Laying Down the Law: 'Unfair' Divorce Settlement

I GOT married 20 years ago and I am now facing divorce. I had my own flat worth £29,000 before I got married. I am now being told I cannot claim this amount back in any settlement. The house we have just now would be sold and split 50/50. This seems totally unfair. I have two boys from a previous relationship and feel they are entitled to some compensation or something.

IF you had kept your property in your own name, and bought a separate family home with your spouse the old property would be excluded from account. But as you used the proceeds of its sale and bought a family home, the new property was matrimonial. The court can see if there is anything about the source of the funds that makes it appropriate to recognise the source of the funds, but after such a long marriage it is less likely that you could claim reimbursement. Your children’s expectations are not relevant in a Scottish divorce.

I LOST my mum recently and was told I am not on the will but my brother is through I am the eldest. Before my stepfather died I had been told I was on my mother’s will. Can I contest it now?

BEING eldest child has no significance. If your mum’s estate is money, shares, insurance, these are what’s called moveable property and you are entitled to legal rights over part even if not mentioned in the will. You don’t have a claim on a house. You do need detailed legal advice. And you are entitled to know how the estate is divided up so you can make an informed choice as to claiming legal rights.

I BOUGHT a house with my fiancée but we have split up. I want to sell but she won't move out. She says that as she is paying half the mortgage she has the right to stay there.

SHE cannot forever keep you locked into what is now no more than a bad property deal. If she will not buy you out and take over the whole mortgage you can take her to court in an action of division and sale. The sheriff will sell the house over her head and charge her the court costs.

I TOOK out a personal loan some years ago. I missed one payment of £275 as I was on holiday. I had also moved house though told the lender. The lender got debt collectors who reported that they had traced me still living at my old address. The bank is suing me for the unpaid amount and interest, though they are the ones who have fouled up by trying to contact me at the wrong address.

YOU are due to pay the money, so they are entitled to a decree against you. But if you seek a time to pay direction (see the court forms) before they can get it, you can get the court to order the level of payment and as long as you stick to it there will be no enforcement possible. As they have raised the action based on their own incompetence in failing to record your change of address, you can ask the court not to award any costs against you.

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