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Seperation and splitting of home assets

(18 Posts)
k007030 Fri 19-Dec-14 11:40:11

My wife and I are recently separated and our kids live with my wife. I have moved out of our rented house and she will move out in January to move back into our owned house which we had rented out to tenants.

I am paying her £600 per month child maintenance which is more than what the government's website calculated. I also pay 50% of the mortgage on the house she will move back into (I paid £1600 during the first 2 months of separation).

I have helped her with all manner of things to do with her benefits claim, part time self employed work and lots of other things.

I was the main earner in our marriage and as such I purchased all the furniture, fixtures and fittings in our rented accommodation. There were a few things I purchased specifically for my own enjoyment (large TV, playstation etc).

I now own very few items and I am having to start from scratch. I have stated that I would like to take my TV and playstation, however, she is saying that I shouldn't take these things as she/the kids use them. There is another TV in house albeit not as good.

Can anyone advise if in their opinion, it's fair for me to request these items?


CogitOIOIO Fri 19-Dec-14 13:08:05

If you haven't seen a lawyer I suggest you do that as a matter of urgency. Being generous etc is very noble but you have to be able to set up a home and have a reasonable standard of living yourself. So in the interests of what's fair, please get legal advice

Quitelikely Fri 19-Dec-14 13:13:51

I agree about seeing a lawyer. Your request seems reasonable to me but I'm thinking you earn a lot and your wife doesn't so she is trying to hang onto things for that reason.

It's better to make things official where possible so that agreements etc can't be broken.

elephantspoo Fri 19-Dec-14 13:47:23

I'd seek advice, and I'd start with the CAB.

As regards the Playstation and TV etc, personally I'm of the opinion that you should call it a wash and start again. Leave them in the family home. These are minor inconveniences. Sort out the big things (your financial contribution towards the family unit, access to your children etc.) and adapt to suit. You have greater freedom to accommodate change than they do, and an unlimited earning potential.

k007030 Fri 19-Dec-14 22:57:18

I'll make an appointment with the CAB for Monday if I can.

I would have thought the process is pretty consistent and so there's standard rules and best practise? So no one on here is qualified to give in the slightest legal perspective?

Cabrinha Fri 19-Dec-14 23:28:37

Of course you paid 50% of the mortgage, it's your house still and you presumably still consider that you are co-owner of it.

So that's a bit of a red herring.

If you are paying more child maintenance than she needs and than you can afford, then just reduce that and buy a new (secondhand) Playstation.

It's an emotional time - who wants to be the daddy that took the Playstation away? (presuming the kids do use it)

An amicable split (if it is) is not worth losing over a cheap games console!

I speak as one who left £1000s of "stuff" in the marital home, including a Wii that I paid for.

As you've posted in money not legal, I'll also say my opinion would be coloured by who instigated the split. Even if there was no foul play and it just came to an end, if one party instigated and the other didn't want it to end, I'd be inclined to say the instigator should give up the Playstation. Just my personal code though!

VinoTime Fri 19-Dec-14 23:44:37

Hmm. Are they seen as 'family' items? Is it the main TV in the house, one which the children are used to watching? Likewise with the Playstation - is it a 'family' item? If so, it would be mean to take them away.

On the other hand, I can completely understand why walking away with nothing but your clothes and your razor is also unfair to you. If the split has happened as a result of a gradual (and mutual) breakdown in your marriage, it seems unreasonable for your wife to expect you to start completely from scratch. But with children in the picture, their needs always have to come first, and if they need or have become accustomed to having X, Y or Z then you really can't take them away.

Could you compromise? Your wife can keep the television but you take the Playstation? You could tell the children that the Playstation will be at your house from now on and they can play on it when they come over?

k007030 Sat 20-Dec-14 01:42:11

The playstation was used as a media server the kids are too young to use it. The TV was bought by me as a treat to myself. ... In fact the only treat I ever bought myself ever and my wife knows this. It was the main TV but there's an adequate replacement from the bedroom. When I suggested I would take one of the light fixtures for my place that didn't go down well either. It just feels like she's happy with me having anything she doesn't want.

k007030 Sat 20-Dec-14 01:46:20

Also.....I was under the impression that the maintenance I pay is a calculation to cover all day to day costs of my wife taking care if the kids....including housing costs. Therefore there's no requirement for me to contribute to the mortgage separately?

elephantspoo Sat 20-Dec-14 11:26:49

k007030 - If you jointly own the home, then it is a jointly owned asset. You pay 50% of the mortgage for two reasons. Firstly, you are contractually obliged to do so under the terms and conditions you signed up to with your mortgage provider, and secondly, you are the owner and maintainer of an asset, and you (presumably) wish to maintain your interest in your asset (the home).

If your wife remains in the home, and you leave, she effectively takes on the responsibilities a tenant would take on in regard to clean liner and day to day maintenance of the property if it were an unfurnished let. You gift her the fittings like the washing machine, the fridge, etc. but you are not responsible if the fridge breaks. She is. She is also responsible for grounds of the property. Not you. She has taken on those responsibilities now.

But you both share the responsibilities you would have both have as landlords as you both still own the property as an unfurnished let, (ie. maintenance of the fabric of the building etc.) if the electricity fails, you both have a responsibility to ensure it is reinstated, but she has the responsibility to pay for the bills, as your contribution is paid for by your maintenance payment to the family unit.)

