Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

My brother is getting divorced - what's fair in terms of money?

(28 Posts)
LaCerbiatta Tue 18-Nov-14 10:06:15

Please help me get some perspective on what’s morally right.

First of all my brother is in another country so UK laws don’t apply. They want an amicable divorce, without even a solicitor involved , so are trying to go on what’s fair.

So, they got married 3 years ago. Before getting married each had their own flat (I think my brother owned his mortgage free and she was/is still paying towards hers). After getting married they decided to move to a different town and put both flats on the market. My brother’s sold and hers didn’t. They bought a family house in this new town with the money from my brother’s flat and my parent’s help. Her contribution in terms of money was none. Her flat is currently rented and she keeps the rent money.

Where they live the default agreement by law is that whatever you acquire after getting married is split 50/50, whatever you owned before is kept as yours. In their case it appears that my brother can still claim the house as although it was bought after getting married it was with money from a house that he owned before, although we’re not 100% sure on this.

So, now they’re getting divorced. They have a 2 yo dd. She’s leaving the family house (her choice, she doesn’t like it) and renting near by. They are going to do almost shared custody – she gets 3 days a week, my brother 2. They alternate weekends.

They agreed that my brother would pay half the nursery plus some maintenance. He will also pay her 12000 euros split over 2 years for the money she invested in the house (they did some work on it). Although they’ve worked out that the money spent was 14000 euros, so effectively her contribution was just 7000. My brother was happy with this arrangement. Now after talking to her parents and some friends she is saying that she has to pay rent and leave the family home so he needs to pay more and raised it to 20000 euros over just under 4 years. My brother wants to keep it friendly and most of all wants to keep the shared custody (which he won’t get if it’s up to a judge to decide) so he’s agreeing to this as well, but now I’m thinking it is a bit much…

What do you all think? Some outside perspective would be really useful!


Joysmum Tue 18-Nov-14 10:08:42

Too complicated, get a solicitor for this.

LaCerbiatta Tue 18-Nov-14 10:12:44

Thanks, yes he needs solicitor advice. Specially because she has a law degree herself and solicitor friends who are advising her...

MimiSunshine Tue 18-Nov-14 10:16:52

Has he asked what you think or what you think he should do? if not and he's just told you the new plan, then I'd say nothing other than "as long as you feel its fair then that's all that matters".

If he is asking for help / advice then I'd suggest that him and the ex sit down and go through everything they've spent in the last 3 years (which should highlight his greater financial involvement) and then agree to split the difference on the one who paid more.
He can then offer ty give her back half of what was paid to do up the house.

She can after all move back into her old apartment surely?

grocklebox Tue 18-Nov-14 10:20:02

I think it unlikely you are right about the family home being legally his. It was bought after the marriage and as a family home, it will not be that simple and she likely has a proper claim on it.

However since you ask what would be morally right, I think that would be for you to stay out of it and let your brother and his wife sort out their affairs for themselves.

LaCerbiatta Tue 18-Nov-14 10:20:53

No he hasn't asked for advice but has shared all the detail so i think my opinion wouldn't be out of place.

Her flat is in another town. Her job is where they live now. Besides if she moves back he won't get the shared custody, which is the most important thing at the moment.

ExtraVolume Tue 18-Nov-14 10:23:40

Have to agree, how can we say? Depends on lots of things. Did her career suffer from taking maternity leave? What about the move, how did that affect their earning potential? What is the housing market like, how much value will the work have added? Etc.

And to be honest I wouldn't get involved. It is up to your DB and SIL. You want to have a relationship with DN I presume so I would just concentrate on that, not the financial side.

LaCerbiatta Tue 18-Nov-14 10:33:02

She wanted to move as much as he did and her job didn't suffer at all (both the equivalent of civil servants). Housing market is stagnant and i would be surprised if the work added more value than what they spent.

But you're all right it's too complicated without solicitor advice and I'll advise him to contact one.

(Although i don't understand all the unpleasant comments to stay out of it - seems pretty obvious I'm just trying to help.... I'm guessing family dynamics are a bit different here....)

grocklebox Tue 18-Nov-14 10:40:00

It's not unpleasant at all, perhaps your SIL wouldn't like her very personal business posted on an interntional forum for all to see, did you think of that?

You don't know the law or how their assets will be divided, and no-one here can tell you either, so its reality rather than unpleasantness.

grocklebox Tue 18-Nov-14 10:40:03

It's not unpleasant at all, perhaps your SIL wouldn't like her very personal business posted on an interntional forum for all to see, did you think of that?

You don't know the law or how their assets will be divided, and no-one here can tell you either, so its reality rather than unpleasantness.

sjovt Tue 18-Nov-14 10:41:34

Advise them to get a solicitor.....

