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What happens with pension funds?

(19 Posts)
Totallycluelessoverhere Wed 22-Apr-20 11:00:00

It’s early days and I’m just trying to get my head around how much of a financial mess I am going to be in.
I gave up work to look after our children who have disabilities. We thought about sharing the work and caring roles but he’s hopeless with the kids so I took it on.
We have a house with a mortgage but a really good chunk of equity. He has a pension fund which he took out just after we got married. I have no pension fund.
Will I likely get a transfer of half his pension fund as well as a fair share of the house equity or is it more likely that he will keep his pension and I will get an increased share of the equity to reflect it?
I think he will want to keep all his pension and have minimum 50% of the equity but I will fight that.
I know every situation is different and obviously I will see a solicitor when I am able to do so but I’m so worried about being able to house the children.
Staying with him for the sake of ease is not an option, I need to get away.

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waterSpider Wed 22-Apr-20 15:50:11

>> Will I likely get a transfer of half his pension fund as well as a fair share of the house equity or is it more likely that he will keep his pension and I will get an increased share of the equity to reflect it? <<

You would expect to look at the whole pattern of assets and come to a sensible split, particularly enabling the kids to be housed. That could be half of pension and half of equity, as a starting point, or all equity and no pension, or 87.3% equity and some other % of pension. It's down to agreement - between the two of you, perhaps with legal reps, perhaps in a court if no agreement.

Totallycluelessoverhere Wed 22-Apr-20 15:57:00

Thanks waterspider.
I’m expecting my husband will want 50:50 on the equity and expect to keep 100% of his pension. Obviously I’m not going to agree to that because he would have more than half of the marital assets and I would be the one housing the children. Our youngest still has more than 10 years left at school so needs to be housed for a considerable time and due to complex disabilities will need to be housed beyond school age.
I know I’m probably coming across as greedy and money grabbing but I suppose I was hoping for 80% of the equity in exchange for him keeping his pension. I will have to move to a cheaper and smaller house but that’s okay I just want stability for our children. I’m dreading this costing so much in legal fees that I won’t have enough left to look after the children.

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Totallycluelessoverhere Wed 22-Apr-20 15:57:54

It has been a marriage in excess of 15 years.

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waterSpider Wed 22-Apr-20 18:13:07

Other relevant factors are your ages, and the actual values of the pension and house equity (and any other assets, like cars/savings).

A deal where you get most of the equity and he keeps all/most of the pension is not rare.

Totallycluelessoverhere Wed 22-Apr-20 19:13:20

oh gosh, so many questions for when I see a solicitor. I hadn’t even considered how age will impact on a decision.

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Owlsintowels Wed 22-Apr-20 19:46:18

Do you have any idea how much the pension value is? Good to get a sense of that compared with your equity

Totallycluelessoverhere Wed 22-Apr-20 20:08:13

The equity is more than the pension fund. It was about twice the amount but I expect the pension fund might have shrunk since covid 19.

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Totallycluelessoverhere Wed 22-Apr-20 20:11:04

I feel like I’m dripping information which isn’t my intention, I was just trying to get a sense of whether I was being greedy / unrealistic expecting more than 50% of the house and zero of the pension. I’ve been so controlled and manipulated for the past few years that my perception of fairness is something I am no longer certain of.

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Yorkshirehillbilly Thu 23-Apr-20 13:06:01

look at the law and govt info and you will see the list of factors taken into account. often overlooked on here is future contribution and needs of disabled children. The usual rules do not apply where one parents future earnings are affected by caring or when an adult child will remain dependent. I’m in similar situation and from the little info I’ve found online long term carers can expect to get a much higher % of equity I’ve seen cases of 100%. And you may get some of pension as well. You should try and find a solicitor experienced with disabled children as their future need for housing and care will be taken into account. Of course your ex should want your disabled children cared for and housed and offer to do so but if he doesn’t then the courts will intervene. Usual settlements are based on expectation both parents can work full time within a set timeframe but where one parent will never be able to then that has to be factored into any settlement. You can also try and negotiate child maintenance beyond 18 for the disabled child. I’ve told ex I will expect this until disabled child leaves education which could be up to 25. From a housing point of view if child lives with me into my old age then we will need an extra bedroom for a carer to help. You also need specialist advice about trusts and protecting child’s benefits if they were to inherit. Also look at how much would be saved if you downsized house as you may find after costs that there isn’t much of a saving. Sale and purchase costs would need to be factored in as well. Be aware that when children become adults and get benefits in own right that your income will plummet as lose all disability / tax credits, child benefit etc. It’s worth putting some scenarios into a benefits calculator to see how they will change overtime. I’ve seen a lot of parent carers really struggle when their kids hit 18.

