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Children's Savings in their name, are they really counted as matrimonial assets?

(17 Posts)
cannotseeanend Mon 19-Jan-15 18:39:55

Hi there
going through a very high conflict case, husband left me and 4 kids and have had sole care of them since then. We don't live in UK but husband left to live with his lover and her 3 kids by 2 different dads.

Husband emptied current accounts and it's taken me a long long time to obtain enough credit to borrow a few kks from the bank in the UK to get a barrister.

No Financial Dispute Hearing. Judge decided to go directly to Final Hearing. Had an awful time trying to get court to react. 3 months it took for the court to consider a D11 to try and get access to family home. The only other assets are endowments I've agreed to give me husband and the children's savings.

I have 4 kids and sole care, he will not take any care of them.

I have been told by the barrister that the UK court MAY consider the children's savings, even though they are in their names and much of it has been always in their names, as marital assets. He has said prepare yourself that your child has to empty half their Child Trust Fund and the other children empty their savings accounts too, even though the money is there blocked till they are 18.

Is this correct? Are children's savings in their name REALLY marital assets and must be given 50% to the parent who abandoned them?

Furthermore, why does my husband have the right to 50% of my father's inheritance to me?

I am in great distress at the thought that for 18 years I have saved for the children, for their futures, now the court is going to empty half their bank accounts. I am devastated.

DisappointedCake Mon 19-Jan-15 23:00:57

Yes unfortunately as sometimes either parent could have used the accounts to hide away money.

And if the inheritance was gained during the marriage then yes it would be counted as martial. As if you had not split the family would benifit from it.

Is it worth trying to barter against his pension if he has one?

STIDW Tue 20-Jan-15 18:35:54

In England & Wales the value of the children's savings and the inheritance are relevant and need to be disclosed, but there are very limited circumstances when children’s savings may be included in the value of the assets to be split.

Inheritances are a grey area but when they have been incorporated into the family finances or if there aren't enough other assets they are usually shared or used to meet the needs of the family, in particular for housing.

There is no law that assets are shared 50:50, or at least it is an oversimplification of the law which only really applies when there is significant wealth and neither party made an exceptional contribution. Equality in divorce settlements means leaving both parties living a similar standard of living to start independent lives rather than a mathematical 50:50 split.

When there are more than enough resources to meet the needs of both parties a party who inherited may be awarded a larger proportion of the value of the assets to be shared.

cannotseeanend Tue 20-Jan-15 20:56:05

STIDW can you point me to more info about any circumstances when children's savings ARE included?

They are in savings accounts, some open since birth, some opened when ISAs came into existence for children, a child trust fund for the one child currently unable to have an ISA and it's been filled every year for 9 years and it is the account with the highest current value.

My barrister says these accounts MUST be included as matrimonial assets and the division be based with them in the sum of value of assets to be split. I cried my heart out for 24 hours when he told me.

It now worries me you are contradicting him - can you lead me to guidance and any precedent case which he can quote. I feel like I am doing his work here. I am sick of this. I got on books of Bar Pro Bono association, just to find no-one could spare the time. Then it took me 4 months of fighting my UK bank to get enough money to pay a barrister and I have had to take the only person available. I am not happy at all if he is getting basic stuff wrong.

WellWhoKnew Wed 21-Jan-15 00:46:44

Hi, I think you've misunderstood what your barrister has said. I suspect he meant they must be disclosed not that they will be necessarily carved up.

He may well not get half of the children's accounts (assuming there are other assets to take into consideration). However, you DO need to disclose them as 'marital assets'. All that means is everything that belonged to your "family" must be recorded (usually by way of a Form E). At the end of that process, you have a 'family' wealth that can be more or less 'measured'. After all, the other side will argue that you can raid those accounts for your own needs (even though you wouldn't)

Thus car + house +pensions + contents of ALL bank accounts + very valuable stamp collection + your 108" TV (worth second hand £501.00) + inheritance = family worth.

