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Advice needed please re: bother and his ex wife with son

(16 Posts)
AdviceNeededPlease2 Thu 20-Apr-17 19:10:33


I am asking advice regarding my brother. I am bias of course but he is such a lovely genuine man and I hate to see him in his situation.

He spilt with his wife (who i'll call sue) spilt 4 years ago (they are not yet divorced.) Bit of background; they have a 7 year old ds, they co-owned a flat which they shared. Her father (who i'll call bob) lent them £10,000 to get the flat. Sue is an accountant so did their finances as my brother is self-employed. Bob was charging interest on the 10k he lend, which sue said was paying £100 pm. My brother isn't very good at finances so let her do it all.

After their ds was born they bought a house. Bob lent them 50k, 30k of it was to be paid back once the flat sold (as the flat was hopefully going to make a 30k profit.) They moved in to the house but at the same time the flat sale fell through and between the stress of moving/my brother doing up the house (as his job is in building work) the marriage ended.

My brother said he'd move back to the flat and she could have the house. Thing is my brother had renovated the house and therefore bumped up the value massively. He's too nice for his own good and signed over the house to her (legally) thinking she would live there with their ds. She didn't, she moved away to her parents (50 miles away.) My brother sold the flat with a £30K profit, but ended up having to pay bob back the £10K he had lend both of them plus 2k interest. She paid the credit card which my brother used to pay for the materials to do up the house.

She filed for divorce 2 years after their split but he didn't sign the court papers or send them back so it's been left open.

She comes from a well of family, lots of family money with accountants/solicitors in the family etc. For the past 4 years I have watched my bother take everything in terms of she determines when he sees his ds (every other weekend) and holidays down to the letter. She writes down the dates 6 months at a time (which is fine) but they are set in stone with no room for any changes in circumstance. So if my brother is ill (which has been in the past) he will miss his chance with his son as a tough tit attitude. There is no chance of well how about you come up and see ds this day etc (which he suggested after he recovered from his tonsilitus.) It's a blatent "No."

He used to try and call his ds on a sunday but she would never answer the phone etc. She controls everything. She even sent their ds to a church school knowing my brother was very against this idea.

Now my brother has met a lovely lady, who has a dd, but they have opposite weekends. They have been together over a year and my brother recently decided he would ask sue if he could swap his weekends so they could have their children the same weekends and do things together. He asked in way as to not inconvenience sue, said she could say when and do it how it suited her. Her answer was a "No" straight away, with no reason why, just no to spite him. I feel for my brother.

Then he found out Sue sold the house last year making a £145K profit! He is gutted! He has no claim over any money and has been completely screwed over as he signed the house over thinking it was within his ds's interest as they would live there then sue went and moved in with her parents.

He wants to get divorced now but wants to make sure he has a fair say in his ds's life and can make fair, reasonable decisions on when he gets to see his ds. He knows the money side is pretty much done as he signed the house over.

Any advice is gratefully received. I'm sorry this is very long!

AdviceNeededPlease2 Thu 20-Apr-17 19:45:20


Allthebestnamesareused Thu 20-Apr-17 20:26:02

He does have a claim over the money because if they are not divorced yet he can file for divorce and ancillary relief proceedings (financials) and the proceeds of sale of the house as it was a joint asset would go into the pot. You say however he signed it over legally but also it was on the basis that it was a home for dc.

I would suggest he get himself a solicitor pronto.

prh47bridge Thu 20-Apr-17 20:29:49

Your brother needs proper legal advice. The money side may not be "pretty much done". If they are still married and there has been no separation agreement everything they own is an asset of the marriage and goes into the pot to be split between them. Even if there was a separation agreement it may be possible to overturn it.

He can start proceedings for contact without waiting for the divorce.

But above all else he needs to see a lawyer who specialises in family law immediately. Take a look at the Resolution website to find someone in his area.

AdviceNeededPlease2 Fri 21-Apr-17 10:20:26

Thank you. He does need to see a lawyer. I think he is worried about the cost of it all. Sue's family have money and very educated people in it (accountants/lawyers etc) whilst my brother, who is of course very smart, is a tradesman/practical man who doesn't earn anything like them nor has the knowledge they have. He's scared they can manipulate the whole thing and fight aggressively. My brother doesn't want a fight, he just wants what is fair. Unfortunately his niceness has led him to miss out on the house and he misses out with regards to his son.

As soon as they split, sue's family had paperwork drawn up straight away to get the house signed over. I think my brother was just doing what he thought was right for his ds but has actually been "screwed" over sad

2014newme Fri 21-Apr-17 10:27:38

Your brother has his head in the sand. That strategy isn't working out great for him. He needs legal advice. I fail to see why he wouldn't do so. At best he's naive, at worst he's unfortunately a bit daft.

AdviceNeededPlease2 Fri 21-Apr-17 10:37:31

Thank you. Yes he does have his head in the sand!

prh47bridge Fri 21-Apr-17 10:50:51

He clearly can't get the house back but he may still be entitled to a slice of the proceeds from the sale regardless of any paperwork he has signed. I can understand him being worried about the cost but he really cannot afford not to see a lawyer. The cost of doing nothing could be much higher than any legal fees. And, from the sounds of things, he certainly isn't going to get proper contact with his son unless he does something about it.

