How to get Justice

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DirtyHabit | 10:26 Thu 23rd Mar 2006 | Business & Finance
4 Answers
Several years ago my sister, her husband bought a house with a mortgage from a bank. Within a few months the husband left and they are now divorced. Since leaving, he has paid not a single penny towards, either the mortgage or support of his daughter.
Eventually the bank repossesed the property and it has been sold but she has been told by the bank that as both names are on the mortgage, the balance will be shared between both parties and that she cannot receive her half until her ex Husband comes forward and claims his share. Niether the bank or my sister have any idea where he is living..............
If there was any justice, he should not get a penny, but it cannot be right that she is prevented from receiving her share. Both her and her daughter are homeless and having to stay with any friend that can offer them a roof.
Any ideas ????


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Tell your sister to contact her local Social Services office. I am sure she must be entitled to some kind of State support in the situation in which she finds herself. Alternatively her local Citizens Advice Bureau, which she will be able to locate in the Yellow Pages may be able to give her some advice on how to proceed. I think issues like hers can be notoriously lengthy to resolve so she should seek help as quickly as possible.

She can track down her husband searching the electoral role. There are web sites that provide basic information for free. Put his full name into the system and see what comes back. There will, probably, be a fair number of "possibles" if she doesn't specify a geographic area, and of course it will only work if he is actually on the electoral role.

It does seem unfair that someone who never contributed to either the family home of the welfare of his daughter should profit from this, but sadly that's the way it is.

The divorce should not have been made absolute without the financial aspects being settled - including who was to have the house, or in what proportions it should be shared. It is not necessarily 50:50 - it depends on the judgement of the Court if the two parties did not agree. She needs to go back to the divorce documents to see what they say - if necessary go to the solicitor who acted for her in the divorce. If it is anything other than a 50:50 split produce the document to the bank as evidence.

There doesn't seem to be any logical reason why the bank should keep her share until the ex is found. She should get the bank's formal complaints procedure and follow it - going to the Banking Ombudsman if necessary. When they do pay it to her, they should add interest from the date they had the money up to the date she gets it. (Alternatively, if she can get legal aid or can afford it she can ask a solicitor to take it up with the bank.)

Tell your sister to make a County Court application with an 'exparte' hearing (without the other side present) - she will be exempt for court fees as this is means tested.
Hope this helps.

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