Financial statement - mediators won't include loan from son's school account as a liability to be repaid?

(5 Posts)
araucana Mon 17-Feb-14 07:18:38

Can anyone offer advice on this as I'm at my wits end and feeling rather persecuted and upset by my experiece of mediation so far? It would be good to get some neutral perspectives.

Apologies - some condensed background before my query!
Trying to divorce my husband who has been dating half of southern England for the past 4 years, despite being past retirement age. Finances are very complex - I am self-employed on a low and variable income, my husband has a pension, we have a 15 yr old son in a private school and a large country house which has been on the market for over 2 years with an equally huge mortgage. As things have unravelled I have discovered that my husband has massive debts and chronically overspends, and for the past 2 years I have taken on paying the mortgage, bills and our sons expenses owing to a small inheritance, which seems likely to be entirely used up by the time the house sells.

I'm now embroiled in a complex mediation process in which the mediators seem overly concerned about listing my husbands various debts as liabilities, expecting me to pay half without evidence I am responsible for the expenditure, but there is no recognition that my £50,000 inheritance will have gone on mortgage and bills since separation. My husband has just inherited £185,000 and they are suggesting we simply ignore the inheritances as equal, pay off his debts and split the house 50/50 once sold, with no provision for my son. This is because my husband is retired - but my income is currently only £600 a month more than his and I'm paying over £4000 monthly to cover house & school costs. Oh, and he has some private pension and I have none with about 11 years left to work.

When my son started at his school in 2009, my aunt gave £68,000 (put in a joint account in her name and mine) for his education, to provide some stability. Around that time my husband disclosed he/we had around £60,000 in debts, so with my aunt's agreement we borrowed £40,000 from the school fund with a written agreement to repay it by 2016 including £12,000 interest as it seemed to make sense to pay interest to the school fund rather than credit card companies. A year later our mortgage trebled and we stopped making monthly repayments, agreeing to repay the rest of the debt when the house was sold.

At the beginning of 2011 I discovered my husband's infidelity and we technically separated. My aunt died in 2012. Now we are divorcing, but although I consider repayment of this remaining £46,000 debt to the school account fundamental to my son's security, the mediators refuse to include it on the list of liabilities. They seem to have misunderstood the situation completely. Their latest communication says:
"The loan was effectively paid off, following (aunts) death as (araucana) was the beneficiary of the will. We understand that there is an issue in relation to the transfer of £40,000 from the loan account to the joint account in November 2009. As we understand it (araucana) believes that this money was used by (husband) to pay off personal debts. (Husband) asserts it was used for general household expenses."

In 2009 I was happy to accept debts as joint, although I dispute later debts after separation. The mediators seem to have misunderstood the gift as a loan for schooling and regard it as simply written off as I inherited from my aunt - completely releasing my husband from responsibility for repaying half of the £46,000 for our son - while expecting me to pay off half of the £70,000 debts my husband has acquired since!

There is good evidence that the school account has only been used for son's education, and I have stated things clearly, but the mediators say they will not enter into email correspondence about points and either we accept the financial statement as they have put it or give up on mediation. I'm terrified of paying £300 an hour to solicitor as I have house to pay for with dwindling resources...

Any advice please? the whole experience seems so unfair - I thought law was about protecting the interests of parents caring for children?

Thanks....

millymolls Mon 17-Feb-14 08:54:27

i'd post on legal - have you actually got a solicitor (a good one?)

Sorry I've no experience on this but did not think it was up to the mediators to come up with anything financial - they are they to try to facilitate a conversation and agreement aren't they? Personally I would stop mediation and deal with a good solicitor only from now on - and if settlement cannot be reached get it to court.

Sorry, not much help but hopefully someone with experience will be along soon

araucana Mon 17-Feb-14 12:37:02

Thanks millymolls - it's good simply to get other views as I'm feeling fairly unsupported in this at present. Is it ok to post the same topic in different threads? The mediators seem extremely dogmatic about what can and can't go into the financial statement, and to be dictating to us much of the time. My husband is fairly hostile and reluctant to provide evidence, but all the things the mediators send out seem to ignore my needs and only consider his. I'm getting the impression it would have been best not to pay off my debts as they seem to count, not the fact that I am haemorrhaging £4000 a month to stop the house bing repossessed....

nlondondad Mon 17-Feb-14 18:39:31

Arucana,

Yes, you can post in more than one place, but I would suggest that you will get more responses if you can shorten your post to the essentials. What I believe you are looking for is advice on, and other peoples experiences of the mediation process in divorce and its application to reaching a financial settlement between the parties. Also bear in mind that many Mumsnet users, use mobile phones these days which gives them a limited appetite for long posts.

Also if you can break your query down into several, seperate posts, put in over a period of time, that works better.

So I think you would get more information if you were to post in legal a question like

"Does anyone know what principles divorce mediators generally use when deciding how to divide matrimonial assets? The case in question involves a couple where the Husband has run up large debts over the years, often on credit cards, and is now retired with a reliable, but modest pension. The wife (arucana) is self employed but with a unreliable income. But does not have debts. It has been agreed that our 15 year old child will live with me. There is a matrimonial house which we both agree needs to be sold as soon as possible, as it has a large mortgage, and it is quite a large house in the country, in other circumstances quite enviable, but in these a further drain on my resources, (he has moved out). We have had it on sale for a while, but when it does sell it should free up some money, but then question then is, how should that be divided as well."

nlondondad Mon 17-Feb-14 18:41:51

Then do your question about the schools fee money seperately.

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