Bitterness over divorce when I earn much more than him

(51 Posts)
Tracy49 Sat 03-Sep-16 14:25:26

Can anyone give advice or help me get over bitterness I feel? Through 25 years of marriage I've done nearly all the household tasks, cared for the children, organised our lives. Husband has just enjoyed the ride. I now earn alot more than him because I've bothered to work up the career ladder, & finally have confidence to divorce. But in settlement it looks like he'll get more than 50% of house, plus thousands in cash, plus a big chunk of my pension! The law which is set up to support stay at home mums or those working part time is certainly not supporting me! Anyone gone through similar experience? Can I show judge how things have been through marriage? Or, how do I 'get over it'!

Loopy567 Sat 03-Sep-16 18:08:19

No advice just empathy. I am divorcing my cheating husband and he wants to walk away with half the equity of a house where I have contributed all the deposit (nearly £200k), where he has taken thousands to clear his debts and he has sold a property so I can't claim a stake!

TrojanWhore Sat 03-Sep-16 18:10:29

Yes, the law tends to support the lower earner, irrespective of the nature of their gonads.

Minime85 Sat 03-Sep-16 18:29:37

Why would he get the house and your pension? I don't understand

Lightbulbon Sat 03-Sep-16 18:32:19

Don't get married if you are a financially independent woman.

^this is what we need to tell our daughters.

ImperialBlether Sat 03-Sep-16 18:33:01

Loopy, surely you'd have a good case for having more? It doesn't have to be split 50-50, does it? Mine wasn't.

ImperialBlether Sat 03-Sep-16 18:34:21

OP, how old are the children? Why will he have more than 50%? Does he have a pension at all?

Tracy49 Sat 03-Sep-16 18:52:43

The law supports the lower earner & gives them more equity, bigger chunk of any savings & share of main earners pension. As this is usually the stay at home wife or wife who's worked part time while looking after the kids it is complete fair. Unfortunately the same law kicks in for my situation. I have 2 teenagers.

ImperialBlether Sat 03-Sep-16 18:57:49

It does seem very unfair that if you've taken on all the family responsibilities and worked harder, that he should dilly dally around and then pick up the money. That seems so unfair.

TooStressyForMyOwnGood Sat 03-Sep-16 18:57:49

I have a friend in a similar position but with a much younger child. I don't know the law but she has been advised he will get some of her earnings and her pension if they divorce. Despite the fact that he was completely unsupportive to her, left her to go to the pub every evening with a newborn, she has done the lion's share of parenting and he is now a once a week Disney Dad he will benefit from her years of hard work. Obviously I only have her side of it but it seems so unfair.

ThomasRichard Sat 03-Sep-16 19:05:07

I would discuss this with your solicitor. Either:

- you have good grounds to keep a larger share and it's worth contesting; or
- you don't have good legal grounds so it's not worth contesting; or
- contesting will cost more in legal fees than the share is worth so it's not worth contesting; or
- you talk to your ex and work out a deal; or
- you decide it's not worth the stress.

Muddlingalongalone Sat 03-Sep-16 19:07:47

I am likely to be in a similar position & to be honest it's what is putting me off actually going to a solicitor and getting on with it.
No advice just sympathy - it's unbelievably unfair

Tracy49 Sat 03-Sep-16 19:33:35

Despite the financial nightmare there's no way I could even think of not going through with this. My happiness is more important than money, at the end of the day. But I like the advice from Lightbulbon & will be telling my daughter not to marry if she is financially independent!
Anyone had any experience of contesting financial agreement to be more in my favour in a similar situation?

FV45 Sat 03-Sep-16 22:58:13

The starting point is 50:50.
Why is he getting more than 50%?

Mine is getting more than 50% but I am buying him out of the house so will be a homeowner whereas he has no chance of getting a mortgage, not yet anyway.

My ex is also a Disney dad and yes it hurts but that's the way the law is. I am just thankful I am financially independent of him so that I am able to build myself up again. He didn't touch my pension.

FV45 Sat 03-Sep-16 22:59:30

The financial agreement goes back and forth between solicitors until you are both in agreement. And yes, you have to weigh up the money and stress doing all that entails.

Muddlingalongalone Sat 03-Sep-16 23:53:55

Sorry just to clarify we are separated just not actually in the divorce process yet.

Lilacpink40 Sun 04-Sep-16 00:04:56

If he's lazy he may be less likely to want to go to court, and want an easy ride. So start hard when you negotiate and act as though you will go to court. If you complete a form E make sure that you show that you pay for everything for your DD and look online to see all the expenses that you need to include. There's a part about anticipated (or outstanding) costs...your car could have faults and DDs furniture could need replacing.

If DD is with you more that should move the division back towards you too.

Minime85 Sun 04-Sep-16 07:25:52

Is there chance of negotiation with him without solicitors? If you will be main caregiver that will split things in you favour more. I did get all house but ex kept his pension as I wasn't interested in that. But I could have done solicitor said as I was part time for 7 years so much depleted compared to ex. We just decided between us what we thought was fair. Will he do that?

