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Divorce, the money and maintenance

(17 Posts)
leftfootrightfoot Thu 21-Mar-13 09:01:25

H has walked out on me and our children for another woman. I am looking at divorce and have met witha solicitor. I seem to have got my head around the divorce process but am not sure how finances come in. As I see it, which could well be wrong so please jump in, I file for divorce, he will agree and it will all go through, then kind of seperate to this we have to sort out the house and any money we have now. If we don't agree on this what happens, does the divorce process stop?

I also assume we need to sort out maintenance payments together. If he says he is just giving me the CSA ammount when I feel he can afford and should pay more what happens then? Can he be made to, say, give me more of the house or more money than he wants, and if he can how does that work? I think tbh he is seeing a nice big wad of money coming his way along with his freedom and he will not be happy if he thinks I am getting more than half even though I will be bringing up his two children while he dallies off (he works fulltime I gave up work when kids born, joint decision at the time)

purplewithred Thu 21-Mar-13 09:17:37

The circumstances of the divorce have no impact on the final settlement. So you need to put aside your extremely understandable bitterness and be clinically businesslike.

The startpoint for a settlement is a 50:50 split of equity + CSA-level child maintenance to the relevant parent. Deviation from this is justified if it's not enough for the children to be appropriately housed, or by agreement between the two of you. So you need to justify why you need more than this to maintain a reasonable standard of living for the children, or you have to negotiate with XTB and get his agreement. That's the horrible bit - you actually have to negotiate with someone you'd sooner see burning in hell. He can only be 'made' to do anything by court, and there is a lot of mediation and discussion to go through before a court will get involved.

If the 50:50/CSA means your kids have to live with you in a hovel while they live with him in a palace then you've got a good argument for an increased settlement. But 'he's a cheating b*****d' aint going to cut it.

So get smart, not angry, as I'm sure someone said in a film sometime.

leftfootrightfoot Thu 21-Mar-13 11:16:11

Thanks, he has just texted that staying in the room he chose for himself is making him ill so he has takena 6 month lease on another place that will "stretch him" but we will be "ok". He has never managed a household budget so has no idea. What do I do right now to protect myself from him spending all his savings? Nothing? sad

RedHelenB Sat 23-Mar-13 14:26:16

You can't really if the savings are in his name. If you are separated then he needs a place to live other than the family home.

RedHelenB Sat 23-Mar-13 14:27:28

FWIW - I decided that the most important thing for me & the kids was keeping our home & that' was my goal in all the negociations.

happyAvocado Sat 23-Mar-13 14:34:00

I thought that if that money was saved during marriage is equally yours as his.

RedHelenB Sat 23-Mar-13 14:58:37

No use if he's already spent it though!!

expatinscotland Sat 23-Mar-13 15:07:18

Get a good solicitor and don't try to hang onto a house you can't afford, it's common but very big mistake to make in a divorce.

leftfootrightfoot Sat 23-Mar-13 18:08:37

expat there is only a year left on the mortgage, do you mean holding onto house you can't afford to keep once he has gone? I'm sorry if thats a silly question, I know no one in real life who has divorced or seperated and have no idea of these things, plus am still reeling sad

RedHelenB Sat 23-Mar-13 18:50:53

So there must be a lot of equity in the house if there's only 1 year of mortgage to pay? How old are your children btw?

leftfootrightfoot Sat 23-Mar-13 20:37:46

3 and 6. Lots of equity but a very cheap house we bought before house prices went mad

RedHelenB Sat 23-Mar-13 20:58:18

It may be that he agrees to wait until the youngest is 18 to sell the house & get his portion of the equity & you could be mortgage free with 20% of his net salary & maybe a part time job so you could get WTC. Should be ok financially with that if you are in a cheap area to live..

