Help me prepare for divorce :(

(26 Posts)
MrsWhirling Wed 03-Apr-13 09:06:59

It's inevitable it will happen. He is suddenly being 'advised' by someone, probably his dad and is looking for various documents.

This is a man who has hardly worked, doesn't even know what are bills amount to let alone contributed to. I have paid for and taken care of everything including our two small children in the 7 years we have been married.

Ideally I would want him to leave and for me to buy his share out of our property. I have savings & pension he has nothing.

What are the things I should be doing to help my case? Thank you xx

Milly22 Wed 03-Apr-13 11:27:59

He's out on his arse then basically. If he's not contributing then the courts will see the children are better off with you even but he will be entitled to access. I don't think he's got a leg to stand on. As for the property, he can't take away the roof away from you and the children. Get all relevant paperwork 'yours and his' photocopy his and lock yours away! Statements of your outgoings and contributions etc. Get a Solicitor! Good Luck.

anklebitersmum Wed 03-Apr-13 11:44:25

If you are in the UK then you need to go and see a family solicitor who does divorce for advice. Lots of them will do an initial consult for £50/60.

As regards him not working that's largely irrelevant-especially if he has been at home with the children even by default. Just because savings are in your name does not mean that they are yours alone-in the same way as debts are split.

Milly22 Wed 03-Apr-13 11:47:38

A lot of solicitors will give the initial first 30 minutes consultation free.

MrsWhirling Wed 03-Apr-13 13:45:36

Thank you.x

He's never looked after the children. My parents always have. He does have debts that are. Nothing to do with me, mainly to inland revenue for failing to pay tax - would I really be liable for his debts??

anklebitersmum Wed 03-Apr-13 13:54:19

Depends on what they are, when they're from and who they're with. You need to seek advice from a good family solicitor and the sooner the better smile

MrsWhirling Wed 03-Apr-13 14:19:19

Thank you x

Xenia Wed 03-Apr-13 14:32:01

1. YOu are never liable for his debts unless you guaranteed them.
2. However in working out your joint assets yours and his debts are added up and both of your assets and then the next sum is what you divide between you.
3. If you have been out at work and he has been at home even if pretty idle with your parents helping there is a risk he will say he is in effect the housewife and should get more than half your joint assets - probably unlikely but a risk.
4. Once you know the net assets figure you as a couple have whosever name they are in then you have to agree between you who will get what.
I presume the children are too young (not 13+ to choose with which parent to live) so the next issue will be which of you will they live with. If him then he may need the marital home and you move out and support him and the children particularly if you work and he does not. That is unusual but becoming more common where wives work full time and husbands don't. It is unlikely however. So assuming the children may mostly live with you you need to house them. you could probably remortgage teh house to buy out his share which he might argue should be more than 50% (my ex got 60% on a clean break he had wanted maintenance for life from me as I earned more). It is likely that he would take 50% of the joint net assets worked out as said above and hopefully not also claim your pension.

MrsWhirling Wed 03-Apr-13 15:25:23

Wow that is so depressing. I've worked my socks off my entire life while he's sat about smoking weed. He's never looked after the kids or paid towards them or the household. To think he could take half the house and my pension is a nightmare smile

Xenia Wed 03-Apr-13 22:06:16

Well some housewives do that all the time even the ones who are useless at childcare and the house is in a dreadful state as they are able to say they sacrificed their career for their family.

How long was the marriage including earlier cohabitation period - short period with no children and you tend to be put back to square one only which helps the higher earner. However if there are children I think that does not apply. Do you think he would want the children to live with him and get them as the money and house tend to follow whoever has the children?

MrsWhirling Thu 04-Apr-13 08:12:10

I don't think he would push for the kids to live with him to be honest. He knows I wouldn't stop the kids from seeing him. We've been married for 6 years and lived together ( at MY parents house) for two years beforehand. I don't want anymore than I deserve and worked for x

Mosman Fri 05-Apr-13 14:55:19

Put the savings into the children's names

Xenia Fri 05-Apr-13 15:32:52

If he knows you have those savings and then put them in children's names though he can probably get back his half just as if he hid money that was his to avoid giving you half on the divorce.

