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SAHMs and divorce settlements - controversial new rulings

(40 Posts)
Greensleeves Wed 24-May-06 13:20:51


Some of the choicer readers' comments :

"Women are always claiming they want love and marriage. At the end of the day all they seem to want is money. My advice to men is steer clear!"

"The judiciary are so out of touch with real life but they, and not parliament, are making the laws.
Marriage is dying out in the UK and with it a caring and law abiding society. The fault can be laid at the feet of the legal system, the child support agency and idle, greedy women."

Any thoughts anyone?

Spatz Wed 24-May-06 13:24:39

I think I'm one of those 'greedy women'. If DH and I ever split I would certainly expect a decent share of the millions (if only!). I gave up an extremely successful career and have spent the last five years bringing up two children so that his nibs can have his brillian career. He is gone before we get up in the morning and sees the kids for max half-an-hour in the evening. I do all the dull stuff myself. At the end of his life he'll have had a fabulous career and a great family and I'll have a great family - can't see how I can go back to a career at the moment with kids so small and a five year gap.....

Greensleeves Wed 24-May-06 13:38:31

There does seem to be a strong prevailing attitude (among the men who posted their views on the BBC site) that stay at home mothers are just lazy and work-shy, that what they do isn't necessary or a proper contribution to the marriage, and that the idea of a mother giving up her career to stay at home with children is ridiculous and outdated. Of course I have come across that attitude before, but I still find it rather shocking.

FioFio Wed 24-May-06 13:43:44

Message deleted

Bozza Wed 24-May-06 13:45:53

I am not a SAHM but going part time and sticking in this area of the country has pretty much put the kibosh on my career. So I think I have contributed as much to the family as DH despite lower income and reduced earning potential.

leogaela Wed 24-May-06 14:09:48

Fiofio, the point is that if you take a career break to be a SAHM it is really, really difficult to get back to where you were in your career, if you can get a job at all when the children are older or leave home. If you divorce and are not entitled to a good percentage of your huband/partners income what do you do when the children leave home? Work in a supermarket for a pittance and live on state pension while your ex-husband can afford to have his nice house (or in the cases here several nice houses and a yacht in the caribbean).

I think any money and assets acquired and saved during the period of marriage (if any) should be split in half (so both walk away with what they had before the marriage - if its not spent) and the woman should be compensated for loss of future earnings, plus child care for any dependant children.
But these are exceptional cases where there is a lot of money around, its not putting a second family below the poverty line.

Freckle Wed 24-May-06 14:14:50

The comments about women going back to work once the children are at school shows a complete lack of understanding or awareness of what that entails. How many jobs are there that allow for drop off and pick up? How many jobs allow term-time working only? If you've decided to stay home to raise your children yourself, you're hardly likely to say "Oh yes, they are at school now. I'll just ensure they spend the rest of the time with someone else whilst I work during the holidays".

And I agree about the difficulty of finding decent work when you've been out of the workplace for years. I had a very good career before children. DH and I agreed that I would stay home to raise the children and I have been out of full-time employment now for over 12 years. What sort of job do you think I'd get now?

expatinscotland Wed 24-May-06 14:16:58

I'm convinced the mods at BBC 'Have Your Say' have the most amusing job in the world, b/c they continually post none but the most misogynistic, biggoted, narrow-minded comments.

They must spend the entire day laughing reading throught those user comments and deciding which to post.

FioFio Wed 24-May-06 14:19:20

Message deleted

Freckle Wed 24-May-06 14:21:17

Most maintenance agreements have a "sell-by" date, e.g., for children, it's until they reach 17 or leave full time education, whichever is the later. There is nothing to stop either party applying back to the court to vary the order if circumstances change. I suspect that what has been reported is not the whole story.

FioFio Wed 24-May-06 14:22:33

Message deleted

SOULGIRL Wed 24-May-06 14:33:04

Dont you think these two cases are completely different? One is a woman married to a man for 18 years who has brought up his family and supported him in his career.

The other is someone who after a brief marriage wants to have the cash to maintain her brazillian waxes and acrylic nails!

I was better paid than DH before having children but decided that for me it seemed wrong to bring children into the world & then leave them with someone else for 7 hours a day.

Im lucky as I work from home but ideally I would like to work part time for a reasonable wage (being a stay at home mother can be isolating) Im afraid the school holidays make working seem a bit of a dream, I know so many people who once they have paid childcare end up working for nothing in the holidays.

