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Divorce, The House And House Prices


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I was having breakfast this morning in a cafe and got chatting to a bloke about... houses. No, not house prices but houses and divorce. I was quite shocked by what he told me, but it made pause for thought about how divorce can affect asking prices.

Basically he had bought a house outright several years ago using a mix of inheritance and cash that he worked and saved for.

He then met someone, had the whirl-world romance, fell in love and got married. Nearly 4 years later the love of his life asks for divorce and he has just been informed by the divorce court/judge that he has to give half his house to his soon to be ex-wife. Either he sells the house and gives her half or he has to find the cash to give to her. No kids in this marriage btw.

He told me that 3 or 4 years is the cut off point. Apparently if his spouse had asked for divorce before 3 years a divorce court judge would probably have let him keep the house entirely. But once you get up into the 3 to 4 year area then the house is then split 50 50 no matter whose name is on the deed, who bought and paid for the house, etc, etc.

He then told me of another story of a chap who had actually built his own luxury designer house on land he had bought. This guy had met a woman, married her, etc, just as he was finishing fitting out his nice new designer house. Both were divorcees from previous relationships and both had adult kids.

They were married for 8 years and then she wanted a divorce and, like the chap above, this chap had to give up half of his house. Basically had to go and find over 250K to buy his wife out of a house that he owned outright before he met her.

Worse for him, the land and building the house was not anywhere near 500K but once the house was built the market valuation is about 500K today so apparently he is now having to find more money to buy out his divorcing spouse than it cost him to buy the land and build the house. How nuts is that?

I know nothing about divorce so I do not know how realiable this info is. I am shocked by what I heard though and it made me go and do a swift google. It seems such stories are frighteningly common.

One point, this is not a saintly man versus scheming, evil woman thread.

I am sure it works in the opposite direction also where a woman owns a house outright and is forced to give up half to a divorcing spouse.

It has given me pause for thought about divorce and house prices. No doubt some of the above must factor into the ludicrous asking prices that we are seeing.

Edited by The Masked Tulip
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I was having breakfast this morning in a cafe and got chatting to a bloke about... houses. No, not house prices but houses and divorce. I was quite shocked by what he told me, but it made pause for thought about how divorce can affect asking prices.

Basically he had bought a house outright several years ago using a mix of inheritance and cash that he worked and saved for.

He then met someone, had the whirl-world romance, fell in love and got married. Nearly 4 years later the love of his life asks for divorce and he has just been informed by the divorce court/judge that he has to give half his house to his soon to be ex-wife. Either he sells the house and gives her half or he has to find the cash to give to her. No kids in this marriage btw.

He told me that 3 or 4 years is the cut off point. Apparently if his spouse had asked for divorce before 3 years a divorce court judge would probably have let him keep the house entirely. But once you get up into the 3 to 4 year area then the house is then split 50 50 no matter whose name is on the deed, who bought and paid for the house, etc, etc.

He then told me of another story of a chap who had actually built his own luxury designer house on land he had bought. This guy had met a woman, married her, etc, just as he was finishing fitting out his nice new designer house. Both were divorcees from previous relationships and both had adult kids.

They were married for 8 years and then she wanted a divorce and, like the chap above, this chap had to give up half of his house. Basically had to go and find over 250K to buy his wife out of a house that he owned outright before he met her.

Worse for him, the land and building the house was not anywhere near 500K but once the house was built the market valuation is about 500K today so apparently he is now having to find more money to buy out his divorcing spouse than it cost him to buy the land and build the house. How nuts is that?

I know nothing about divorce so I do not know how realiable this info is. I am shocked by what I heard though and it made me go and do a swift google. It seems such stories are frighteningly common.

One point, this is not a saintly man versus scheming, evil woman thread.

I am sure it works in the opposite direction also where a woman owns a house outright and is forced to give up half to a divorcing spouse.

It has given me pause for thought about divorce and house prices. No doubt some of the above must factor into the ludicrous asking prices that we are seeing.

And if you rent ?

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And if you rent ?

Yes, that was my first thought.

But I suppose it is assets that are split and the main asset is always the house.

You could, I suppose, be renting and one partner could have a huge wad of money in cash, or in shares, or in gold and silver, etc, etc. I assume, in such circumstances, those assets would be split 50 50.

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Prenup.

Yes i know its not technically legally binding in the UK. However in reality i believe it is almost as good as.

Because its going to be pretty difficult to argue against something you have happily signed up to under no duress with witnesses.

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I am sure it works in the opposite direction also where a woman owns a house outright and is forced to give up half to a divorcing spouse.

Not very often, as women are very canny and will not marry if they put themselves in financial vulnerability...men are way too naive..

New a woman once who took a string of wealthy men to the cleaners after short marriages,

So many in fact that when the latest chap got hooked and swept down the drive in a Mercedes, the gardner - she had a big front lawn - who had seen many come and go, said to me over the fence, nonchalantly,

In in a Mercedes, out in a Mini.

Edited by LiveinHope
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That's an eye-opener.

I always thought (and agreed with) the basic view that the assets accumulated during a marriage were split. So if during the marriage the man (usually but not always) builds a successful business, buys a house whilst his wife supports and looks after him then it is a joint enterprise and the assets are split. Maybe not 50:50 but the wife has significantly contributed even if the she hasn't actually been out earning.

That's the first time I've heard that the assets / house that you have accumulated entirely through your own efforts before getting married get split, I don't see how that can be justified. Everybody (men and women) should get a pre-nup listing the assets that they have before marriage, making it clear that they are their own and remain their own.

