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Help urgently required : Family legal dispute/property


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Hi! I would be very grateful if someone out there - a legal beagle - could tell me what to do!! I have a rather complicated situation and need help urgently.

Eight years ago I moved to France with my husband and our three children, and bought a French farmhouse in need of a lot of renovation.  After 6months myhusband upped and left us and returned to the Uk leaving me with the three children, the renovation to do and precious little else. During his time with us here we had befriended a local man called Gilles - locanl to the village and oing up his house as we were. After my husband left I remained in contact with Gilles and after a year - once it was apparent that my husband had no intention of returning and the seperation was underway,etc , I started a relationship with Gilles.

So moving on....we have been living together for almost six years when - a week after my divorce finally cam through last May - Gilles did a moonlight flit. Went off without a word and wasn't heard from for three weeks. On returning he said that he wanted me and never wanted the gilrs and had had enough....

To cut a long story short I am left in the following position.

I have had to put my house on the market to sell to pay off the joint debts (incurred in part to renovating the property) which Gilles left when he left!

My house sale goes through at the end of Feb and Gilles insists that I not only pay the totality of all the debts (only a part are in my name but all are in his) but that I also pay half of the equity of the house (which has at all times been in only my sole name) over to him. When we met he had three houses in various states of repair _ only one was rented out. through living with me he has managed to renovate &  rent out the other, biggest one, and is at present living in the studio which is adjoining.

I am happy to pay half the debts but do not feel that I should have to pay him half the equity of the house. He has invested in my property but I have done likewise with his. He has benefitted from living with me and the children and me paying all the related house bills etc all this time. His contribution had been for food (but then he ate the lions share!) and one or two minor purchases amounting to a total, I think of not more then £5000. I stand to 'profit' from the sale by£150k at the most and this is not 'profit' as it is only what I originally put in (purchase price, original and later renovations) Out of this I will have to find and buy a new family home whilst all this time he retains full use and profit from his three properties. Am I being unreasonable to think that we should split the debts, each keep our own equity and walk away (relatively) unscathed. He is threatening to take me to court to gain 'his' share.

PLEASE help and advise me as I am at my wits end. I have tried desperately to do the decent thing but must think of my children. I cannot see what he is thinking of except that he is miffed because he now wants to come back and I have refused - the track record of his behaviour is so dicey I cannot put myself or my children through this.

Where do I stand legally - does anyone have any knowlezge of French law. We are not married, not pacced and he has until recently benefitted from extra salary using my three girls as 'collateral'   He assures me this is no longer the case but I don't know.

Thanks a lot!!

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Go and see an avocat gratuit, there will be list of when these are held at your local Tribunal, perhaps your or a local mairie or centre sociale would know.

Write everything down about the financial aspect to your relationship before seeing the lawyer, so you don't forget anything. And take the credit agreements too that you have signed up for. Also tell the lawyer what this bloke expects with regards to your property and the investment you have made in his property through your financial support.

My point of view is, as far as I can see you are only liable for half the debts of those things which are in your name. The rest is down to him. It isn't as if you are married. And the property is yours. Why would he think it were his.


ps how could he use your girls as collateral? I don't understand this. They aren't his children.

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I think the advice from ‘Teamedup’ is very sound. Make sure you list EVERYTHING as if he has been living with you, as a couple not a lodger, while doing up other property then possible the boot could be on the other foot – you could have a claim against his assets!

Good luck.


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