Consent Order and Remortgaging with Ex-wife
Hi, first post from a first time member. Some great info on this forum, and I'm hoping that more might come my way!
I have been divorced from the ex for over 2 years now, and separated for 5. We have been largely amicable on pretty much everything, including my child access for the 2 kids we share. I make all necessary payments in terms of maintenance, and also pay for some extra stuff like school uniform, school trips, etc. She pays the joint mortgage as I am unable to (and not particularly willing as I don't live there) and is not in a position to release me from it. The financial settlement is the major sticking point - specifically what will happen with the family home.
We went through mediation over 2 years ago now, and after many sessions came to an agreement on the family home. After months of this protracted mediation, and before the ink was barely dry, she decided she didn't like it after all and so refused to proceed with a consent order.
Things have been in limbo since then, but are now coming to a head. I previously have done my best to make things easier for her by consenting to remortgaging onto a lower rate to keep her monthly payments down. The current deal ends shortly, after which the monthly repayments will go up very substantially if not renewed onto a cheaper deal.
I am refusing to agree to remortgaging with her while she is still steadfastly refusing to engage with getting the consent order done. If I did this, I would find myself yet again remortgaging with her for the next few years and she would once again have no incentive to move on with the consent order. I've tried everything to help her understand that all I want is clarity and certainty for the future, and that this also provides the same for her, but to no avail. I have no reason or interest in trying to force her from the family home, and am more than happy for her to continue living there for several years yet providing a home for our children.
I suppose I have two questions. Firstly, is there anything in law that can compel me to remortgage rather than letting it revert to a standard variable rate? Secondly, am I right to refuse this until she engages with getting a consent order in place?
There is nothing to compel you to remortgage. The mortgage will just revert to a variable rate. The problem to let it revert to a variable rate is that she may become nasty and block access to your children to pressure you back. It will cost you a lot to get access via the courts. A lot of money and suffering. Why doesn't she want to sign the consent order?
@edpacket , thanks for the reply. I think she's under the mistaken belief that the longer she leaves it the better the outcome for her. I've tried explaining it to her, but because she can't afford to take legal advice all she hears is my explanation of things which she is inclined to disbelieve. My solicitor has been urging her to take some legal advice, convinced that this would help her see sense.
My children are old enough that they wouldn't allow her to restrict access I don't think. One of them already intends to move in with me in a few months.
I think I'm pretty magnanimous in agreeing to remortgage with her, given that I don't have to. It keeps her monthly payments low and helps keep her in the house for at least another 6 years (until the youngest finishes full time further education). I am resigned to having to wait that long to receive my share of the value of the house (it's been 5 years already). in the meantime, I'm unable to remortgage in my own name and address my housing needs. But I'll happily put up with all that provided she agrees a consent order and gives us both future certainty.
All’s against you in the eye of the court children come first legal advise well if she goes down the root of DV because your obstructing then it will become a lot worse , my x went that way for me it’s a waiting game until they come of age
my advise tread carefully
Nothing to compel you to remortgage, legally you don't have to. If the kids are old enough and contact being restricted isn't a worry then in my view your main issue will be that as the mortgage is joint then if she stops paying it saying that she can't afford the payments on the variable rate then you are also liable, the bank will chase you and it will impact your credit rating.. If it goes into arrears it will be then it will be difficult to remortgage as credit rating will have dropped..
If credit rating isn't an issue then doing this may force her to agree to a consent order..
All the best.
@Daddyup , thanks for the reply. Her first reaction when I refused to remortgage until the consent order was sorted was to threaten to default on the payments.
This seems an empty threat to me. Surely if payments couldn't be met the house would be sold, rather than lose the investment of a couple of decades just to spite me? There's loads of equity in the property that would be crazy to give away voluntarily by letting the lender simply repossess it.
I guess I'm keen that if anything goes the legal route, I'm not seen as trying to bully or blackmail her into something. It isn't the case, but I can't think it's sensible for me to remortgage without that consent order.
I'd agree with you, however, she may assume that you will cover the payments. Also if there are any children under 18 then the bank will be reluctant to repossess and it would be a long drawn out process.
Is there any reason you haven't applied for a Financial Order upon divorce which would achieve what you are looking for via the courts? If she doesn't agree to a consent order then the court will decide for you both. Probably go with what you are suggesting.
@Daddyup , that's a good question. I don't think she'd be foolish enough to think I'd be able to cover the mortgage payments (but you never know). I note what you say about the lenders potential reluctance to repossess where kids are resident and I hadn't considered that as a factor.
The affordability, for her, of living there has been getting harder and harder as the years pass by. She works part-time by choice when there is no need as the kids are both teens, and what with the rising cost of living and utilities etc, I think she's being squeezed. The mortgage reverting to SVR is likely to be a defining moment, and there is the possibility of rising interest rates looming if inflation persists.
As to why I haven't applied for a Financial Order, ultimately I was hoping to avoid court. My solicitor advised against it wherever possible due to cost and stress, and I've been strung along by the ex who has dangled the possibility of the Consent Order before snatching it away again. Hence my belief that this wrangle over the remortgage might bring her to her senses and get something agreed. We shall see, I guess.
Thanks for the thoughts, very helpful.