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XH not paying mortgage - at risk of repossession

(29 Posts)
Notname Fri 17-Mar-17 11:01:41

(I've also posted this in legal matters, as wasn't sure where was most appropriate)

Could anyone please help? I’m seeking advice for my friend. Her husband left her 18 months ago and they are now divorced. As part of the settlement he is required to pay the mortgage for the family home that she still lives in with their DS until the house is sold, at which point he has to pay her a capital sum (I believe this is in lieu of spousal maintenance). The house is up for sale but two sales have fallen through and there is no sign of a buyer at the moment.

He is now failing to pay the mortgage, and he is also not making the repayments on a loan that was taken out in both of their names (that he is now solely liable for under the court order). He earns very well so could afford to make these payments but chooses to spend his money on other things (eg recent foreign holiday and engagement ring for his new fiancé). Common sense would say that there must be some way of forcing him to make the payments, but the debt collection team from the bank have been chasing my friend, and when she spoke to them yesterday she’s found that the house is at risk of repossession (which she thought may be the case) and that defaulting on the loan/mortgage could ruin her credit rating, even though she isn’t the person who’s supposed to be paying them.

He has told her recently that he may declare himself bankrupt and ‘it’ll hurt her more than it’ll hurt him’. My understanding of this area is limited, but I think that going bankrupt could possibly get him off the hook for paying her the capital sum that he’s due to pay under the terms of the court order.

They had a low offer on the hose which would have left them with little or no profit after repaying the mortgage, so he rejected the offer as he would have had to find the money from elsewhere to pay the capital sum he owes her. Is there any way she can force him to accept the low offer, in order to proceed with the house sale rather than end up with it being repossessed?

It’s all such a mess and my friend has been through so much already (he left her and their 3yo DS unexpectedly for another woman, and has behaved like a complete arsehole ever since). She has of course contacted her solicitor about all this but is waiting for a reply, and I’m not sure how effective her solicitor has been so far. I just wondered whether anyone with legal understanding or who has been in a similar position might be able to help.

Many thanks in advance.

MakeJam Fri 17-Mar-17 13:09:41

Shelter website

I found Shelter was very helpful.

Notname Fri 17-Mar-17 13:24:06

Thank you, I'll direct her there. It's just a bit more complicated than a normal repossession, given that he is the one ordered to pay the liabilities but she's the one most at risk. Also, is anyone able to advise on the implications of him declaring himself bankrupt? Thanks.

MakeJam Fri 17-Mar-17 13:32:37

Is he self employed?

Notname Fri 17-Mar-17 13:41:41

Yes, he's a GP (partner in a practice).

MissJC Fri 17-Mar-17 13:49:38

She needs to speak to a solicitor asap.

When my mum divorced my dad she got a court order forcing him to agree to the sale of the house so she could get her settlement from it.

Also declaring yourself bankrupt really means that you need to be bankrupt. So he has to prove that he has no assets in his name to be able to do this and a house is classed as an asset. So is a car, any other house his name is signed to, and fancy engagement rings. The bankruptcy threat sounds to me just that - a threat.

What a pig, he must earn nigh on 60k, he should be looking after his DC, not risking seeing them thrown out on the street.

Your poor friend flowers

MissJC Fri 17-Mar-17 13:50:59

ASqueakingInTheShrubbery Fri 17-Mar-17 13:51:11

It might be wise for her to go back to her solicitor and see if it's worth taking him back to court, particularly if he's refusing offers on the house. A judge can sign for him if he's being deliberately obstructive. It's also worth her keeping in close contact with the mortgagee, assuming she's also liable, they might well back off for a short time if she can convince them that the house is actively being marketed. None of this should be her problem, he is a twat, but she can't make him be sensible, she can only limit the damage.

MissJC Fri 17-Mar-17 13:52:24

This is very informative

LaGatoteca Fri 17-Mar-17 14:16:45

My dad did this to me and my mum. Foreign holidays, jewellery, custom cakes and ponies for new family...abuse and threat of homelessness for us.

