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Financial Issues This forum is for discussing any of the financial issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 09-22-2010, 11:51 PM
ARealPuzzle ARealPuzzle is offline
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Question It's Complicated... Please Help!

This situation is complicated. I’ve included an overview of relevant information which will become clearer once you have read the situation.

I’ll refer to my parents as P1 and P2, myself as M and my fiancé/husband as X.

We all live in British Columbia.

Overview:
- Gross wages: I made $40,000.00 per year. My husband made approximately $11.30 per hour and works 40 hours a week.

- Property assessments:
- 2007: $321,000.00 (Land $112,000.00, buildings: $209,000.00)
- 2008: $385,000.00 (Land $161,000.00, buildings: $224,000.00)
- 2009: $591,000.00 (Land $168,000.00, buildings: $423,000.00)
- 2010: $620,000.00 (Land $171,000.00, buildings: $449,000.00)

- Mortgage:
- 2007 (in P1, P2, M, X names): $317,500.00: $280,000.00 for M&X, $37,500.00 for P1&P2.
- 2008 (in P1, P2, M, X names): $347,500.00: $310,000.00 for M&X, $37,500.00 for P1&P2.
- 2010 (in P1, P2 names): $316,000.00: $283,000.00 for M&X, $33,000.00 for P1&P2.

Here is the situation:
2007: My fiancé and I are unmarried and not living together. We had looked for a place to purchase to live, but found nothing suitable. My parents own a home on 2/3 of an acre and the land is zoned R2. Attached to their home is an indoor pool. They own the home free and clear, there is no mortgage on the property. I speak to my parents and they agree to let my fiancé and I tear down the pool room and build another home onto their existing home. The property would now go from a single family dwelling to a duplex. My parents will have to upgrade their existing home to match the new addition.

November 19, 2007: My fiancé and I are added to the existing title along with my parents. A construction mortgage is taken out for the new addition in all four names. The total mortgage is $317,500.00: My fiancés and my portion is $280,000.00 to cover the new addition and my parent’s portion is $37,500.00 to upgrade their existing home to match the new addition. To recap, the title and mortgage have P1, P2, M, and X on both.

November 2007: Draws start on the mortgage once construction begins.

December 2007: The first mortgage payment is due and I pay it from my fiancés and my joint chequing account. I move money from my personal savings account to the chequing account to make the payment. The total mortgage payment per month is $1,910.00: Mortgage payments for my fiancés and my portion are $1,700.00 per month and my parents pay $210.00 per month to cover their portion of the mortgage. I pay all subsequent mortgage payments of $1,700.00. My fiancé puts in approximately $1,000.00 per month to pay the bills. This situation continues until we separate.

April 26, 2008: The addition is completed and my fiancé and I move in.

June 25, 2008: The final bill is due for the addition and is more than we had originally planned for. We get an increase on the mortgage of $30,000.00 to pay the contractor. The new mortgage is $347,500.00: My fiancés and my portion of the mortgage is now $310,000.00. My parent’s portion remains at $37,500.00.

August 8, 2008: My fiancé and I are married.

January 31, 2010: I am laid off from work due to the economy and receive a severance package. I receive EI and look for a new job.

February 2010 – June 2010: I’m using my severance to supplement my EI to make the mortgage payments and the severance finally runs out. My husband’s contribution is not enough to supplement the mortgage payments and pay all the other bills.

June 2010: I speak to my parents about the financial trouble we are having. My parents agree to take over the mortgage and reduce the mortgage payment to help us out. The mortgage is now $316,000.00: My husband and my portion is $283,000.00 and my parent’s portion is $33,000.00. My husband and I would no longer qualify for refinancing (since I am now unemployed). We all agree to remove my husband and my names from the title and have my parents apply for the refinancing. The title is transferred into my parents name only for $1.00 consideration. They apply for the refinance and it is approved. The monthly mortgage payment of $1,910.00 is reduced to $1,040.00: $930.00 to cover our old portion and $110.00 to cover my parent’s portion. To recap, the title and mortgage now only have P1 and P2 on both.

