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Unreasonable demands - in need of urgent advice

5 replies

virgo8 · 21/09/2018 08:28

I'm hoping to cut a long story short as I am in some desperate need for advice. My husband had an affair and left around a year ago when I was 6 months pregnant with our second child. I was subject to years of domestic abuse and in hindsight he done me a massive favour.

I made every attempt to be amicable for the sake of our 2 daughters and gave him countless opportunities to work towards parenting with me but he was threatening, aggressive (in front of our daughters) and constantly unreliable. He would cancel last minute, not show up, show up hours late, bring them back hours early etc and it meant my eldest (4) became very unsettled. She stared suffering from night terrors, panic attacks etc and this came to a head when I had to end up calling the police on my ex in July for his behaviour. He is currently subject to bail conditions and not allowed to approach or contact me.

My solicitor immediately offered a contact centre but 2 months passed without a word from him or any response. I had been granted legal aid (stay in Scotland) to be able to file for divorce on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour and for residency of the girls due to continuous threats from him of removing them from my care so he wouldn't need to pay maintenance (which he doesn't anyways). His deadline to respond or object to the divorce was this week and all of a sudden he has appeared out of the wood work wanting 50/50 custody and for me to pay him £30k????

Now I am seeing my solicitor Tuesday already so I will obviously receive proper legal advice. But it's a holiday weekend here and I am sick with worry about this. Firstly legal aid will not cover any financial dispute. Secondly, can he really make requests like this and win? I don't have any money. I work part time, receive universal credits, have £16k of debts from our marriage to pay off and no savings. What I do have however is my house. It's just in my name and was bought 4 years ago during a separation but we reconciled and he lived here contributing half the £350 mortgage payment the last 4 years. The house is worth £110k and the mortgage outstanding is £80k. I am not on a high enough income to release any equity at all so if he was awarded any money I would need to sell and wouldn't have the deposit or eligibility to purchase anywhere else.

I am absolutely distraught to think our children could lose their family home and really don't know what to do. I do feel more confident in our disagreement over contact for the children as our youngest is only 8 months and my eldest speech and language therapist and nursery are both writing to say how much more settled she has been the last couple of months and how important routine and structure is for her. I have no intention to keep their father from them but I don't think it's unreasonable to expect his behaviour improve and he is someone they can rely on.

Thank you so much if you have read this far, any help would be really greatly appreciated. X

OP posts:
MarieG10 · 21/09/2018 15:10

Only your solicitor can give you reliable advice....but in reality the the only asset you have is the equity in the house which is less than what you think as you may have to sell to realise it. Account for the joint debt and you don't really have any assets. Therefore his demands are a joke and are not likely to go anywhere as you couldn't pay it in any event.

He is trying to put you through the wringer with the financial demand and joint parenting. I haven't experienced joint parenting myself as not divorced but the small number of people i know that have tried it, it wasn't very effective and didn't provide the stability. This is a general thing and may work for some

virgo8 · 21/09/2018 15:34

@MarieG10 thank you so much for replying. Yeah that seems to be exactly what he is doing, he is just such a charmer though that I hope the courts don't fall for it. I'm confident I have a good amount of substantial evidence for his abuse and lack of reliability. But it does worry me a solicitor would even allow him to make such demands and how he has even come up with this. X

OP posts:
Xenia · 21/09/2018 15:41

I am in England not Scotland but I am pretty sure there is no way he will get £30k equity in the house - all the equity in the house. I don't know what debts he has but if you take your £16k debt off the £30k equity and assume the £30k is the only family asset then the family has about £14k of assets and half of that (he won't get half and possibly none ) is only £7k.
However it is a very good idea to sort out the finances now so he does not cause trouble later and so you know it is all finalised.

When you reconciled in England you could have used a lawyer to write you a "post nup" which might have helped a bit in saying the property was outside your joint marital claims/assets - Scottish law may be different however.

It is quite hard for lawyers to stop clients making unreasonable demands but unless you have a lot of other money (you don't) I cannot see how he would get 100% of the equity in the house even if the only reason you have that equity is because he paid half the mortgage.

Also he is not on the mortgage now so is free to buy his own place - there is not even the usual issue of trying to remove someone from the mortgage but the lender refuses.

He is not going to get anything of the equity in my view. It may be worth giving him up to £5k if you have a family member who would lend it in return for a court sealed consent order dealing with all the financial issues once and for all - or perhaps nothing but on the basis you won't claim spousal maintenance from him or whatever the higher earner might pay the other in Scotland (which I think is less than in England).

virgo8 · 23/09/2018 23:18

@Xenia thanks so much for your reply. Yes I've been looking into it a lot the last few days and it does seem very unlikely he would get anything close. I added up and based on his half contribution it amounts to around £6k. He has around the same debt wise - he was awful with money and I stupidly would bail him out continuously but we had agreed at the time of separation we would each take debts in our name and pay them which meant I got him out my house quicker.

I'll post an update when I have been to the solicitors Tuesday but if anyone else has any info or similar experiences I will take all the help I can get

OP posts:
northernglam · 24/09/2018 08:31

The costs of moving eg sols fees, remortgage, estate agent etc would also come off the equity and you should get credit for the mortgage payments you have made since he left. Realistically you couldn't remortgage on your income. It's difficult to see how it would make sense for you to sell to release such a small sum. After your debts and costs there may only be £8k left. Try and get a low valuation for your house estate agents assume you want a high valuation and often inflate estimates to win your business so explain you need a low / realistic one. Priority is to house the child. Neither of you will be in a position to house the child if the house is sold.

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