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Thread: Parents joint mortgage, divorced, and pension credit

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  1. #1
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    Default Parents joint mortgage, divorced, and pension credit

    Hi there
    My problem is rather a messy one which im hoping someone can shed some light on.
    My parents have been divorced for nearly 30 years. They were tenents of a public house before my mother left to live 200 miles away in kent with another man. During their marriage (not long before my mother left) they took out a joint mortgage on a house to have a 'roof' to fall back on should we find ourselves with nowhere to live when the time came to leave the pub buisness.
    My mother left saying she didnt want half of anything and she didn't need it as her new fella was financially well off.
    My dad very stupidly didn't get this in writing via a solicitor and took her word for it.
    She had never lived in the property not even an overnight stay, however my dad has spent a lot of money on it over the years and has now been living there for 15-20 years. He has not been able to move on as her name was still on the mortgage, not even be able to get a new boiler without her permission as he is now on pension credit. The authorities take care of the interest on the mortgage and dad pays the rest.
    Now for the messy part.
    My mothers partner had died just over a year ago and she moved back to her home town where i reside and she found herself homeless so i took her in and applied for a bungalow from the housing association.
    Being on the mortgage before all this happened seemed to suit her as in the back of her mind "she still has half a house to fall back on"
    However now she has pension credit and housing benifit (similar to my dad)
    She now wants her name taken off the mortgage incase it affect her benifits entitlement. If this happens my dad will not be given a mortgage on his own given his status and age which will leave him homeless.
    What i want to know is
    Will being on the mortgage affect my mothers entitlment to benifits even though my dad is in the same position as her (finacially)?
    Is she really classed as a joint owner even if she's never stayed in the property?
    I cannot find a simple answer anywhere. My dad has been to a solicitor and it will cost £500 to take her name off. But the halifax wont allow my dad to take on the mortgage alone because he isn't deemed fit enough. But my stubborn selfish mother is demanding her name is taken off.
    What legal rights does my dad have in terms of protecting himself against her and what rights does she have?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Parents joint mortgage, divorced, and pension credit

    what were the terms of the divorce settlement?

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    Default Re: Parents joint mortgage, divorced, and pension credit

    Quote Originally Posted by Debt Camel View Post
    what were the terms of the divorce settlement?
    As far as im aware it was just standard divorce procedure. The court had proberbly granted half the finacial burdens aswell as half the financial gains to each party. My dad just asked the court for a divorce and didn't go through a solicitor to do it. My mother however had not paid a penny towards the mortgage since she left. Before then it was paid jointly for a couple of years.

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    Default Re: Parents joint mortgage, divorced, and pension credit

    Is the mortgage interest only? I assume so as otherwise it would have been repaid by now. In that case when does it end?

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    Default Re: Parents joint mortgage, divorced, and pension credit

    Quote Originally Posted by Debt Camel View Post
    Is the mortgage interest only? I assume so as otherwise it would have been repaid by now. In that case when does it end?
    I have no idea to be honest. I know there is £30,000 left owing on the mortgage. If my dad dies they will go in persuit of my mother to pay the remainder. She is not in a position to pay it either. In addition to this she declared she had no property when she claimed her pension credits. She's affraid now she has commited fraud and wants her name gone leaving my dad up s**t street without a paddle so to speak.

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    Default Re: Parents joint mortgage, divorced, and pension credit

    Well it isn't going to be possible to remove your mum's name from the mortgage. The lender isn't going to do it and she can't make them.

    But if I am right that this is an interest only mortgage, then it will be ending soon. So what does your dad have in mind to happen then? I am sorry but they are going to have to have an adult conversation about this.
    Last edited by Debt Camel; 28th November 2016 at 18:44:PM.

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    Default Re: Parents joint mortgage, divorced, and pension credit

    Thanks for your reply. Im glad she cannot remove her name, does this mean she will get into trouble with the dwp for having her name on the deeds without informing them? She never thought of it untill now.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Plus my dad just plans to live there for the end of his years.