July 10, 2010: My husband asks me if I want a divorce and I say yes. He leaves the home on foot saying that his car and cell phone are mine since I paid for them. He leaves everything behind including his wedding ring. Later that night he phones me and asks me to pick him up. I load his car with his clothes, shoes, medicines, toiletries, and cell phone and drop them off to him. I go home; he goes to his sister’s house.

July 2010: A week later all of his possessions are boxed and he picks them up in a moving van.

July 2010 – September 2010: I gave him any additional items he requested. I was more than reasonable with him.

I initiated a separation agreement through my lawyer. He obtained a lawyer and agreed to the terms of the separation except for one modification. This is an excerpt from the letter I got from his lawyer: “My client has a claim against the residence now owned by your client’s parents for his financial contribution over the two years to the mortgage for the improvements…. My client is prepared to accept $15,000.00 in exchange for a release against your client and her parents with respect to the matrimonial residence.”

I believe these are two separate issues: The separation agreement and the money from the home, since it was transferred prior to our separation and at the time I had no intention of divorcing him.

Here are my questions:
- Does he have a claim at all?
- Can he sue my parents for this money?
- Does this settlement have to be included with the separation agreement? And if so, is he entitled to half of the mortgage payments or half of the equity?

Any comments would be greatly appreciated. I feel that I may be missing something that could help this situation.
  #2  
Old 09-23-2010, 12:57 AM
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Yes he has a claim. He is entitled to a portion of the value of the home. He contributed more than 15K in the two years of marriage, and therefore I think that this is a reasonable settlement. The home is also valued more now, and will most likely increase in the future, and you will benefit because of that.

It may cost more to fight it in the long run. You may try to negotiate for less, but I think it would just make things more difficult. Cut your losses and move on, and remember the good times. No kids, therefore no reason to waste money fighting.

How much did you two put up build in the first place? If you contributed more than him, then you can use that to offset his amount.
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Old 09-23-2010, 09:38 AM
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If he decides to pursue it you will piss away that money in legal fees and/or the issue will drag on and on and on, creating stress for you and probably your parents.

The legality of his claim is so ripe for argument that I can just see the lawyers drooling over the billable hours: Parents on title, kids on title, did or he didn't contribute, take kids off title, argue about why, 1 month later you separate, did wife recklessly dispose of asset so close to separation, argue, argue, argue, billable hours up up and away.

Counter offer him $5K and be willing to settle for something b/w $5K and $15K. Consider it walking away money and be thankful his starting point is so low. Frankly, I'm surprised he didn't ask for way more. That's often how things work in this ridiculous game. Asking for something outrageous and settling for way less is the norm.
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Old 09-23-2010, 10:18 AM
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I don't think his request is outrageous, but maybe a bit inflated.

But you will waste way more fighting it than just settling with some money. You can either pay him or pay the lawyers. Offer less with cash in hand. Money talks!
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Old 09-23-2010, 11:52 AM
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lol...I know lawyers that would be chomping at the bit over the $1.00 consideration that would be legal argument of payment accepted for said asset...invalidating his claim.

Were there agreements signed to this effect?
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Old 09-23-2010, 01:15 PM
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I would speak to your lawyer about the claim, as I would fight it in your shoes, based on the fact that it was an asset that was sold prior to separation, at a value of a dollar...he wants his share? here's fifty cents, now bugger off
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Old 09-23-2010, 07:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InterprovincialParents View Post
I would speak to your lawyer about the claim, as I would fight it in your shoes, based on the fact that it was an asset that was sold prior to separation, at a value of a dollar...he wants his share? here's fifty cents, now bugger off
Yah by the time the lawyers are done all that will be left is 50cents
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Old 09-23-2010, 07:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwm1273 View Post
Yah by the time the lawyers are done all that will be left is 50cents

Sometimes less.
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