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Husband leaving and worried about my financial future

(20 Posts)
Molly1386 Thu 25-Dec-14 21:46:45

My husband is talking of leaving. I trust him to be reasonable and to do the right thing - to a point. Having grown up with divorced parents I know first hand that everything is fine until there are new partners are involved, and therefore i can't be certain that he will always be honourable.

I have been a stay at home mum for over ten years, with three children and my youngest child is 6. I gave up a career job that I could not go back into. When I met my husband I had a flat that we released equity from to buy our current home. We then got married. We rent out this flat. In the past couple of years I used some money my grandmother left me to use as a deposit and jointly buy with my sister an investment flat. I have since bought another property using a family loan to secure the deposit, with other family members. These properties are heavily mortgaged.

My husband earns a fairly large wage, such as I could never hope to earn now.

To further complicate things we are in the process of selling our current home as it is too small and buying a larger house that needs lots of work. This new house will stretch our finances in the sense of a larger mortgage commitment. I have asked to continue with the house purchase as otherwise I will be stuck in a house that is not big enough for myself and my children.

What can I expect? Can I expect him to carry on supporting me not working? Or will I have to find a job? This makes me sad for the children as they will go through enough change without me suddenly getting childcare and being a stressed working mum on a low income.

If we divorce, what can I expect? Will he have a claim to my investment properties? Should I perhaps be proactive and offer him the flat I bought before we met and then I keep the house? This worries me as the flat was always going to be my pension.

I have no interest in screwing my husband over, but I do want to protect myself.

Help!

MrsTawdry Thu 25-Dec-14 21:55:39

I think you need legal advice very quickly. flowers

LePetitPrince Thu 25-Dec-14 21:59:47

Hi, I am sorry to read what you are going through..

Please don't think I am being hurtful, but you need to be very realistic now and look carefully at everything. Do the investment flats cover all costs - mortgage, fees, voids etc? Your husband is entitled to half your assets from marriage so could make a claim. As to the new house, you must pull out if it isn't too late. You won't have money for expensive repairs even if the mortgage is covered. Your kids can share where they are.

Remember your DH needs to also fund a property big enough for the kids to visit so finances may be stretched. I think there is every chance you will need to get a job.

bamboostalks Thu 25-Dec-14 22:04:56

This is going to get very messy or could do at any rate. You have a complex portfolio and need to see a specialist divorce solicitor ASAP. I think moving could be a very poor idea if it's into a house you can't afford.

wannabestressfree Thu 25-Dec-14 22:10:01

Yes you do need up think about work and please don't buy the house. You need to think about seperating finances not tangling them further.

APlaceInTheWinter Thu 25-Dec-14 22:14:06

Realistically you probably can't expect him to keep supporting you whilst you aren't working. You may be entitled to spousal maintenance but in most cases it isn't enough to allow you to be a SAHP (obviously it does depend on individual financial circumstances) as a rule of thumb, your DP doesn't have to keep you. Ideally neither of you should experience a substantial drop in standard of living as a result of divorce but realistically a quick read at threads on here proves that quite often there is a drop in living standards.

The situation regarding your properties depends on a few different factors including the legal paperwork drawn up when you entered into the investment properties with your relatives (they could have clauses on whether or not you can pass your rights to someone else/on whether they have first refusal on buying you out, etc) ; whether you are in Scotland or England (the law regarding separation of property assets is slightly different).

In the first instance, you should definitely cancel the house purchase. Financially you will not be able to afford repairs and emotionally you don't want to be living in a house that needs a lot of work that you can't afford whilst trying to deal with the fall-out of a divorce.

Don't offer him your investment property or anything else until you speak to a solicitor. People can change suddenly and drastically when you are getting divorced and you can't leave yourself or your DCs vulnerable.

Molly1386 Fri 26-Dec-14 08:21:33

I really appreciate the advise and honesty.

I know it doesn't make sense to most people but I feel strongly that the house move is the right decision. I will never again have the earning power to move from this house, and far from worrying about the stress of building work, it is kind of keeping me going. I am good at developing properties and am not scared to do it alone. There will be enough money to do the work from the mortgage we are getting to cover the move. It is also giving me a positive (if scary) focus which I believe is stopping me fro, falling apart. It is only two roads away too, so nothing changes for the children on that front.

I believe not only do I have to take this opportunity, but as I have said to my DH, if we have to devide assets in the future, it is a bigger asset to sell, which is true as our current house has been maxed out potential wise. I really am looking at the house from a business point of view as well as a family home. It will be worth far more in the end than our current house.

I will definitely seek legal advise straight away though. Does anyone have any guidance on finding a lawyer and how much I should expect to pay?

