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Ex-hub wants to stay in house, but I need my capital. What should I do?

(23 Posts)
gemstar79 Tue 18-Feb-14 21:38:50

Husband (soon to be ex) has requested that he remain in the house until our youngest child is 18, - 13 years from now.
My solicitor has told me that this is often an arrangement that is reached for the parent who has majority residency of the children - but this isn’t the case for us. We split care of our two boys (aged 5 & 11) equally at their request.

I would love to be able to facilitate him staying in the house, especially while the children are school age. They are settled in the area, and close to school.
The fact that ex remains in the house is no problem for me.

In any other situation, there would be a settlement, and I would be ‘bought out’ by Ex so that he remains in the house.
In this situation, Ex isn’t currently working, and cannot therefore buy me out.
Ex has MS and is unsure of when he will be able to work again, and when he will be able to get a sole mortgage.
Therefore for Ex to remain in the house means that my name has to remain on the mortgage.
In principle, I would have no problem with my name remaining on the mortgage, but I have been advised that this would mean that I cannot get another mortgage, which again, affects my ability to provide a home for my family other than rented accommodation.

In addition, the house is my only asset. If I leave my money tied up in the house, I will never have the capital for a deposit on a new home for myself and my family.

If I had enough money to support myself, it would be no problem for me for Ex to remain in the house.

Another added ‘complication’ is that when Ex was diagnosed with MS in 2009 (5 years ago) we received a payout on a serious illness policy (which we both held, in case of emergencies). Our mortgage was previously £140K, and we paid off half, reducing it to £70K.
Currently, the house is worth approx £190K, mortgage is £70K, so equity is approx £120K.
Ex feels that at the point of splitting equity in the house, he should receive the £70K off the top of the equity before splitting the remainder 50/50.
He feels that he is entitled to the £70K off the top because it was his policy that paid out, and he will possibly have extra needs throughout his life and is unable to work.
Ex might (or might not) be able to work again, nobody knows.
My solicitor has advised me that although this was a policy in Ex's name that paid out, the courts generally look at the marriage as a ‘whole’.
For example, for a number of years, I earnt more than Ex, and I also continued to work after he stopped looking for work and was placed on ESA, but this wouldn’t be taken into account when splitting equity - because anything that happened within the marriage is joint.
So, for a monetary example, if the house sold now, he would receive £95K and I would receive £25K.
He has said (verbally) that he would consider splitting the equity 70/30 in his favour, but that this would be the lowest he’d go.
This would mean that if the house sold now, Ex would receive £84K and I would receive £36K.

I really want to be able to purchase a home for my family in approx 2 years once I have finished my degree and am working.
I realise that this means I probably need the house to be sold, but in reality, it makes me feel very guilty that Ex will lose his home, and will likely not be able to purchase himself another property unless he begins to work again, or meets a partner who is able to contribute.

I am left with a number of questions unanswered in my head:
Do I force the sale, and leave Ex without a home (although he would have capital, he wouldn’t be able to get a mortgage)?
Do I settle for his offer of 70/30 equity in his favour (currently £84k for him and £36K for me) or push for 50/50 (and feel immense guilt)?
If I settled for a payoff of £36K (his best offer) is there any way he could raise this capital to buy me out and could one of his family take out the mortgage he needs to stay in the house?
Should I go to court, and let the court decide - mainly to take away the decision and resulting guilt on my part?

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 19-Feb-14 09:39:56

I would pursue a sale, go for a 50/50 split and walk away with the cash.

FluffySocksAndMarshmallows Wed 19-Feb-14 09:57:02

Sell, and take 50/50. That's how marriages work, financially. It doesn't matter that it was his payout. You had the children and wasn't the money when he couldn't... Divorce means a 50/50 split down the middle, and that is fair.

Stop feeling guilty, and go after what is best for everyone. A straight, fair split down the middle, so that you can part ways and your children can have two stable homes.

MrsSquirrel Wed 19-Feb-14 12:59:47

Don't feel guilty, you are not doing anything wrong. The guilt is getting in the way of you making sensible decisions.

