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Separation late in life

(7 Posts)
Mumoftwinsandanother Mon 31-Mar-14 15:53:20

My mother and I would like some initial advice on behalf of a very close family member (aged 66) call her A). She has been married to her husband for almost 50 years (young bride) and a few months ago it has come out that he is having an affair and would like to separate to go and live with the OW.

As you can imagine at this point in life she is completely devastated and although she is receiving a lot of support is finding it difficult to function let alone plan for the future. We have advised her to seek help from a solicitor just to find out what she would be entitled to in any split of the assets (although there is no plan to divorce they will have to split assets if they are to separate). She does not want to do this at the moment. As far as I am aware they have pensions (for the large part in his name), cash in the bank and the marital home. She has been a homemaker all her life and he has been the sole earner.

He has said that when he moves out he will not be making any payments to A but will instead give her a lump sum and let her stay in the marital home. This lump sum will pay her bills for about 7-8 years we think after which she will presumably have to sell the house. If it went to court (it won't because I am sure they will want to settle it between them) would he be obliged to pay her maintenance so she can stay in her home or would it just be a 50:50 split of assets?

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 31-Mar-14 16:31:29

Each case is different which is why seeing a solicitor is always advisable, especially if there are significant assets involved. I'm glad you understand that, in her present state of shock and disorientation, walking into a solicitor's office and thinking about division of assets might be a bridge too far for the poor woman. She needs a little stability and to catch her breath first and it won't make a massive difference to the outcome.

If he's offering to give her money right now she should take it because it's family money. However, she should be very careful not to sign anything that says it's part of the financial settlement or that it has to be paid back at some stage. As far as she is concerned it is simply a husband giving a wife some cash.... no strings attached.

Lump sums and letting her stay in the marital home might be a good deal or it might not but someone has to work out the maths. She's going to have a very good claim on 50% of everything including house, savings and pensions and I think, even though it isn't the norm, given that she's sacrificed her earnings potential for 50 years, there is a good case for spousal maintenance on top.

notyetpastit Mon 31-Mar-14 17:04:41

As cogito says there is a very good claim for a straight 50/50 split including his pension esp as she has been a SAHW. The split may mean they will have to sell the matrimonial home but tbh (having been in a similar position myself) moving to somewhere that will not remind her of the bxxxxxd will help her in the long run.

The most important issue is that she is given the appropriate amount each month through spousal maintenance (via a Consent Order) which is legally enforceable through divorce only. He husband could state (as in did) that he will not pay maintenance once he retires (in his case 65) so the money raised on the sale of the matrimonial property should a) buy your friend a small property of her own and b) be invested to provide an income (through ISA's or an annuity) btw his pension hen it is drawn will provide a lump sum for her and the balance has to be put into an annuity that pays a fixed sum to her each month.

Please help her to see a solicitor, go with with a list of questions and details of their income and assets and make notes for her.

I have every sympathy for your friend.

WitchWay Mon 31-Mar-14 17:07:37

She needs to take legal advice or speak to CAB at least. Some solicitors will offer a free first appointment. How very sad. She probably doesn't want to fight or feel she has any claim but she could live another 20 years or more - it needs properly sorting out.

chaosagain Mon 31-Mar-14 18:31:29

My lovely mother in law is 2.5 years on from a similar revelation. FIL has lived with the OW for all of that time.

My MIL was also resistant to the idea of divorce and wanted a separation. Seeing a lawyer clarified that there was no benefit to this. The principle in a long marriage is usually 50:50 share of assets, including pension. But she needs to see a lawyer.

My MIL has just finalised her divorce. She has stayed in the marital home, off set his share by giving him other assets and has a court ordered pension sharing order, so the pension provider pays her half of the pension pot. She doesn't rely on her ex husband to comply with anything now.

It's been a long road. In the early days she needed lots of support and someone appropriate with her at legal meetings to take notes for her and summarise it all back as she couldn't take it in. It's such a hard road, I feel for her.

Msgilbertblythe Mon 31-Mar-14 22:16:20

This happened to my mother, it was absolutely devastating for the whole family. She needs to get a lawyer to freeze the assets, eg the house, as he could technically transfer it to the other woman if it's in his name. Unfortunately everything my father said was lies and it even transpired he had bought a house secretly behind my mother's back! We ended up going to court and fighting for everything she was rightfully due. What I'm saying is she shouldn't just trust what he says now, she should get it all sorted legally asap.

Mumoftwinsandanother Tue 01-Apr-14 23:05:51

Many thanks for the replies, very kind of you. I am seeing A tomorrow so it will gives me a starting point for advice. I doubt she will want to see a solicitor yet but I think she should as soon as she is able. One of her family will go with her.

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