On the one hand, he was able to declare himself bankrupt and the house was repossessed.

On the other hand, the threats of homelessness and cessation of payments started when I was about 8 but the house didn'tget sold til I was about 20. And my mum got half the proceeds, and we got a secure conscious tenancy in a respectable area, that later my mum was able to buy (which turned out to be the same value as the home we were forced out of).

My mum fought like a tigress possessed. Long, hard, fierce, on every front she could open and with every bit of help she could find.

In short, she can make it much more troublesome for him than it needs to be.

This was in Scotland and happened 20-30 odd years ago, so laws might differ and things have changed, but off the top of my head:

Find a good lawyer. One that will fight, keep going til she finds one that will fight. Might even be worth consulting an insolvency practitioner from another profession, e.g. Accountant, or a forensic accountant if she can afford it.

Access every bit of help she can from advice bodies- Citizen's advice, Consumer protection, Shelter, Gingerbread.

Your friend should make whatever payments she can, whenever she can. If the bank is getting there money, even intermittently, even if it's just the interest, it might slow them down.

Check with his professional body if he is allowed to practice as a bankrupt- some professions aren't. If he is a partner in a practice, that would have to be sold or given up as part of his bankruptcy. He isn't allowed to act as director of a company without telling the court- his fellow partners might not be comfortable with that.

Involve Women's Aid, Child Support Agency, local,social,services (threatening to make his ex and child homeless is emotional abuse- now a crime)

Get and keep as much evidence as possible of his financial dealings. From financial records of the GP practice where he is a partner, to marital financial records, to Facebook posts boasting of holidays etc whilst he is claiming poverty. Courts have discretion over how long remains bankrupt- evidence of profligacy might count as non-co-operation with the trustees).

My parents got divorced when I was 13- so 5 years of court battle for the divorce. Then the battle over the repossession of the house took another 7 years.

One of the most important things my mum did was refuse to actively co-operate with the repossession. She fought that herself in court and made payments as she could. The outcome was that the house had to be marketted for sale but wasn't repossessesed and auctioned.

She also would allow viewings, but only once the court ordered her to. Her argument was that she could be expected to co-operate, as that would make her intentionally homeless, and the local authority would then not have a duty to rehouse her. So she made what payments she could (I got a part-time job at 14 and started helping out), she didn't actively help or actively hinder the bank.

Basically, any spare money we had went into the mortgage account, not on (minor) repairs that would make the house more attractive for sale. It was on the market for over 6 years. Everyone locally knew the circumstances. Lot of people wouldn't go near it for sympathy reasons. Others because it might fall through due to legal challenges/delays and somdisrupt a chain. There was a slump in prices anyway. The house was in a bit of disrepair, so wasn't attractive in buyer's market. Finally it did get repossessed, and the bank marketted it, but we got a good council house and my mum got 50% of the equity in the house.

LaGatoteca Fri 17-Mar-17 14:17:14

Council tenancy not conscious tenancy!

Notname Fri 17-Mar-17 14:19:55

Thank you very much for the helpful advice. Yes he is a complete twat. I'm sure she'd prefer to avoid going back to court (and incurring further solicitors fees) but if that's the best course of action for her then it may be necessary.
She spoke to someone from the bank (who are also the mortgage and loan providers, which may simplify things) yesterday so they are aware of the situation. However it was after that call that she told me how dire the position is, so not sure whether they offered much comfort.
It's so unfair - she has been nothing but reasonable throughout, despite his shitty behaviour - and he acts like she's the enemy. What he did to her was bad enough but this financial mess is just creating more pain and worry.
Anyway, thanks again for the help, I'll direct her to this thread so she can follow the links etc.