As the others have said, go for 50/50 and walk away. The marriage is ending, look towards the future. His financial affairs are no longer your responsibility.

Preciousbane Wed 19-Feb-14 13:43:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

gemstar79 Wed 19-Feb-14 18:24:57

Thank you everybody.
To be honest, all four of you have so far said what everybody else has been advising - family, friends, solicitor.
I think I just needed to hear it from total strangers in case my friends and family were being biased.
I do have a great deal of guilt, and it makes me feel sick to think of my children having to leave the home they were born in, but I suppose I must think of the future - which is looking bright.
Thank you.

juneau Wed 19-Feb-14 18:30:44

Yes, I agree with all the above. The insurance payment was made during your marriage and is therefore an 'asset' of the marriage in the same way that a winning lottery ticket bought by him, for instance, would've been. If he's not budging you'll have to go the legal route, but you should walk away with 50% of the assets of the sale each.

Allalonenow Wed 19-Feb-14 18:48:53

Don't feel guilty, from your post it sounds as though you are the one ready to be accommodating and trying to do the best for your husband, whilst he is trying to use your guilt to pressure you into giving him more than his fair share of the assets.
Start making yourself and your children you priority, put your own needs first, just as your husband is doing.

Go for a 50/50 split. All the best for the future!

Doasbedoneby Wed 19-Feb-14 18:53:21

Will he go to court?

If he's disabled and unlikely to work, that would be taken into consideration.

lunar1 Wed 19-Feb-14 18:56:16

I think he should get the money from the payout and then split the rest 50/50. The money was to help provide for his future with a serious debilitating condition.

TheCraicDealer Wed 19-Feb-14 19:04:06

He chose to put the funds in the family home though, and OP has been supporting the family after he stopped working and, presumably, paying the mortgage. Is a marital asset, not a savings account you can dip into when you fancy.

Is your ex suggesting that he pays the mortgage for the next 13 years? How would he be able to afford this? Or is he expecting you to fund this in addition to a property of your own?

I think you're going to have to get creative with this. Could you remortgage, release some of the equity to buy a property for yourself, get the "old" house on a buy-to-let mortgage and rent it back to him?

Really hard, but this is what happens in divorce: you can't afford to run two homes of the same size/value for the same joint income as you ran one house before. The old house has to go. Unfortunately while shared care of the kids is probably the right thing for the kids it also puts a huge financial strain on a divorced couple as you need to fund two reasonably sized homes - in the bad old days 'mum' would get a family home and 'dad\ would get somewhere with just enough room for sleepovers.

Having said that, 50:50 is probably right in law, but I do think given his and your income circumstances you should consider biasing the split more in his favour - your kids need a decent home with him as well as with you and it sounds as though he's going to need more capital for that than you.

littleredsquirrel Wed 19-Feb-14 19:07:21

Sell and split the proceeds 50 50. As others have said, the payments that were made were made as part of the marriage.

gemstar79 Wed 19-Feb-14 23:11:04

@TheCraicDealer He doesn't expect me to pay anything towards the mortgage for the next 13 years. I will just be paying for rented accommodation.

Your creative option sounds like an ideal solution, but I'm a student, so I won't be able to get a mortgage for a few years, plus it would put me in control of the property while he lived in it, which he wouldn't go for.

I just have visions of the point at which I try to sell it when he tells the children "Have you seen what your mum has done now? She's kicking us out of our home, and it's all her fault".

Tough one. Thanks for all your input.

zippey Thu 20-Feb-14 07:42:52

I also think 50:50

He wants to stay in the house but would go for 70:30 bit not 50:50? That sounds selfish on his part.

Advise him that you have often contributed more money for many months when you earns more or when he stopped working. This surely comes into thousands , so it's defiantly not fair to do the 70:30.

Can you calculate how much more you have contributed to the mortgage?

Also, if he lives in the house for another 13 years, does that mean he doesn't contribute for that time?

