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What £ agreement would be reasonable?

(39 Posts)
SortingStuffStill Mon 25-Apr-16 15:28:37

Been married 15 years, 2 dc together. I have been stay at home parent/part-time worker for past 15 years, dh's f/t career gone really well. Jointly own 1 house, equity c. £380k but live in one of most expensive areas of England so to buy 2x houses with this will be difficult. I would want to be primary carer 4-5 days a week. I have been primary carer mainly esp in last 6 yrs when dh has been away much of the week.

I gross £17k (part-time), he grosses £130k plus bonuses. I brought £70k equity, £30k inheritance and no debt to marriage; he brought £8k equity and about £10k debt.

Wondering what would be fair- i need to be able to afford a family home in a v expensive area, i would like recompense for what extra I brought to the marriage and for being primary carer all these years. Dh muttered about splitting equity 50-50 "to be fair" hmm. So, any ballpark ideas of where we'd go in terms of child/spousal maintenance, equity split? I need to get some idea so i can plan feasible areas to keep them in current schools ideally. Many thanks.

SortingStuffStill Mon 25-Apr-16 15:31:17

And to add, we are trying to be amicable for the kids' sake and sort ourselves/with mediator to avoid unnecessary legal fees, but time will tell! I feel i need advice more than him. And feel clueless.

lifeisunjust Mon 25-Apr-16 16:50:59

Spousal maintenance unlikely.
Would be looking at 1k per month minimum child maintenance up to end of higher education age 24 or into work at 18, depends on his net income (after deducting mortgage costs for him if you end up buying another house in cash and he has to buy with a mortgage) but I'd expect at least 25% of net income if more than 1k!
Would be hard to argue 70k equity and 30k inheritance would be yours to take back again, unless lots of proof you didn't put it in and kept it separate.
EQUALIZED PENSIONS, very very important.
Could you buy somewhere worth 250k max? With him at 130k? That's a 1/3 to 2/3 split. As he could afford a mortgage surely to make up another house worth similar value to yours???

I'm not a lawyer, just trying to think of a way of making it "reasonable" for both sides.

SortingStuffStill Mon 25-Apr-16 18:35:00

Thanks, your name sounds very apt. Am just reeling at basis of child maintenance- he gets to live on 80% plus of his gross salary, all of us get the remainder?! Who the hell decided that was fair? 😡
God, I want to shout out a warning to all sahms, pt mums etc. There is no justice.
And it seems no spousal? As for house, God knows. I coudnlt rent a studio flat round here within quite a wide radius for £250k, sadly. Feel really quite desperate.

SortingStuffStill Mon 25-Apr-16 18:35:57

But thanks re pension tip, who knows if I make it, maybe I.'ll be a contented little old lady....

lifeisunjust Mon 25-Apr-16 19:10:27

Oh 25% won't seem fair at all, but given it's only 2 children, in fact getting more than 20% will feel like jackpot!!! I've managed to get 35% for 4 children whilst my current contribution to children's costs are 70% (I'm not in the UK, costs are worked out here per person in a family, each child individually and parent too, so I know the "cost" for each child, the court had demanded my husband pay the same amount of his income as I was paying which worked out to 70% of his income, he was so so so cross, 8 failed appeals later and refusing all mediation, he eventually accepted the deal I offered pre-court of 35% and I can live with that for 4 kids. I believe CMS would set a rough 20% of his net income as maintenance, so I am simply guessing "pushing the boundaries" a little, I wouldn't want to accept less than 25% of net income but if I knew his net was considerable, I'd of course push for more :-)

I have no idea for spousal but it is rare and usually limited now.

I'm not a lawyer, just learned a little about UK financial settlements whilst fighting a husband who'd run off to the UK. It all comes down to proving what YOUR and HIS needs are if it ends up in court and dividing assets in a way that each should have those needs met. I couldn't get my head around how unjust it was and I went from 20 hours a week to 60 hours a week work and in fact it has made me rather proud I have proved HE is not needed at all and has made me rather independent. I am determined none of my children be stay at home parents without protection for the day they too might be abandoned.

SortingStuffStill Mon 25-Apr-16 19:14:15

Thanks, Life, you sound like you've had to really battle, well done. I just can't believe there isn't better recognition for the years out, permanent effect on income etc. To quote Helena Kennedy QC, Eve was certainly framed.

millymollymoomoo Mon 25-Apr-16 20:33:10

Re comment on child maintenance the assumption generally would be 1) he is not expected to pay all children's cost your are also expected to contribute 2) you are likely to be awarded the lions share of assets

On his salary you should get around £1200 a month maintenance.

In cases like these where ex is high earner you really need to understand value of pension. It could be you could do a straight trade of equity for pension. Or if not all a high % anyway. Do you have any ability to increase your own earnings and build up pension?

Has he agreed to you having primary care majority of time or likely to dispute that?