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Prenup.

Yes i know its not technically legally binding in the UK. However in reality i believe it is almost as good as.

Because its going to be pretty difficult to argue against something you have happily signed up to under no duress with witnesses.

They should be.

So should you take out a mortgage before getting married so therefore you don't own the property? Clearly a very profitable business deal for the person without assets and a very costly one for those with the assets.

The law needs improving on this area so those with assets have better protection. From what you said it sounds like the first guy got totally screwed over as they clearly waited for the minimum term to be up before asking for a divorce.

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What about cash, gold PMs, dividends, Pensions etc?

For balance I've heard and read plenty of stories about wealthy men using dirty accounting and other strategies to avoid paying divorced wives and their children anything at all. Enabling them to continue their lavish lifestyles whilst their families live in near squalor.

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In Portugal there are three types of marriage:

1. Everything shared from both before and during the marriage, so if there is a divorce it will all be split.

2. Only assets accumulated during the marriage are shared, the rest remains individual property.

3. No assets shared, whoever pays for something owns it.

When you get married you have to tick a box to say which one you want.

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I also know someone who had to remortgage his house after his wife asked for a divorce. The house was worth 200,000 and he also had a business which was valued at 200,000, he had no outstanding debts. Both the house and business were passed down to him from his father so he had the assets before he met his wife, although they were married for 20 odd years. So now he has a mortgage of 200K, all because his wife had an affair and then asked for a divorce.

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In Portugal there are three types of marriage:

1. Everything shared from both before and during the marriage, so if there is a divorce it will all be split.

2. Only assets accumulated during the marriage are shared, the rest remains individual property.

3. No assets shared, whoever pays for something owns it.

When you get married you have to tick a box to say which one you want.

Wow, that is interesting. Do people late claim to have ticked the wrong box? It has to be more than a tick in a box surely?

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What about cash, gold PMs, dividends, Pensions etc?

For balance I've heard and read plenty of stories about wealthy men using dirty accounting and other strategies to avoid paying divorced wives and their children anything at all. Enabling them to continue their lavish lifestyles whilst their families live in near squalor.

Yes, that happens. Very wrong IMPO.

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I also know someone who had to remortgage his house after his wife asked for a divorce. The house was worth 200,000 and he also had a business which was valued at 200,000, he had no outstanding debts. Both the house and business were passed down to him from his father so he had the assets before he met his wife, although they were married for 20 odd years. So now he has a mortgage of 200K, all because his wife had an affair and then asked for a divorce.

I just typed 'divorce half the house' into google and it brings up no end of examples of this kind of thing.

In one example I just found a chap who was claiming that a judge decided that he and his gf were co-habiting because they shared one of those discount car insurance schemes if you have 2 people insured at the same address.

The result, lost half the house. :blink:

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Wow, that is interesting. Do people late claim to have ticked the wrong box? It has to be more than a tick in a box surely?

Okay, well having never done it myself I don't know if you actually tick a box, I just know you have to tell the registrar which one you want and obviously both parties have to agree. I'd imagine they're pretty careful about it, Portuguese bureaucrats are generally real sticklers for perfection in form-filling.

My Portuguese friends described it as "choosing which box to tick" but they might have been joking... It's been the system for quite a long time now anyway so people are used to it and know how it works.

Edited by Dorkins
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Okay, well having never done it myself I don't know if you actually tick a box, I just know you have to tell the registrar which one you want and obviously both parties have to agree. I'd imagine they're pretty careful about it, Portuguese bureaucrats are generally real sticklers for perfection in form-filling. Maybe you fill in a different form. It's been the system for quite a long time now so people are used to it and know how it works.

It sounds very sensible in theory but I wonder how practical it is. What happens if one partner wishes to keep all assets from before the marriage and the other spouse wants to share everything? Presumably, the marriage does not happen.

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I've done some googling since getting in and apparently this is common. Prenups also can be ignored by a judge if the judge decides to do so, so they seem pretty ineffectual.

They CAN ignore it - but in reality i think they nearly always do not.

Main reason is it probably makes their job a lot easier for a start.

Also you can have a legally binding contract in the UK (correct me if i am wrong) based on only a verbal agreement.

So a judge ignoring a prenup would have to have a pretty serious reason to do so.

There must be some stats out there on how many of these are accepted once a divorce happens.

Worth doing either way. Having something written down in black and white that was agreed by both parties - is never going to be a bad thing to take to a divorce hearing . . .

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It sounds very sensible in theory but I wonder how practical it is. What happens if one partner wishes to keep all assets from before the marriage and the other spouse wants to share everything? Presumably, the marriage does not happen.

Yes, but isn't that a good thing? By forcing the couple to talk about this stuff up front it means everybody is going in with their eyes open after coming to an agreement, and if it does end in divorce then the outcome is the one you chose yourself, not the one and only option the state and the courts decided for you (other than not getting married).

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Obviously there are a wide range of opinions on this site, but there does seem to be a recurring theme of cognitive dissonance regarding this one:

  1. It would be better if women went back to being home-makers and raising children
  2. In the event of a divorce, the scheming bitch should get nothing she hasn't earned
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I've been saying for years, Im surprised any bloke with assets would get married.

Yes, when through no fault of your own you can lose half of everything that you have spent a lifetime working for. My concern is when judges start doing this for relationships that aren't marriages, because you can avoid getting married but other things just happen.

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