No, best to make it simple, 50:50. Once you make decision to split, do what's best for you (as he is doing) and go your seperate ways.

BranchingOut Thu 20-Feb-14 07:53:34

I don't know, I have heard that ring fencing of assets can be argued for when there is a significant disparity in future earning potential.

I think that you sound like quite a compassionate person. Maybe there is another way of working this out eg, that the asset will be left to your children after your ex passes on?

juneau Thu 20-Feb-14 08:00:39

If he says "Have you seen what your mum has done now? She's kicking us out of our home, and it's all her fault" then he's an arsehole - sorry! I know that it's depressingly common for one parent to criticise the other in front of the DC following separation, but this should not sway your decision-making. I agree that he's using your guilt over his illness to push you into a financial settlement which severely disadvantages you. You've contributed disproportionately to the family home since he fell ill, so there is no reason why he should get the lion's share without question. Please, let a judge sort this out for you - they aim to divide things up in a fair and equitable way - giving both partners the chance to move on and provide a home for each. Since your ex is being so selfish and manipulative of your feelings I don't see that a fair resolution can be reached otherwise.

RedHelenB Thu 20-Feb-14 09:34:47

I think if he is paying the mortgage & it's the kids home that you may well find he does get more than 50% & he isn't forced to sell. Often one partner rents & the other one pays the mortgage. I think the fact that he has MS will be in his favour too when the courts decide, if it goes that far. Have you seen anyone yet about getting another mortgage? If you have equity in your current house you may find that it's not impossible to have two mortgages. ren?

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 20-Feb-14 10:04:53

"Have you seen what your mum has done now?"

This is why you engage solicitors to act on your behalf rather than trying to navigate these things single-handed. Anything that is decided or done becomes an instruction from the court and not a personal vendetta.

lunar1 Thu 20-Feb-14 16:03:46

Has your husband needed any adaptions made to the house? This may affect the courts decision as well.

gemstar79 Thu 20-Feb-14 17:44:57

Hi everyone,

The kids live there 50% of the time, not the majority, but it would have a bearing.
@lunar1 - there are no adaptions. He has relapsing/remitting MS and currently (and most of the time) is as fit as anyone else in their mid-30s BUT...he MIGHT need looking after one day and does have terrible fatigue and often numbness in his legs and sight problems.
Although again, he might stay healthier than me in the long run! It's a tough one.

I think it would be impossible for me to have any mortgage at the moment - I am a full time student.
I could calculate how much more I have contributed to the mortgage, but that's not really fair - it wasn't his fault that he couldn't work.

I think if I disliked him as much as others disliked their ex's it would be easier, but I have no animosity towards him. In fact, our marriage ended because all feelings I had for him just fizzled out.
He had/has a cannabis habit, and lived 'inside his head'. I made a life for myself outside our home, and he never wanted to take part, and when he did, it was too late. I think of him like a brother or a 'father figure' and hadn't felt like a couple for about 8 years by the time we split.
I found a new partner very quickly who is quite a bit younger than me, and that hurts him, I know.
So I'm trying not to hurt him any more than I have to.
I feel sorry for him I guess, he's not a bad person.

juneau Thu 20-Feb-14 19:08:55

But he has a cannabis habit and you're happy for him to be in sole charge of your DC for 50% of the time?

Not sure I would be TBH.

43percentburnt Sun 23-Feb-14 08:38:16

Hi if he has a relapse after the assets have been split. Or if his condition deteriorates then you will be the primary carer. If you allowed him to have 70 % of the assets then he may be in a house, while you are in rented taking sole care of the kids.

Be careful and fight for your entitlement. Get a really good solicitor that will fight your corner. I have seen too many woman who take a solicitor that fights for very little. In fact mention the cannabis use and the lack of involvement. Make lists of what you do for the kids, parties, clothes shopping, friends over for tea etc etc, the unnoticed stuff. Then remember this when he says you are being unfair.

Do you want 50% shared care? Will that be feasible considering his illness?

Do not give up assets that you and your kids may need.

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