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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: UK Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34131
Experience:  25 years experience of all aspects of family law
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Hi, Im at the settlement stage of my divorce. I have a

Customer Question


I'm at the settlement stage of my divorce. I have a lawyer but want another opinion

My wife lives in the marital home with my 2 children. (9 and 6). I have lived in rented accommodation for over 3 years. The house is in joint names. I pay half the repayment mortgage and the DWP pays nearly allof the other half. I pay half of about £1200 mortgage + decreasing term assurance. House is worth about £290k, remaining mortgage about £150k, over approx 14 years left to pay. So £140k equity currently.

She claims benefits. She is a bank ambulance technician - works once per month. 10 hour shift. ( Can, in my opinion do more hours, def up to 16 hours per week to get the working tax credits ). Has a partner who is at house a lot but only sleeps over with her when I have the children - Twice per month. But wife, partner and children as a 4 in and out of house a lot.

The CSA is agreed - 20% of my nett salary with 6 month reviews. Contact etc is amicable. I see them every Weds night in house, one day at weekend including 2 sleepovers at my flat per month.

Basically from settlement I want:-

House to remain in joint names
The mortgage to move from repayment to Interest Only
40% of sale with usual trigger points, including my youngest son being 18 years old Cohab I want is 2 nights per week over 6 month period.
Spousal maintenance to be 40% of the int only payments. Or less? Zero?
Marital debt is all in my name - we lost approx £30k wife's wage when first son was born in 2004. Between 2004 and 2010 (when left ) debt was built up on my account. As well as regular payments to joint and her account Payments were made to her account and joint account to clear her account and joint account. Approx £28k debt was built up between 2004 and 2010 - I want her to be responsible for 10+k of that debt.

She wants:-

House to be in her name only. Mortgage stays at repayment as she would not have 'vehicle' for repaying mortgage at trigger points? Also she thinks I may go 'Bankrupt' so the house should be in her name only. ( There is the debt but my credit rating is good and every payment to house, CSA, flat has been made ). She also wants me to take out life assurance to protect her and the children - she would pay the monthly payments? At moment we share the payments for decreasing term assurance.
I get 40% with the trigger points, but the cohab would be 5+ nights per week and even if that was case if a minor still in house that would still not trigger it. I.e only way get 40% is when my youngest is 18 ( He's 6 ) regardless of how much time her partner spends in the house.
If house in her name I pay her spousal maintenance of £500. Basically that's nearly what I pay currently for 1/2 mortgage.
Has offered £1k for the marital debt.

If this went to court what is likely outcome?

Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: UK Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your question
I shall do my best to assist you but I need some further information first.
What income do you have?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

My basic salary is £40k per year. Rest is commissioned based. P60s can vary between £75 and £95k per year. The CSA payments are reviewed every 6 months - average is taken and then that is figure for next 6 months. We both have agreed this.

Expert:  Clare replied 4 years ago.
Why do you wish to move the mortgage to Interest only?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

To save money, on a monthly basis, over what is likely to be the next 12 years


Also, it does really bother me that me and DWP will be paying off the mortgage for her and her partner over potentially the next 12 years. Where they don't put in a penny.



Expert:  Clare replied 4 years ago.
If the property is being transferred into her name she should be taking on the mortgage payments is that not the case?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.



But instead of me paying half mortgage, she wants me to pay her spousal maintenance at approx the same amount. So nothing changes on that front.


I don't want my name off the property. I want to continue to go into the house each Weds night to see the boys. Also I don't trust it being in her name.

Expert:  Clare replied 4 years ago.
Do you not want to get another mortgage so that you can have the children alternate weekends?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I rent my property. We're both happy with the arrangements for the children. I'd rather see them a day each weekend with 2 sleepovers per month. She wants this too.


Please can you answer the following:-


If she gets the house in her own name, have I got a case that I pay her a lot less than the current £537 + £70 per month for my half of the mortgage and term assurance? She wants the spousal to be approx. £500. ( Basically the spousal replaces my mort payments ) My thinking is that, with her work potential, it should be a lot less than that?


If she gets house in her name is my 40% frozen as of that point and I get it when my youngest is 18 (12 years time ) and the other triggers or do I get the 40% regardless in 12 years time? ( Even though I'm not effectively paying mortgage payments ).


What can I realistically expect from the cohabitation issue? 2/3 nights per week? 5 nights per week ? Forget it unless he permanently lives there?


Finally the marital debt? £28k was built up between 2004 and 2010. What can I expect from this. She gave up a £30k salary, I made regular payments to her account and joint account + also more payments to clear those accounts. I used neither her account or the joint account for any personal spending.


Based on the facts I have outlined in my communication with you, please can you answer the above.


Thanks Claire



Expert:  Clare replied 4 years ago.
It is reasonable - indeed usual in these situations - for the property to be transferred into her sole name with you having a 40% charge back on the property payable when your youngest is 18 or your ex dies or cohabits.
The 40% relates to the value of the equity at the time of sale
Cohabitation would generally be seen as being more than 2 days a week - that is visiting not living together
It is unlikely that she will be expected to pay anything towards the family debt - but equally the spouse maintenance is an area where matters are potentially more flexible
However whilst she is on benefits and you have your current level of income there will indeed be spouse maintenance payable I am afraid
I appreciate that this is not the news you wanted but please ask if you need further information
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Can you just clarify the cohabitation part please. She has a partner who is in and out of the house a lot. And this will increase in the future years.


So, what would be reasonable per month for spousal maintenance? Assuming I am no longer paying £537 + £73 per month for 1/2 mort and 1/2 term assurance. She can definitely work 16 hours per week to qualify for working tax credits.


I don't expect her to pay any of the debt now but be added to 40% when trigger point happens?


I go in the house every Weds night for 2 hours. Could she stop that if house in her name?



Expert:  Clare replied 4 years ago.
Cohabitation would mean him essentially living there - there is no specific definition - but more than four nights a week is likely to be seen as cohabitation
It is impossible for me to even guess at spouse maintenance - it is based on her reasonable expenditure and her income - or potential income.
I am afraid contact in her home is unlikely to continue - but there is no reason why you shouldn't still have contact - just elsewhere
I am sorry I simply do not think she will expected to pay anything towards the debts

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