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divorce financial settlement(21 Posts)
I'm posting here as I'm absolutely at my wits end with my impending divorce, I sincerely hope somebody can advise me on my situation.
As briefly as possible (ha!), it looks a little like this:
My partner and I separated 5 years ago when I discovered he'd been having (another) affair at work. We have 2 children together, a boy and a girl (15 and 13 now).
We have a decree nisi, he reluctantly admitted adultery (difficult for him not to, seeing as his new partner was pregnant). They now have a 4 year old son.
I live in the marital home - a smallish victorian semi, nothing grand. He pays the mortgage in lieu of any maintenance. I pay all the other bills for the house.
The children stay overnight with him 50% of the time. On the days they stay with him, I still collect them from school and bring them home for a couple of hours before he picks them up on his way home from the train station. He then feeds them and they then disappear to their bedrooms as they can't abide the new step-mum.
He works in the city. His gross annual income is 110k + an undisclosed bonus. From what the children have said (not the most reliable source, admittedly!) this year he will be getting an extra 1500 per month take home from his bonus. He has generously offered to get them the cheapest monthly netflix subscription with this as a treat )
His partner earns a similar sum to him. On what may be the briefest attempt at completing a form E, he stated a net income for her of £75k.
I work (35 hours per week) for the NHS and earn 23k gross, plus receive around £5k in tax credits.
When we first separated 5 years ago, he rented a property. He was keen to take some equity from our marital home to use as a deposit to buy a home for himself, with any agreement between us based solely on his housing needs and income.
This was prior to the pregnancy and the arrival of the baby. When the pregnancy was announced, all negotiations were put on hold.
Their relationship is not a happy one, to say the least, but they are still together. She is very controlling, and has actually said to his family that she thinks he should walk away from the two older children and accept that his new family consists of her and the baby. I didn't think people like this really existed, but sadly they do.
Two years ago, his gf had £100k cash which she offered to put towards a deposit on a property for them to live in. He declined this offer, telling his family (and me) that he didn't want to buy a property with her, as he didn't expect to stay with her for any length of time.
He was pushing for me to agree to release equity for him at this point, and I was willing to consider this, as part of a fair settlement.
However, this wasn't progressing quickly enough for his liking, and so he borrowed £80k from his father and bought a very nice 4-bed property for them for £400k.
He could have bought somewhere equally suitable, but not as fancy, for around £325k in the same area. I understand his gf had quite a large say in what she would consider a suitable home for her and her child. She has then used her cash as a deposit on a home in another part of the country, a 5-bed property. I understand her mother lives alone in this house.
GF doesn't contribute anything towards the mortgage or general running costs of the house she lives in with my ex. nor does she do any cooking or cleaning. She sounds like an absolute dream of a partner, sheesh.
By contrast, I put every penny of my salary into my family's life - general bills and food take up the vast majority of it, but any spare money does go on family activities - cinema trips, going for a pizza occasionally etc. I can't remember the last time I bought myself any new clothes, as opposed to second-hand ones. It's ok though - we're clean, we eat healthy food (pizza trips aside), and we get by.
If I were earning anywhere near even one of their incomes I would still put it all into family life - we might then actually be able to have a holiday that doesn't involve tents, can you imagine such luxury!
So, we have their joint income, 10 times my own (not including their bonuses), and they own two properties, and he still has a share in this one.
He now wants me to transfer the house & mortgage on our marital home solely into my name, extend the mortgage out to 25 years again (currently there is 12 years left to go) and for me to give him £80k to repay his father plus an extra 25k for him. There is currently approximately 250k equity in the marital home.
He has proposed paying me spousal maintenance only (he thinks no child maintenance is due as they stay with him 50% of the time) to cover my mortgage. He has told the children that when this happens, he will separate from his current gf and they will all live happily ever after. idiot.
He is adamant that gf won't contribute anything to the household income, even though I have said to him that a court would assume that she is.
Mostly I find myself just wanting to tell him where to go (in luch less polite terms), but I do recognise that I need to get this settled and draw a line under it for my own peace of mind. I am finding it very difficult to move on with my life all the time this is hanging over my head.
I am unable to pay a solicitor for legal advice (disposable income each month equates to one cinema trip for the 3 of us, or approximately 5 minutes of a solicitor's time!). My amazing best friend has offered to finance my share of a couple of mediation sessions for us, but I am reluctant to waste a minute of that time establishing a base line from which to even start negotiating a settlement.
Is there anyone out there that would be able to advise what a reasonable outcome would be? At least a starting point from which to negotiate!
