Likelihood of Award/Settlement Agreement?

(4 Posts)
ThunderInMyHeart Sat 16-Mar-13 12:29:25

Hi all,

Firstly, I'm so pleased and comforted after finding this discussion board on MN. It certainly makes me feel less lonely and daunted. Secondly, to those of you, especially the barristers/solicitors, giving advice, thank you so, so much. <getting very un-MN warm and fuzzy feeling>

If anyone could give me some advice as to what is likely I would be awarded, I would be very grateful. I'll try and keep it to the essential facts.

1) I am 25, DH is 27. We have been married 21 months. No children, only a dog. We are living in a rented flat but it is only my name on the lease.

2) I have £32k in savings in my sole name in a UK account; he has about £200,000 (although it is in US dollars and held in a US bank account, with only his name on it). I have a pension (although only been signed up for it through work for 3 months). I earn £43k pa and have a guaranteed job until next March (I am a trainee solicitor - possibly relevant due to the increased salary I would get upon qualification). He is unemployed as he cannot pass the LPC (he has Aspergers. However, the firm he did have a training contract offer from has not formally taken the offer off the table - he must appeal for re-sits and what have you). He has never had a 'proper job' because it was university, GDL, LPC and what have you (he is 2 years 'behind' because he repeated kindergarten and transferred from a US university and the credits didn't weight up, so did an extra year of university).

3) When we were girlfriend and boyfriend, he wrote e-mails to my father (which I have) saying it was his intention that everything he had would be equally mine. The savings he has now are inherited. He received some of it before I met him.

4) One thing that he inherited was a house. The house was in such a state of disrepair that the local homeowners association was going to sue him for breach of covenant (or equivalent). Local builders (in the US) were quoting up to $80k. We were girlfriend and boyfriend at this point. My dad said that he would fix it on the condition that my name go on the deeds (I'm not sure I have written evidence of this, but surely it's common sense that nobody does that kind of thing for free?). The work was done on the house. The house was firesold by the trustees of the estate. It was then said that my name would go on the proceeds of the sale. This never happened. Those proceeds are now his savings.

5) The year before we got married, he was probably paying for more than 50% of our bills (utilities and food). He paid for our wedding (he offered). The first year of marriage, he convinced me to use my Sterling savings to support us (I was given £17k by my parents as a wedding gift, which DH said he would not touch as it was mine - I think I can prove this, but not sure) as he reasoned that we should preserve his savings to buy a house in the UK.

6) When he failed the first sit of his LPC exams, he said 'ugh, I'm sick of this course. I might return back to the US'. Obviously, alarm bells rang for me, and our marriage was already not sitting pretty. I then said, right, well, as the probability of the house is now basically nil, the 'deal' is off. I'm not paying your way and I want to be reimbursed for the past year.

7) After much excuse and stalling, I got £22k out of him (a fair price. I think he may even have gotten a bargain given that he said he'd never touch the £17k gift). Since that lump sum payment he reimbursed me with, he has been living with me, but owes me about £3k in rent, utilities, council tax etc etc.

8) So, thanks if you go this far, but my concerns are: has he got anything on me re the money he spent when we were gf and bf?

Could any money be clawed back due to the work my dad did on the house (instead of my dad suing DH, I would leverage it as 'you pay me a lump sum and my dad becomes party to the divorce settlement and contracts never to sue you on it or some such)

What could I reasonably get as a settlement? Bearing in mind the cost-benefit regarding not losing a lot to legal fees.

Lastly, I want him out of the flat. Does he have any rights? He has been violent in the past (one time he hit me, but there's no record or evidence. I do have an e-mail written by him relaying the time a month or so ago when he punched a mirror though). How expensive would a court order be?

He has parasitic rights to be here (he is a US citizen) because he married me. Upon divorce, do these get taken away?

I would be ever so grateful for any advice and I'm so sorry this post is so long, I just wanted to convey as factual a picture as possible. Thank you.

ThunderInMyHeart Sat 16-Mar-13 12:43:20

Sorry, also, I hope to file and be the petitioner. Likelihood of getting costs back, and what costs would these be? Just the court filing fee or perhaps something towards the cost of a solicitor drafting a settlement agreement, if we didn't have to resort to a full-on court process?

ThunderInMyHeart Sat 16-Mar-13 12:52:59

Again, sorry! I'm hoping that his vast savings and the short length of marriage will mean it would be highly unlikely that I would have to pay him maintenance? Also, I've been told by one lawyer that I shouldn't worry about DH trying to contest the £22k lump sum payment? It would obviously be disproportionate to call a forensic accountant in to work out exactly who spent what.

For further context, DH hates litigation. When his father died, he was wrapped up in 6 years of probate court and dispute, so I know DH wants to avoid lawyers/battles.

I've said to him that if he pays me a lump sum of £8,000 (£3k for the rent he owes and £5k for my dad's labour on the house) I would call it a day. Do you think I could get more (but without incurring disproportionate legal fees)?

Collaborate Sat 16-Mar-13 13:58:07

In these kind of cases you tend to get back what you paid in. Certainly it seems the house proceeds should be shared, but how shared will depend on the relative value of your contributions.

You won't have to pay him maintenance.

If there's a possibility of issuing in America you need advice from lawyers in both jurisdictions. You may also need to act promptly to secure the jurisdiction of your choice.

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