Thank you everyone so much - I've never used Mumsnet before and didn't expect to get so much response.

Happy new year to you all.

PurpleWithRed Fri 26-Dec-14 08:38:54

Regarding finding a lawyer, most will give you a half-hour chat upfront as a taster, so ask around and/or just pick three out of the phone book. You need to ask them their fees then 'interview' them: ask them how they would approach managing a complex portfolio like yours and what similar experiences they have had, their attitude to/experience with mediation, what costs they would expect you to pay vs those paid by DH, anything you can think of that's sensible. Just don't expect them to give you 'the answer' in your free half hour.

You say 'if we need to divide assets in the future' - surely if you are separating you will definitely need to divide assets, and sooner rather than later. You will need to negotiate with each other over this division of assets too, there is no fixed rule that says how things are divided other than that the children must be adequately provided for.

Your back of an envelope sums are going to be based on
- a 50:50 split of all martial assets, which will include 'your' investment properties and 'his' pension (although you can trade off against each other for anything)
- assuming the children spend most of their time with you, him paying you a sum for maintenance of the children as per the CSA website calculations based on his net salary
- you will not get any maintenance/income from him personally, and will be expected to get a job and support yourself.

All this is up for negotiation though - you have to agree the final splits between each other. He may agree to fund you as a SAHM, or a bigger proportion of the equity, or to delay taking his money out of your new house - or he may not.

So get out your pencil and get thinking about what might happen with your new house. What if you fall out big time and he wants his money out of it - where might that leave you?

wannabestressfree Fri 26-Dec-14 10:27:27

Whether you are thinking about it from a business stance or not you are being incredibly naive. He will need his own property and may want to start again. That's going to be difficult when you already have a large property and you aren't working. You really do need to sort finances properly before you go into this as you could be left with nothing.

APlaceInTheWinter Fri 26-Dec-14 19:54:03

Please don't move forward with the purchase of the new property until you have spoken to a solicitor. It really isn't advisable. You should be separating assets not combining them.

You could be leaving yourself more vulnerable by moving rather than more secure. Consider if you sell your property but the purchase of the other property falls through. You will then have to find a new home on an uncertain sum of money via child and possible spousal maintenance payments. You could end up in a smaller property in a different area. You could end up having to move in with relatives or trying to negotiate a move into one your investment properties.

Furthermore, the mixed motivations for purchasing the larger house (ie is it an asset or a home) could muddy your rights to remain there.

I can completely understand why it's helping you to focus on developing the new house but you're also using it to avoid focusing on the fact that your relationship is ending and actually everything in your life is in flux just now. The sooner you appreciate that and act accordingly, the more secure the future will be for you and your DCs.

As for finding a solicitor, the resolution website offers a list of family law specialists. Do mention the property aspect when arranging any bookings as you do need a specialist. Good luck. I can understand why you're still in shock and trying to continue with your plans but your DCs need you to be fighting their corner in all of this and that includes risk assessing every decision for a worst case scenario.

Bonsoir Fri 26-Dec-14 19:59:14

You need a tough nut solicitor ASAP and, as other posters say, don't buy a house you won't be able to afford to live in on your own.

Molly1386 Fri 26-Dec-14 21:50:13

I hear what you're all saying, but I obviously haven't been clear that I am literally on the brink of exchange. It would be a nightmare to pull out now and we would lose quite a lot of money.

The reality is I can afford neither house as I have no income. If I am going to be left I would like to be left in a house big enough for my children.

We are in the very early stages separation wise, and are discussing the possibility of him living nearer to work during the week and coming home at weekends to give him some mental space to think and to give the children a kind of soft start to any possible separation.

I possibly am being naive, but I do believe he will do right by us, I just want to be proactive and protect myself as much as possible. At this point I want to retain some faith in the goodness of human nature. My mother was very bitter after she separated from my father and I don't want to be that person.

I am hoping that we can be that utopian separated couple that still spend time with the children together and can possibly become friends. This is not as naive as it sounds as we spent a year apart ten years ago, and managed to salvage a friendship in the end (and obviously got back together). I don't foresee us getting back together this time, but he behaved decently last time and so I have no reason to think he would behave differently. However, who knows! Especially as I said, when new partners become involved.

I really can't see how staying in this house will make any difference, it's just a slightly smaller mortgage payment. I still can't afford it whatever.

Bonsoir Fri 26-Dec-14 21:56:43

Don't be so naive.

woodychip Fri 26-Dec-14 22:08:18

Have you been to the Entitledto website? Tells you what benefits you may get. It will be complicated with owning more than one property though.

itwillgetbettersoon Fri 26-Dec-14 22:44:23

His solicitor may advise him to sell the new house to release equity in order for him to buy a property. You should pull out and stay in the current house which as a % must have more equity and less mortgage. The costs of buying And stamp duty could be used to help fund the divorce etc. You are assuming he doesn't meet someone who pushes him to make decisions that may not financially suit you.

