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Final Hearing(26 Posts)
I am due to have the final hearing in my divorce in 3 weeks. My ex beat me up in front of our child and left my house. He now wants me to pay him £1 million pounds to house him in a 4 bedroomed plush pad. My barrister says he will probably get this as my assets total 2.3 million. He has no savings and spends all his income (70K per annum) on golf and dining out.
This was a 7 year marriage and I have almost full custody of our 5 year old child.
I feel the law is unjust. Does anyone agree? 21 years of sheer hard work swallowed up by a violent man who is 9 years younger than me. He also wants my pension. I feel helpless and depressed by the legal system.
Somebody help me!
You say the final hearing in your divorce but your post seems to be about finance - is the hearing for anciliary relief?
As you'll probably know by now, all assets and liabilities go into the financial `pot' and are then divided depending on need - not on who contributed or spent. As your child is dependent on you and lives with you for the majority of the time you should expect to receive more than 50% of the assets - under the Matrimonial Causes Act money follows the child and his/her needs will come before yours or your ex's. One of the factors that is considered is the length of the marriage. In exceptional circumstances behaviour is too.
When it comes to finance hearings full disclosure is important: Without it, the court cannot make a fair and equitable decision unless it has all the facts. In my experience as a McKenzie Friend it is common for information to be missing which causes unnecessary delay, additional hearings and in the worst case scenario - seemingly unfair decisions. On occasions orders are also made that whilst compatibile with the MCA have no power under contract law, etc. meaning further delay.
It's normal to feel the way you do because it is a period of uncertainty in your life. Get in touch if you want a few pointers - my other half, also a McKenzie Friend, has a great deal of experience in financial matters and can probably put your mind to rest on a few points.
Hope this helps.
Thanks for your eloquent answer. Yes, the hearing is for ancillary relief. We have both disclosed our financial positions fully. After more than 3 years of seperation my ex has managed to get himself in to massive debt, living a lifestyle way beyond his means, whilst I have saved assiduously for our son's future. He's well paid and only 37 so i can't understand why he potentially could be given so much.
You're spot on when you say it's a period of uncertainty, I think I will have to sell my house and re-house me and my son to pay off my greedy ex.
What I don't understand is why the law will reward his behaviour by punishing me???
I've just looked up McKenzie Friend and I wish I had found out about you a year ago!
I've been looking around for some guidance on the 2 day hearing. I'm assuming I should go to your firm direct?
My ex got about £900k so not too different from your position. Also I am obliged to pay the 5 sets of school/University fees and he does not pay to the children nor in fact see or care for them. That is English no fault divorce law for you. It is hugely beneficial to lower earners. I took on a £1.3m mortgage and had no savings to pay him out and stay in our house. I wanted a clean break so his 60% of assets which is what he got also bought out his future maintenance claims for life. Get a clean break if you can.
Also I would much rather he had the money than we spend £200k on lawyers so as you know what the law says and what he's likely to get why go to the hearing at all? Just offer him the sum and don't waste the money on the legal fees.
So he is getting less than 50% and my ex got 60%. So your ex is likely to get less - is that because it's not a clean break and you pay continuing maintenance or because I settled at 60% to avoid court/the risk he might get more?
If you're talking about a claim of circa £1m you shouldn't stint on representation. That would be foolish.
You are not entitled to over 50% just because you have the primary care of a child of the family. That's not the law at all. Look at s25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act.
LotusLight I can't believe you settled at 60% to your husband!! We both want a clean break and no maintenance payments.
I am acutely aware that the judge may order ex gets what he wants (not what he needs) but I think I will go to Final Hearing.
Wish I had hired Mishcon de Reya!
I have studied s25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act in great detail. My only concern is the health and wellbeing of my child, whilst ex's only concern is himself. I am hoping the judge will see that too.
It's unbelievable this law in this first world country ignores the human side of marriage.
How can this be changed?
Someone tell me and I'll put it in motion!
60% is quite common for lower earners to get (plenty of women on mumsnet who divorce get 60% of assets). Also I earned 10x what he earned and did not want to have to pay him continuing maintenance for life or the next 5 years so I was buying out those future claims at it were.
The law considers the human side in the sense that if a wife or husband gives up work to bring up a family that is regarded as an equal contribution in division of assets on divorce.