Next time may be sign a pre nup or don't marry as that will protect things better.

What some people (usually men) do if they want to avoid paying a wife is give up work entirely as then they have no income or are conveniently made redundant or go back to university or start a vineyard and if you have no income then you don't have to pay maintenance as you have nothing to pay it from. I don't recommend that - I think people like that cut their nose off to spite their face but those determined to avoid paying a spouse often do do that.

If you will be having the children with you then part of your costs may be full time childcare which he will not have to fund so that may help you get more than half the joint assets and he might accept a lower sum. I gave my ex more than he may have got in court and it was worth it to avoid spending money on lawyers and perhaps risking paying out more. So bide your time.Perhaps keep a note of what he does and where. Make sure he cannot run up big bills on joint credit cards or over draw the bank account. Don't sign any new joint debts with him.

juneau Fri 05-Apr-13 15:37:06

Go and see a solicitor immediately. I have to tell you though that the rules are generally a 50/50 split on all assets bought and monies earned during the course of the marriage. If you bought the house by yourself prior to the marriage, for instance, then he will struggle to have a claim on it and if you paid for everything - the deposit, the mortgage, etc - then that puts you in a very strong position. But you need legal advice right now.

ladymuckbeth Fri 05-Apr-13 17:19:51

That's interesting juneau - not what my solicitor told me about assets when discussing our affairs. I told her about two properties my H bought before we even met (BTLs) and suggested that maybe they wouldn't be considered as part of the pot: far from it, was her considered opinion. The same goes for the marital home - bought using H's money and entirely in his name. It was bought 4 yrs before we married and 2 years after meeting. I have been told that none of those details are relevant and it is all considered to be part of the joint pot of assets.

MrsWhirling - I find it interesting reading your thread because apart from the 'sitting about smoking weed' and the fact that I've been SAHM to our twins since they were born (now aged 3) I am in the reverse situation. If your H really hasn't contributed at all I'd be interested to see how that plays out in the courts or in the divorce generally, because I am rather hoping that my contribution is going to be considered worthy of a decent distribution of the assets post-divorce!

wannaBe Fri 05-Apr-13 17:35:11

financial contribution is largely irrelevant, after all many sahms do not contribute financially and yet they are entitled often too more than 50% of the assets. He could argue that he has been a SADH during the time your dc were little and that as such is entitled to more on the basis he is not currently earning.

Who has earned and contributed what is largely irrelevant when it comes to division of assets - evenn those which were aquired before the marriage. My cousin's wife left him after eleven weeks of marriage and he was told that she could potentially have claimed 50% of the house which was in his name only...

juneau Fri 05-Apr-13 17:47:31

Well, my dad was a solicitor and then a judge before he retired, and as I understand it from what he's told me - you can petition for whatever you want in a divorce, but if one partner paid outright for certain things before marriage they are often considered to be theirs, in the same way that inheritances are generally considered to belong to the partner who inherited and not the couple, in the event of divorce. It is rare that both partners contribute an even amount to the family pot during a marriage, so the 50/50 split is generally seen to be a fair way of dividing the spoils of that marriage. The one who earned that money may find that a bitter pill to swallow, but then the SAH partner is often giving the wage-earner the opportunity to dedicate him/herself to working.

I can't think any judge who would grant 50% of a house to a spouse who has only been married for 11 weeks and contributed nothing financially. Sure, she could've tried, but I doubt she'd have got anything.

MrsWhirling Fri 05-Apr-13 17:50:05

My husband has never been a SAHD. My parents have cared for my children while I worked.

