Family & de facto law, financial agreements, consent orders
To be honest the only thing that can compel her to come to the table is an initiating action for property settlement via the court (which you can do yourself at minimal cost)... She will have to respond to that & the process can begin, usually with mediation at the start...
As she has sole use of the house & you now have to pay rent for a property that is suitable for yourself & the kids when you have them, then it's reasonable that she pay all or the greater majority of the mortgage...
Regardless of who's paying what, paying interest only pending consent orders or court orders is a good way to go IMO
If you also pay child support, & your necessary commitments of self support can not be met after you pay CS, then there is a ***possibility*** that you can have the CS reduced via a reason 7 change of assessment, at least for a period of time anyway.... See link for more info.... Necessary commitments for self-support
After 24 years, you are both entitled to a 50/50 division... BUT, if she has primary care of the kids, she would receive an increased amount on top of that as what they term section 75(2) adjustments... How much that is really will depend on individual circumstances..
I recommend that you get together all the facts & figures as best you know them, together with recent property valuations & consider taking them along to a family law solicitor for an opinion on likely division...
You can then look at making reasonable offers based on what a court is likely to find acceptable..
Just apply to the federal court immediately, even if you are negotiating. She sounds unreasonable. I was in a similar situation and 13 months were wasted before I put my application into the court. Now its over 2 years later and I am still in court.
During this time, there have been 4 prior agreements to settle. She reneged on every single one of them when she changed her mind and decided to go for more money.
Get a good lawyer and start court proceedings, and then, as said above, she will have to divulge and mediate.
My ex husband tried to tell me how we were going to do things, telling me what he was prepared to pay and that he wanted to stay in the house etc etc. I accepted all of this until I found myself a good lawyer, who gave me a good hard shake, and now after some muscular mediation where my ex's view of the world was smartly corrected, we have a 50/50 split. Our kids are independent and we were married for 27 yrs, so a bit different to your situation, but my take away from my experience is to get a good lawyer who can tell you clearly what they beleive - based on law - your entitlements to be. And then act, follow their advice, don't try and reach an agreement with her, leave it to the lawyers. Once she knows you are not mucking around she'll think again. Good luck.