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divorce settlements(27 Posts)
Can anyone advise me about what is reasonable to expect as a settlement? Brief history, 25 year marriage H left me about a year ago for OW. 3 kids but only 1 under 18. I have asked for the house (no mortgage) and half our savings and as on offset I won't claim on his pension.... I thought he had to maintain me as his ex spouse until such time as I remarried or co habited. but a friend has just said he only has to maintain me as long as our youngest is in education? We are going through mediation atm, and the mediator said if we can't come to an agreement without going through the Courts, the courts would claim I only needed a 2 bed house (despite fact one other child, over 18,still lives with me)I could work more despite teh fact i have worked part time throughout our married life, and I could get a better paid job! She also said if I co habit or marry again within 6 - 12 months of settlement he could reopen the claim! Meanwhile he gets 2 salaries (his and OW), a good payoff and no kids to live with! It hardly seems fair, that I didn't ask for this, none of it was my doing yet I seem to be the one who could be penalised? Any thoughts/advice would be much appreciated. How have others managed after settlement to survive financially?
unfortunately no one here will be able to tell you as outcomes vary considerably depending on a whole bunch of facts which will be unique to your case.
As guiding principles however, clean breaks are generally preferred so there is no ongoing financial link to your ex, but not always possible. - this can sometimes be achieved with one party forgoing extra capital upfront in effect to buy out any spousal maintenance - eg you might be awarded 100% of house by trading off spousal as example. In cases where it is felt parity cannot be achieved with a clean break (eg if you are both perhaps at retirement age, spousal might be one way to achieve that) You might be awarded a mesher order with a % as another option. You might be awarded a pension share. These are all in the pot
COurts will look to all assets of the marriage including house, savings pensions, will then look to dependents and ages, the needs of each part (i.e if you only have 1 dependent (under 18) they could argue you dont' need a 4 bed house) as well as your and DH current and future earning potential along with the ability to house dependents (which takes priority) and ability to earn and contribute to a pension. Negotiations will start based on this.
You don't state your age (and don't need to here!) but for example yes its a long marriage but if you are only say 45 now, then you still have 20 years to work full time and build up your own pension. If you are 63 that wont be achievable.
There is no automatic right to spousal and he doesn't necessarily have to 'maintain you' until the children are 18 either....many women in many divorces are expected to find work and support themselves (with just interim time bound spousal support and child maintenance) with primary age children - there is the general expectation that you need to look to support yourself.
if you know the value of all your assets and what you DH earns you should begin to get a sense of what is 'realistic' eg if you were awarded 60% of everything what would that look like? 50%, 70% etc
There is generally poor advise on here with regards to spousal maintenance. The reality is that these days it is VERY early awarded unless there is a HUGE salary (his, not OW) or a disability on your part.
To expect to keep the house AND half the savings is frankly living in cloud cuckoo land unless the pension is absolutely enormous.
The only maintenance he will be liable for is your one child under 18.
Just out of interest, why do you feel that he should pay for you for an open ended period of time?
Oops. That should read "VERY rarely awarded"
I would have thought that a house mortgage free when just you and one child live there is very generous indeed. Your exh is entitled to some of the equity or equivalent.
As for 'maintaining you', that is very old fashioned and would be unlikely to happen any more.
People on here often advise that the resident parent can keep the house until the youngest child reaches 18. Again, rubbish.
For me, mediation didn't work and we went to court. The court ordered the sale of the house and I had two small children of primary school age and he had little contact with them.
Everyone's case is different though. I assume you have individually had legal advice. See what you can come up with together.
Reality what is said on here about SM varies enormously; and normally ends up with a London based barrister coming on and saying that actually, it's not that uncommon.
I'm in London and going through a divorce and that would certainly mirror what I've been told (as a SAHM with a relatively high-earning ex). The judge at our FDR told us that the 'zeitgeist' currently is for a short term of spousal maintenance, where there is a need and disparity between incomes, in order to get the lower earning spouse back on their feet. Joint lives has only been out of favour for a few years. (I was not asking for joint lives and will be happy with 2-3 years of SM.)
It's a very contentious subject and lots of strong opinions bandied about, many of which are incorrect.
With regards to the OP, without knowing actual figures (eg. equity in house, size of house, size of pension) it's impossible to advise you. Since you are being advised by your mediator, and you are not happy with what they are telling you, it really is in your interest to find yourself a good solicitor. You should have one anyway - as should your ex - so that you can both be assured that you are agreeing to a reasonable outcome as and when that happens.
'realitycheque' i actually feel i should be entitled to some spousal maintenance as for the whole of our married life I worked part time in a low paid job as a choice we made together as a couple, we had a very old fashioned marriage,which will seem archaic these days! I did all the housework, cooking childcare etc whilst he worked and enjoyed being 'lord of the manor' at home! That was a lifestyle choice we made as a couple! This has meant my pension,earning power etc is greatly diminished to what it could have been! I don't feel I should be suffering financially as a result of his infidelity!
'sanityforlunch' the house is mortgage free but is not just for me and my child under 18, it is the family home to two other children too who although working like most young people wouldn't be able to live independantly due to financial constraints!
