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Finances on separation questions - especially if higher value of assets/ big difference in incomes

(31 Posts)
digitallyremastered Tue 28-Nov-17 18:44:00

I've spoken to two different solicitors and been told different things.

Some key facts (I've been slightly vague to keep this less identifiable):
- long marriage - 20 years
- dc secondary school age
- he earns 250k
- I earn...very little and not enough to meet needs, working part time at home
- assets: a lot. Enough for two houses suitable for dc and leftovers
- quite a lot of the assets are in his pension. I have no pension

One solicitor said he would seek a clean break and ask for 65 or 70% vs 35/30 as I gave up my well paid career to look after dc etc. and now have a badly paid part time job but this is so i can be around for dc after school and in the long holidays. He asked me to calculate my needs but also talked about fairness and was adamant I would be comfortable.

The other said because we can meet housing needs, he would imagine the split would be more equal BUT dh would absolutely have to pay spousal maintenance due to the big disparity. Herein lies a problem.

Dh says he wants to get 50:50 and recognises the need to pay some maintenance because of our income differential BUT keeps saying he might lose his job anyway, it's all precarious etc.

Who is right and how does one protect against the ex losing his job and ending up not being able to pay anything.?
To me the clean break of me getting more assets which I can then invest to supplement my income plus child maintenance for the next few years before dc are at home seems more stable.

Secretsout Tue 28-Nov-17 19:43:19

I'm in a similar situation. Our divorce has been going on for a year but almost done. Our financial split was negotiated between ourselves and our solicitors. I walked away without touching his pension and shares but with almost all of the equity in our home plus two rental properties. I have had to take out a mortgage but this is due to high house prices where I live.

I will receive spousal maintenance for just over 10 years until my retirement.

I would say don't short change yourself in terms of your income requirements. My only slight regret is that my Ex's net salary is £10k and mine is £2k and I probably should have pushed for more SM from him as my lifestyle has/will change dramatically whereas his won't

I am reasonably happy with my settlement. It's about 58/42 in my favour but that doesn't include the SM. My Ex is a terribly abusive narc so I wish the SM could have been capitalised and it be a true clean break but he couldn't raise the capital.

digitallyremastered Tue 28-Nov-17 21:44:53

I'm worried that he will lose his job/ downshift and then have nothing to pay the SM with so favour a clean break! But he wants the opposite.

Secretsout Tue 28-Nov-17 21:54:10

digital mine has threatened to kill himself and resign from his job.

He also said that when my elderly parent dies and I inherit, he’ll stop paying as ‘I won’t need it’. Disgusting.

And that’s why you need to secure as much as you can up front!

digitallyremastered Wed 29-Nov-17 14:11:18

Oh gosh he sounds like a nightmare.

Mine fortunately isn't that bad at all and a decent person it's just we have totally different needs/ views on how to split things and I can't see how we will resolve it without ending up in court and we don't want that ideally.

Ilovetolurk Wed 29-Nov-17 21:55:57

His legal adviser will be telling him 50:50 as it is in his interests to have certainty and insurance against adverse changes to his career in future. Personally I would go for more assets now you sound like that’s really your gut feel OP

They’re not either or / you could end up with something in between

You should certainly be aiming for a fair chunk of the pension as you will need the income in retirement

digitallyremastered Thu 30-Nov-17 21:20:53

Yes I definitely feel more assets and a clean break is preferable. I do not want exposure to whether he downshifts or loses his job.
What if he decides he fancies going part time for example and can't afford to pay SM?!
He's definitely going with 50:50 as a starting point although he's tried to suggest that the first property he owned 20 years ago shouldn't be included even though I moved in a year after he bought and we lived there when we got married.

Dacquoise Sat 02-Dec-17 11:31:36

Hi digitally, I would strongly recommend that you go for a clean break. I was in a similar position to you, agreed for him to keep a chunk of assets in return for joint lives spousal maintenance and now find myself fighting a variation case less than five years later. Ours started off amicable, new relationship (his) later and all bets off!

butterfly56 Sun 03-Dec-17 19:21:25

As your stbxh is already putting the idea forward that he may lose his job in the future, I would go for the clean break and then you don't get caught out in the very near future like Daquoise flowers

digitallyremastered Sun 03-Dec-17 20:11:48

So under clean break, how would the split be calculated...using the tables (can't remember the name) to calculate the equivalent of maintenance?

He won't agree to clean break easily...gulp.

But it absolutely makes sense. For me...