Definitely time to remove head from sand.

AdviceNeededPlease2 Fri 21-Apr-17 10:54:12

If he's legally signed the house over and it was sold 3 years after he did so (sue rented it out) then how would he still be able to get a slice of the proceeds? I would have thought that was a done deal. I did say at the time he was foolish but he thought he was doing the right thing by his ds.

prh47bridge Fri 21-Apr-17 12:04:25

They are not divorced. There has been no financial settlement approved by the courts. Everything she has, including the money she got from this sale, is an asset of the marriage and goes into the pot to be split between them regardless of any paperwork he signed putting it into her sole name. In the same way everything he owns goes into the pot even if it is in his sole name. Even if the paperwork he signed was a separation agreement the court can ignore it if it is unfair. If she still has the money or has used it to buy disposable assets the court can give your brother a slice of it. If she has given it to relatives or friends the court may view that as an attempt to reduce your brother's financial settlement and set aside any such transactions. It is impossible to be sure without all the facts but do not give up on the money until he has seen a lawyer.

AdviceNeededPlease2 Fri 21-Apr-17 14:02:19

Thank you. I will kick him up the bum nudge him to go to a solicitor. The longer it lingers on, the worst it will be. smile

babybarrister Fri 21-Apr-17 16:02:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JanetBrown2015 Fri 21-Apr-17 16:26:33

Yes, it';s not a done deal! He could come back in many years' time even however the longer it goes on the harder it will be to get the money.

Actualy I don't think it's wrong to fix dates 6 months ahead - it's how we organise our family. If people cannot stick to dates then they will just hvae to hire childcare to cover the care of the child when they let that child down by changing dates.

Nor should he have the chance to put the two families - new girlfiriend and her child - together. if he wants some weekends when they both don't have their children - that's just tough. I have my chidlren 365 nights a year and not from choice, Many mothers do. If he wants the two families to meet then his lover will just have to change her dates with her ex.

They need an agreed financial consent order on money signed at court - he needs to check very hard as to whether he has one already as he doesn't seem to know much about these kinds of things.

If not then they need to negotiate the terms. Work out what assets both have (if they are in England) now on both sides deducting loans too. once we know the net assets - eg proceeds of the sale of the two properties once loans were repaid then we can look at splitting it fairly. It may be the wife cannot earn as much as the hsuband as she has the children more but if he took them week on week off and paid for full time childcare in his week then she could more easily work and it would be fairer all round for example.

WannaBe Fri 21-Apr-17 16:38:20

He does need to see a solicitor but I disagree with those who state that he would be entitled to a share of the proceeds of the house. I signed over my share of the house to my eXH when we split, and prior to a consent order, in our case he essentially bought me out of the house so it was all above board, but I was very strongly advised that signing over the house before the consent order had been signed off could be extremely detrimental to me both financially and in terms of the fact that I was stil living there while waiting for my own house to go through, even though there was money in the agreement to sign away my share of the house - iyswim.

In our case it was all agreed amicably at the time, but given that your brother's divorce has thus far been less than amicable I would seek legal advice first and foremost.

Can I ask, why has he not signed the divorce papers? After two years he doesn't have to, but given that was two years ago it means that it's only another year before she can divorce him regardless of whether he signs or not. There is literally nothing to be achieved by holding on to the marriage now.

Many families do have very fixed routines re access, sometimes that's what works for them, especially if there are e.g. Other children in the equation or activities which the children participate in. And I can see why the ex might not want to swap weekends to facilitate his wanting to integrate someone else's child into his son's life.

AdviceNeededPlease2 Fri 21-Apr-17 18:57:19

JanetBrown2015, how is not knowing you will be "ill" 6 months in advance "letting the child down?" A tad harsh I think. She sets the dates, he has no say at all so it comes down to what suits her without my bother having any say in the matter. If he doesn't agree to her schedule 6 months at a time (I think the last one was a year) then it's tough for him, he misses out.

I don't see anything wrong with denying someone the chance to move on and join their families together. I don't think it's a case of my brother and his "new girlfriend" wanting to go on a jolly every other weekend. I know the weekend she has her child, on occasion she has got a babysitter so they could go out for an evening. I think it's more a case of they would like the option to do things together with the children. There is nothing wrong with that. I'm a first wife myself with dc and I wouldn't object to my ex wanting to moving on years down the line with someone. I'm not best mates with my ex but i'm not bitter enough to make dc miss out over "punishing" my ex. My brother just wants to move on with his life in that respect and his ex (sue) is only blocking the weekends for no other reason than to "get" at him. It's childish.

No there is no financial agreed consent order. My brother wants nothing more than to have his son more. Unfortunately he had that taken away from him when she moved 50 miles away. He was gutted and misses out picking his son up from school. She has plenty of earning potential and earns 10 fold of what he earns has she is now a chartered accountant.

prh47bridge Fri 21-Apr-17 20:09:37

I disagree with those who state that he would be entitled to a share of the proceeds of the house

No-one has said he is definitely entitled to a share. We don't have enough information for that. And yes, his actions could have compromised his position. His ex may have spent all the money on consumables, for example. But, if the money is still there or has been used to purchase assets, he may be able to claim some of it.

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