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What is fair?

(16 Posts)
MattBerrysHair Sat 28-Oct-17 19:33:29

I'll try to be brief......
Married 10 years, separated January 2015.
I have autism, diagnosed 2014, and lifelong mental health problems. I was too ill to work for 18 months after separation but now have a limited capacity for work (16 hpw) and receive PIP. I earn £6k a year and get benefits. I have no pension (I never earned enough to make contributions) and £1k in savings for emergencies.

STBXDH earns £70k a year, or at least that is what he was on when we split 2 and a half years ago. Exmil was terminally ill when we separated and exdh knew he would inherit a large sum once she passed away. She sadly died this January.

House bought jointly in 2007. I provided a small deposit and exdh did not, but as I worked PT from 2008-2013 due to having dc, and being a sahm from 2013-2016 after a breakdown, exdh has paid more into the mortgage.

Exdh suggested I keep the house due to my limited capacity for work and low earning potential, and didn't require me to buy him out. In return I offered to not claim on his pension during the divorce, or take any spousal maintenance. Since the separation the only money I've received from him is CM and I pay all bills and mortgage from my earnings and benefits.

The problem is that I can't get a mortgage on my own. We have a good relationship so until now ex was happy to keep his name on the deeds/mortgage while I make all the payments, until I could afford it alone. I'd have to pay off £50k before I could get a mortgage alone. Exdh is buying a house with his new dp with his inheritance money, but because of the second home stamp duty he needs his name off the deeds of the marital home within the next year or so. I suggested he acts as a guarantor for a mortgage in my name, to prevent the extra cost but he naturally has reservations. We are finally getting round to the divorce.

Nothing we agreed back when we split was written down or went through a solicitor, as we were on good terms and didn't forsee the law changing for stamp duty on second homes. I had another breakdown at the time and didn't have the mental capacity to think of finances and making myself secure. Naively I trusted him and took him at his word.

I'm very concerned I'm going to lose my home and I'm scared. I'm also very envious of Stbxdh and his financial security. He was happy to agree to me not claiming spousal maintenance or a portion of his pension, but now he's changing his side of the bargain. I know IBU about it as he just wants a new life with his partner, but I hate the lack of options I have.

His career has flourished year upon year since having our dc, and mine has become non-existent as the mental and emotional strain of being an autistic parent has destroyed my mental health. I'm only just picking up the pieces now. Had I known I was autistic before having dc I would have definitely handled it differently and tried to negotiate a more equal work/parenting balance between us. That's by the by though......

I can't afford a solicitor and my circumstances are too complicated to be covered in a free 30 mins consultation. What is the likely divorce set up when one partner earns 10 times more than the other, who is also disabled?

Are there any low earning parents who have divorced high earning partners? I'd love to hear from you.

Maelstrop Sat 28-Oct-17 20:27:23

I think you should explore your options about seeing a solicitor. Stop being so friendly with the ex, you need to ensure he provides for the dc e.g. somewhere to live/food etc. Go to CAB and see if they can suggest anything. Are you the main care giver? Then you need to go through a solicitor to make sure your dc are looked after.

MattBerrysHair Sun 29-Oct-17 00:20:01

Sorry, I should have said that we have 50/50 shared residency. Before his dp moved in exdh had the dc 2 nights one week and 3 nights the next. His dp does a lot of the childcare to enable him to have them 50/50 now. Despite the equal division of time between the two homes he still pays CM as there is such a discrepancy of income and lifestyles between us.

I didn't mean to drip feed, I'm just struggling to organise my thoughts.

FabulousUsername Sun 29-Oct-17 03:23:46

Are you still married? I'm concerned that you are feeling like you have to make or offer compromises, if you're married then then the starting point for splitting assets is 50/50 and that would, I believe, include his inheritance (apologies if I'm wrong but I think all assets are taken as joint assets if acquired while you are married).

Please get good legal advice, your future security is too important to be letting him dictate the terms.