It does not decide who was in the wrong on the divorce and I am glad that is so even though it was my ex at fault and in effect the state gives him nearly £1m as a reward for misconduct because in the days of proving who was right or wrong it was truly terrible - couples had to show how had done what, who was worse than the other -it just didn't work.
Aside from extreme cases behaviour isn't a factor - it's need, with the needs of the child being the greatest factor if there is one. This need is set against assets and liabilities which effectively gives you a grand total.
Compared to Children Act hearings, anciliary hearings (under the MCA) are relatively straight forward - it is about cold, hard cash and not wishes and feelings.
Quite naturally however is the feeling that an abusive or badly behaved party should be punished but that's not how it works usually.
Indeed. The law in effect in my case patted him on the back for his misdeeds, gave him almost £1m and said he need not see or help with the children every again (which in practice has been his choice). To pay, to have 100% of sole charge of children and to pay for them is a pretty one sided burden but obviously better than paying and never seeing the children of course which is the lot of many an absent parent who would love more contact, even the 365 nights a year I get.
Your ex is getting a low %. Housing is expensive in London and £1mn does not buy that much. You are going to get left with at least £1.3 mn. The House of Lords was clear in Miller from 2006 that regardless of contributions the starting point for the matrimonial home is 50:50 .
I am sure you have already been told that this level of violence will not have a material effect on the finances.
I hope you have also been warned that if you are viewed as unreasonable there could be a costs order against you.
Indeed I have had all the warnings.
Ex will be on £100K in a couple of years, but still get a handout from me and me nothing from him. Seems manifestly unfair.
Thanks for all your comments.
Wish me luck!!
What do you earn?
Please don't go to a Mckenzie friend - you can afford qualified representation. Mckenzie friends are totally unqualified and unregulated although I accept some of them are experienced in family court matters. It's not easy to say "look at s25" because there is an absolute plethora of case law interpreting it and you need an experienced barrister who knows how to argue your case accordingly to the case law.
I think there is a very good chance he will get what he is asking for so you need to consider making an offer and compromising it before you both spend a lot of time and money on lawyers' fees. You might be lucky but there is a child (not that he's helping with the child nor has given up work for it) and your marriage is not so short it is likely to be counted as a short marriage and you just both put back to where you were the start.
The starting point asset division of 50/50 is very unfair in my view in cases like yours and mine where the other partner has not made any career sacrifice (or even 60/40 to him as in my case), particularly where they do no childcare post divorce.
You need to work out if the difference between what you are prepared to pay him and what the court might order eg 60% to him including a pension sharing order, is large enough to make the legal costs you'll both pay worth expending. We could have spent £200k on legal fees closing the gap between the 59% he got and perhaps a lower percentage he might have got had we had a hearing but as just over 50% is not unusual for lower earners I would rather he had the money than lawyers so the compromise for me was worth it and also speeded things up.
Legal fees won't be that high considering we're less than 3 weeks from a final hearing.
Sadly I echo what everyone else is saying that he is likely to get what he is asking for and 1 million out of 2.3 million combined assists will still put you ahead of your soon to be EX with you still getting over half the combined assists.
Just dont argue to much / be unreasonable with what you want to give him etc as you could have a costs order awarded against you which in some cases is quite expesive.
The UK diovice law greatly favours the one with less assits / earning potental no matter the gender and in some cases if the pot of assists are big enough could even see the NRP get a larger share than the parent with main residence (or what ever its called now)
but please please get proper legal cover as self reperesenting / mckense friends can only get you so far and with a assist pot the size of yours you really need a good solicitor
Exactly. That was our case - NRP got a larger share than the parent with the main residence who in my case has the 5 children 365 nights a year and i the only one paying a penny for them (although I could of course get some very small percentage of his very low income if I really thought it worth the effort.
Sadly my husband was arrested after attempting to kill me - he was pulled off me by a stranger. He is a senior UK civil servant.
My husband also spent 30k of savings made for the children. Not in same league as OP but that was a huge amount of the total family assets.
The judge allowed a certain allowance for the behaviour, but only a little. Got 63% of family assets, basically the family home.
It felt so so cruel. He beat me up, tried to kill me, spent the kids' money, then left me and committed adultery, then for over a year from UK civil service emails and in work time harassed me with awful awful stuff.
