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A friend was willing to accept 15K from ex but now realises he's being shafted

Posted by Thomas 
A friend was willing to accept 15K from ex but now realises he's being shafted
July 30, 2019 03:28PM
Hi,

A friend of mine has been going through a divorce over the past year or two. He had his own property for about eight years before he got married and moved his wife in. They had a daughter and the wife wanted a property with a garden so they went and moved. A couple of years after obtaining this new property which is in both of their names, she kicked him out.

My friend was willing to accept £15K for his share of the house but now that he's been given an offer from her solicitor, the solicitor values the equity of the house at £45K, so he really should be getting £7.5K more than he was originally willing to accept.

He says he's not bothered about the fact that he was paying money into the old house for 8 years before she turned up, but if the equity of the new property is £45K, he wants half.

He could just sign the documents and take the £15K but he does not wish to do so. The letter says he can seek legal advice but he cannot claim legal aid as he does work, but he gets a very low income and cannot afford to pay, for example, the £50 that it would take for an initial consultation with a law firm.

So, can anybody advise me what I can do to help him contest this myself?

Also, he is a former Royal Marine so does anybody know if he entitled to any help via a route like the British Legion?

Thank you in advance for any and all help.
Re: A friend was willing to accept 15K from ex but now realises he's being shafted
July 30, 2019 06:29PM
There is a dependent child in this case. The chances are that it would be better to accept £15K in return for being removed from the mortgage. In that way he can move on.

In circumstances like these it is far from obvious that he would get half if he pursued this to court. If the wife, say, earns less than he does and/or has a lower mortgage capacity a court might well think it fair that she should have more than half anyway.
Hello,

Thank you for your response.

Over the course of time since the divorce I have seen my friend gradually move into more and more stable situations and I believe he now has his daughter overnight on weekends and I believe he sees her at least once in the week, although last I knew he does need to be breathalysed before having her.

For many years he was working as a scaffolder picking up about £400 a week but as he's got older he wanted something a little less physical and for at least the last few years he was working at a low wage probably picking up about £280 a week,maybe less... the firm he worked for closed down and he's just secured more work, albeit I'm sure at a low rate, given the area we live in and the current climate.

His wife has, for as long as I've known her, which is at least 10 years, been an assistant manager of a branch of a well known bakery chain, so I'm sure she earns more than he does.

Would you honestly still recommend that he just signs the paperwork?

Thanks
Re: A friend was willing to accept 15K from ex but now realises he's being shafted
July 31, 2019 11:00AM
Is it economic to go to court for at most £7.5K? Almost certainly not. And that assumes that a court thinks he should get that much more. Possibly his wife couldn't raise the extra £7.5K. Since I can't see a court ordering a sale of the property to access this amount of equity when there is a dependent child it could be that a court would think a figure not far off what he is being offered now was appropriate anyway. He can haggle and see if he can get some more but ultimately I don't think on these figures it would make much sense to throw much money at trying to get the extra.
Thanks for all your advice. He actually rang me earlier and I told him you said it's best to just take the money. He said he had spoken to his ex about it and she said if you went to court you'd be lucky to get £7K, why I don't know, but he appears to believe this and seems to finally be okay with signing the papers. Thank you again.
Re: A friend was willing to accept 15K from ex but now realises he's being shafted
July 31, 2019 06:18PM
If he gets a clean break from his wife - ie no spousal maintenance - and he is released from the mortgage then this deal is not so bad. He should make sure he gets that clean break and release from the mortgage though.
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