Dacquoise Sun 03-Dec-17 22:04:31

Duxbury tables are used to calculate capitalised maintenance for a clean break. You get a lump sum in lieu of ongoing maintenance which can be varied at any time in the future. Courts prefer a clean break so you have no future financial claims on each other. As there appear to be plenty of assets to achieve this, in your interests to pursue this. Your ex husband to be has the earning potential to recover financially, you don't. Be brave. Good luck.

digitallyremastered Sun 03-Dec-17 23:22:23

Yes Duxbury - couldn't remember the name.

What I'm still confused about is the split - there are enough assets for us both to have a comfortable house appropriate for Dc but my income is pitiful and his very healthy. My income can realistically not recover that much although it could improve somewhat.

In a clean break is it still usually 50:50 if housing needs can be met but I would need more to pay bills etc.

Dacquoise Mon 04-Dec-17 08:01:56

Spousal maintenance is a separate calculation from asset split although assets will be used to give you a lump sum so not 50/50. You will need to be rehoused,
Then a sum for you to invest to live on. Get yourself an experienced family lawyer. Worth the expense and better to get it sorted now than have to revisit it.

digitallyremastered Mon 04-Dec-17 11:23:25

Yes that's exactly what I want ideally - to have a sum to invest for living expenses. I've spoken to two different lawyers and been told two different things hence posting.

Dacquoise Mon 04-Dec-17 11:36:46

That's because no one can tell you for sure the outcome if this goes to court. They can only give you the parameters for the outcome. It all depends on the judge on the day and their preferences. Hopefully it won't go that far for you but from my own experience better to get it over with now than have to revisit this again. It's very difficult to stay friends when money is involved.

digitallyremastered Mon 04-Dec-17 13:34:53

Yes I know but I thought there would be more consistency in the starting point we'd propose for negotiations.

Really want a clean break for certainty and planning too. Yet really don't want to end up in court. ARGH!

WitchesHatRim Mon 04-Dec-17 13:44:57

Yes I know but I thought there would be more consistency in the starting point we'd propose for negotiations.

Not really because every case is individual. There are parameters but how they are interpreted very much depends.

digitallyremastered Mon 04-Dec-17 21:34:10

Makes it hard to know which lawyer to go with...tricky.

Hermonie2016 Mon 04-Dec-17 22:13:15

Solicitors may not have lots of court experience so ask how many cases they have overseen.
You sbould assume 50:50 split and definitely a pension sharing order.May need a pensions report to determine income in retirement.

I have had a court ordered settlement and despite ex being a very high earner (>250k) SM was only for 2 years..pendulum has swung away from SM.
If your ex can agree then avoid court.Your age is revelant and you will be expected to claim tax credits.
The hard facts are women are happier post divorce but worse off financially.Its the reverse for men.

CMS only applies to a threshold so in the case of high earners you will only receive a capped amount.
Depending where you are but costs to FDR will be circa 25k..sobering thought but might be worth it

digitallyremastered Tue 05-Dec-17 00:10:02

Hermione this is very useful. Were/ are you working and how does your income compare roughly?

WitchesHatRim Tue 05-Dec-17 05:10:02

Your age is revelant and you will be expected to claim tax credits.

You will also be expected to maximise your income so will be expected with teenagers to work full time.

Hermonie2016 Tue 05-Dec-17 22:06:48

I was working on a 25hours a week, his income 15x mine.
Everyone thought as I was older and such a disparity in income I would get SM for longer.

I would recommend you get a barristers view rather than solicitor if you feel your ex will not be amicable.PM where you are roughly as I might be able to help with recommendations.Ex took barrister advice and it paid off for him.

digitallyremastered Tue 05-Dec-17 23:23:37

I'll message you...thanks.

ferrier Tue 05-Dec-17 23:47:33

What is CMS?

Hedera Thu 07-Dec-17 18:30:31

I'm in a similar situation too, though H doesn't have quite such a high salary as OP's sad

There is enough equity in our house to buy two smaller properties, but 50% would be just about enough for me+2DC, whereas 50% would be PLENTY for just him. He earns 5 times more than me and I simply could not support us on my wages. He is fixated on my not 'maximising my income' but a major complication is that I was recently diagnosed with degenerative condition that is going to impact my ability to work sooner or later. Unfortunately my average hours are just below the threshold for WTC with no prospect of increasing them in the near future. It is stressful enough continuing with my current job and his attitude of 'just get a better job then' is unrealistic.

WTC would also only be a very temporary help as youngest finishes 6th form in 2019, and would still not add enough for us to survive either.

SM has been mentioned, but I'm keen to avoid for exactly the same reasons - I wouldn't put it past him to find excuses to reduce his income asap. Clean break would be the best thing but I really don't know how much more of the pot I could ask for/expect instead of going for SM. I have been told that 50/50 is always the starting point after a long marriage, but 70/30 is on the high end and rarely happens.

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