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Can I force him to sell me the house?

(35 Posts)
shirleywurly Tue 02-Nov-10 18:46:53

Hi, Brill site, have been meaning to join for ages, have finally found some "me time" so here I am.
My ex husband and I separated and divorced in 2005, I have stayed in the former matrimonial home with our 16 year old son whom has just started college. I receive child maintenance for my son and work as a teaching assistant at a local primary school. I would like to move on with my life and have recently broached the subject of my buying my ex out of his share of the house. Unfortunately he is not a reasonable man and says he will not sell unless I give him 50% of the equity, I can probably stretch to 40% but he says he will wait until my son has left full time education at which point he says he will automatically be entitled to 50%, is this correct? He also has some pensions the details of which he will not disclose to me, I was led to believe I may have a claim for 50% of the benefits of those too, does anyone know if I am correct in this assumption? I don't qualify for legal aid so to engage a solicitor at this point would be stretching my means unnecessarily, I know I will have to use a solicitor at some point but would be grateful if somebody out there could inform me of my entitlement to his pensions and whether I could force him to sell the house at this point, can he really have this hold over me regarding the house? I just want to move on with my life, all comments gratefully received. Thanks.

prh47bridge Tue 02-Nov-10 19:32:57

This should have been sorted out at the time of the divorce. The financial arrangements are normally finalised before the decree absolute is issued.

If that didn't happen you will need to consult a solicitor as soon as possible. You will probably be able to find a solicitor who will give you an initial consultation free of charge. However, your ex is wrong that he will automatically be entitled to 50% of the house when your son leaves full time education. Both of you will have to make a full disclosure of your assets which will include his pensions. The starting point would normally be a 50/50 split but there are various factors that could lead to something different. Even with a 50/50 split you could have a larger share of the house in return for not having any claim against his pension, for example.

shirleywurly Tue 02-Nov-10 19:47:19

Thanks prh47bridge,armed with that information I shall have another attempt to get through to him that it would be beneficial to us both to sort this situation with a minimal use of the legal profession and that it may not be to his advantage to drag this out for any longer.
Anybody else got anything that I may be able to use as a negotiating tool? Thanks.

morticiaoverseas Wed 03-Nov-10 20:40:48

Totally agree with prh, this should all have been resolved prior to DA being pronounced. You really need to see someone asap and get this sorted now without further delay. Good luck

nocake Thu 04-Nov-10 12:50:58

How did you manage to get a divorce without having a consent order in place for your financial arrangements? You need to do it asap. When you've come to an agreement you need to get a solicitor to do the legal bit to make sure it's done properly.

If you aren't able to reach an agreement with your ex can I suggest trying a mediation service before calling in a solicitor.

shirleywurly Thu 04-Nov-10 17:50:48

Hi, thanks for the last couple of pieces of advice, I have spoken to my ex but he still insists that he doesn't have to sell if he doesn't want to, as I said before he is not someone you can reason with, he will not go to mediation and doesn't see any need to enlist a solicitor. "Idiot", anyway, have managed to get an appointment with a solicitor tomorrow so will let all know the situation when I have spoken to her.
Thanks.

readywithwellies Thu 04-Nov-10 22:06:32

Offer him 50% of what a house buying agency would give you (max 75% of the value of the house). In this market, it is difficult to sell anyway, and this would work out at about the amount you could afford.

Idiot? - I could think of a few better words tbh

Good luck

shirleywurly Fri 05-Nov-10 17:58:18

Hi. thanks readywithwellies, I too could think of a few better words to describe him but they would ban me from the site were I to use them. You're idea is ok in principle but I know he can borrow money from his family and I'm concerned that if I try too low an offer he will then try and buy the property himself! I don't really want that to happen, my son and I are happy here, especially without Hitler's double around anymore!
Anyway, I digress, have been to see my solicitor today, she says she will write to my ex and ask him to make a full financial disclosure, I told her that he will refuse, but she says a court will make an order for him to comply with this request and he will have no choice. The only problem with this is that it is possibly going to get expensive! angry It won't bother him though, it's not about the money for him, it's the control! If anyone has been in a similar situation to myself I would appreciate your input and to know the outcome. Thanks

deeliteful Sat 13-Nov-10 18:28:35

Yeah I've been in the same boat as yourself, suggest you don't use a solicitor unless you really have to, it cost me 8 grand and I ended up with just over half the equity in the house. the only good thing about it was it cost ex about the same, good luck.

nocake Mon 15-Nov-10 16:59:01

Me too.... it cost me £8k because of my ex's stupidity. She spent over £15k, although much of that was because I used to write pointless letters to her solicitor just to run up the legal bill grin. It was a lot of money when the only assets of significance were my pensions and £190k of house.

