Dividing assets - Advice please

(7 Posts)
secretsarebest Sun 08-May-16 17:01:55

I am separating from my husband. We own a house outright in joint names which was bought by me. We have savings which are investments from my inheritance.

I have been in a relatively low paid job with flexible hours so I could bring up the children. My husband's salary has paid for our living expenses - we have never had a mortgage.

Will the assets including the house be split equally? The savings are in my name - will they be split equally too?

The children will be with me so does this affect how the assets are split?

I know I should get legal advice but have just been mulling it over.

Thanks for your help.

lifeisunjust Sun 08-May-16 17:20:43

Unless you've ringfenced and have evidence of ringfencing your personal inheritance assets, it all goes into the same pot. Your personal savings not inheritance in your name or is name or children's names (name is irrelevant) again into the same pot. House into the same pot.

If you add all your assets up, also pensions on CETV values, also a real valuation on your house, then divide by 2 and you get the starting point for division.

You can argue your "need" is for a greater percentage, if you need that greater percentage to cover housing the children for example.

If you're interested in keeping the house and it's equivalent to 50% or 60% whatever of the complete assets, you can argue that you keep the house and he takes his percentage in terms of investments / savings.

My husband left me and 4 kids. He then took me to court several times to try and force a house sale and asked for 55% of assets for him alone whilst me and 4 children he expected to survive on 45% of assets and in court papers suggested we downsize to a 2 bed. We'd also saved a considerable amount of money for the children, about half at that time in the children's names, half in our names, but the money had been in all sorts of accounts over a 20 year period. I tried my hardest to get the judge to ringfence that money, he did accept some of it as purely the children's and my husband admitted under oath indeed it was the children's. However, the judge summized that when their father walked out on them, children will suffer and in this case the suffering meant the children had to give some of their money to their father for division. So I succeeded in ringfencing some but not all of their money, he agreed to ringfence only the money in child trust fund which had always been in the child trust fund, the rest was forced into the family pot and their dad got 37% of the children's savings. It wasn't the worst deal financially, as I'd succeeded in getting 63% overall of family assets,when he demanded 55%, but morally it felt very very wrong for him to get some of that children's money. I have vowed to the children to replace all that their father has taken and in 2 years time I will have succeeded in doing so.

Sadly OP you may end up in a similar situation of watching assets which might mean more than money to you, ie the inheritance money, taken and divided. I had inherited 3k and didn't even both arguing it was "mine" alone, I just knew it would get nowhere, but it also hurt me he took my parent's inheritance in part. It sucks.

I bought an online book on how courts divide up assets to guide me. I self represented. Not recommended in some respects, but when your husband empties your accounts including all the children's accounts he could get his hands on, there was no cash available to pay a solicitor!

AbbieLexie Sun 08-May-16 18:05:19

Don't agree to anything! Find the best lawyer you can. Photocopy everything and send to a friend to keep safe. Bank statements, investments etc. This protects both of you.

Are you sure he doesn't have money / assets hidden? Friend discovered her husband had a small fortune hidden when she looked at the computer. Family home had no money spent on it and he'd kept wife and daughter living in impoverished circumstances.

Please learn from my mistakes. I trusted him to do right!

secretsarebest Sun 08-May-16 19:48:15

Thank you so much to you both. I thought that would be the case even if investments were in my name. My only problem with him taking the savings and me having the house is I can't afford to run it. I'm fine about downsizing, in fact I'd love a new start, but am hoping to hold off for at least a couple of years to provide some stability for DCs. I know they're resilient but if I can delay it until they get used to the idea of us living separately I think it would be easier. I'd have to dip into the savings to do this.

He's being reasonable at the moment but I know this could change. Im pretty confident he hasn't hidden any money.

I'm hoping he'll agree to me living here for a couple of years and then sharing the proceeds from the house sale. In the short term we'd perhaps split the savings. He seemed surprised when I mentioned pensions. How do you calculate what they're worth as he's had quite a few jobs?

Thank you again. I'm sure, like me, you never thought you'd have to do this, but I just want to secure my children's future.

Best wishes to you both.

lifeisunjust Sun 08-May-16 20:09:56

Consider a lodger under rent a room scheme? My children have to share and this way we get extra income. It might be an idea as a stop-gap before downsizing.

Each pension has a CETV value. If you are happy to give up partial or full claim on pensions, you use a certain percentage of this value - don't trust exactly what I am writing, a little bit of internet researching will better explain.

AbbieLexie Sun 08-May-16 21:06:09

I also wished to secure my daughter's future. I visited a lawyer and for a first visit it didn't cost me anything. My regret is I didn't take all her advice. We lived in the same house until he moved. I house hunted for him and arranged his mortgage. I eventually went for a separation and have only divorced in recent years because of the repercussions on my daughter. My understanding was the official separation meant I wasn't held responsible for debts etc after this date.

Everything was amicable at the beginning as long as it was how he wanted it to go. Naively I went along as I truly believed he would treat us right. A big mistake on my part. Left owing thousands and thousands. Stitched up. I even did his washing after he moved out as he paid a nominal sum which covered my costs for doing all the washing. His brother was horrified when he saw how much laundry I was doing. Needs must is a very powerful master.

I take/took foreign language students in - school will move them if there are any problems and you can also say how long they can stay - week, fortnight, month etc. Met some amazing people. My daughter feels it enriched her understanding of other cultures.

I wish you all the best but photocopy everything and get a lawyer.

Fidelia Mon 09-May-16 05:53:04

Be careful. Under English law, any debts either of you rack up during separation all goes into the marital pot. You could save and be cautious and he could get into debt and have it paid out if house capital.... It's happened to me.

He/you need to contact your various pension providers letting them know that you need a cetv for divorce purposes. If he has much larger pensions than you, then it can be offset against house capital.

How long have you been married/cohabiting in total? If it's only a few years, then you'll likely come out with more of what you put in. Also, it depends on how much he's earning compared to you. The first priority it to provide for the needs of the children, including housing, and if he earns a lot more, the children are primary age, and you cannot increase your hours because of caring for them...then you will get a larger settlement to help provide for the children and take account of your contribution to the marriage.

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