Divorce - going to lose house but can't afford rent..

(40 Posts)
Worakls Mon 03-May-21 21:08:26

(also on divorce board)
Ex and I officially separated 15 months ago, I filed for divorce about a year ago...To cut a long story short, despite my ex agreeing that I could keep the house until DC is 18 or I can take over the mortgage, he's changed his mind. We are due to restart mediation next month. We only started in Nov despite me pushing for it a year ago as he has stalled on paperwork. We are now starting again with a new mediator as he said the last one was biased hmm. Anyway he wants his equity in the house. There's 50k equity total, £290k left on the mortgage. I can't buy him out and I can't take over the mortgage. I worked PT past 10 years to raise kids and changed careers too to facilitate his. He is self-employed and earns 6 figures, I am now FT but earn 1/3 his salary. So... If we sell he can buy himself a lovely 3 bed house and I can't buy anything (bloody South!) and can't afford to rent. Can't get any benefits as earn too much... So what do people do in these situations? He also announced he is not working at the moment, although he has not shown any changes in lifestyle since then, except to cut maintenance down hugely. I have solicitor so know I have to go back to mediation but I'm terrified I have to sell and then don't know where I will live. We have 2 kids (10 and 6) and he has them EOW and one night a week. He says he can't rent anymore as not suitable (2 bed flat) and he wants to buy. Just all seems so very very unfair 😔 Any advice?

OP’s posts: |
autumnalrain Mon 03-May-21 21:19:20

Instead of selling up can he afford to buy you out of house and take over mortgage? That will give you some equity to rent

Also how come you earn too much to get benefits but not enough to rent?

Worakls Mon 03-May-21 21:24:40

No he has no savings at all. He's spent the past year living the high life so that's why he wants me to give him his equity so he can out down a deposit on his own place. And the reason I earn too much for benefits but not enough to rent is because I live down south. A 3 bed near here is £1300 per month

OP’s posts: |
SteveArnottsCodeine Mon 03-May-21 21:28:26

@autumnalrain the amount you have to earn to be ineligible for Universal Credit is very low- I know this because I used to work in UC applications. Also if she’s got any real savings- which she would have from her bit of the house sale- that would also mean she wouldn’t be able to claim UC. IF @Worakls is in London- which I suspect she may well be- to rent a three bed house suitable for her and the kids she could easily be looking at £1500 a month in rent. She might only be earning a couple of thousand pounds a month and living on that with such a huge rent will be impossible.

ThisIsStartingToBoreMe Mon 03-May-21 21:30:53

If you go for shared ownership you could use your part of the equity as a lump sum and pay rent on the rest of it.

Tibtab Mon 03-May-21 21:39:36

Can you afford a 2 bed? It’s not ideal but it would be a stepping stone to a bigger place.

Teabaghag Mon 03-May-21 21:44:29

Ok, in theory you're entitled to 50% of all assets. Is it just the equity in the house? No savings?

Whenever he starts working again you will also be able to claim CM.

What is your monthly take home pay? You may be entitled to some benefits.

middleeasternpromise Mon 03-May-21 21:46:22

I was in this situation 14 years ago, my career took the hit with children he went from strength to strength high earner etc. When the split came he suddenly 'stopped' earning and was focused on the equity in the property - we had much more equity than you and the house was a bit too big for me and two kids so technically he could force the sale. In your case I would hold your nerve, there isn't a huge amount of equity and if you can demonstrate your borrowing power wont stretch to what you need as the primary carer I would let him prove why he needs to sell the family home. The court has a central focus on the needs of the children. What other assets are in there to go in the marital pot? Does he have pensions? Self-employed people are tricky do you have any paper trails that prove previous earnings? Can you afford the current mortgage? This type of situation is very stressful but hopefully with mediation you will get some more support. The 'biased mediator' comment suggests you are dealing with someone who doesn't want to hear what he doesn't like, is used to getting things his own way and doesn't like to be told no. The divorce process does have a way of giving people a reality check but its not for the faint hearted. Get plenty of support and settle in for a bit of bumpy time.

Worakls Mon 03-May-21 21:58:15

Thanks everyone. If he pays maintenance I can afford a 2 bed but at the minute he isn't... No other assets unfortunately. All our savings were in the business and he has had fun spending them this past year or so... Everyone warned me about this when he left but he swore he would always provide for the kids and would never make me leave the house. Lesson learnt hey!!

OP’s posts: |
Miasicarisatia Mon 03-May-21 22:05:19

Act dumb and play Dirty

Eyevorbig0ne Mon 03-May-21 22:06:51

Can you move to a cheaper area if push comes to shove?

Akire Mon 03-May-21 22:14:07

UC is to top up wages so you can rent average home. Are you 100% sure you would get zero help towards it? Do you have major outgoing on debt or life style that effect what you could pay towards rent?

DorisLessingsCat Mon 03-May-21 22:16:23


Can you move to a cheaper area if push comes to shove?

This might be your only option. Unless you have family who can give you a loan?

Outbutnotoutout Mon 03-May-21 22:17:38

Surely you get half the business as well?

arethereanyleftatall Mon 03-May-21 22:19:11

If he has no income atm, (allegedly) , how is he going to get a mortgage? He can only get a mortgage if he has income, and then you'll get child maintenance.

Also, it all sounds a bit fishy. If he earns £100k plus and you work full time too, how have you only built up £50k equity?

There must be other assets to be shared. Pensions? The business?

