Wife walked out & won't contribute to mortgage/sign it over

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My boyfriend's wife walked out on hin 18 months ago, taking his 2 children to live with her new lover in a rented council property. Since, he has maintained the mortgage repayments mainly to provide a base for the children whom he had to stay 2 days/nights per week. She has now stopped him doing this and he sees them 2 evenings pw and alternate Saturdays.

He has asked for contributions to the mortgage (which is in their joint names)or for her to sign it over to him - she refuses both points. Her solicitor says she is not liable for the repayments as she doesn't live there now and pays rent on another property where she does reside. If this is the case, can my boyfriend walk out of the house, rent a property to live in and also be released from his obligations to the mortgage....somehow I think not, so why is it permissible for her to do it!!

He is considering handing in the keys to the BS, moving out (he no longer needs the house as he doeesn't have the children to stay any longer) and giving them her address so they can chase her for future payments - he is so fed up that he isn't bothered at this stage about being blacklisted etc. The house has little or no equity and is worth around 28k.

Has anyone any similar experiences or advice they can share with us??

-- Jan Beaumont (janni-b2001@yahoo.com), August 17, 2001


Hi Jan,

Some answers - hopefully others can contribute too.

1. Her liabilities. Unless the mortgage says otherwise I expect she is jointly liable for it irrespective of what her solicitor says. For example, if the property was sold at a profit, she would no doubt expect a share. Your partner needs, repeat needs, to go and see a solicitor to get some quality advice. It may well be that his ex cannot afford to contribute to the property given she has responsibilities elsewhere - for her own rental and also to maintain the kids.

2. Handing in the Keys. Dont. Try and sell it. My absolute advice is not to hand in the keys, particularly as you don't mention any arrears. Provided he gets some advice he ought to be able to offset any payments he makes singularly against her share of any profit made from the sale (if any). Equally, if the property sells at a loss, he ought to be able to reclaim a percentage from her or again, at least offset it from any alimony payments. If the keys are handed in, the lawyer sharks will go for whoever has the most money irrespective of the fairness or otherwise of the situation.

3. The Kids I am also divorced and I have two kids. It is worth thinking about before taking any action against his ex - like sicking the building society on her - because anything bad happening to her WILL ALSO affect the kids in the same way - so if you improverish her, you make them poor too. Is that what he would want?

-- (bluemoon@mcfc.co.uk), August 17, 2001.

Can't really add much except to say Point 2 of bluemoon's response...even if the property sells at a loss your boyfriend will not be able to reclaim anything from his wife - by way of suing her or any other method of recourse. The Courts will not entertain these types of lawsuits and there is no way the child support payments can be (or should be) offset. As bluemoon says, the kids are the priority here and your boyfriend's first responsibilty is to them before anyone else, regardless of what the adults are up to. To be honest he would do better to get her to sign over the house (if she refuses to contribute to it, she will do it) and then hold onto it/rent it out or sell it later - that way he has a base and an asset. Fed up he may be but foolhardy he shouldn't be, these things simmer down and he may regret his actions later on.

-- Too scared to say (iwasduped@yahoo.com), August 17, 2001.

All of the above is true,howevr a judge has power to force a sale in such circumstances ,he also has power to force her to relinquish her part provided that he can show that he has the means/will to retain the property.If you think mortgage law is grossly unfair then at least it is unfair without gender.Divorce law is unfair on biblical scales towards males.My own veiw is that she will try to evade all responsibilities and then share in his income and any rewards of increased equity.No my friend walk now and cut you future losses you CANNOT win if you are male in this circumstance.

-- roger watts (rwatts.homeloans@virgin.net), August 19, 2001.

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