Then, the starting point of division is 50/50, but when young children are concerned, the end point is often 70/30 or 60/40 in favour of the child-rearer. BUT it depends on all the circumstances of the case including ages of children, length of marriage, needs etc, etc.

However, if he emptied the accounts and you're heading into a final hearing, it seems there must be some capital to argue over. However, do list everything on your Form E way before you go to a Final Hearing - as non disclosure will not look good in court.

With Trusts, just gather all the documentation. This will show the intention that you both had when you set them up - including, critically, the fact they can't be raided until they are 18. This all helps your barrister, who will be arguing to protect them!

Don't panic until the judge whacks his hammer down.

cannotseeanend Wed 21-Jan-15 06:52:34

No I certainly did not misunderstand the barrister. These assets have been declared for a year and this is my first consultation with 3 weeks to a final hearing. He said quite clearly that the children's savings MUST be divided, even though most is blocked in ISAs and CTF until they reach 18 and one is already 18 and has his money though has not spent it. He really did mean that these assets MUST be divided - so I have changed my proposal that my husband who wants more than me because he wants to buy his lover a house worth 2 times our current house, he needs more money. So he can have it! But he'll have to argue with the kids when they are 18 to get it off them.

I had thought that these savings would be excluded from the family pot for division, but the barrister has said not.

My husband told me directly in the last few days he wants 50% of the gross assets, including the children's savings.

And as for the car, my husband took it abroad back to the UK 2 years ago and we've been left car less ever since. The barrister says I cannot even expect compensation and the car must go for the value it is on the day, which is about 4k less than when he took the car. I find that so unjust. 4 kids and me and no car, him single person has been driving around the car I paid 2/3 for, from an account where my inheritance had been, my dad bought 2/3 of that car on death and my husband took it off us. It is so emotional thinking about what he has done.

So far 2 of you have said children's money remains there, 1 person says not. My barrister says not.

Anyone got any case law I can point barrister too. I am going to ask him how many final hearings he has actually done, I am very worried about him.

MinceSpy Wed 21-Jan-15 07:19:37

Unless your H can prove that any money in your children's names was put there with no intention of giving to the children then he can't touch it. It does have to be declared though.

Would you be better divorcing in your country of residence. Is H paying maintenance?

cannotseeanend Wed 21-Jan-15 07:33:00

I cannot divorce in country of residence. My husband is vindictive. Uk fid not sign up to rome 3. First seized applies and I can do nothing. I am respondent.

There is no proof that money was not intended for kids. I need now some case law to lead my barrister to show he is wrong.

All kids money declared already

cannotseeanend Wed 21-Jan-15 07:35:15

H is 32k in arrears of maintenance in country of childrens residence. He has 2 appeals ongoing 6th appeal to annul the 2 orders in place.

cannotseeanend Wed 21-Jan-15 08:38:35

So now 3 said my children's savings cannot be counted in the pot for division, 1 person says they are to be counted. My barrister says they have to be counted.

I really need to find case law and as I am not a lawyer or barrister, I do not have access to case law and the guides I know are now online for those with legal qualifications.

I can come to terms with losing my inheritance, some went into the car, the rest went into the children's accounts, but the money I have saved since their birth, I just cannot come to terms with the thought that I must hand over 50k in blocked accounts to a man who has left me penniless and emptied joint accounts and is 32k in arrears of maintenance. He is asking me to split his children's money and says he wants 50% of it, yet he refuses to pay their child maintenance. It is so hard. Why are some parents so cruel to their children?

WellWhoKnew Wed 21-Jan-15 09:43:41

It sounds horrendous - it really does. Yes, I'm afraid there are some very cruel parents around. I still can't see a judge in this country giving him more than 50% unless he has made a 'special contribution' to the marriage.

Bring with you to the final hearing the proof that he's 32K in arrears as this can be added back to you.

Case law - I don't know of anything specific but try searching this website:

If it names it with an "&" e.g A&B then it relates to children going into care (usually) so look for "v" e.g. AvB or Jones v Jones to find some about children's trusts in divorce.

