QLD Ex Has Stopped Paying Mortgage - What are My Legal Rights?

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23 September 2014
My ex moved out a year ago from a townhouse that we both purchased 6 years ago. He has just told me that he has seeked legal advice and that he doesn't have to pay for the mortgage any more as he doesn't live in the townhouse anymore. I live in the townhouse with our 8 year old son. Our agreement on day of purchase was to pay weekly as in he pays one week I pay the next and so on.

Before he left and after him leaving I have paid for the rates, body Corporate and water bills etc... I have also found out that he has not paid the mortgage for a couple of weeks and we are owing over $2000 on the home loan. What are my legal rights? What are my options? What will he be entitled to if he doesn't pay the mortgage?


Hi Eileen,
Had you planned to continue paying off the mortgage jointly with your ex? Or had you anticipated selling the property or buying him out in the future?

Since you still have the joint mortgage together, I assume you have not reached a property settlement. While it often seems easiest to retain assets in joint names for a while after separation, it usually leads to complications down the track. The best thing to do is separate and settle your financial affairs as soon as possible this may involve you purchasing his share in the property or if you cannot afford to do that, selling the property and splitting the proceeds. Until you do that, you will both generally be jointly liable to pay the mortgage, which means that if he refuses to make payments, or if he cannot make payments, they will come after you. The sooner you settle your affairs with your ex, the sooner it is over and done with and claims of entitlement cannot be made further down the track. You can negotiate a property settlement yourselves and formalise this agreement by obtaining court orders or signing an agreement or alternatively if you can't agree you can apply for the court to divide your assets. It is often beneficial to get legal advice to negotiate and formalise the settlement, especially if your partner has already obtained legal advice.

These are some other LawAnswers Family Law Forum discussions involving property separation issues that may shed more light on the situation:
- "Separation and assets"
- "Separation - Financial agreement"
- "Financial access after separation"