Dogcatred Sun 04-Sep-16 07:26:08

I got through it ( he got my life savings, shares and I got massive debts and some equity in the house which houses his children as I earn more - we did manage a clean break so at least I do not pay him maintenance).
My husband did work full time and vyer hard though to be faire, just he earned less. He did 50/50 with me at home.

The law is a blunt instrument. I know a man who did it all like you - wife at home actually but she did zero as children at school and he came home at 6 and did hours of childcare, cleaning, everything to do with the house but that is never recognised that you can be the full time main wage earner and do just about all the domestic stuff and yet end up paying so much. There is no recognitation for the domestic input if you are a higher earner. Since we split my ex chooses never to have the children so I do all earning, paying for the cost of his divorce settlement, keeping the children and all their care when they aren't at school.

I would not marry again. In fact now I've had my children I don't think I'd even want a boyfriend to move in. They have occasionally stayed a night but it's really nice sleeping alone actually. I suspect as people get older it is men over 50 rather than women over 50 who want someone else around. For me it's hugely freeing just to live with the children and not have to tolerate someone snoring etc. The divorce settlement I paid was worth it even for that.

If you want my advice (as a lawyer but not a divorce lawyer) first of all be sure of your legal position (speak to a solicitor). Once you are then look at how much money is at stake. I spoke to someone this week where they spent £200k and £125k in legal costs (I cannot remember which paid which but huge... and had a full high court divorce hearing). In my case we just reached agreement which the lawyers drew up into a consent order sealed by the court. You need that final state otherwise it's not binding. Go for a clean break with no maintenance even £1 a month token to be avoided so he cannot claim more money later. Get the court to seal it. Also don't fight over smallish sums. Compare how much you might win and are likely to win and worst case situation in court and look at legal costs of getting there and then compromise a bit. Why pour money down the throats of lawyers when your other half might as well have it? I think we both took that attitude and it was sensible. It still took 7 months to negotiate with solicitors and do a property transfer, new mortgage, pay off. Only after that decree absolute and then he moved out.

Tracy49 Sun 04-Sep-16 09:24:23

Thanks for all your thoughts. Little chance of negotiation with him, he's out for all he can get. I'll talk to solicitor again to make sure we go in hard to start with. I'm hoping for a clean break but will then have a huge mortgage while he could practically buy a new property without a mortgage! But like Dogcatred, I can't wait to be in my own place with kids. 7 months to sort it out is s scary thought though! I was hoping to have sold the house by Xmas!

Dogcatred Mon 05-Sep-16 07:20:03

Tracy, I ended up with a £1.3m mortgage (and no savings) and my ex had an unmortgaged 4 bed detached and loads of savings in the bank! So snap.... Not fun. 10 years on it's all fine though and it was well worth paying that price just to be rid of him.

We did our negotiating together face to face but having taken our own legal advice. I had to pay both sets of solicitors. At one point I had to say let's take it to court then when he increased an agreement (verbal) yet again and then he backed down. If you are selling a house plenty of people do that before the final consent order is signed (we kept our house and the children still live here in it with me which is one reason I had the massive mortgage) but you both might need to lodge the proceeds with a solicitor to be divided once the final divorce finances consent order is approved by the court so neither side goes off with more than their share of the proceeds.

I think the stages are decree nisi, then pause whilst house is sold, proceeds received, court approves the sealed consent order (if you disagree with him then you will have at least 2 court hearings and various financial forms (form E) - we did not need that no court hearings, no massive sums to solicitors and barristers as we both preferred the other spouse not the lawyers got the money. I know so very many people who fight over say £200k and most of it goes to lawyers whereas had they split it 50./50 they woudl have had £100k each rather than £10k each once lawyers are paid and I write that as a lawyer. However some people hate the spouse so much they would rather get nothing themselves if it means the spouse gets very little.

heron98 Mon 05-Sep-16 13:53:14

This is happening to my brother.

He has always worked FT, paid all the bills and mortgage etc, whilst his wife was a SAHM and paid nothing.

Now she is getting 70% of everything which I really don't think is fair - why not 50/50?

FV45 Mon 05-Sep-16 14:50:18

heron does your brother have children?
50:50 is always the starting point and then all the other factors are taken into account.
The settlement should go back and forth until both parties are happy. A judge won't sign a Financial Consent Order unless it's fair.

sofato5miles Mon 05-Sep-16 17:19:23

Heron, who looked after the children and the house?

mrsbrightside3 Tue 06-Sep-16 15:22:19

The rule of thought should be don't get married if you have any money / assests! Someone always loses out, and its not always the person that 'should'.

I hate to be negative about marriage to my kids, but I will find it hard not to, My dad is a divorce lawyer!

I am divorced myself, but thankfully mine was amicable and we were both fair and did not use solicitors or courts to decide how to split our money / assests. If we had been bitter, then i dread to think how me and my exh would have coped as we had several joint assests and several individual assests and in the 16 years we have had the kids we have both taken it it turns to work f/t and stay at home parent. I guess we just knew it was all swings and roundabouts for us. If i'd have fought for his pension, he's have fought for mine etc etc.

I guess the advice shoudl be to both keep your own career / financial independance and to marry someone equal in earnings / age / mindset if you can. Easier said than done I know.....

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