My Mother who is 64 years old has been married to a younger man for 20 years. He has now left and wants to divorce. For the past 20 years they have paid the mortgage together they still have 21 years on the mortgage and owe 64 thousand. The mortgage is in the males name only, my mother wants to remain in the property, which they had agreed could continue until my mother wanted to either sell or died, a verbal agreement as I understand it. It was agreed and written into a contract through a solicitor that my mum husband could not sell without her formal permission.He now wants to move on and has changed the mortgage to a buy to let so that he can buy a second property.It is a muddle from my perspective my question is when they are divorced will my mother still own half the property as things stand. Although my mum is paying half of the mortgage the mortgage is in his name so he responsible for paying it - my mum is happy to pay her part and is happy to continue with this, where does she stand if he says he is not willing to continue paying his half. He will have a financial return upon the sale of the house or when my mum dies so he is not paying out for nothing.Please could you advise on the best way forward. My mum is very worried about all this and is reluctant to go to a solicitor; she has a few thousand saved and thinks it will cost her a fortune to speak to someone! Would she get automatic legal aid in her position?Many Thanks Serena Fisher
Province/Country relating to question : Gloucestershire
Are there any other marital assets?
No no other marital assets just the house
Assuming that they have no dependent children than all the assets in situations like this, after 20 years of marriage are generally divided equally. It doesn't matter that the house is in his name, her name or joint names all the value goes into the one pot and it is split down the middle. The fact that it may just be in his name is XXXXX XXXXX it comes to dividing the assets.
If you can let me know what other assets there are I can probably expand this for you.
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What about once they are fully divorced!!
If there are not enough assets/money to enable her to keep the house and him to have an amount of money which would equate to the equity in the house or if she cannot afford to buy him out or he will not let her buy him out than the house is sold in the equity divided.
He appears to have granted her the right to live in the house for as long as she likes. If so, that's right we should be registered at HM land registry in addition to the registration of a matrimonial home right which your mother has by virtue of the fact that she is married to her husband. Those registrations stop him selling or remortgaging without her consent.
She really needs to go to see a solicitor to make sure that the right and the restriction are registered. It is not a do-it-yourself job.
My mother is on a pension with no other income at her age will she be entitled to legal aid under these circumstances and what kind of fee will the land registry / sloicitor want for drawing up a legal right of restriction that will be in place after their divorce
Because this is her home she may be eligible for legal aid but bear in mind that as her share in the home has a value, the legal aid will eventually get repaid from her share of the house. Legal aid is not a free lunch and if money is retained or recovered legal aid gets paid first apart from £6000 or so which is exempt. Legal aid can very often gobble up everything that was hard fought over.
A solicitor should charge no more than a few hundred pounds for entering the restriction and registering the MHR. The land registry fee is around £50.
Being divorced does not wipe out your mother's share of any money in the marriage unless it is agreed and sealed into a court order. Most divorcing couples however will not let the decree absolute go through until the finances are indeed sorted. If one party wants, for example, to get married again, then it gives the other person a lever.
Your mother does not own any of the legal title, her husband does. However she does own half of the equitable (money) title which is where the matrimonial home right comes in. It basically wakes up by up to the fact that there is a wife somewhere, who was not on the title deeds, who wants a big chunk of the house.
sorry law was this a typo I do not understand this part of your reply
I am sorry, yes that is a typo. I use voice type because I have arthritis in wrists and elbows and typing all day with two fingers gets painful. Sometimes it does not hear me correctly and I miss it. It should say "it wakes a buyer up to the fact that there is a wife etc".
PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
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