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AlchemistNZ

Joint UK Mortgage, divorced, now I live in NZ..

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Hi there I need some advice.. I have a joint mortgage in UK with my ex-wife (recently divorced)- we are amicable and the divorce was simple and uncomplicated. She left me, so I emigrated to New Zealand and have lived here for two and a half years. We bought the house in 2007 for £185k and it then rapidly dropped to £140k. I paid the mortgage until I left for NZ and now she pays all the mortgage. Current value £150k. We could not sell in 2009 due to a depressed market and the fact that we would make a loss on the house, so she stayed in the house with her new partner and I moved to NZ. However, I am still on the mortgage. I now have a Kiwi girl and am about to start a family but the financial liability in the UK is a concern. We want to buy some land and build a house and have chickens :-) My ex-wife went to the bank but they will not transfer the mortgage to her since the outstanding mortgage is too high for one person and her partner cannot take it due to his being tied up with another mortgage with his ex-partner.. They are starting a family too and are making the house good for baby. I cannot in good conscience force them to sell due to the fact that they are with child and neither of us would get any value from it. My concern really is what happens if for some reason she defaults on the payments and the bank repossess? Will the Bank chase me in NZ for the remainder of the debt? can they seize my assets in NZ? How bad a risk is this joint mortgage to my future in NZ? can this come back and bite me? The bank does not know my address in NZ, though I would not be too difficult to find through the IRD. Obviously I want off the mortgage deed in the UK, but there is no easy way of doing this until the house is sold, so I see this persisting 2..3..4 years in to the future.. and my Kiwi lady and I find this a concern. What I don't want to happen is that in four years time I get a knock on the door saying that I owe some thousands of pounds in mortgage debt. How can this be mitigated? Does it even need to be mitigated? I look forward to your advice and thoughts with rapt attention Many Thanks in advance Alchemist

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The truth is that they would go after the easiest target, which is your ex in the UK. They would have difficulty in gaining any court judgment in the UK against you, as you would not be around to defend any action. Without a UK court judgement, they could not go to a court in NZ to enforce the debt there. Then there are the costs of doing this.

 

In your situation, you would be wise to enter into any mortgage arrangement with your new partner in NZ if you eligible, while your UK credit record is in a decent state. A couple of years down the line, if your ex has problems with the mortgage while you are still linked, your record/ rating will take a dent. I am presuming that when you apply for any NZ credit, that they will ask for details of your UK credit record.

 

I would suggest that you write to the UK mortgage company to advise them of your NZ address and to advise them of your situation. Ask them what would be required to have you removed from the mortgage, being that you are no longer married to the other person on the mortgage and not resident in the UK. I don't think this will have any consequence for your ex, because if they are managing to pay the mortgage, they would just let it continue.


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