Totallycluelessoverhere Thu 23-Apr-20 13:52:02

That is super helpful @Yorkshirehillbilly
Thank you so much for the detailed response.
I do think moving house will be the only real option even with the associated selling and moving costs. The mortgage payments are currently too high for me to maintain them on my own and provide the children with a reasonable standard of living. We would be significantly below the poverty line if I attempt to keep paying the mortgage on my own and the house needs some work which I would struggle to fund whilst paying the mortgage.
I have considered the children turning 18 and what that will mean financially.
In all honesty I have stayed in this marriage far too long due to fear of not being able to provide adequately for the children but the current situation has become unbearable.
If I can get enough to buy a smaller house without a mortgage (I expect I wouldn’t be able to get a mortgage anyway as I am not in employment) then I think this would be my best option as I would be able to provide for the children without constantly worrying about money or whether my husband will pay maintenance etc.
I am going to seek legal advice but I am really worried about paying for it especially if my husband doesn’t agree to a split which means the children’s needs are put first.

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Yorkshirehillbilly Thu 23-Apr-20 15:09:01

I got a book called DIY divorce and separation and plan to do as much as possible myself and just pay for advice needed. You would be eligible for fee exemption at court. But you also don’t need to rush we have waited 2 years so could do it no fault and it also allows time for you both to approach it more objectively. I was able to take over mortgage as work parttime. Some banks do take benefits into account and CM for mortgages but less likely to do so when children are older. Mine allowed it up to age 15. It sounds like you should be pitching for a mortgage free house and some of pension. My ex has been indignant about it at times but I added up lost earnings for next 15 years and explained a judge would take this into account plus a judge would take into account a father who refused to do any caring on weekdays so his income would not be affected. If he offered for us both to do parttime work and parttime caring and have equal ability to earn wage he could expect a more equal split. But he isn’t. in fact when he has the children eg occasionally on weekdays in school holidays he behaves as though he is doing me a favour! You can easily put together info on what you could earn if you were able to do the same as him and ask for that to be taken into account. The priority will be the children and it’s only once their needs are met that yours and his are considered. You may find once penny drops about how a court will approach this he offers to do more caring which in my experience is another reason to take things slowly to see if the good intentions last. I find it’s harder work physically managing family life on my own but mentally it’s like a huge load has been lifted.

Totallycluelessoverhere Thu 23-Apr-20 15:57:29

Thank you yorkshirehillbilly.
Your advice has been more helpful than you could possibly imagine.
I will have a look at that book.
I think the first thing I need to do is convince by husband to actually move out. Obviously he can’t move anywhere whilst we are locked down but I will be asking him to move out as soon as the lockdown is over.
My earning potential would have been much greater than his if I was still in paid employment.
My husband will argue that we both could have worked part time but of course that isn’t really possible when he won’t give them required medication etc when I am not present and is unable to meet their basic medical needs.
I have looked at benefit entitlement and I might be able to afford the mortgage on our current home by myself but it wouldn’t leave anything in the pot for frivolities or contingencies. I haven’t included any potential maintenance though as I don’t want to rely on that and the mortgage would be paid off before the eldest child reaches 18.

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PicaK Mon 27-Apr-20 20:03:01

Do your children get DLA for their disabilities? If not apply for this and then you will be entitled to carers.
If you get carers allowance then you get universal credit. With 2 kids it's about a grand a month. Then you can get a reduced council tax rate, free school meals, help with rent.
It may not apply to you but I had no idea about it all until I read it on here. Also it takes a while for things to be assessed so you may want to get these things in place before you say you want to divorce.
Be aware you can't ask him to leave. It could get awkward. You could spend thousands on solicitors if he wants to fight it - think £20k - so remember to factor that in when you are trying to reach agreement.
Good luck.

Totallycluelessoverhere Tue 28-Apr-20 06:41:21

Why can’t I ask him to leave *picak? I know I can’t force him to leave because we own the house jointly but I thought I could ask and encourage him to leave whilst we sort out divorce and dividing assets. One of the children gets DLA and I get carers allowance. The other child was refused DLA but his disabilities are less severe so it’s understandable. He still has an EHCP and receives help from a number of professionals on a regular basis.

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millymollymoomoo Tue 28-Apr-20 12:24:42

You can ask him to leave
You cannot force him to leave

Does he have anywhere to go?
If he has to pay rent and bills in another property what dies that mean revthe marital home, mortgage bills Expenses etc ?

mumwon Tue 28-Apr-20 12:35:00

can I suggest you contact charities that are relevant to your child's disability (especially If its a big charity) they often have advice or links to other more specialized organisations that can help
also look up the
solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk/
where they tell you about solicitors with expertise in various fields of law
sometimes they do either free or low cost first interviews which will help inform you of some choices/first steps

Totallycluelessoverhere Tue 28-Apr-20 12:50:36

No, he has nowhere to go millymolly. He will have to find somewhere to rent and I wouldn’t expect him to pay rent and bills elsewhere and still cover the mortgage and bills here which is why we need to sell and reach a fair split.

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Totallycluelessoverhere Tue 28-Apr-20 12:51:05

Thanks mumwon, I will have a look.

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