How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Clare Your Own Question
Clare, Solicitor
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 34233
Experience:  family solictor with 25 years experience
Type Your UK Law Question Here...
Clare is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My husband and I have been separated for 3 years, when he moved

This answer was rated:

My husband and I have been separated for 3 years, when he moved out of the family home on which we have a joint mortgage. He is a alcoholic, and currently in such poor health that he is unable to work(he lives with his parents). He has accumulated a considerable amount of debt over the years - much correspondence is still addressed to the family address. We both want a divorce at this stage, and he claims he is entitled to half the worth of the house. He has not contributed to any aspect of our joint financial responsibilities in over 10 years, and does not pay me any maintenance in respect of our 3 children. I cannot afford to "buy him out", but wish to remain in the family home with the children. In the light of his not contributing to the mortgage and other family expenses for such a long period of time, would a court be likely to award him "half the home"? Is it likely that the house would have to be sold?
Thank you for your question
I shall do my best to assist you but I need some further information first
How much is the house worth and how much is outstanding on the mortgage?
What other assets and debts are there and what income do you each have?
How old are the children?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


I'm not sure of the value of the house, but houses in the neighbourhood are on the market for up to £140,000. I also spent in and around £40,000 5 years ago putting in a very large conservatory and having the entire back yard reclaimed and paved - which would probably increase the value of the property slightly. I don't have exact figures to hand, but I think there is something in the region of £40,000 outstanding on the mortgage. We also have a joint endowment (life insurance policy), I'd have to check its current worth, but I think it's about £15,000 at the moment. I have no idea how much my ex's debts amount to -( I am getting hassled by the bank where we held our joint account, asking for the outstanding balance of £320 to be repaid so that they can close the account - i am reluctant to pay this as I have had nothing to do with this account for a number of years, although my name is XXXXX XXXXX it. I myself owe about £3,500 on credit cards, which I am repaying as quickly as I can. I also have about £1,000 outstanding on a o% finance agreement I took out to have double-glazing put in (direct debit, agreement, all on track) I am self-employed and my last year's net taxable profit was just over £9,000. I get child tax and working tax credit as a single parent. The children are 16, 9 and 5.


How much does a three bedroom property in the same general area cost?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

About £125K.


Also: my ex has no income at the moment: he suffered a massive heart attack before Christmas, but has continued to drink heavily, and currently seems to be experiencing additional mental health problems.

It would be unreasonable and unfair of me, under the circumstances, to ask for maintenance he cannot afford, but was wondering if a court would consider fair his claim to half the property's worth?

The priority for the court is the safe and secure housing of the children until the youngest child is 18 - so your ex has a long time to wait for his share.
In addition the fact that you have had the care of the children and have made a substantial capital investment in improving the property makes it unlikely that he would get 50% of the equity in 13 years time - with 30% or 35% being more likely
You could offer him the Endowment NOW in full and final settlement if he is wanting immediate monies - otherwise he will have to be patient
I hope that this is of assistance to you - please ask if you need further details
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you.


I also have a question surrounding liability for my ex's debts: I am constantly getting phone-calls from debt-collection agencies asking to speak to him - I know he owes credit-card companies, mobile phone service providers, etc.. but he obviously gave the family address rather than his parents' address when setting up these agreements. I am concerned that I may be liable by association, particularly given the fact that he is now in such a poor state financially that he has no way of repaying any these debts.


A further question surrounding the work I had done on the house: this was financed by a substantial gift to both of us by my father for the purpose of creating more living space after the birth of our third child - would the fact that this was a gift to both of us alter your view of the possible outcome of how assets would be divided in court?

You are not responsible for any of his debts - although if court action is taken against him then the debts could eventually be secured against his share of the property
The position with regard to the gift from your father does not change my overall advice
Clare and other UK Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Claire,


Many thanks for your help.



You are most welcome - I hope all goes well