Despite all this, really it made little difference. The judge added back what he admitted he spent but he didn't add back the lost interest. He also didn't consider the savings left I increased in value by 20% in the time between first hearing and final hearing. All he could do was to award me a higher percentage of total assets, 63% rather than 50% which would have meant the family home being sold.
So the criminal now lives in a house 50% bigger than his children live in, as he is a kept man living rent free whilst another man is forced to pay the mortgage on that house! Absolute craziness.
In the end, I just got through the injustice of having to give him anything by thinking who is worse off than me and knowing that the kids needed me emotionally and needed a single parent who loves them and tries her best than someone who is in arrears 10000s in unpaid maintenance.
I guess we are lucky, we kept our home. That mattered so much. To have a roof. I'm now heavily in debt for first time in my life, as I did have to pay quite a bit to give that thing his 37%.
Try and think about what you have, rather than what you haven't. You have your life, your child. It's hard to come to terms with it when violence comes into a split. So so hard. It doesn't matter how rich or poor you are, it's the same feelings.
It all sounds so depressing.
All the assets are mine, 2 of them being pre-marital, although his barrister will try to convince the judge they are not.
The FMH was bought solely by me and I paid the mortgage off in 5 years with not one single contribution from him. It is worth 1.5million and he is now seeking for half of that amount and £77K of my pension.
I no longer work due to a diagnosis of Cervical Spondylosis however I have an income from my business. I have a good legal team (my barrister is a judge as well) however from what I'm reading it seems nothing matters except the needs of the lower earner. He is on £70K so it's not exactly a low income, in fact it's way above average. And the tables are turned, because he now earns more than me but he is incapable of saving a penny for his own mortgage, relying instead on a handout from me.
Aren't judges meant to be full of wisdom? Isn't the law meant to be flexible? By what you guys are saying, this actually is not the case!
The best case sceniro is that the assists are divided 50/50 or slightly in your faviour and from the totally assist pot asking for 1 million out of a pot of 2.3million is fair and you would be wise to give serous consideration to offering him something around that figure becuase he could in fact recive more that what is asking for from the judge
It does not matter that all the assists belong to you and to a lesser extent pre marrige things because when you marry you legally become joined so everything becomes joint as it would if you owned nothing and your soon to be EX husband owned everything
While the british diovce law is not perfect its alot fairer than it could be because by your wishes saying everything is yours could be used agaisnt mothers can you imagine if your a mother and you have had a long term marrige (7 years is too long to be condsidered a short marragie) but all the assists belonged to the husband would you seriously think the mother should walk away with nothing or very little becuase all the asissts belonged to the husband? it is for this very reason why the starting point of diroce is 50/50
If I was a rich woman I wouldn't get married <unless of course husband richer>. Sounds awful op.
I agree with the posters above no one that has large amounts of assists should get married male or female I will be telling all my children this sadly
unless pre nup agreements become enforcable I can see less and less people getting married espically with record high diovice rates.
Tenents in commen / protection in wills in case of death etc but not to full marraige if rich and or have a large amount of assists (not so important if your both completely skint tho)
There is no yours or his or hers. When you marry, you vow to share everything. That was a legally binding contract.
I would accept that offer, it does not sound at all greedy.
Yes, I very much doubt I will marry again as do not want to pay out to another man on divorce (to be fair my ex (and I) always worked full time and still works very hard indeed full time and he simply claimed what any lower earner wife would claim).
In the case here you have to get out a calculator - what is the most you'd be ordered to pay if you go to court and what are the likely legal costs if you lose against what is the best chance result and then decide what offer you might accept. I earned 10x my ex and he wanted maintenance for life so our 60/40 split in his favour reflected that. In your case you don't earn I think that much now although still get some money from the business, as you are ill. If your income from the business is now less than his £70k a year. Your marriage was only 7 years and mine was 20 and you had pre marriage assets which we didn't really as it was such a long time ago or not many that mattered and may you can show extreme bad behaviour so it might be worth a punt in the hope he might get less than 60% or 50% of assets. I do think the courts ought to recognise in capital settlements with no maintenance for adults who is going to care for the children. My ex could have had the vie children 50% of the time after the divorce had he wanted. Instead he has not even had them for one night a year over 10 years. The impact of that is that I have a double job of children and full time work and he doesn't and yet that is not reflected in capital settlements because I suppose you cannot predict who the children will live with over time.
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