Personally, I don't feel that I owe him a penny, and I certainly don't see why the new gf gets a free ride in all this.
It's all getting a bit much now - I suffer from depression and have been really struggling for the last few months. The relentless hamster-wheel of work/kids/home just about keeps me focused enough to not do anything stupid, but, to be honest, it's a thin line that I walk. I do take medication for depression, but that doesn't actually change the situation at all, just my ability to look at it without bursting into tears and running off into the night!
If you have got this far through this slightly ranty post, then thank you for taking the time to do so. If you have got this far and are able to offer any helpful pointers, then please, please do so!
I'm off to watch Pointless on catchup tv with my kids. Rock'n'roll lifestyle! I look forward to your replies.
It could be argued i'm in a similar position but i'm the GF (no baby and I don't laze around). Where is all of your information from? If he declared his partner's income as £75k why do you feel its a lot more and where has all the information come from about the house and whether she contributes or not? I'm not trying to wind you up, it's very interesting for me to read it from your point of view.
He is paying your mortgage? And the kids live with him 50% of the time? I would assume of the £250k equity, he would be entitled to 50%
- as a starting point. So £125k, so him asking for £105k is already him taking a hit.
And his gf income is irrelevant, I think.
my understanding is that a new partners income isn't irrelevant - in the same way that if I had a new partner earning 75k net, with whom I had a child, I am pretty sure that would be taken into account. I would certainly expect any partner of mine to contribute financially to out joint household too!
I think that a 50/50 division of assets is a fair starting point. Do we include his new property as one of those assets though? all too confusing.
Spousal maintenance should be agreed to address any significant disparity in incomes, and to recognise that when our children were small that I would stay at home to look after them as that was what we wanted for our family. - this enabled him to put in the extra hours and overseas travel that contributed to his career progression, and ultimately to be earning what he is now. I seriously think that in it terms this is worth more than the £650 a month he is proposing as a settlement!
Without a full and transparent disclosure from them, I can't say for certain what their incomes are (there has been no evidence provided for either). Information has been passed to me by his parents, sisters and aunt, to suggest the actual household income is significantly higher than he has stated.
No - you wouldn't take the new properties as joint assets; they were acquired after separation.
My partner's ex-wife works part time although the children are old enough to look after themselves and she could very easily do full time hours she chooses not to. To supplement her income she wants disclosure of my income and proof that I share the bills. I don't as I have my own bills to pay. Whichever side you're on there are fair arguments. I would think a 50/50 settlement is fair, what he's doing with his life now is not your concern nor are his assets accrued since you split. What they spend their time doing or not doing is not your concern either. You're not entitled to live off him because you have children. His responsibility is to the children not to you. Spousal maintenance is a total joke in this day. There is no reason why childcare can't be shared and a woman can continue her career just as a man has done. I find this is a massive excuse for the ex wife in my case.
OP it really is worth spending the cash on an hour with a fairly experienced solicitor who will talk you through possibilities. I would recommend booking in with one who is at least 10 yrs post qualification experience who is a Resolution financial specialist who will be more likely to have the experience and confidence to tell you what outcomes might look like in a first meeting. You may feel that you need up to date info on his income going forwards but if you had info in the past that was accurate you could ask for advice as to outcomes based on that.
In the meantime read this cover to cover particularly the case examples at the end
You may well be entitled to a lot more than you think. Legal advice is expensive but essential for you otherwise you are likely to be completely ripped off. He should probably be paying more than he has been. Pay for an hours consultation with an experienced SHL (divorce specialist) take all relevant financial details, house value, mortgage rates, his pension your pension, what info you know about their wages etc and go get some proper advice you will regret it if you don't. This is your and your children's future you are talking about.
Wait, he's only been paying the mortgage for 5 years and no other money ???
What's the mortgage? £800?
I suspect on £150,000 salary he should have been paying more and he's got away lightly. Has he been paying for everything the children need? Uniforms/clothes/party gifts/haircuts/everything ?
You absolutely 100% need a solicitor. If you can't afford it now you save up, he can't PuSH you to do anything in a hurry - frankly it's in your interests to do nothing. So do nothing until you can at least afford a chat.
My advice would be a get a solicitor. Put it on a card, whatever, but do it.
thank you all for your comments, the financial needs document looks very useful as a starting point. I will review more thoroughly tomorrow.
Say you'll transfer it into your name but you want the equity.
If you have 50/50 care then you would be entitled to a tiny amount of child maintenance, check the threshold.
On a question like this the only advice you should take from random people on the internet is to see a solicitor. Other advice will be of variable quality and some will be downright wrong.
