Outstanding Financial Settlement

Posted on 15 April 2010 by Ed

I was granted decree absolute in February after my wife committed adultery and walked out. However, the financial matters remain unsettled with neither party making a financial order.

We were married for just 200 days, and the key asset is the matrimonial home. I have now paid the last 13 mortgage payments, she has contributed nothing (we have only made a total of 36 payments and owned the house 3 years).

I don't want to have to pay the full legal costs of getting a financial court order, I want to just leave things as they have arisen - I have taken over mortgage payments, she has walked away and has indicated she doesn't want anything by way of settlement.

If I leave her on the mortgage and deeds what is the risk of her coming after her half in future? The house is heavily in negative equity now (i.e. at the point of separation) so there is no point in her doing this currently. Surely she can't wait 10 years until the market picks up, then come back in and make a claim once the value rises? What about the fact I'm paying the mortgage on my own?

And what if I decide to sell in 10 years. Does she still get half any equity even though by then I'll have made the vast majority of total mortgage payments. She would still be on the deeds after all?


Unless you hold the title of the property as Tenants in Common and a different split was agreed at the time, it is very likely your ex wife will be entitled to half of the proceeds of any sale in the future.

If your ex wife will agree to transferring the property and mortgage into your sole name and it is a freehold property, there will only be a small solicitors bill to pay, plus any Lender's fee for granting their consent to the transfer. The Lender doesn't have to give their consent and will want to be satisfied that you can afford the mortgage on your own before releasing your ex wife from her covenants. It will be easier to arrange this now than in say 10 years, when you may have no contact address and have to obtain a court order any way to transfer the property to your sole name.

I recommend that you seek independent legal advice now to resolve the situation.


Answers provided in response to Ask the experts are based on the information provided and do not constitute advice under the Financial Services & Markets Act. They reflect the personal views of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views, positions, strategies or opinions of John Charcol. All comments are made in good faith, and John Charcol will not accept liability for them.

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