You may actually stand a chance of spousal (at least for a period) or maybe use that as bargaining for higher share of assets? 50:50 in this case is highly unlikely in my view but I'm not a lawyer and before you agree to anything seek proper legal advice. They will give consideration to length of marriage, earnings and earnings potential and needs of each parties

lifeisunjust Mon 25-Apr-16 20:57:56

I got equalization of pensions without asking and it's probably in retrospect the most valuable long term asset - I had read up in advance about the importance of pensions but when you're in the midst of just working out how to feed the children and haven't bought new clothes for 2 years, haven't had a break in 2 years, haven't even bought a simply cup of coffee in 2 years, pension wasn't top of my priorities when I was dragged into court because my husband wanted to sell the family home to move to a more expensive area and buy a house with the 55% assets he demanded from me! Boy I am glad the judge saw my best interests whilst I was worrying over where the next meal was coming from.

My children's maintenance was legalized by the court of the home country of the children and it is till they are in work before the age of 24 or until 24 in higher education. This is standard where we live, but I know it isn't so easy to get in the UK. If your children are still young, you should try and think ahead, like the judge did for me for my pension. The 24 years old maintenance ruling has been very important for my children, as I will have 2 in university this year. My husband was livid and refused the competency of the country thinking he could get out of paying for the children. It is more important than the amount of maintenance, the principle that they will be maintained though university studies.

Laura812 Mon 25-Apr-16 21:20:43

It depends on income though - that 20% etc is not always what is paid. Eg I earn a lot more than my ex and our court order says I pay all of the school and university fees/ costs and he pays nothing of anythnig else when the children live with me. So my point is with higher earners things like school fees, nannies etc can be on top of standard type % maintenance.

As a high earner woman I also think divorce law is very unfair. I suppose everyone thinks it's unfair. However I accept long term even though I have the children 365 nights a year (his choice not mine) and work full time and he pays nothing I sould still be better off as I endured the hardship of full time working when I had babies and over the next few decades I will be better off for making that choice. Make sure your daughters are never advised to go part time and give up full time work as it usually comes back to haunt you.

Minime85 Mon 25-Apr-16 21:36:57

Exh and I did own consent order. I did seek solicitor advice and we used this to help. I got house and all contents and equity about £70k. He got £5k of that. He then kept his pension which is more than mine as if been part time for 7 years. We used on line calculator to work out what he pays me maintenance and that is what is in consent order. I didn't want his pension just the house.

SortingStuffStill Mon 25-Apr-16 21:40:51

Indeed, I want to shout a warning from the rooftops, I was so trusting and naive. And had no idea provision post divorce for the Sah parent was quite so ludicrously paltry!

SortingStuffStill Mon 25-Apr-16 21:48:43

And Laura, for what it's worth it heartily agree that your situation is also utterly unfair. Sounds hard work, sole bread winner and sole carer, what a crap dad 😔. You're well out of it, as you say.

Laura812 Tue 26-Apr-16 07:44:29

A lot of men choose to have little contact with chidlren after divorce even when they are very involved - my husband did about half if not more when we were married for 20 years and also always worked very hard full time. You can't force a parent to have any contact at all even though that ends up very expensive in terms of child care when the non contact spouse leaves.

Longer term he has cut his nose off to spite his face really as money isn't hugely important to happiness and being close to your children as I luckily am is something you cannot put a price on and he has chosen to lose that although no one is stopping him having loads of contact. Now the youngest are teenagers it's obviously much easier for me. He has remarried (she's very nice and too old for more children - not that I would have a problem if he had more) and he is the loser because he doesn't really have his children in his life much at all.

On women's careers I was on a women and work thread 2 minutes ago on here with women saying it was a free choice not to work, personal choice for the couple and others saying just be careful if you give up work as590% of mariages break up and you tend to be better off if you kept your job. I think a lot of mumsnetters shoudl come and look at legal and divorce threads on here whilst they are in happy marriages and when they have their babies and are deciding if to work or not. On the other hand for working fathers and working mothers it is very hard work, no doubt about it. So you can see why some men and women would rather be supported by a spouse financially and be home.

Sorting, would your husband agree you could stay in the house? Some men do - they want the children nicely housed and they sacrifice buying another for themselves and any new wife and new family to ensure the first family and well housed etc. It sounds like he wants 50./50 but he might go for you stay in the house if it's a clean break and he pays you no spousal maintenance and you don't take any of his pension and you promise to try to get back to full time work and he gets fairly generous amounts of time with the child. At those income differences I don't think that's a particularly unusual deal but could you afford to pay any mortgage on the current house if you only had child maintenance from him?

Jobseekernightmare Tue 26-Apr-16 08:00:22

I'm a little amazed that you want to buy outright with equity.

If he has paid mortgage largely but you put equity in, then it depends how much he paid in I guess. 50% of equity might be fair, we can't tell.