I agree you need detailed legal advice - if you pm me saying more or less where you are I can recommend someone or have a look on the Resolution website
Please see a solicitor. I'm not one but I think you can do much better than his proposals! I achieved 90% equity of house and a very generous pension share in my divorce even though the children had grown up (youngest had just gone to Uni when his Dad ran off). Most important factors were a) long marriage and b) big disparity in incomes (his 100k salary + bonuses versus my 28k. Oh, and the girlfriend's salary was definitely taken into account in as much as it was assumed all household expenses would be shared (so say his bills were £500 a month his share was only £250).
50 /50 is usually a starting point and then you argue the case for changing it - the fact that the children's main home (ie where all their real stuff is for school etc and where their school is etc will have a bearing as will his salary compared to yours. As will what contributions around childrens things are taking place - I would say it should be proportionate so take your salary and compare to his and use that to calculate how much of stuff he should be paying.... just to counter argue!) so sorry but it is REALLY IMPORTANT THAT YOU GET A SOLICITORS ADVICE ON THIS he really is taking you for a monkey's uncle here
I second reading that link above which is helpful in seeing other examples too. There are a lot of issues here.
Do not assume only assets at the point of divorce are relevant. I believe Scottish law divides assets etc as at date of separation and Engilsh law at date of divorce which can be quite a bit later and properties can have shot up in value (or gone down) since then although it may well be the case the other 2 properties are not considered and the £80k father's gift may be a loan by the way so not part of capital to be shared.
Has your ex bought his new place jointly with his soon to be gone girl friend? I suspect now and she owns the 5 bedder separately too so that one is irrelevant.
He earns more than you do. My ex got 59% of our assets because I didn't want to pay him maintenance (I earned 10x what he did) and I was buying out his maintenance claims so we kind of capitalised that in the large lump sum and my massive remortgage (he doesn't see or pay for the children at all).
I think it would be better psychologically for you and your ex if the house were sorted out now and put into your name but the mortgage company may not agree to that. If you earn £23k working part time they probably won't lend you more than £100k so I doubt your current mortgage even is covered by that so buying your ex out is probably not an option.
Why are you picking them up from school on "his" days? You need to stop that. If it is his day, he needs to be totally responsible for them. If he cannot do it, then it is your day and the child maintenance should be adjusted as such, so, not 50% shared care anymore.
I don't think you mentioned anything about pensions in your op, but they can usually be a big pot that people forget about when it comes to dividing assets. Do you have many details about his pension? It's worth looking into where you'd stand with a 50% share of that pot, and if you would prefer to negotiate losing pension pot share for more of the marital home.
You definitely need to see a solicitor.
The fact that you took time out of working to have and raise children has a monetary worth when dividing assets.
Although 50/50 is the starting point it quite often is adjusted upwards in favour of the partner who gave up work to bring up children.
If you are in England the fact that he has bought the property prior to ancillary relief proceedings/finances being sorted is relevant in that he has managed to rehouse himself without the need to release the equity at this point. Even if his gf isn't contributing to their household the court will make assumptions that she is and thus his outgoings will be "reduced" for the purpose of the budgeting
It does sound as though he has gotten away lightly over the past few years as far as maintenance is concerned. Get some proper advice. Full financial disclosure is required.
You are not living off him as suggested by "stepmum2be" whoc learly has issues about the fact that her partner has to pay maintenance to his ex. She hasn't appreciated that yes although nowadays women can have careers to the reality of the situation is it is the woman that physically gives birth and decisions about who will stay home are made jointly. If her DP decided at the time he loved his wife and had children with her that it should be his exW then she has to accept he was a party to the decision that led to his exW having lower earning capacity and therefore when he decides to bugger off with the next one she has to live with the "package" he is!
I would agree not to focus on what they are doing and what their relationship is like. Just concentrate on getting good sound legal advice as to your own position and move on. I also agree that if contact is supposed to be 50:50 he should be arranging to collect the children after school and not use you as FREE childcare.
thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read and contribute their thoughts and comments. Divorce, and the settlement of financial matters, are obviously a very personal matter, and everyone's experiences of it differ, according to the subtle variations in circumstances and emotions involved. I am very grateful to have received some pointed, factual information on which to build a base to be my starting point in negotiations with my ex.
I will try to gather as many links as possible to factual legal documents relating to my circumstances and will post them here for all to see. this may take some time as there are so many!
For what it's worth, I'm not after bleeding my ex dry. I merely expect to receive what is fair, for the ultimate benefit of the two children that we decided, as a couple, to bring into this world and take responsibility for.
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