Divorce with NO settlement agreement
I was divorced 10 years ago. No children were born of the marriage. Just prior to our short marriage, we bought a house that was registered in both our names. The divorce was finalized about 2 -3 years into paying the bond. My ex has been living in the house ever since, and we have had no contact at all.
There was a settlement agreement, signed by both parties, which was lost by the attorney at the time, so was never made an order of the court. This agreement stated that my ex would pay me an amount every month as maintenance for a period of 2 years, to help me get on my feet, and he would pay me back all the loan money I was owing to banks (beside the bond) that I had spent on the house, and the house would be transferred into his name.
Of course, none of the above happened as the agreement went missing, and the divorce was finalized by another lawyer, with NO settlement agreement in place. This resulted in me having to pay back my debt for the house that he was, and still is living in, in addition to paying my own rent. He only paid me maintenance for 3-4 months, which caused unimaginable financial strain, as I have a son of my own.
He called me saying that he has now paid off the bond and he needs my signature for the house to be transferred from the bank into our names.
I have a few questions:
1. As I am still a 50% owner of the house, am I entitled to half it’s current value, or half the value at the date of divorce?
2. What happens if I don’t sign the papers to transfer the property from the bank?
3. What happens should he die?
4. He is remarried – how does this affect me as part-owner of the house (they are living in it)?
5. He hasn’t paid me any sort of ‘rent’ in all the time he has lived in the house, despite the fact that I had to pay my rent while paying off debts for the house. Do I have any claim regarding this?
I do apologize for the long story, and I am sincerely hoping that you have some helpful advice for me.
Thanking you in advance.
I understand that the previous attorney misplaced the settlement agreement but why did you not insist that the agreement be incorporated in the settlement drafted by the new attorney who consequently finalised the divorce? Of course you signed the divorce papers fully aware of the content. Fixed property: though agreement concerning its division was not incorporated in the divorce decree, you are a joint owner and entitled to 50% share. He cannot sell the property without your written consent no matter how he tries. NEVER! You may propose to him that the property be sold and the proceeds divided. If he refuses, you can approach a lawyer to make application to court for the division of the property.
In the event of death, his 50% share of the property will go into his estate and yours comes to you. His executor cannot distribute it without your consent.
Yes, by virtue of the fact that he had been occupying the house without paying you rent, he has been unjustly enriched. However, he may counter your claim by saying he paid off the bonds without your contribution, been responsible for municipal bills, levies, taxes, etc, without your contribution.