Houses and Divorce


I'm seeing the solicitor on Wednesday, so will get the full low down then, but interested if anyone has some advice or guidance on this one.

We've been separated for the best part of 3 years now. She moved out to a flat down the road to be nearer to her work (she had just started a new job after time out at home looking after our daughter), and because she wanted her own place. I paid her above the odds in terms of maintenance a) because I could and b) because it worked out good for all of us.

However, last year she had a baby by another guy, who has since pretty much done a runner and is only paying a pittance in maintenance for the other child.

The Ex now has to make a decision about going back to work, and amazingly she had agreed on finding another place to rent that was going to be easier for her with dashing between school and nursery (I meant to add that I have our daughter 2 nights a week minimum, an extra night every other week over the weekend, and ad hoc extra days when it works out).

For a bunch of reasons she has suddenly found herself in the brown stuff, with her SMP ended, and unable to get any housing benefit or income support, which means she has to move out of the flat pretty sharpish.

She wants to move back into the house, not surprisingly, and I know I cannot stop her. I also know that doesn't mean I have to move out, even though that means she can't then get any benefits until I do, so again she will find it hard to go back to work.

All of which is a long winded way of getting round to the question of what is likely to happen with the house in any divorce? Given that the mortgage each month is way higher than she could afford except by receiving benefits, that would then tie up the equity for a long time. Would the court award her occupancy of the house with such a shaky reliance on benefits to pay the mortgage if it was transferred to her? Or would they prefer a clean break? I would prefer the latter, as I have some family support offered to help buy her out.


I'm not bitter and angry (though arguably I have a right to be over quite a bit of it), and I really don't want to p**s away any equity there is to pay lawyers to argue endlessly. On the other hand I have paid the mortgage on this place for the whole 6 years, without a penny from her in that time towards it, and while she has managed to build up some £4k in savings I have a shedload of debt from supporting her when we were together, and also when we were apart (counselling fees, paid off her car in full, the effects of a pay cut last year) so at the moment, unless she can take on part/all of the mortgage and/or I reduce the maintenance, I can't currently afford to rent a place. And if she had kept her legs together she would still be at work and this would be a great deal less of an issue.

But back to what I was saying - I don't want this to get nasty, I want what is best for our daughter, but I also have to make sure that I am in a position to be able to live somewhere I can call my own and be able to maintain the level of contact I already have.

Edited to add - and I wonder how big a percentage of the mortgage I would have to pay if she moved in. Has rather a bearing on whether I would prefer a clean break.
Not sure what she would be entitled to if you sold it if you can prove she walked away and contributed nothing to the payments or upkeep of house bills etc. Sad but by letting her back in you might give her grounds to reclaim her share. Would speak to a lawyer


War Hero
Something doesn't sound right here. A single mother to children under age 11 (due to fall to 7) is entitled to IS (and that gateways to other benefits) unless she has assets/income above threshold.

Do you really understand her financial position?

If she is living in the marital home and it is the normal residence on children of the marriage, she'll stand a good chance of getting it. It will count as an asset of the marriage, and the "who paid what" arguments won't count for much, if anything.

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