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Advice for divorce dummies

(14 Posts)
FellOutOfBedTwice Mon 29-Feb-16 13:33:54

Hi all

Just wondered if anyone has any advice as we haven't got a clue- no one in the family previously divorced and worried a relative is being taken for a ride.

So female relative, we will call her Jane, has been married to Bob for 22 years. No children. She is 60, he is 50. He is a relatively high earner, she works part time on a low wage- such reduced hours mainly due to physical and mental ill health.

Own a house outright together, thanks to a large financial gift from Janes parents (which can be proven).

Problems in their sex life from the start, if this is relevant, but marriage consummated. She has a physical health issue which means their sex life became further problematic in later years.

Bob said he wanted a seperaration a year ago but didn't move out until the summer just gone, leaving her in their jointly owned house. He didn't leave a forwarding address but said he would be back in six months to "sort it all out". She's quite naive and I think thought he would return to the marriage. Six months on he didn't return but instead she received a petition for divorce citing irreconcilable differences.

Both Mormons. She converted and he born in. His family are now all out of the faith. Jane is much stricter than Bob. They went to Temple to inform the elders of the church of their seperaration and Bob apparently (according to one of the elders) said something about Jane that was "so shocking it changed how he [elder] saw the marriage". No idea what though, Jane was just told this after by the elder.

As mentioned above she's quite naive and I think believes whatever he tells her. This was a factor in the marriage. He's told her that she's liable for all divorce costs and that he will get half of everything. Is this the case?

He was emotionally abusive for at least the last ten years of the marriage. Almost certain he's never been physically or sexually abusive.

She's saying that she will refuse to give him a divorce on religious grounds. Fairly sure she can't do that, can she? And will that make her more likely to have to pay legal costs/lose more assets?

Thanks in advance for any advice. I am happy to answer any other questions.

OP’s posts: |
Sallyhasleftthebuilding Mon 29-Feb-16 13:54:19

With no children it is more likely a 50/50 split -

Yes she put in money but he's always worked full time -

You can refuse to divorce - but after 5 years he can divorce her without issue

Refusing to divorce will increase the fees -

She needs some good advise from a lawyer and not church leaders -

Akire Mon 29-Feb-16 14:04:42

She can refuse divorce but that just means he has wait 5y until he can get one anyway. being Mormons dosnt have anything to do with legal side , the church do accept it when marriage has broken down. There is no religious requirement to stay in a marriage that's unhappy/abusive stuff happens.

I would encourage her to agree and get housing and maintence sorted sooner than later. 5y is long time with possible no income or plans ESP if suffers with mental health issues extra uncertainty is not going to help.

FellOutOfBedTwice Mon 29-Feb-16 14:33:06

Thanks all- am writing this all on a word document to give her before she sees a solicitor. She's not booked in with one yet- she's not really facing up to it. Any other advice for than welcome.

Sally tell me about it. We aren't Mormons so maybe I'm biased but they don't seem to have her best interests at heart. She's totally in their thrall though- absolutely believes all the madness they spout and genuinely seems to think that because she and they don't believe in divorce, she can just refuse to get divorced. Forever hmm

OP’s posts: |
Cabrinha Mon 29-Feb-16 16:20:50

Just because the house was bought (full or in part) with her parents money, it doesn't mean that her parents gave it as a gift to her, not to them as a couple.

FellOutOfBedTwice Mon 29-Feb-16 16:56:19

Cabrinha no, I understand that and think it was very naive on her parents part to not get it stated somewhere legally that in the event of a divorce that the share paid for by their money should go to their daughter, frankly. We are talking 90% of the cost of the property. And Jane had only known Bob 3 months when they married hmm

Will the fact that her parents money brought such a large percentage of the property have no baring on what she gets? They never had a mortgage - the property was purchased outright.

OP’s posts: |
Cabrinha Mon 29-Feb-16 17:07:32

If I were a Bob's solicitor I'd argue that it was always intended as a gift for them as a married couple.

In retrospect now of course her parents might say (have said, perhaps they're dead now) "oh of course we'd have wanted her to get it". But that not even have been the case. 20 years ago, if they saw marriage as forever, they truly might have considered it a joint gift to the couple.

If he's the higher earner, what's the pension situation? Other assets? Could be she gains a lot from going 50/50 on those so actually might not even be hard done by on the house!

Minime85 Mon 29-Feb-16 17:39:26

She won't be liable for all costs at all. I was married for ten years and I had put more into house than ex. Solicitor told me wouldn't really be arguable as was deemed to be a medium term marriage so by then 50:50 split. However I got all the house except for 5,000 as I agreed not to touch his pension. She would be entitled to part of this. Was she part time because she raised the family? If so that would be what her solicitor would use as argument for pension. Definitely see a solicitor. Doesn't matter that he filed. No such thing as irreconcilable differences it is him saying she has unreasonable behaviour or agreement on 2 years separation. If he has filed on unreasonable behaviour he needs 5-6 good reasons in the 6 months before they separated. Please please tell her to see a solicitor.

FellOutOfBedTwice Mon 29-Feb-16 17:47:48

Thanks Cabrinha I'm trying to be objective but the issue is he's a bellend and a money grabbing bellend at that (whole host of behaviours during the marriage) so it just seems so unfair he's going to cash in on her parents money (one of the parents is dead- the other is still alive).

Mini so is there no such thing as irreconsilable differences anymore? Honestly, I'm struggling with getting much sense out of her TBH but that's what she's like in general- a bit vague.

OP’s posts: |
Akire Mon 29-Feb-16 18:02:14

Mormons do believe in divorce there plenty of evidence about it from the church. I'm suprised if she's saying other wise. Obviously they encourage people try work things out but if there abuse it's 100% supported.
See here
Ex church member and known plenty of members divorce.

Minime85 Mon 29-Feb-16 20:14:45

Reasons can be:
Unreasonable behaviour,
Desertion (hardly ever used)
Separated for two years but has to be mutual agreement for divorce
Or separated for five years

Katenka Mon 29-Feb-16 20:26:45

The problem is that while her parents may have given them money for the house. This transaction was a long time ago. They have been married a long time, during which is was the main earner.

If her job is low paid and part time, he has paid living expenses for both of them for over 20 years.

I can't see her being able to keep 100% of the house.

Unless she negotiates that by letting other things go like his pension

murrell0cherri Tue 01-Mar-16 15:35:45

It will be hard but she should ignore anything her husband tells her, he's biased.

She will not be liable for costs, he started the divorce and will bare the costs of the application. The same applies if he makes an application for financial remedy as the applicant,he will incur the cost.

Get legal advice in respect of the house/financial settlement.

No one likes legal fee's but it will be worth it, fixed fee options are available.

50/50 is the starting point but every case will be determined on the facts, duration of marriage, children etc.

Given the discrepancy in earnings she will be in a better position than she thinks.

The worst thing to do ignore is and hope it goes away.

p.s divorce and financial settlement are separate issues legally. The act of getting divorce does not automatically invoke anything financially. That is a separate issue for the court if you make an application. But a separate application would need to be made. Unless he has done this (in which case she would have received notice) anything he says on finances etc is conjecture.

Hope this helps

valL123 Thu 03-Mar-16 11:57:34

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