As divorce solicitors for many of our London and UK clients paying high interest mortgages, we are asked the question ‘do I have to pay child maintenance and the mortgage on the family home?’. There is no straight answer. It all depends on your financial and personal circumstances. That is why, if you separate from a partner, you need to get legal advice from the divorce solicitors that will provide the best outcome both for their London clients and throughout the UK.
It is understandable that partners want to know what they will have to pay for if they go ahead with a separation or divorce or leave the family home. Getting expert advice from a top London divorce solicitor is crucial. However, divorce solicitors need information before they can answer the question. After all, you would not expect a car mechanic to be able to diagnose the fault in your car without first looking under the bonnet. family law is just the same, preparation is key to get the correct legal answer.
How can OTS Solicitors help?
If you are worried about whether you will need to pay child support and the mortgage on the family home or are concerned about how much financial support you will get if you separate from your partner, the best way forward is to take independent legal advice from a specialist London divorce and family finance solicitor. Our divorce and family finance team can guide you through your options.
For a confidential discussion on how OTS Solicitors can help you please call us on 0203 959 9123.
Do I have to pay the mortgage?
To answer the question ‘do I have to pay the mortgage?’ divorce solicitors need to have answers to questions such as:
● Are you married to your ex-partner or in a civil partnership? Or are you in a cohabiting relationship;
● Do you own the family home in your sole name? Or do you own it jointly with your ex-partner;
● Are you named on the mortgage? You could be a party to the mortgage document or a guarantor to the mortgage;
● Is a member of your family a guarantor to the mortgage;
● Is there a signed cohabitation agreement or deed of trust or prenuptial agreement? Does the agreement say what happens if you separate from your ex-partner and who keeps the family home and who pays the outgoings and mortgage on the family home ;
● Has either you or your ex-partner left the family home? If so, are you paying rent? How much is the rent;
● Is the mortgage an interest only mortgage? Alternatively, is it a repayment mortgage? Are there any linked endowment policies;
● How much are the mortgage payments;
● Would the mortgage company agree to a mortgage holiday without your credit rating being affected;
● Are you already paying spousal maintenance to your estranged husband or wife on a voluntary basis or under a court order;
● How much is your income and how much is your ex-partner’s income? What are your current financial commitments and essential expenditure?
You can see from this list of questions that the answer to whether you should pay the mortgage is not a quick yes or no. The answer is not always clear-cut, as it will depend on the status of your relationship, the way you own the family home and your financial situation.
Why is the status of a relationship relevant?
Top London divorce solicitors are quizzed on why it matters if you are married or living together. This question must be asked as it makes a big difference to the financial support that could be ordered.
A cohabitee or former cohabitee cannot apply to court for spousal maintenance. A spouse can apply to court for spousal maintenance. The court can order that spousal maintenance is paid on a temporary, short-term or long-term basis. A former spouse can only apply to court for spousal maintenance if they have not remarried. Remarriage stops spousal maintenance claims from a first spouse.
Do I have to pay child support on top of the mortgage payments?
To answer the question ‘do I have to pay child support on top of the mortgage payments?’ the best London divorce solicitors need to have answers to these questions:
● Are the children your biological children or step children;
● Do you have any other children that you financially support;
● Do you have a new partner? If so, do they have children;
● Do any of the children you are financially supporting have a disability;
● Are you paying child maintenance under an assessment by the child maintenance service (CMS);
● Are you paying financial settlement to a former partner under a global spousal maintenance and child support court order?
These questions and others have to be asked as people lead increasingly complicated lives with different family structures. The information does have an impact on how much financial support is paid.
The family home
It is important for a an experienced divorce solicitor with the intention of producing the best results for his or her cleint, to ask about ownership of the family home and to consider credit rating issues.
If you are a joint or sole owner of the family home and there is a mortgage, then non-payment of the mortgage could affect your credit rating. That applies whether or not you are living at the family home or have moved out and your ex-partner is living there.
It is important to maintain your credit rating as the mortgage company may not agree to the mortgage on a jointly owned family home being transferred out of joint names into one partner’s name if there are or have been mortgage arrears.
If you cannot get the home transferred into your ex-partner’s name and your name released from the mortgage, then you may find that you cannot get another mortgage company to offer you a new mortgage to buy a new property.
If you have a mortgage, it is essential that both you and your ex-partner think about the potential long-term consequences of not agreeing who will pay the mortgage on the family home on your credit rating.
Who pays the mortgage on the family home if you are paying child maintenance under a CMS assessment?
If you are paying child support under a CMS assessment, you may think that your child support payments should cover the mortgage on the house as well as food and utility bills.
The answer may depend on the status of your relationship:
• Unmarried: If you are not married to the child’s parent and the family home is owned in their sole name (rather than in joint names or your name), then all you are legally obliged to pay is the child support amount. However, if you are a high earner your ex-partner could apply for top up child support from the court or they could apply to court on behalf of the child for housing help.
• Married: If you are married to the child's parent then it does not matter who owns the family home. If the child support does not cover the mortgage payments and household bills, your ex-spouse could apply for spousal maintenance. To make a decision on whether spousal maintenance should be paid the court considers incomes and reasonable outgoings and needs.
Special expenses variation and child support
If you pay child support under a CMS assessment and the mortgage on the home you used to live in with your ex-partner, then if your ex and the child are still living at the home you can ask the CMS to carry out a special expenses variation.
A special expenses variation may reduce the amount of the child support. The variation application will only be successful if the person paying child support does not have a legal or beneficial interest in the home.
How can OTS Solicitors help?
It is impossible to look at every scenario when answering the question “do I have to pay the mortgage and child support” in a blog post. We have briefly looked at a few potential scenarios to give a clearer idea of why information is needed before a top London or even an international divorce solicitor to give accurate advice.
It pays to take expert legal advice from a top London divorce solicitor as often spouses either pay too much in financial support (so their ex-partner is not willing to voluntarily sell the family home) or too little (so there is an application made for spousal maintenance and other financial claims). Taking expert legal advice from a top London divorce solicitor can help determine whether, in your family and property circumstances, you should pay both child support and the mortgage.
For advice and legal support on child support, financial settlement and property claims please call me on 0203 959 9123 for a confidential discussion about how OTS Solicitors can help you.
Posted on: Thursday, 27 December, 2018