I'm afraid that you will probably have to go back to work to financially try to support yourself.

It is difficult.

APlaceInTheWinter Sat 27-Dec-14 12:34:16

The difference with the current house isn't only a slightly smaller mortgage payment. You said you released equity from your flat so you could purchase this home. This means you should have either a contract or a papertrail that clearly shows your investment in your current property. The percentage of your investment in the new property will be minimal by comparison. It really isn't about becoming bitter. I'd suspect you're more likely to become bitter if you feel you've relied upon your DH to meet your criteria of 'fair' and then he doesn't act accordingly.

STIDW Sat 27-Dec-14 13:05:40

YOu need to see a family solicitor PDQ before completing the purchase of the other property to find out where you stand and your options.

In a nutshell the value of any asset (including pensions) held in joint and sole names minus any liabilities forms the matrimonial pot. That is shared according to a checklist of factors in s25 Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. There is no law assets are shared 50:50, or at least it is an oversimplification of the law. Sharing 50:50 only applies when there is substantial amount of wealth and the needs of the parties can be met. In most cases there aren't enough assets and it is a case of meeting the needs of the parties, in particular for housing.

Having the children live with you most of the time and your lack of mortgage raising capacity may justify a larger share of assets in your favour. However the more the pot is shared in your favour the less ability your husband will have to pay any spouse maintenance if indeed it is a factor at all. He needs somewhere to live where the children can stay overnights. If the property you are buying is bigger than required to house the children adequately it may just have to be resold to release equity and reduce mortgage commitments to enable you both to rehouse. Reselling would have further costs implications.

The aim of separating finances on divorce is to leave both parties living a similar standard of living to start independent living. In the majority of cases the reality is both parties have to readjust to a lower standard of living than they enjoyed during the marriage. After a 10 year gap in employment it isn't easy to re-establish oneself in the jobs market and it may take many years.

When parents' relationships breakdown there are many uncertainties and last thing children need are multiple changes e.g. to the family structure, moving homes more than necessary, a SAHP retraining/starting work, childcare arrangements and perhaps schools. Property is just bricks and mortar and there is little point in struggling to meet mortgage payments and the costs of running a larger property if that is unmanageable or means you can't afford enjoying holidays and treats with the children during their childhood.

FlowerFairy2014 Sat 27-Dec-14 13:38:45

Add up all your shares in all properties and deduct mortgages and the equity you both have in the current house and all cash you have at bank, savings etc. Does not matter whose name it is in and where it came from. Deduct mortgage. You then get your net joint assets.

Divide that by two. If that is enough to house you both you could have clean break on that basis - no maintenance for either assets. My ex and I did that although I earned 10x what he did so he got 60% not 50%. He got my life savings, all my shares and I got a very large mortgage and no child support.

In your case I suppose the biggest mistake has been giving up full time work. That is going to make everything difficult for everyone now.

I was very keen to keep this house - so keen I took on a £1m mortgage and it was the right decision for me (I work full time).

However in your case you earn nothing so you're going to need to look at the practicalities. If he is planning to live away in the week (presumably so he can get sex from someone else whilst he's away and have his cake and eat it) he may well be more than happy to keep funding the new family home. You might all live like that for 5 years without problems so don't assume you have to rush to divorce.

however at some point he'd want to buy a new house himself and I suspect there is not enough equity in the other properties if you sold them to pay off the mortgage on the new house you move to and leave him free to buy another property with a mortgage. Or perhaps just cross that bridge when you come to it. One partial solution is going to be going back to full time work so that if in a year or two you do divorce there will be more money for the family as a whole and your children.

If your original flat, the flat with the sister and the investment property are all heavily mortgaged and the deposit for one is owed to the relatives then only the clear equity in those properties is a family asset to be added to the pot and split with the husband.

APlaceInTheWinter Sat 27-Dec-14 15:04:17

Of course the relevance of all the above legal advice does depend on where you live. The law differs from country to country. Hence why we're all urging you to see a solicitor.

flowers it is difficult starting to disentangle lives and in some ways, with all the emotional expectations around Christmas, this is an even more difficult time to face such harsh realities.

FlowerFairy2014 Sat 27-Dec-14 16:21:08

Indeed. Even Scotland and England differ - lower earners get less in Scotland and I think there finances are divided at date of parting. In the UK it's lal worked out at the date of divorce/finances finalised by court which could be 2 or 3 years' later with property appreciation in the meantime so there can be merit in settling finances quickly.

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