XH is happy to agree to me keeping the house and half our savings, he would have the other half of our savings, all other investments and his pension in it's entirety.(which equates to a not inconsiderable sum!) My question was really about spousal maintenance and if it existed. If he doesn't continue to maintain me after my youngest is 18, I will have to sell the family home anyway as I won't be able to afford to stay here! I don't earn enough on my own to pay all the bills etc. even with the other children contributing their 'keep'. I guess I wrongly assumed he was liable to support me ! Too old fashioned a thought for today's modern equal world!
I suppose XH and his OW could house the two older children whilst I downsize to a 2 bed! Bet they'd hate that!
Just to clarify as it looks like I've confused myself, one other child over 18 living at home full time and one other child over 18 living away part of the time, but sees the home as a their base and contributes accordingly!
I think you need to see a solicitor. Understand extra cost but probably worth it in the long run.
Agreeing with Teapot, I was offered SM for 5 years In the end I decided clean break was better in my case.
maureen I am hoping for as much of a clean break as possible, but i have to survive too!
It's so difficult working out what is the best thing to do! This wasn't in my life plan!!!
Surely us both using solicitors instead of the mediator will be just pouring money down the drain? I thought the idea of the mediator was to avoid that?
SM is really the only sticking point in us coming to an agreement, I just wondered what others had done?
I am getting the impression I am wrong to think it was my entitlement! So thanks for all your advice. It gives me food for thought at least!
How old is your youngest dc and what is stopping you working full time? How many working years left? How big is the pension vs house etc.
No one can tell you here if you'd get spousal so you should see a solicitor.
Is your exH a very high earner? I'm not an expert but your mediator's probably correct in their expectation of what to expect if it went to court. Unless the pension and investments are worth absolute mega bucks I think it highly unlikely you'd get a mortgage free property where you're technically over housed, half the savings and spousal maintenance. You've been working part time throughout too so it's not like you're trying to re-enter the employment market with no current workplace skills.
I sympathise that he left for OW but the Courts aren't interested, in their eyes he's entitled to move on and you have a duty to yourself to stand on your own two feet. Would half the savings tide you over for long enough until you find a full time job? How old is youngest DC?
I hope you get things sorted.
Why not have a word with Jeremy Wolfe at divorceline re the pension. He is good at divvying it up. You own half the house anyway, so you would be getting half a house. You own half the savings anyway. So, he gets his half...so thats one all.He gets all the pension and all the investments , which are half yours anyway.
Maybe do some number crunching and speak to Jeremy before you agree to anything.
Clean break is much better.
Can you ask him for SM for the next four years? Tell him that during this time you will aim to better your career prospects and use this maintenance to do that. If he's got a heart he might just say yes.
It is truly wise to look for a brilliant divorce lawyer, pay for at least an hour and see what she thinks with regards to your assets and how a court may divide them. You need not Go back after that but at least you will have an idea of what is realistic.
What's happened is awful but if your home is worth a substantial amount then maybe you will need to consider selling it and moving to a cheaper area. Or downsizing. Your DC will adapt.
If your ex is a high earner I would advise you get proper legal advice from someone who represents you. In terms of what is fair, you need to understand the true value of all the assets accrued during your marriage. Also, get a court order for any agreement. Don't whatever you do rely on 'informal' agreements, particularly if there is another partner involved. My solicitor rather depressingly advised me that 99% of the time as soon as a new partner is involved the cheating spouse tries to short change their ex.
Agree. You need to get a solicitor involved. Don't be blind sided about him being 'good' to you. You are entitled to at least 50 per cent of the marital assets. Maybe slightly more with dependant child.
We went to court. I don't know why. I thought that was the norm. It cost but I got a very good settlement.
I also asked around, interviewed three or four solicitors and went with the one who said more than 50 per cent. Ex was a high earner. Me the sahm. Also long marriage of 33 years and he cheated.
You should not offset a pension for a house - the pension is the most valuable thing in your divorce - so 50% of all is your minimum aim..you haven't been working full time, contributing to your NI etc and it is a long marriage. Do not sell yourself short! Think Pension!
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I think you have to decide how important the house is to you. If you are unable to afford the house on your own, even with the contributions of the other adult children, is it worth keeping it? Wouldn't it be better to sell it and downsize and keep the remaining equity to start funding your own pension (if the settlement is looking like you'll get the house and savings).
You must see a solicitor though.
WiseOne is spot on you need to look at the bigger and longer picture. As a part time worker / SAHM you may not qualify for the new one tier state pension, apply to DWP for a pension statement to see what you may get. A 50% split of all assets is what you should aim for.
Your adult children need to be aware that your housing situation may change. You also need to start looking at job options. I'm going to guess your mid to late 40s but if you were 50 you've got another 27 years before you get any state pension so you need to start supporting yourself.
Put your anger at STBXH & OW to one side and look at this as dissolving a business. Get the best deal for now and your future.
A man with a mistress driving the bus will never have your interests at heart.
I always remember this quote from my Latin class
Beware the Greeks when bearing gifts!
Don't agree anything without taking legal advice for yourself. There is a current anti-women fashion in settlements and your mediator seems to be adopting it.
In reality women who give up or scale down work to look after children ARE disadvantaged and far too many get a raw deal in divorce. I can recommend the divorce lawyer I used if you want to PM me.
Thank you all for your most welcome advice! I guess it is all far more complicated than I first thought! I will be consulting a solicitor first thing tomorrow!
I guess I am naive. Even after the terrible betrayal of my H I still expect him to 'play fair'....... I need a reality check! and to remember he isn't the man I thought he was!
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