I do think it's fair to consider that a good chunk if his ability to earn £150k rests on your contribution to his well being and the family's well being, so maitainance is definitely appropriate, but let's get it into some perspective, you are seeking a paid for house and an income more than £1000 a month, in an expensive area which means you are in the equivalent top 10% of earnings without taking your employment into consideration, with this you are in the top 5%. Of course go for what you like, but getting half of the equity from an expensive property isn't bad

SortingStuffStill Tue 26-Apr-16 08:53:04

I don't expect to buy a property outright with equity- primarily my equity from when I entered marriage! Nowhere did I say that, I would expect to move to a v small house in a much less nicer area in order to find a house I could afford on my income - current and projected...

Jobseekernightmare Tue 26-Apr-16 08:54:34

£175k deposit is quite a whack.

SortingStuffStill Tue 26-Apr-16 08:58:38

Laura- you're right, money doesn't buy happiness, time with the Dc is precious, glad it helps you to think its worthwhile. I can already see dh disengaging form kids to an extent I would never have believed possible. His loss I guess, think he's dreaming of a bachelor life and what he's going to be spending all that disposal income on😡. Yes, am bitter, I invested in our marriage and my primarily in/underpaid part of it and get v little of the income. I am master educated, have had fairly senior roles but with one SN kid and another still quite young, my career has taken a back seat. Which I thought would be OK, could pick up in time, but now my hands are tied by constraints of needing to be with dc and unaffordability of housing here.

SortingStuffStill Tue 26-Apr-16 09:00:16

Not where I live, Job! Am feeling shitty enough, Job so give it a rest please. I would have double alone that from my first house equity so would be going away from marriage with far less equity than I brought and on a crappy income.

Minime85 Tue 26-Apr-16 11:24:09

I took all equity to my marriage over £25k and was told by solicitor as 10 yr marriage seen as medium-long ten now a days don't expect judge to accept that as my reason for getting equity. I got it as when break it all down and I was main carer of kids then it was fair. And we were both happy and amicable and actually I think courts would rather that where possible.

SortingStuffStill Tue 26-Apr-16 12:50:25

You did well to keep it happy and amicable, quite rare i imagine. I feel i lack the calm, perspective or maturity right now. Bitter & twisted! But early days.

Minime85 Tue 26-Apr-16 16:08:24

It took time and still isn't easy at times but only did finances a year after he left so time for dust to settle by then

SortingStuffStill Tue 26-Apr-16 17:20:30

Can imagine, good luck battling on

Fidelia Wed 27-Apr-16 08:02:12

OK, so you have a long marriage and have sacrificed your career to benefit his. Also, you're the primary carer.

The starting basis for divorce is 50/50 but then takes into account contributions to the marriage (not just money, but also giving up a career to look after the children etc) incl any decisions made as a couple that have disadvantaged one of the couple. The idea of equality of income into retirement is also important (this doesn't mean you get the same as him, but that you may get a higher share of pension or house capital to compensate if you only have a small pension yourself)

The first priority is to ensure that the children are adequately housed and provided for, on a needs basis. Given his high income and ability to pay for a mortgage (to rehouse himself), it's very likely that you will get a high % of the house equity. You may indeed be able to get some spousal maintenance (I am and my Ex earns half yours), even if it's for a limited time to allow you to get back into full time work in a couple of years.

You need to get the CETV for his pension, and any you may have. All pensions go into the marital pot. However pension in the future is worth less than cash/house capital now and is usually discounted (so for example, 66p of pension = £1 of house capital) if you decide to offset his pension against the house capital (so that you can have enough house capital to rehouse yourself and the children)

Please don't be tempted to let solicitor's fees eat into your settlement. It can cost £20k +, to go to court (plus the emotional cost), so sometimes it's better to settle for less than you might get.

lifeisunjust Wed 27-Apr-16 09:17:06

Very good advice from Fidelia. Once you have the CETV of all pensions and have a final figure on entire marital assets, you might find that 60-70% of the assets is not far off the value of your family home of 380l or not far off the cost of downsizing to a new family home, just plucking out the 60-70% as a possible amount you might be awarded as principle carer for the children.

Take a look at how much cash you could also raise. I was desperate to keep the family home and I'd offered 40% to my husband, the 40% made up of endowments and car. I was unable to secure a mortgage, due to where I reside, but I was able to squeeze 2 personal loans and credit card balance transfers to make up to the 40%, not the best interest rates compared to a mortgage. In the end the judge awarded my husband 37% in court, he refused the out of court and was convinced the judge would give him 55% of family assets!!! In the end I only had to give him 37%. I managed equalized pensions too, but if I couldn't get those personal loans, I would have had to take less of the pension pot to "pay" for more of the eventual 37% I did hand over.

Laur812 so true about fathers disengaging with their children. My husband beat the hell out of me then fled the country never to return. It's 3 years since he bothered to see his younger children, he kept up sporadic contact with the eldest and hasn't seen him in a year, despite the eldest now being at university 60 minutes away from where his dad apparently now lives. It is as if the children do not exist for him. He is too busy now.... being a woman apparently.

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