STIDW Sun 24-Mar-13 18:25:09

A deferred sale or charge back paid out when the youngest child reaches 18 is only really only appropriate when there is no other way of keeping a roof over children's heads. 15 years is a long time when the youngest child is just 3 years of age and by the time they reach 18 you will be older and may have difficulty getting a mortgage for the usual 25 year term making it difficult or impossible to buy another property. So if a property is bigger than required it may need to be sold to release equity to enable both parties to rehouse.

There is no law in England & Wales that assets are shared 50:50, or at least it's an over simplification of the law. Equality in divorce settlements isn't a mathematical 50:50 split, it's about leaving both parties on a similar financial footing. So a good starting point is to research local house prices and both parties mortgage raising capabilities. If children are to live with you most of the time you will need a more substantial property to provide and adequate main home. YOu need to check what state help you will be entitled to. If your income is lower than your husband's your mortgage raising capabilities will be less and you will "need" a greater share of liquid capital to invest in a property to be on the same footing as your ex.

Your husband will be liable only for child maintenance at CSA rates, although he could pay more by agreement. Spouse maintenance depends on whether there is a big discrepancy in incomes, your need, his ability to pay and there is a sharing element. IT's unlikely that someone on average or below average income would pay SM because there wouldn't be a huge discrepancy in incomes when income and/or state benefits are taken into account. When SM is a factor it has to be seen in context of the overall finances and if the lower income spouse has a larger share of capital there need of SM is reduced whilst the payer has less capital so requires a larger mortgage thus decreasing any disposable cash and the means to pay SM. A solicitor in possession of the details is in the best position to advise about your particular case.

As far as procedure is concerned the usual practice is for one spouse to apply for divorce. Once the first part of the divorce the nisi decree has been granted the finances can be agreed or imposed by an order of the court when there is no agreement and then the final divorce decree, the absolute, is applied for. Having said that sometimes the absolute is granted before the finances are settled. When no agreement can be reached you need to make a judgement about how much more information can be ascertained, at what cost, over what period of time and how much of an improved settlement is likely by going to court.

leftfootrightfoot Sun 24-Mar-13 18:32:03

Thanks STIDW. He works and has income of 26k pa, I gave up work 7 years ago when DS came along so my actual income now thatH has gone is 450 CTC per month and 130 CB per month and whatever he wants to pay me to bring up hi two children. He could get a very basic house round here for 75k (ours is worth 90k perhaps?). I have no mortgage potential at th moment I suppose as I'm not working. We also have individual savings we built up during our ten yr marriage, about the same amount each in our own ISAs

STIDW Sun 24-Mar-13 19:43:38

Just some food for thought.Would the ISA's together be enough to pay a deposit on a property for your husband?

If he is living with the OW she should be contributing towards their living expenses, reducing his costs and making a mortgage more affordable. The only problem is he may need to stay on your mortgage until it is paid off if you aren't in a position to release him. IF he can only borrow 3.5x salary that would give him a mortgage raising capability of around £90k (or a bit more if his salary is net) minus the mortgage on the former family home.

If his income is net he would pay £433 a month child maintenance minus 1/7th for each overnight the children spend with him. It's unlikely he would have to pay anything else although you can agree between yourselves what you want to meet the needs of the children.

Once your youngest starts school it's worthwhile finding a job for 16 hours or more and then you will qualify for Working Families Tax Credits.

leftfootrightfoot Sun 24-Mar-13 20:40:24

Thanks, thats his gross income so i think it works out as about £80 a week. He would have enough with just his own ISAs if he was looking at a reasonable place (like ours) not something extravagant.

She is staying there temporarily apparently as she has nowhere else to go hmm so she isn't paying but he said he isn't supporting her?! He seems to have got some inheritence as well from his Gran who dies just before he left although I have no idea how much that is

RedHelenB Mon 25-Mar-13 07:05:18

Well if he is supporting her it makes it a worse situation for you I suppose but him having the ISA'a & you the house may well be the line to take, particularly if he has had some inherited money which he has already potentially spent.

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