LaCerbiatta Tue 18-Nov-14 10:50:54

This is an anonymous forum. Sil is in another country and I haven't slagged her off at all. Isn't this what we're all doing here? Sharing our stories anonymously for advice??

grocklebox Tue 18-Nov-14 10:59:30

You're not sharing your story, you're sharing hers. And its not as anonymous as people think it is.

Look its up to you. But since you're talking about legal decisions in an unspecified country, no-one here can give you any practical advice at all. So really you're just looking for opinions on someone elses divorce, and what does that help you at all?

Bonsoir Tue 18-Nov-14 11:05:44

It's not a question of what is "morally right", it's a question of the law and of who has best bargaining position. Your brother is in a weaker position than his STBXW over shared residence of the two year old DD by virtue of the fact that small DC, especially girls, are generally viewed by judges as needing their mothers a little more than they need their fathers for day-to-day care. So your brother may need to be a bit flexible on finances and living arrangements if he wants 50:50 care.

KristinaM Tue 18-Nov-14 11:07:06

Don't they have to comply with the law where they live ?

The best advice you can give him is to get legal advice . And stay out of the detail yourself

I'm amazed that you have so much information about your brother and sister in law s financial affairs

AdoraBell Tue 18-Nov-14 11:12:57

I agree he needs legal advice.

And being in a different country doesn't gaurantee your SIL will never see this. I'm in Latín América, fe.

RiverTam Tue 18-Nov-14 11:20:15

I don't think there's much point to this thread if no-one knows the country and the laws of that country - what advice can anyone give other than get a lawyer!

LaCerbiatta Tue 18-Nov-14 11:44:55

Ok, I'll back off now as this is being a bit upsetting.

Yes, I'm not sharing my story, I'm sharing my close family's like thousands do here everyday. The chances of either of them or their friends ever coming on this forum are next to nil. There are many mners around the world but in the vast majority they are either British or American or from another English speaking country, or they are not native speakers like me, but have lived here. The chances of a portuguese person, with no connections whatsoever to this country coming on this site are pretty negligible. Regardless of how amazing mn is.

I know this much about their finances because my brother shared it with me, appreciating my comments and advice. We're very close and as I said I'm guessing that family dynamics are a bit different here.

And lastly, yes i know laws of the country will apply and no one here can comment on that, but the issue is they don't have and don't plan to have any solicitors involved, this will no go to a judge for decision, because they're doing it amicably whatever they decide will be accepted so what is morally right comes into place.

Thank you all for posting anyway.

anotherdayanothersquabble Tue 18-Nov-14 13:07:35

I think people are trying to give you wise advice but due to the emotions involved on your side, you are seeing it as an attack. The tone of some may be a little harsh. Where money and family is involved, professional distance is useful. Neither your brother or his wife will have anticipated this when they first moved in and both are undoubtably feeling hurt. Your niece will benefit if both extended families manage to maintain amicable relationships so empathy and support is the way forward!!

sjovt Tue 18-Nov-14 13:34:24

Im in europe but not in the uk!
Half europe is on mumsnet!

Bonsoir Tue 18-Nov-14 13:51:18

Divorce, like marriage, is a legal agreement, not a moral one.

KristinaM Tue 18-Nov-14 14:12:03

OP, no one has suggested a judge. No one has said not to settle it amicably .

They simply recommended getting legal advice so each party know their entitlements and obligations under the law of the country they reside in .

Given that you are talking about the welfare of your niece for the next 20 years and sums of hundreds of thousands of euros, I'm can't see why this is a unreasonable suggestion .

LaCerbiatta Tue 18-Nov-14 15:08:08

When did I say that was an unreasonable suggestion?? It was my own immediate suggestion to my brother. But the reality at the moment is that they're going on what they think is fair and because this is my brother and I will be naturally biased I just wanted a bit of outside perspective. I understand now it's not an easy matter to get outside perspective on.

Again, really upset at the comments that the focus should be on my dn. That's all my db and the family have been focusing on.

Yes Bonsoir the divorce is a legal agreement, but if it's amicable the terms don't have to follow the law. If my brother decided to give up his house for example even though by law he is entitled to it that would be accepted with no questions. That's the problem here.

Bonsoir Tue 18-Nov-14 15:11:55

You are confusing an amicable negotiation with some kind of moral rights. Forget about the moral stuff - it isn't relevant. Only the law is.

Isetan Tue 18-Nov-14 19:17:41

Whatever the two parties involved think is a fair split, is a fair split.

Your brother can seek legal advice, he is under no obligation to follow it or to retain legal representation for the divorce but it would give him some ideas.

Are you confusing being ja listening ear with thinking that your advice is being solicited? You are not in a position to advise, let alone comment, on what's fair because you have only heard only one side of the story and you are biased in favour of your brother.

Psst, I live in the Netherlands, the Internet has made the world smaller.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now