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Asset split after divorce of a marriage with no children...

(26 Posts)
Tasmania Fri 09-Aug-13 13:46:36

Ok. Pls. enlighten me...

If two people get married, and have no children... why is it that when they divorce, the one with less income should always benefit from having married someone wealthy?

Like the example of the older woman who married a young surfer dude who never did anything but was awarded a big share of her assets, so she had to remortgage her house (with the prospect of not being able to leave any inheritance for her children from her first marriage).

Or a guy who married a girl who swiftly gives up a career to be a lady who lunches for no reason whatsoever but wants 'her share' after a divorce of a marriage that produced no children.

I always see legal language saying that the partner has to keep the 'standard of living they have become accustomed to'? Why??

When someone is made redundant, there is no duty of care to anyone's standard of living. People just have to move on and work. Why is it that when you marry a wealthy guy tomorrow, divorce him 3 years later, do no work whatsoever, courts believe you can be kept in style in an ongoing manner?

AIBU to think that if no children are involved, both partners should just continue as though they had never met?

AIBU to think that people who just give up work for their own leisure rather than caring for kids have to take responsibility for their actions once a divorce comes along?

freemanbatch Fri 09-Aug-13 14:02:14

Marriage is a contract that combines the lives, skills and assets of two people, it is a contract to which both parties agree and which makes both liable for the decisions taken within the time the contract is in force. On signing the contract you are aware of the rules about its dissolution and therefore unless you can prove that you were not at liberty to make your own decision to sign the contract it is reasonable that the contract is dissolved in the way that was set out when it was signed.

LouiseAderyn Fri 09-Aug-13 14:09:31

I think that money accrued during the marriage should be split, but assets you owned prior to the marriage should be ring fenced.

I would certainly not marry for a second time, if I had dc from a first marriage and needed to protect their financial security. It seems very unfair to me that a person could get money from an ex or keep the family home, for the security of the dc from that relationship, and a second spouse could come along and claim a bloody great chunk of it for doing nothing more than getting married to one of the parents!

Ilovemyself Fri 09-Aug-13 14:11:22

Freemanbatch. Speak English rather than that rubbish.

Tasmania. YADNBU. The way assets are split after a divorce can sometimes bear no reason to the situation.

The worst are when huge sums of money are involved. Why should a partner pay for someone to live at a certain standard way above the norm after they have split. When you hear of maintenance for a partner ( with no kids) in the £1000s or 10s of 1000s it is crazy. That person does not need that level of money and is not working for it so they need to work for their living or gold dig again

sparechange Fri 09-Aug-13 14:12:16

Don't believe everything you read in the papers.
The starting point for most divorces of childless and short marriages is to look at the assets that were accumulated during the marriage (and they will often backdate that to cohabitation or getting together).

'Standard of living to which you are accustomed' in 99% of cases doesn't mean you get your ex to pick up the tab for the sorts of holidays you would have had if you had stayed together, but it does mean that if you have always owned your own house while you are together, there should be provision for you to get enough to put down a deposit and buy somewhere when you split up, instead of renting for the rest of your life.

The examples you give are extremes and unusual, and I'm sure there are enough family lawyers here who will be able to give you plenty of examples (and facts) as to why it is fair in the majority of cases.

Plus, the wording of the vows is something along the lines of 'everything I have, I share with you', so people know what they are getting into

Tasmania Fri 09-Aug-13 14:15:20

But what if, say, prior to the marriage, one partner believed the other would continue to work but doesn't? Any normal contract is subject to loads of stipulations on either contracting partner... but a marriage contract does not?!?

Fidelity, for example... someone can cheat on their partner, ask for divorce and still get a fair bit? Is there no behaviour that deems the marriage void?

Mad world!

Ilovemyself Fri 09-Aug-13 14:19:44

I agree Tasmania. My step father had to pay maintenance for his ex wife even though she had moved in with someone else and was living in a fantastic house with all mod cons. My step father had to live in his car as all his money went on her and his children ( not that he minded paying for his children)

Tasmania Fri 09-Aug-13 14:33:10

sparechange instead of renting for the rest of your life

Ehm... plenty of those in my generation have to do exactly that. Why can't others?

ilovesooty Fri 09-Aug-13 14:39:01

Standard of living to which you are accustomed' in 99% of cases doesn't mean you get your ex to pick up the tab for the sorts of holidays you would have had if you had stayed together, but it does mean that if you have always owned your own house while you are together, there should be provision for you to get enough to put down a deposit and buy somewhere when you split up, instead of renting for the rest of your life

When I got divorced after a long and acrimonious separation, and the house was sold everything I got at the end went on paying the debts accumulated. We'd earned similar amounts for most of the marriage but he earned 3 times my salary after the divorce. (I'd changed career due to ill health). He's bought a house. I have no prospect of ever doing so again.I don't think it's at all automatic that you get to keep the lifestyle to which you'd become accustomed.

rainrainandmorerain Fri 09-Aug-13 14:50:38

I don't get this one either.