Notname Fri 17-Mar-17 14:22:25

Thanks LaGatoteca, that's really helpful. And your mum sounds amazing smile

LaGatoteca Fri 17-Mar-17 15:04:34

Yup, really something.

The other thing that came out of her standing up to him was this- I have no tolerance for that kind of man. I saw my dad in his true colours and it has helped me avoid other men with the same traits.

Notname Fri 17-Mar-17 16:22:18

Good for you, I'm glad some good came of the situation, and glad you and your mum ended up ok despite his awful behaviour. It's shocking that people can behave so cruelly towards their own families.

PigletWasPoohsFriend Fri 17-Mar-17 16:29:24

Is your friend also on the mortgage?

Unless her exH has indemnified her if he fails to make payments although they may ignore it anyway the mortgage company can still pursue your friend, especially as she is the person living there.

Notname Fri 17-Mar-17 17:22:43

I'm not sure but I assume so, which is why she's in the situation she's in (or at risk of losing her home and getting a bad credit rating). It seems a bit pointless having a court order if he can just ignore it and it falls to her to pay, but I guess her solicitor will advise her on possible recourse. It all just seems terribly unfair - he's only paying the mortgage because he's not paying any other form of maintenance yet.

Notname Fri 17-Mar-17 17:23:09

Scuse typos

BigGreenOlives Fri 17-Mar-17 17:29:25

Info about going bankrupt as a GP. I'd have thought he'd really rather not declare bankruptcy as a GP.

Notname Fri 17-Mar-17 17:32:59

Thanks for the link. I hope he's bullshitting to scare her. His behaviour has been reckless but hopefully he's not stupid enough to go bankrupt to spite her.

MakeJam Fri 17-Mar-17 18:37:59

Another charity I found that was of great help during DH's bankruptcy was National Debtline.

LaGato has given some very good advice here. Am I right in thinking that WA can point one in the right direction of a lawyer who can see through all the emotional and financial abuse that an ex tries to play? It sounds like this lady needs one.

OP maybe look on the Relationships board and start a new thread there too?

I think declaring himself bankrupt is bluster and he's done it to scare her. What a cowardly bag of shite!

X-posted I'm sure.

Notname Fri 17-Mar-17 19:46:06

Thanks Makejam, and you're right He is a cowardly bag of shite. It's crazy as my friend is just about the loveliest person you could hope to meet. Anyway, my lovely friend is reading this thread and will take a look at the links provided. Thank you everyone for the advice smile

JoJoSM2 Sun 19-Mar-17 21:55:24

I hope it gets resolved. But tbh, if someone couldn't sell their house for 18 months, I would think they are doing this to spite the ex so he needs to carry on paying the mortgage...

Actually, I'm not sure why she's so worried about the house being repossed - she isn't meant to stay there anyway. If the bank takes it, she will finally get the promised sum of money and she'll be able to move on. Why isnt she keen on it???

Notname Sun 19-Mar-17 22:18:01

The house has been on the market for about 8 months. It's in a village in which houses sell white slowly (I have just sold there an it's taken 16 months to find a buyer). She hasn't tried to delay/prevent the sale, she wants to move so that she can get on with her life without the middle e hanging over her. It was under offer and she was on the verge of moving at Christmas but the buyers changed their minds about moving. Someone offered 10% below asking price a couple of months ago but her ex rejected the offer because it would leave him little equity to pay her the capital sum that the court has ordered him to pay. If the house is repossessed then she will move out obviously (as she will have to eventually if it sells, which is fine by her). Her concern is that she will get a bad credit rating and struggle to get a mortgage in the future, and also that he is threatening to go bankrupt so that he doesn't have to pay her the capital sum he has been ordered to pay her (I think). As I thought I had explained in my opening post.

Notname Sun 19-Mar-17 22:21:17

Please excuse typos!

Really, the lack of sale is due to her ex if anything, and now he's stopped paying the mortgage (and repayments in the additional loan which he spent after he left her). It's infuriating and desperately unfair.

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