Freckle Wed 24-May-06 14:34:41

I agree that the two cases are very different. I did read that, in the case of the brief marriage, the judge took into account that it was the husband's adultery that ended it and made his award accordingly. So much for no fault divorce....

Uwila Wed 24-May-06 14:42:21

Very happy with these rulings. It's about time!

SOULGIRL Wed 24-May-06 14:42:50

Maybe im cynical (years of working for men at senior & director level) but successful men seem to have a problem with fidelity. Having said that some women will S**g anything if its rich!

So does the payout increase in relation to the amount of times he is unfaithful, or is there a points system 1mil for once, 2 for your sister, 3 your brother, 5 for your mum.

Sorry silly now!!

Normsnockers Wed 24-May-06 14:58:00

Message withdrawn

peachyClair Wed 24-May-06 15:31:06

Change was due, FIL got away with giving MIL very little because she couldn't prove a financial contribution- even had to sit ehre and listen to him tell DH to take my contributions cash so ic ouldn't prove it! Sh cooked and cleaned for him, raised his kids etc for 35 years- ended up with a huge mortgage she can't pay and zilch else.

Greensleeves Wed 24-May-06 15:50:20

That's so sad peachyclair

It's sickening to think there are still people who think a woman who has been a SAHM should just leave the marriage with nothing. The assumption is that she has earned nothing, because she has spent that time doing effectively nothing. But unfortunately it's a very common attitude, and not only among men. People are judged on the basis of how much money they can generate. Nothing seems to have a value or a worth beyond the purely financial.

Uwila Wed 24-May-06 15:54:15

And all too common, peachyclair. and

Wow, this is weird. I've never felt united with the SAHMs before.

SOULGIRL Wed 24-May-06 15:55:16

I think its right if a woman has given up work to care for the children it is only fair that this is taken into account.

I went back to my job part time after the birth of DS1 at the same hourly rate as before but had to give up when my husbands hours changed. If I now got a part time job I would be lucky to get half the hourly rate I had before!

On the other hand if you have a short childless marriage to a wealthy man I dont feel you have an automatic right to a slice of his pie if things dont work out.

SOULGIRL Wed 24-May-06 15:58:57

Peachy thats hideous. FIL sounds lovely, did you get cross?

Uwila Wed 24-May-06 16:24:25

I think you have a right to half of what he made while you were married, which incidentally excludes people like HMM. Except of course where Beatrice is concerned. But, that child support/inheritance so a different matter really.

Freckle Wed 24-May-06 16:34:14

I do think it is important that the courts take into account the disparate potential future earnings of each party. A man who has been able to forge ahead in his career, climbing the financial ladder, because his wife stayed home, looked after the children, entertained clients (sometimes), etc., and was basically a huge support to her spouse has to understand that this is usually at her expense. So she needs to be compensated for this - and for the whole of her lifetime unless circumstances change (e.g. she remarries, he loses his income, etc).

If I had not given up work to raise our family, my salary now would be in the region of £50,000-60,000 (and this is in the provinces - it would be far greater in London). However, now, I'd be lucky to bring in a third of that.

I don't begrudge losing my career for the sake of my children, but I do begrudge being told that my contribution to the family over the past 13 years is valueless simply because I didn't bring any money into the house.

speedymama Wed 24-May-06 16:35:57

The woman from the 18year marriage should be awarded a decent sum for herself and the children. However, I don't understand why she has to be given this money for life? Why can't she retrain and find a suitable job when her children are older? So many single mothers manage to do this without the financial windfall that she will have. In this day and age of equality, who wants to be financially behoven to an ex-spouse once the children reach adulthood?

In the case of the woman from the shorter, childless marriage, in my view, they should have awarded her the net salary she would have earned had she not given up work and told her to get of her backside and go get a job!

peachyClair Wed 24-May-06 16:49:03

It was difficult, Dh and MIl don't have a relationship usually but we were really saddened by his reaction. The thing is, she (MIL) actually ran a business (in fact two) during their marriage, but the key was she couldn't prove how she contributed. So, in three years she retires, loses thehouse unless BIL can take over the payments (unlikely). FIL: is engaed to the much younger woman he left her for, has a new house (albeit smaller) and retires on full pension becuase he found a loophole on that one too.

So yes, we were very {angry] but also disappointed. I mean 35 years!

I supported this family for a while when DH didn't work, and now he does. That's fair. If we split I get half.... which I think equates 25p and a poratble TV!

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