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    Default Re: Parents joint mortgage, divorced, and pension credit

    She should have declared on her pension credit application that she owns part of a property. Unless she thought her name had been taken off after the divorce? That could explain why she didn't.

    If there is an interest only mortgage and it is ending soon, he probably can't carry on living there - the mortgage lender does not have to offer him another mortgage.

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    Default Re: Parents joint mortgage, divorced, and pension credit

    Quote Originally Posted by Debt Camel View Post
    She should have declared on her pension credit application that she owns part of a property. Unless she thought her name had been taken off after the divorce? That could explain why she didn't.

    If there is an interest only mortgage and it is ending soon, he probably can't carry on living there - the mortgage lender does not have to offer him another mortgage.
    My dad has paid most of the mortgage himself (including interest) but when he found himself out of work and was put on a state pension with pension credit. The council helped him pay a part of the mortgage. It is not just an interest only mortgage. In the event of his death the council will take back they're share which will be a small percentage i think. When my mother applied for pension credit she never gave the property a thought because in her mind it was long gone. I had her living with me after she was left destitute by the man who knew he had a terminal illness for 10 years prior to his end, and who left me to pick up the pieces. I wanted her out of my house quickly, got her on the housing waiting list and 8 months later she got a bungalow. I rushed it and her, as it was a desperate situation. A solicitor advised my dad not to change anything on the deeds as its not worth doing and a mortgage wont be possible alone. But not sure about my mother who is now kicking off about getting her name off the deeds in case she gets in trouble.
    Sorry its very confusing and i forget all the details as its so complicated.
    We sound like a disfuncyionl ozzy osbourne family but we're really quite civilised 😂

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    Default Re: Parents joint mortgage, divorced, and pension credit

    Dear Vicky 7211,

    It does all sound quite complicated and I am sure that both your parents have acted as they thought was right ie your mum does not see herself as having half the property. I am assuming that the divorce went ahead but that they did not get an order of the court detailing how the finances should be distributed. If this is the case claims can still be made many years later.

    The difficulty is that if two people legally own a property and there is nothing else put in place (ie a trust stating your Dad has a right to all the money in the house) then as far as the authorities are concerned they have a legal right to half the property. I am not quite sure why or how the council paid some of the mortgage.

    I am a great believer in gathering information and so here are some suggestions, you may have already investigated some of these:-
    1. Can your parents agree now what should happen with the finances?
    2. Can the property be sold, the mortgage paid off and a smaller property bought?
    3. Both your parents are in a very difficult situation. I cannot say for sure that all or any benefits would be affected by the ownership of the house but I would hazard a guess that this is very likely. The rules are being tighten all the time and it is quite understandable for your mother to want her name off the property. she certainly must declare this asset or I would have thought her application would be fraudulent.
    4. As has been stated once the term of the mortgage ends the mortgage company can demand the full payment and so usually a sale or new mortgage has to happen. This will be the case even if your mother stays on the mortgage if the capital sum is not repaid. If the capital sum is repaid then of course your parents will own the house.
    5. Occasionally a mortgage company will agree to transfer a property into one spouse's name and leave the mortgage in the name of both spouses but why in fairness to your mother would she want this. If the mortgage is not paid she will be chased by the bank.
    6. If your mum's circumstances are really desperate and there is money in the property she may have a claim, all be it I would suggest probably a very small one. Divorce settlements are not based on contribution ( your mum has contributed her mortgage raising capacity) but on the needs of both parties.

    Lots of family lawyers will give a free or fixed fee initial appointment and may be able to help further. To find some one near you please try www.resolution.org.uk. and while there is very limited legal aid available there is some for mediation if that was going to be helpful.


    Good Luck!

    Fiona C
    I work for Howlett Clarke Solicitors. Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any advice I provide is without liability. If you are unsure please seek formal legal guidance.

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