why can one partner walk away from a mortgage contract without being chased for the money ?

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i am writing for my mother. some years ago whilst married to my father they both took out a mortgage for a property in bradford west yorkshire, unfortunately the marriage broke down and they got devorced but the solicitor who dealt with the divorce did not sort out the financial side of my parents dealings. the outcome of all this is that my mother has for seven years been paying the mortgage by herself whilst my father claims incapacity benefit but also works. she has tried to get the mortgagew company to put the mortgage in her name but the bradford and bingley wiil no entertain this idea due to adverse credit even though she has paid the mortgage for seven years by herself. now she wants to sell the house pay off her debts and move on but she is unable to do this as the mortgage company won't transfer the mortgage and if she sells the property witht consent from my father he will expecty half of the proceeds even though the deposit for the house was paid by my mothers mother and she has paid the mortgage solely for seven years. after numerous times trying to sort this problem out even with a solicitor she still finds herself trapped i hope you can offer some help with this very frustrating situation for all conserned apart from my father who is living the life of riley !!!!!!!!!

-- karl steven sowden (karlsowden@hotmail.co.uk), July 12, 2002


What usually happens when couple's divorce and there is a joint mortgage, is that one of them will take over the mortgage. In your mother's case this didn't happen and more than likely because the lender didn't feel she could take over the repayments on her own - although she has obviously proved them wrong. In these circumstances a couple can come to an agreement on the split of the proceeds, rather than 50/50 - 80/20 for example.

Are you absolutely sure that your father will be entitled to half? If you haven't spoken to your mother about the divorce settlement, have a word with her - to ease your own mind as well as being able to understand exactly what is going on. If need be, then get copies of the paperwork from the solicitor who dealt with the divorce.

If it turns out that your father might be entitled to half the proceeds, then your mother can actually fight this to get a bigger share for herself, as she's been solely responsible for the mortgage, she can prove how much extra she's paid into the home. This might mean having to go to court however, but if there is a fair amount of money involved it'll be worth it. As this would be related to the divorce, it would be best to go back to the solicitor who dealt with the divorce - if she's eligible, your mother could get Legal Assistance for the costs.

Has your mother had a word with other lenders to see if they are willing to help? Just because one says no, doesn't mean the others will. Depending on how much the debts are it may be possible to negotiate lower payments to creditors, or perhaps consolidate the debts.

If your mother does decide to sell the house, then I'd suggest that she gets some legal advice first, and find out exactly how much, if anything your father would be entitled to from the proceeds and then get the same firm to do the conveyancing, so there are no mess-ups.

Sorry I can't offer much more advice than this.

-- pendle (pendle_666@yahoo.co.uk), July 12, 2002.

I can't add anything to Pendle's excellent advice, other than to say that I would imagine your father would probably settle for less than 50% anyway. If he walked away from his responsibilities he is unlikely to want to cough up money for a solicitor to argue his case. Doesn't a "windfall" affect his entitlement to incapacity benefit anyway? ;)

-- Too scared to say (iwasduped@yahoo.com), July 12, 2002.

I can advise you that she needs to seek urgent advice from a solicitor. My husband went off with my best friend and I applied to the court for what is known as a complete break order. This means that at no time whatsoever can he ever come back for anything else. Unless your father or your mother remarry then even though they are divorced one or other of them can come back - my solicitor told me of a case in the 1970s of a couple who had no children, divorced, he subsequently made a great deal of money, she came back 20 years later and got a large settlement. The courts at first refused my clean break order under the grounds they thought I could not afford it but after proving to them that I could I eventually paid my ex off for a lot less than half the value of the property. I would hazard a guess that if your father is 'conning' the system as you say he will be very reluctant to head for the courts. Play him at his own game, tell him all his financial dealings will be available for the court to see, if he is on the swindle I would suggest he will not hesitate to sign over the property without even going in to a courtroom!

-- Chris (chris@anon.co.uk), July 15, 2002.

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