Unfortunately if one party refuses to be sensible and is determined to drag it into the courts there's not a lot the other party can do. The courts can't or won't penalise someone for being stupid and failing to negotiate or disclose information so your ex can p1ss around as much as he likes with no come back.

My advice would be to minimise your own costs. You can do this by using your solicitor for advice and not having her represent you. This means you write your own letters and she helps you with the legal process, which takes less time so will cost you less.

shirleywurly Tue 16-Nov-10 18:11:55

Thanks deeliteful and nocake, nocake, you say you wrote pointless letters to your ex's solicitor, surely if my xh was to do the same I could instruct my solicitor to ignore them and not incur the costs involved with replying to him. My solicitor also informed me that the court can enforce him to disclose his financial situation, are you sure that they can't or is that they probably won't even though they have the power if they deem it necessary? As you so to say have had the boot on the other foot nocake, I would be interested to have an idea of what sort of stalling tactics that you used , just so I at least have an idea of what I'm in likely to be in for.
Thanks again everyone for your input.

prh47bridge Wed 17-Nov-10 09:58:24

The courts can order him to make a full disclosure. If it becomes apparent after the financial order is made that your ex has not made a full disclosure of his assets you will be able to get the settlement changed.

nocake Wed 17-Nov-10 14:01:04

Yes, you can instruct your solicitor to ignore pointless letters but it's a judgement call. It's better that you deal with all the letters and use your solicitor for advice.

I didn't use stalling tatics. I was trying to push the negotiations forward and it was my ex and her solicitor who refused to negotiate or discuss anything. There was nothing I was able to do to force them to talk to me (or my solicitor) so we ended up in court (my ex's decision, not mine).

We finally got a settlement because at the second hearing I had a barrister who was scary and blunt. She pretty much bullied my ex's solicitor into negotiating. I fully believe that if she hadn't been there we would have ended up at a final hearing. My ex has a decision making disorder so wasn't even able to make a decision about a few huundred pounds of costs when asked directly by the judge.

So... you can expect your ex to not complete a full disclosure. He will probably not answer questions on the disclosure. He will refuse to negotiate or discuss a settlement, even when recommended by the judge. He will probably refuse to agree to a settlement that appears to everyone else to be fair and you could well end up at a final hearing.

My advice to you is to reduce your costs at this stage. Write your own letters and only use your solicitor for advice. If he's as stupid as you say then you'll probably end up at a final hearing and that's when you should employ the best barrister you can afford.

Sorry I can't offer better advice but the system is sh1t.

Mummiehunnie Thu 18-Nov-10 23:38:21

mine was like no cakes... nightmare...

I am off for a final hearing soon... sadly court for some reason despite ongoing finances court and me asking them not to issued decress absolute over a year ago... and we are still not sttled and he is remarried...

I am in former matromonial home also, am overhoused.... very large mortgage... and not enough equity to buy a house, don't work so getting mortgage hard....

shirleywurly Sat 20-Nov-10 16:58:27

Hi again, thanks for the input everyone, have just received a copy of my solicitor's letter to exh asking him to make a full financial disclosure, but as yet she has received no reply, I guess he will just keep ignoring any requests made on him until the court orders him to comply.
Looks like it's going to get expensive, for me anyway, deep joy!
Will keep you posted.
Thanks

ddrmum Mon 22-Nov-10 11:19:59

Hiya - sadly all the above are correct. I'm currently being dragged thru the system by a money grabbing good for nowt man who doesn't pay the mortgage, wants the kids on HIS terms and the CSA had to make him pay for them! He wants my pensions(he refused to pay into one)., wants 50%equity of my house (so he can provide for the kids!!) plus 50% of marital home. Also owes me £000's and says he earned it by putting up with me!!!! It's costing a fortune but I've done a lot of it myself to keep costs down. Give it a go, you'll surprise yourself!! Good luck!!

shirleywurly Fri 17-Dec-10 14:07:25

Hi, well it doesn't get any better, as I've explained my exh is an idiot, since the split we have been sharing the rent on a small car parking area we owned when we were married, I say we! But it is registered with the land registry in his name only, we bought the land when we were married but unfortunately I didn't think of the possible consequences of a future divorce etc!
Anyway,I have always had the rent for this land paid into my bank account directly from the lady whom rents it, and I then gave exh half of it, exh has written to her and supplied her with copies of the land registry certificate and requesting that she now pays him and him only, and that I can have no part in any of the future dealings. I thought I was being fair, but it seems I was just bloody naive. Also when I rang him about this he just said it's his land and I can't do anything about it! I do fear he is right! He also says he will not respond to solicitor's letters unless he is bored and has no paint to watch dry! See what I'm up against? Apart from the use of a contract killer has anybody got any suggestions?