LadyB49 Sun 29-Oct-17 03:40:37

You are entitled to a share of his assets. The house you are in will also be considered (his share of it).

You could start off with CAB for advice. Many CABs also have a solicitor who can give advice.
You were a bit quick to say no to a share of his pension although I understand his reasons.
Get CAB advice.
Possibly ex will agree better terms/split once you are advised of your rights.I
You can also ask for ex to be responsible for all divorce expenses as he is in a better position.
Or, if you get a fair settlement through solicitor, fees can be paid at the end when you receive settlement. Feed can also be paid off monthly.
If you and ex remain in good terms and can agree settlement the solicitor costs can be much less then you imagine.
If it turns into a bunfight over the assets that puts costs uo.

You def need expert advice.

MattBerrysHair Sun 29-Oct-17 07:31:49

Yes we're still married. The plan was to begin divorce proceedings after 2 years separation and it's been 2 years and 9 months. He offered to pay for the divorce, but because he is buying a house with his dp now the DIY divorce that we planned isn't happening. He's now getting advice from a solicitor who has tried to push him into an immediate clean break instead of the gentle and gradual financial break that we'd previously agreed on. He has resisted her to a point, i.e the CM staying the same despite having 50/50 residency, but the house arrangement has changed. Prior to him seeing a solicitor both he and his dp were completely in agreement with the gradual break.

The inheritance is in a trust with exdh, his dsis and the 5 gdc as beneficiaries, so I don't think I can claim any. I didn't want to claim any, even if I could, I just wanted my house and for him to facilitate me keeping it until I could apply for a mortgage alone.

Again, apologies for the drip feed, It's unintentional.

Thank you all for replying, you've helped me organise my thoughts and I feel much calmer. Yesterday I was a snotty, snivelling mess!

I'll make an appt with CAB and go from there. Do I ask him for details of his finances before I go?

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 29-Oct-17 07:35:54

You need advice for the divorce, but many mortgage providers will allow one party to come of the deeds, but remain on the mortgage. I have been through this with ExH I needed to be off deeds for similar stamp duty reason on his properties, but he couldn’t afford for me to be off mortgages.
Santander just said yes and wrote a letter, NatWest was trickier, but it could be done.
Cost £1400 I had to pay as ExH had no money at the time.
We then finalised the consent order a year later when he was able to take me off the mortgages.

MattBerrysHair Sun 29-Oct-17 08:42:59


Would that be the same as a guarantor mortgage?

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 29-Oct-17 09:51:35

The mortgages remained unchanged just my name came off the deeds, so no I was not a guarantor just still jointly liable for the mortgage.

Ilovetolurk Sun 29-Oct-17 18:22:49

OP you really need legal advice I don't think you can afford not to take it . Spend your savings if you have to, it could mean thousands later on

babybarrister Sun 29-Oct-17 22:12:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MattBerrysHair Mon 30-Oct-17 17:31:34

babybarrister I've found a resolution lawyer in my town and she'll be in touch tomorrow. Thank you for your help flowers

MattBerrysHair Mon 06-Nov-17 17:29:27

Just an update if anyone is interested.....
Stbxdh and I have talked and we've both sought advice from solicitors. We have agreed that:

Dc have 50/50 residency and he will continue to pay CM due to the disparity in incomes.

His name will stay on the mortgage until youngest is 18 or until I can take a mortgage out alone, whichever comes first, and whether I co-habit or not.

If the house is sold I will get all the equity.

In return I will not claim any spousal maintenance or any of his pension.

My solicitor was surprised I haven't gone for spousal maintenance due to my limited capacity for work, but I don't want to lose out on owning my home completely and having to share the equity with exdh.

Thank you all for your advice smile

babybarrister Mon 06-Nov-17 21:50:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ferrier Tue 07-Nov-17 00:43:51

That sounds like you have worked well to get an agreement that is fair to you both and ensures amicableness moving forward. Well done!

MattBerrysHair Tue 07-Nov-17 17:56:19

Thank you smile

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