Xenia Fri 05-Apr-13 19:20:40

The answer to the difference on this thread is I think as follows. If there are more than enough assets to house children after a divorce then yes you can ignore the big inheritance before marriage or the man or women with buy to lets adn the like. So Juneau is right. If however like most marriages the only assets is really a house and a few savings and the only way to house the childreni s that the person with the children gets half or most of the assets even if that includes pre bought assets before the marriage then that spouse will get that.
So man or woman before marriage had a house. New partner comes in and brought nothing to the party. They have children and then divorce usually you would indeed split the house 50/50 or more to the person who earns the least (the man here and the man on my own divorce). If instead they have 3 houses and 2 were acquired before marriage and each earns enough to live on not needing income from those houses then yes the spouse who brought the 3 houses to the marriage might keep their pre owned assets.
Also I think in Scotland you are more likely to keep pre marriage assets than in England so that might make a difference.

The husband here might claim to be a stay at home father if he has never worked and just smoked pot all day so evidence that he is not a stay at home father fully bonded to small children who would be wretched if they did not live with hm would be very useful from the grandparents.

Spero Fri 05-Apr-13 19:34:48

Wannabe - whoever gave that advice on an 11 week marriage was not giving very sound advice.

A 'short' marriage - less than 2-3 years - the court will aim to put both parties back in the position they were before married. There is no way that someone in an 11 week marriage would have any claim on assets acquired pre marriage. Unless there were children with some very special needs indeed. Xenia is right - children change everything as they are the court's first consideration.

Your marriage is not 'short' but nor is it long or possibly not even medium.
The longer the marriage, the more the courts resist trying to work out who contributed what as over 20 plus years both probably contributed quite a lot in different ways.

The approach is to find a split of assets that is 'fair' and often 50/50 is fair, but also it is often not. Because there are children, who ends up having primary care will be very important factor in this case as they will need to be housed.

i doubt he is going to agree that he did nothing in 7 years - he will probably argue he was responsible for most of child care? In which case he will be deemed to have made an equal contribution to you - equal but different.

Some assets acquired before marriage can be ring fenced and won't go in the pot but it all depends. These cases depend almost entirely on their facts, it is difficult to set out universal principles as the court has such a wide discretion under the Matrimonial Causes Act.

It would be a good idea for you to get some initial advice from a professional to get you on the right track.

ladymuckbeth Fri 05-Apr-13 20:46:57

juneau - I have to say that as it's been explained by Spero and Xenia sounds more how I perceive it to be, having spoken to several solicitors and a couple of barristers about my own situation.

I don't think it's a case of petitioning for "what we like", my lawyers have given me what they consider to be an accurate sense of what I can expect to receive and there is nothing to be gained for them to give me an over-inflated perception of my position. If anything my lawyer is trying to prepare me for the eventuality that we'll have to sell the matrimonial home, which I am very against. (Xenia - in order for us to both house ourselves in London post-divorce, we would indeed have to consider all assets including the BTLs and a flat that I own...)

MrsWhirling - apologies for slightly derailing. I can totally understand your concerns if he contributed absolutely nothing over the years and wish you a positive outcome. Embroiled as I am in my own (messy) divorce, I can only wish for a speedy resolution for all concerned - it's a bloody nightmare!!!

juneau Fri 05-Apr-13 22:39:47

Hmm interesting. I have a pre-nup, which basically ring-fences pre-owned assets and when we got it I was told that generally those assets would be ring-fenced anyway. I hope it will never be tested!

Spero Fri 05-Apr-13 22:48:51

Pre nups are not yet automatically binding but a court will give great weight to them if you both had independent legal advice before signing. It is very hard to have absolutes in financial proceedings as judicial discretion is very wide.

ladymuckbeth Sat 06-Apr-13 07:27:50

juneau - assuming it wouldn't impact upon the ability to adequately house children, I would say that going from the information given here it would hopefully remain ring-fenced... smile

juneau Sat 06-Apr-13 08:52:06

Yes, I can appreciate that if the housing of DC is in question and the only way to ensure that is to make claims on pre-owned assets, that may be necessary.

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