Resolution Fri 17-Dec-10 15:25:09

Just seen your thread. You must be aware that in certain circumstances delay can prejus=dice a claim for ancillary relief. The link below is for the most recent case on this. Look at paras 25-32. I'm not saying your claim will be prejudiced, but i'd get a move on if I were you.

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Fam/2006/1482. html

shirleywurly Tue 22-Mar-11 17:49:07

Hi again, have now completed my form e for ancillary relief and given it to my solicitor, my exh has hopefully done the same, they were supposed to be filed and exchanged on the 10th of March, does anyone know what happens next? There is a first appointment in court on the 14th April, do we get to see each other's form e's or are they just for the court's viewing only, I don't really want to phone the solicitor to ask this because at £300 an hour for the solicitor's time I really am trying to keep contact to a minimum, also do I have to attend the court for the first hearing on the 14th or is it just a solicitor thing?
Thanks

Collaborate Tue 22-Mar-11 19:23:38

You exchange form Es then each prepare a chronology, questionnaire, and statement of issues. Then you go to the FDA.

shirleywurly Tue 22-Mar-11 19:48:04

Thanks Collaborate, so does that mean I should have heard from my solicitor by now if the form E exchange was on the 10th?
Thanks

nocake Wed 23-Mar-11 16:41:15

I can tell you what happened to me and hopefully Mumblechum or Resolution will be along to fill in the gaps smile

You should have a copy of his form E by now. Chase that up with your solicitor. When you receive it scrutinise it in great detail. You're looking for anything that indicates he hasn't made a full disclosure. For example, my ex left out some assets and earnings that she thought I didn't know about. Check the bank statements for anything odd such as large cash withdrawals or transfers. Anything that looks odd or needs clarifying should go on the questionnaire, which will be sent to your ex to answer. Don't put stupid stuff on there. My ex's solicitor asked me questions about payments from my bank account to my credit card when she had clear sight of both sides of the payment. She got very sarcastic replies!

The court hearing on 14th April is the first hearing. The judge will look at the questionnaires and decide what needs answering (I had already answered all of my ex's stupid questions by then in an attempt to speed the process along). If the two of you agree then this hearing can be turned into an FDR, which is where you (or your representatives) try to negotiate an agreement. If one of you doesn't want to do this then an FDR hearing will be scheduled for a future date and you'll be sent away to provide answers to the questionnaire.

If you don't reach an agreement at the FDR then a final hearing will be scheduled. We didn't get that far but I think it's held in front of a different judge and you and your ex will be questionned before the judge makes a decision on the financial split.

I've just read back up and from your ex's previous responses he might not have filled in a form E. if he hasn't then you can apply to the court for an order and sanctions (including costs). Your solicitor will be able to do this.

shirleywurly Wed 23-Mar-11 17:37:44

Thanks all, have read the above and phoned my solicitor to find out where my copy of his form E has got to, I think he must have been late getting it in but the solicitor has said I can collect it tomorrow if I want it quickly, which I do; so will scrutinise in great detail, thanks Nocake!
Thanks again, it's nice to have somewhere to turn to for advice from people who have been there and done it, I suppose my experiences will be of some use to someone one day.
Thanks

Collaborate Wed 23-Mar-11 21:10:49

Resolution here (was told to change my name)

Nocake has got it spot on.

shirleywurly Thu 16-Jun-11 15:40:50

Hi again, have finally had our fdr and as expected, we couldn't agree on a settlement and am now waiting for the trial date to be set. My solicitor although has been very good with bartering with the exH's side, doesn't seem to be able to give me any idea of what I may or may not actually have to pay my exH for his share of the house. Finances are tight and I would like to have some idea of how much I'm going to need to borrow to buy him out, I understand from my solicitor that the final outcome will very much depend on the judge on the day and I realise that she doesn't want to give me false expectations. If anyone has any previous experience with a similar financial situation I would appreciate your input. The figures are as follows; Total equity to split is £125 K, ex earns £39 K, I earn £10 K , I have one dependant in his last year of college and one older working son whom also lives with me, he pays £30 a week board, I have less than £20 K pension pot exH has less than £40 K in his, exH's side are saying I should change my job from 30 hours a week to increase my borrowing capacity, I really love my job and wouldn't want to, but I suppose if I had to then I could, but I'm not qualified in anything that I think would get me a job much over the minimum wage. The judge at the fdr also said there may be a case for spousal maintenance, do you think that is possible, and if so how much? Forgot to say that I and exH are both in our late forties and the house is worth £140 K and very nearly paid for. Any advice or ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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