Also try ringing

Choose 'England and Wales' option if they are the countries you are being divorced in (different in Scotland/NI and isles).

Good luck.

cannotseeanend Wed 21-Jan-15 10:05:37

Thanks for that well person.
I already tried Rights of Women and they said I don't live in the right place to help me!
I will phone them again, they were at least very sympathetic.

It's difficult to prove he HASN'T paid me, other than pointing out the fact that what he has paid is nowhere near the amount he owes.

But the barrister says, despite me presenting the court with the 2 maintenance orders, that because it is another EU Country, I cannot use the money owed in arrears to offset what my husband wants.

My husband is in fact demanding less extra from the children's savings than he owes. It is so hard. My proposal went court saying, fine, he takes 50%, but in exchange, he pays me arrears, but the barrister said this won't be allowed. He says I have to pay my husband, if ordered to do so, what will amount to about 25k in cash, despite my husband owing me back 32k which of course he will refuse and continues to refuse to pay the kids.

cannotseeanend Wed 21-Jan-15 10:07:57

Just to clarify, there is about 50k in the kids accounts, he wants half of it, so 25k. He also wants half of rest of savings which weren't kids. Fine. Nasty man. I have 4 kids. He still wants half of everything. If I do that, so that he can buy a nice 400k house in the most expensive part of England, then I have to sell the house in the cheaper area I Cannot get access to, worth only 210k. I cannot move in, blocked access anyway

WellWhoKnew Wed 21-Jan-15 10:31:10

What you're saying runs counter to everything I've been led to believe about E&W divorce. The children's welfare comes first, so I can't see why it's a 50/50 split, nor why the children's home would be sold.

He can want the moon on a stick - it doesn't mean he's going to get it.

Mine claimed 90% of the assets in my name, and retained as he believed that all of the marital assets were loaned to me and now he wants them back, with interest! We are half way through a Final Hearing (back in March) has taken 8 months for him to get the bad news that his approach is nonsense and wrong, and now I'm around 55%/45% on the split (if you believe in his disclosure, which we have proven is somewhat short of full and frank...) so I do know something about the process. However, I am concerned your barrister isn't on your side.

I am also concerned that three weeks away from a FH you are so under-prepared.

Proof of CM payments - your bank accounts and his. If you're three weeks away from a FH you should have at least a year's supply of bank statements by now (if not more, depending on when you did the FDA). You should get his up to date bank accounts 7 days before the hearing.

You need to provide proof (translated) that he owes 32K - so how are you calculating this figure? If it's 'this is what the children need' is not good enough. It comes down to what he earns, and what is ordered by the country you are in (e.g. do they have an equivalent as a CM calculator we have here?) Bring that evidence with you.

WellWhoKnew Wed 21-Jan-15 10:31:49

retained his assets, that should read.

cannotseeanend Wed 21-Jan-15 16:36:23

thanks again Well person!

There was no FDR hearing, the court could not explain why. I have never been present at any hearing, I live abroad and was exempted on health grounds, having absolutely no money, no childcare etc before.

The order is quite specific, it lists the amounts each month for each child. The fine for non payment, my legal costs. It goes up with every month of non payment and every adjourned hearing and my costs. I have basically worked for the past 6 months for the lawyer to take my entire monthly earnings and I'm on my knees living off child benefit. The 32k will get to 40k before the end of 2015. All I wanted was a decent amount, he wants instead to annul the whole thing.

I've written to the judge to ask specific questions about what can and must go into the marital assets pot, whether maintenance can be a reduction etc. He had called for a pre-trial hearing and a summary, so I just gave him one.

Now time to double check before that hearing, I am now happier the barrister hasn't got it right.

WellWhoKnew Wed 21-Jan-15 17:14:05

I didn't have an FDR either, this was to save costs and because the other side are willfully refusing to disclose.

Take the order with you- make sure it goes into the bundle. If you are the respondent you need to ensure the other side submit it or you may not put it before the judge.

Do anything you can to attend the FH, as it is your only opportunity to tell your side of the story. Once it is over there is no going back. Take care.

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