So, in a nutshell, you pay 50% of the mortgage, and you own 50% of the equity in the house. You then pay a contribution to the maintenance of the family and it's day to day expenses. She pays the balance of the family's expenses, and maintains the property and it's grounds.

CAB is a very good start.

JollyJingle Tue 23-Dec-14 19:20:57

Try the legal section. Several solicitors who deal with legal matter and divorce.

You need to get a divorce under way and you should start looking at a financial settlement. Until the divorce is started it is very difficult to sort family finances out properly as you need a financial order.

It costs £430 to your local family court to get things underway and to get a decree nisi. Then you should get a financial settlement using the court mediator if necessary, but honestly, you need a solicitor at this point.

The problem with property is it should have been agreed who takes what before there was any division of property. It is a bit possession being 9/10ths of the law where relatively small items are concerned. I can't see how you will get certain items back until the financial settlement is agreed.

However you should not be paying half of the mortgage on your family home if you are not living there. It's the responsibility of your wife to pay (unless you are a very high earner) as you are expected to live too. Where are you living and what are your living expenses are also factors.

Sorry this is all very general as the actual amounts are crucial and also family circumstances so it's impossible to say what will happen on the information you have given.

JollyJingle Tue 23-Dec-14 19:28:58

Your wife needs to buy you out of the property or look for somewhere smaller. You do have a contractural agreement with the mortgage company but with a clean break divorce you have to come off the mortgage and she takes it over.

Of course if you had a legal agreement to continue paying half the mortgage until the youngest child was 18 you would have a full half share in the house, but of course most people cannot afford to do this and live too.

It's all about the money I'm afraid and what the court feels is fair to both parties but nowadays they prefer clean break agreements which would be more suitable for you. Obviously you need to pay the mortgage until the divorce is under way but it should not be a millstone around your neck for x years.

JollyJingle Tue 23-Dec-14 19:36:57

This makes it clearer
^Paying the mortgage when a marriage breaks down

If a mortgage is in joint names, both people are jointly and solely liable for the mortgage payments. This is known as joint and several liability.

This means that if one of you leaves and stops contributing to the mortgage payments, the mortgage lender can ask the other person to pay the full amount.

If a mortgage is in one person's name, only that person is liable for the mortgage payments.

However, if your name is not on the mortgage and you want to stay in your home, you will need to keep up the mortgage payments. If your ex-partner is no longer making any payments, you will need to pay the full amount, otherwise the mortgage lender can start action to repossess your home. Get in touch with the lender and negotiate what payments might be accepted to stay in the home. You have the right to do this because you are married^

FlowerFairy2014 Tue 23-Dec-14 20:54:23

Nothing is standard. I earned a lot more than the ex so he got money from me. It sounds like your wife doesn't have much of a career so it would be the other way round.

In most divorces there is not enough money to split equity in the house 50/50 and ensure both remain housed although a good few people do manage that usually where both work full time. It is more likely the only way to house the children is if your wife moves into the house. You will not be allowed off the mortgage by the lender if your wife does not earn enough so you will be saddled with inability to buy anywhere new until your wife's earnings are enough to take over the mortgage. You definitely need to see a solicitor. There is no reason your wife rather than you shouldn't move into that home with the children. Plenty of fathers live with their children on divorce. I would take some advice if I were you. If the children lived with you it might be easier for your wife to find a full time job rather than rely on benefits.

JollyJingle Wed 24-Dec-14 09:09:03

Flower. The OP cannot be forced by the 'lender' to continue to pay a mortgage after a divorce. If the wife cannot buy him out or renegotiate the mortgage with the lender she will have to rent and the house sold.

A court will not force a divorced man on an average wage to pay the mortgage on a house he is not living in while he lives in a tent. He has to live too. Of course if he is a high earner and can maintain two households that's a different matter.

The divorce court looks at treating both parties fairly but with the children as their first priority. They are not going to leave the husband in abject poverty while his ex wife lives rent free in the family home with generous payments for the children. They will also look at her job prospects when the youngest child goes to school. OP needs to discuss this with a solicitor. They do free half hours.

PurpleWithRed Wed 24-Dec-14 09:19:25

Get the long term situation with your house sorted as per advice above.

On the tv and playstation - to date you've been generous, and IMO yes you do have a right to request them, and if she was being fair she'd give them back to you.

However, as you are discovering the hard way, there aren't many hard and fast rules in divorce. Inevitably it ends up with people who are angry and confused with each other having to negotiate with each other.

Personally I'd say let the TV and playstation go - insisting on them may result in the escalation of hostilities which will be bad for your kids and for you. Live and learn, pick your battles. Most important get the long term situation with the house sorted out: have you agreed that you will co-own until your youngest is 18 then sell and share?

FlowerFairy2014 Wed 24-Dec-14 19:35:06

Yes, I agree. A lot of couples can only afford one of them to own a property being the one who will house the children whilst the other spouse rents or moves in with parents. Or if that is impossible then selling and splitting proceeds is another solution.

It is probably in the children's long term interest if the resident parent which by the way can often be a man these days continue to live in an owned home rather than bed and breakfast or unstable rented.

I suspect a priority in your wife's the children and your interests is getting the wife back to full time work and not on to benefits however hard it will be for both of you in paying for after school child minders etc.

JollyJingle Wed 24-Dec-14 21:03:29

I agree with Flower it can be an incredibly difficult situation trying to keep children in their family home, which is what they need if possible with all the other upheaval that is going on sad

Mortgage lenders will consider and interest free mortgage if their is equity in the house which might be a possibility?

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