Separation and Property Assets

Discussion in 'Issues arising from joint mortgages' started by Oldmanofthehill, 3 May 2018.

  1. Oldmanofthehill

    Oldmanofthehill Registered User

    Separation/Assets Advice needed please.

    I'll be as brief as I can here - married 25 years, 3 children (two under 13, one in Uni). Owned a house in UK. I had a good well paid job, my wife earned half of my salary so I paid the mortgage and most of the bills. I had poor health and my wife wanted to move back to Ireland to be nearer her parents so persuaded me that we would be better off there - no mortgage and a bigger house. She would continue to work being a lot younger than me and I would be the househusband who didn't have to work. My small private employment pension would be used for essential travel back to the UK, family holidays, Christmas presents etc. We bought a house and my wife insisted it was solely registered in my name. I didn't know why and I never received real answers. I ploughed €40,000 of my pension lump sum into modernising the house and took a reduced monthly payment to do this.

    8 years later we separated because of my wife's unreasonable behaviour which included not paying bills and stealing money from the children's bank accounts.
    When confronted about this, she moved to her Mother's house and took the children with her. I have been left with numerous household debts to pay off and I am struggling living on my private pension (although my financial position will be soon improved from my share in a family inheritance). My wife immediately talked of selling and splitting the house 50-50.

    I have since found out that she owns her Mother's house and it is solely in her name, having taken out a mortgage for her Mother 20 years ago. I don't know who paid this mortgage but since her Mother and deceased Father were pensioners I find it difficult to believe that my wife didn't contribute.

    I have legal access to the children and they stay with me regularly at weekends and holidays.
    Both houses are large enough to accommodate a family, with the house in my wife's name (a 4 bedroom modern bungalow) being worth two thirds of the one in my name (a 4 bedroom detached).
    My wife and I are attending Mediation over Assets soon and I haven't a clue where I stand legally. I know that she has hidden the fact that she owns the house that she now lives in with her Mother and our children.
    I can't find anything on the net where a separation and sharing assets involves two houses. Free legal advice from a Solicitor was vague and not helpful.
    My main questions if Mediation doesn't work are:-
    Will I be forced into selling what was the main family home by a Judge in Court?
    Will my wife be forced to sell her's too?
    Is a Judge likely to consider any of the circumstances I've outlined above?
  2. cremeegg

    cremeegg Frequent Poster

    I am sorry that you find yourself in this situation.

    You certainly need proper paid-for legal advice.

    You should try to avoid having a judge deciding on a separation of assets, it would be far easier and cheaper if you could agree between yourselves. Your solicitor may be able to make a proposal that would be accepted.

    If it does go to court a judge will look at all the circumstances, that may or may not be viewed as you hope.

    Again, get proper legal advice.
  3. Oldmanofthehill

    Oldmanofthehill Registered User

    Thanks cremeegg. I neglected to say that I have been accepted for free Legal Aid but I have been told by them before they offer any legal advice that I should go to Mediation first to find out exactly what Assets my wife wants.
  4. peemac

    peemac Frequent Poster

    If she has assets, then those assets are part of the mix too

    A solicitor will be able to find ownership details and possibly even previous mortgage details of a property.

    So as above, decent solicitor + mediation probably the best.
  5. Thirsty

    Thirsty Frequent Poster


    Might be easier to start from the bottom
    Q3. Behaviour during the marriage is not generally taken into account when considering settlement issues, unless it would be seriously unjust not to do so. In this case, you would be looking at pretty extreme documented behaviour such as violence (medical/ garda reports), criminal activity (garda reports/prison) etc., So based on what you've described, I would say not.

    Q2. If that's where the children are living, it's unlikely that an order would be made for their home to be sold while they are still under 18 (or 23 if in full time education). The primary view here is to ensure that the children of the marriage are provided for.

    Q1. That's not really a question that can be answered here when we don't have all the info.

    So here's the way to look at it

    First concern: children are supported (by both parents) while they are minors or under 23 if in full time education.
    that includes, somewhere to live, maintenance, primary carer, education etc.,

    Second concern: assets of the marriage, after the primary issue is taken care of.

    Note: assets of the marriage includes all property, savings, inheritance, pension (current/ future funds) etc.,

    My advice at this point would be to go into the Mediation process with your eyes open. Both parties have to make declarations of income/ assets etc., so start from there. Try not to get sucked in emotionally if you can. Treat this as a business meeting with important, if difficult, client.

    Educate yourself & be aware that not all Solicitors are well versed in family law.

    Edit: it used to be the case (but I don't know if this still holds) that where a mother left the family home, they could be considered to have 'abandoned the family home' and thus reduced their interest in the family home. For that reason many women were advised to stay put. This has its roots in a rather old-fashioned view-point so it may no longer hold true.
  6. Oldmanofthehill

    Oldmanofthehill Registered User

    Thanks Peemac and Thirsty.