A friend who had just turned 30, no kids, separated from her much wealthier husband after she had a very brief affair. He was much wealthier because his parents had given him a deposit to buy a flat, which ennabled them to get on the property ladder, and then he earned a lot working in the City. She had done a few bits and pieces in media, but latterly had done a small part time job (underemployed really, for around ten grand a year), a little bit of doing up the house, and he paid her a few grand a year as part of a tax avoidance thing for him. I think she was called his company secretary, although she didn't have to do any actual work. He paid the mortgage and the bills etc.

When they split, which obviously wasn't exactly amicable, there was a devil of an argument over who got what - and I was really surprised to find out how much of their joint assets/cash she thought she was entitled to, and largely got.

I didn't understand the rationale and still don't. It also seemed to me to quite retrograde somehow, as a feminist. She seemed to have been quite 'kept' during the marriage, and then walked away with a good handful! As I say, with no kids, I was very surprised how it all panned out.

LouiseAderyn Fri 09-Aug-13 15:13:41

I also think that if you break the contract by cheating, for example, you should forfeit the right to profit from your spouse if they are wealthier than you. If you are the richer partner and break the terms of the contract, then you should have to pay to keep the ex in the standard of living to which they've become accustomed.

Tasmania Fri 09-Aug-13 15:51:18

ilovesooty ... he only earned 3x more after the divorce, but prior to that you both earned similar levels, so I understand that none of you got an amount that is significantly out of proportion... and that's how it should be.

What I am talking about is a partner who earns significantly more during a marriage. In that case, the poorer partner benefits 99% of the time - they leave with more assets than they would ever have had (in their lifetime) had they never met their partner.

I do believe that the current system seems to reward the lazy and idle. But I agree with Louise's infidelity rule...

digerd Fri 09-Aug-13 16:05:08

In Germany , and probably other countries, what each person has before the marriage is not common property if they divorce. Only what is accrued during the marriage. Their marriage vows do not include " All my worldy goods I thee endow".

mrsravelstein Fri 09-Aug-13 16:09:47

when i got divorced about 8 years ago i got no spousal maintenance, only child maintenance - i was told that because it had been a short marriage (about 4 years) and i was young (early 30s) and could go back to work i had no claim to be supported.

assets were split about 70/30 in my favour in order to give me enough money to put a deposit on a house for me and ds1 as i have sole custody. that's as far as 'maintaining a standard of living' went... i certainly wasn't 'entitled' to enough money to maintain my previous lifestyle.

so my gut instinct is that, especially if no kids are involved, these kind of settlements are being made by the wealthier partner willingly.

mrsravelstein Fri 09-Aug-13 16:11:57

there is always more to a marriage than meets the eye, and the fact that one person cheated doesn't really mean anything unless you know what the other spouse was doing too, so it's quite ludicrous to think that courts should start laying moral conditions about who did what to whom in making their settlements.

LouiseAderyn Fri 09-Aug-13 16:41:37

It's not a moral judgement though, more a breach of contract issue. The parties agreed the terms at the ceremony, so imposed the moral conditions on themselves.

mrsravelstein Fri 09-Aug-13 16:49:37

the terms of both of my marriages were the simple legal words, which don't say anything about sharing everything i have or about forsaking all others.

LouiseAderyn Fri 09-Aug-13 16:53:15

Ahh well then, you'd be exempt!

I'm blush to admit I can't actually remember my vows - was very nervous and dh got the giggles and I was so busy trying not to get the giggles too that I could have promised anything! Will have to dig out the wedding video and refresh my memory.

mrsravelstein Fri 09-Aug-13 16:55:08

I declare that I know of no legal reason why I, (name) may not be joined in marriage to (name)

I(name) take you/thee (name) to be my wedded wife/husband.

that's all it is

LouiseAderyn Fri 09-Aug-13 17:42:51

pretty sure I said more than that

mrsravelstein Fri 09-Aug-13 17:48:36

yep you probably did, i just meant that those are the only actual legal words, the rest of it is all just window dressing smile

me and dh only wanted to say the legal words and ended up having a bit of a row with the registrar mid wedding as we didn't want to say all the extra stuff!

LouiseAderyn Fri 09-Aug-13 20:24:49

did you win?

I remember my friends wedding, where the priest talked about fear of god in relation to not breaking vows, which I was a bit shock about. Personally, I'd like my dh to keep his vows because he values me, rather than being shit scared of god. I think my friend's mother chose the priest...

I remember from mine, that I wouldn't say obey as part of the vows - I wasn't going to promise something I had no intention of keeping smile

Ilovemyself Fri 09-Aug-13 20:34:10

At my first wedding the vicar asked my then wife to be when she was going to give up work and become a housewife. I thought she was going to hit him.........

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