Also, you're eligible for spousal maintenance (and before someone pipes up that they don't do that any more, they do, I've just been awarded it, same situation as yours).

arethereanyleftatall Mon 03-May-21 22:20:59

What has he spent his money on this past year? (Unless you're not in the uk). Just because unless it was takeaways, whatever he's bought us also an asset to be split.

SomebodyThatIUsedToKnow3 Mon 03-May-21 22:25:19


Thanks everyone. If he pays maintenance I can afford a 2 bed but at the minute he isn't... No other assets unfortunately. All our savings were in the business and he has had fun spending them this past year or so... Everyone warned me about this when he left but he swore he would always provide for the kids and would never make me leave the house. Lesson learnt hey!!

Self employed or company? If you have any proof he's earning more than he says take that to CMS. If he's run things down so it looks like he's earning X for child maintenance purposes then he may well struggle to get a mortgage.

Does he have a pension pot because that is an asset too. You might be able to set that against the house equity if he does and has enough.

Starstruck2021 Mon 03-May-21 22:28:06

What does your solicitor advise you should do?

Diverseopinions Mon 03-May-21 22:33:29

If your ex is going to buy somewhere, he will need to service the mortgage to keep that place. That means he will have to be working. He won't get a mortgage if he can't demonstrate continuous earning ( I presume). Surely the child support agency or equivalent will take child maintenance out of his earnings at source, if he doesn't agree to pay?

I would consider one option to be suggesting he stays in the house with you all, for a while, until you see a way through. He could contribute .

I would also be trying to get some extra work on the weekends that he has the children. What about your work and childcare during the long summer holidays? How is that going to work?

What about local authority housing? If you say you won't be able to afford to rent or buy and you supply figures to prove it, will the LA have to find you a cheap place to rent? Are you eligible for tax credits?

Has there been any full and frank disclosure of assets on his part?

Is it a silly suggestion to see if you could have a friend, cousin or sibling as a lodger with you, giving you some rent money? ( I don't know how big your place is, or if it lends itself to this). Do you have family who can help or lend you money, at all?

Moving to a cheaper area, as a previous poster suggests would be worth considering.

Fireflygal Mon 03-May-21 22:50:44

If there are no assets other than 50k then it will be split but unlikely to be 50:50 given earnings discrepancy. I think you would get more but it could almost cost £50k to go to court so avoid that route.
Why isn't he working? How does he think he can get a mortgage if no earnings??

The reality is there isn't enough in the pot to house both of you adequately with small amount of equity. Any pensions?

It is incredibly hard for single parents as housing costs are so high. Only option work full time, rent or buy a very small place and live in it or move areas. Judges prefer a clean break and it's not realistic that your Ex pays the mortgage for the next 12 years as that doesn't allow him to move on and get another mortgage.

Do you have any family support? There is always a solution but it's tough time with uncertainty.

Worakls Mon 03-May-21 23:13:04

I shall try and answer everything here!
He is the director of his own limited company and is usually employed as a contractor. The work has apparently stopped and he hadn't been working for the past 2 months. But I'm not sure what to believe as he hasn't made any changes in lifestyl and he also doesn't see the kids anymore. They go to after-school club one day a week for example, which I pay for. You'd think if he wasn't working, he'd be having them.
We have such low equity as we only managed to buy our first house 4 years ago with 5% deposit as I worked PT and childcare costs were high. Also he spends a lot, which also answers the what has he spent money on the past year in a lockdown. A car on PCP that costs an insane amount each month, a personal training gym that costs more than my monthly food bill, lots of new clothes, paddle board and all the equipment to go with it, fancy coffee machine, new white goods for his mum (no issues with that tbh) etc etc.
I already work FT and have worked my arse off to get a promotion and earn a decent salary. I think if I worked the weekend I don't have the kids I'd actually collapse. I am absolutely shattered from a 40 hour week, all school runs and chores, I don't feel like I cope as it is.
I'd consider moving but he would block it unfortunately.
And no, no frank and full disclosure yet... Still waiting and now starting the whole bloody process all over again!
Oh and he says the business is going bankrupt so no assets there. No other assets except pension which we're still waiting on
Bit of a mess really isn't it 😣

OP’s posts: |
LouiseTrees Mon 03-May-21 23:19:45

If the business is going bankrupt ( because he’s deliberately pushed it that way) and he starts a new one in the same trade it’s called a Phoenix and you can report him to HMRC. You can also make a case that he should be judged unfit to be a director. I’d be seriously considering what you know about his past business dealings and whether you have leverage there.

Livandme Mon 03-May-21 23:23:12

I think he's playing you op. He has been hiding money this last year I would bet my mortgage on it
Get copies of the business accounts.

Fireflygal Mon 03-May-21 23:26:44

Tbf if he is a contractor then IR35 might be a factor.

He can block an unreasonable move but if you can show you have to move then you wouldn't be stopped, especially if he isn't having much time with the children.

Have you spoken to a mortgage company to see what mortgage you could get, assume some CMS income. You can then negotiate more of the equity for a deposit.
I remember when I left how impossible it all felt but eventually I found a way through it. If you work FT you are doing all you can.

Agirlcalled Mon 03-May-21 23:27:38

Another one saying hold your nerve. Going through something very similar. He is trying to force sale. 1 kids. However the courts priority is housing the children. You have them the majority. The children have to be suitably housed. You don't have the ability to take on a big mortgage. This will be taken into account. Sending a load of nerve for you to hold.

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