get. There's no point in flouncing off because you don't like some of the opinions.

GoblinGranny Sun 05-May-13 10:30:50

That's what happened with one of DD's friends. They had the house until the youngest child turned 18, then it was sold. Mother had no income other than benefits, she found a room to rent.

mumandboys123 Mon 06-May-13 22:57:00

the house will be considered a marital asset. My ex had a house prior to our getting together - about half way through our marriage, my name went on both the deeds and the mortgage and the equity, in full, was part of the marital 'pot' which was distributed between us. It is highly unlikely that you will be able to ring-fence the house for yourself now you have children. The court system sees housing children as a priority so you will need to give careful consideration to how your children are now to be housed if you consider it inappropriate that your wife continues to live with you with the children. Your wife will also be able to register her 'home rights' with the Land Registry which will prevent you from selling the house from under her.

BabyHMummy Thu 09-May-13 20:28:43

Even if she is not named on the house she will be entitled to a percentage of your stake in it as you are married and have children unless there was a prenup in place.

The courts will look very unfavourably on you if you force her and the kids out of their home. You will also findthat you will have to pay her maintenance for the children once a financial settlement has been reached. This will depend on your earnings but the direct gov website has a calculator on it that will show you what you are likely to have to pay.


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