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Divorce - finances - is my friend getting ripped off?

(31 Posts)
balia Fri 31-Mar-17 22:05:49

BF has finally left controlling, alcoholic H. She tried to go a year ago but went back after a few months after his family guilted her into it.

Anyway, she has always worked, and although H earns more than her generally, his work has been patchy for the last year due to the alcohol and he has been picking up part-time work and doing a part-time uni course. BF has been making up the shortfall (plus paying for uni course fees) by working all hours.

H is now blaming his drinking on her. He has drawn up a financial plan, apparently with legal advice, to divide up the assets (no DC). They have 2 properties, the marital home and a rental place. There is more debt than anything else, really, but he wants to be 'bought out'. In his plan, he keeps the marital home (takes on mortgage) but if she wants the other property to live in, she has to get a new mortgage plus pay him his share of the equity. He says this is because the marital home was his before they moved in together (which is true) plus he's entitled to his original deposit out of the equity calculation and he should get more of the equity because he lived there for x number of years before she moved in, so there is virtually nothing left.

He also wants her to pay him for half the balance on his credit cards, but if she wants to keep her car (which she needs to get to work) she has to give him the deposit amount that was paid, and take on the loan.

He has also cleared out the joint account - he says this is to pay the mortgages/bills etc. She has literally £10 in her purse.

He says this is a generous offer and that his sol has told him he could ask for far more. Obviously I've told her to get free legal advice etc but she is in a bit of a state and is thinking she'll just give in as the price of her freedom. (She has no savings and will have to get a loan to pay this money.) Is this the best way to go to be free of him, or is she entitled to a better deal?

magoria Fri 31-Mar-17 22:54:38

It sounds like she is being really ripped off but she really needs legal advise.

She also needs to open a new bank account asap and get her salary transferred into it so he has no access to her money.

Hermonie2016 Fri 31-Mar-17 23:00:37

Are there pensions? How long were they married?

I think no one can answer but generally it's not wise to take an offer without consulting a solicitor first.Someone offering you a great deal is also suspicious!
Has she filed for divorce as this is needed to get a legally binding consent order.

Justaboy Fri 31-Mar-17 23:06:29

See a solicitor as soon as you can next week!

And he has no right to clear out a joint account either!

whirlygirly Fri 31-Mar-17 23:17:10

Please please get her to a solicitor. Otherwise she will regret it for life.

Seeing a brilliant divorce solicitor was the best financial decision I've ever made. I have never struggled for money despite xh saying initially I would and trying to talk me out of getting a lawyer - I kept the entire house, expensive car and generous spousal support even though I now earn.

Xh was a very shrewd businessman and high earner and I knew I stood no chance negotiating with him myself. I went by recommendation and it so paid off.

whirlygirly Fri 31-Mar-17 23:18:15

I do remember just wishing it were all over though. That's the bit where you just have to dig deep and call on support.

hareinthemoon Fri 31-Mar-17 23:29:16

How did you get a recommendation? Just from friends?

whirlygirly Sat 01-Apr-17 07:22:32

I asked one of xh's competitors for help with some financial stuff. It sparked a conversation about why I needed it. One of the senior partners phoned me later that day with a recommendation- it was odd how it came about.

I had seen 3 other solicitors for consultations at this point - you need to go with the one you trust to get the job done. He made me feel reassured straightaway and xh knew that his reputation meant there was no point messing about, it all went through very easily in the end.

balia Sat 01-Apr-17 15:14:18

Together for 10 years plus but only married for maybe 4? She hasn't even thought about pensions. She's very used to just doing what he wants for the sake of an easy life. She has set up a bank account of her own and I will keep telling her to see a solicitor.

Is it right that she has to pay him back the 'initial costs' of things, when she also has to pay half his credit card debt? I also think he has deliberately undervalued the house, too. It's an average price for where they live but theirs has had an extension etc. Can she ask for a current valuation? Plus there's no mention of the contents of the house. She has got 'her' things (clothes etc) but it looks like his idea is to keep all the furniture.

MrsBertBibby Sat 01-Apr-17 15:59:28

The court adds is premarital cohabitation, so it's a medium to long marriage. Yes, there should be up to date valuations. No, she doesn't have to pay his credit cards or pay for items.

If I were advising her, I'd be starting from an equal split of everything. He might have an argument to get a little extra for preacquired assets, but it sounds to me more as if it's a case where the assets have all been "mingled" as family assets, so he can share them with her.

Get her to a solicitor. If she's in Surrey/kent/south london I might have suggestions.

Afterthestorm Sat 01-Apr-17 16:26:14

I doubt he's even seen a solicitor, he's just saying he has. He is talking total rubbish.

She must see a solicitor herself or she's going to get completely shafted. You start with both filling in a form E which is a total financial disclosure and then swapping them. A solicitor will then advise on a fair split based on this. A judge needs to agree it is fair or they will not agree it and permit the divorce.

balia Sat 01-Apr-17 18:30:59

We're in the North, but thanks for the offer, MrsBert. It never occurred to me that he might not have seen a sol, although it was quick work, they've only been apart for a week. She's been working 18 hour days and he's swanning around working out ways to rip her off.

He said the sol had said he could get far more and he was being 'fair' to her. But he certainly didn't mention a form E. Plus although he wants the 'initial costs' of everything, there's no mention of the money she has paid for his Uni course. I'm seeing her tomorrow, I'll try to get the message across very forcefully that she needs to see a sol. He's not violent in any way, but more than ready to take advantage of her guilt at leaving.

Afterthestorm Sat 01-Apr-17 18:57:06

He has probably never even heard of a Form E, or he has and he knows if he does it properly he will not come out of it so well, he is trying to bulldozer her into agreeing something she shouldn't.

It sounds like your friend needs to read up about the divorce process quickly so he cannot pull a swift one.

MimiSunshine Sun 02-Apr-17 00:15:08

Point out to your friend that she doesn't have to follow the solicitors advice. She can just see what they have to say and then decide.

Hopefully they'll make her see that he's not being fair at all. Maybe a list of everything he wants vs everything which was joint / she paid will make her see that too

greenberet Sun 02-Apr-17 08:36:11

Please make sure your friend gets a recommendation for a solicitor - I have suffered financially & emotionally as a result of being let down by legal profession.whirlygirly you were v lucky I was told I would get spousal due to not working 20 years & having long term depression 20 years + judges decision in my case I will be able to get full time employment in 2 yrs time earning £20 k because I am intelligent - never mind I have slept during the day for last 20 years due to depression.Depression totally ignored despite being under Mental health team and getting PIP. I am now looking at appealing which will be more stress & cost or face a life on benefits. Also lost family home due to bad advice from sols. The legal profession sadly cannot all be trusted my original solicitors had good reputation but when I looked them up on here (afterwards) Found I am not the only one they ripped off. I Wish your friend good luck.

balia Wed 05-Apr-17 22:32:40

Quick update - after lots of talking about just paying what he wants just to be free of him, BF seems to be getting a bit angry, which I think is maybe a good sign? She has made an appt to see a sol on Friday. She'd even started to talk about being single and plans she might like to make, even talking about getting back in the dating game!! (I've told her everything has changed)

But, she met up with the STBXH to discuss it and he won't budge an inch - the contents of the house are 'his' because the house was furnished when they met, so even though it is all new stuff, replaced over the years, paid for by both, it's still 'his'. Oh, and the deposit/equity thing is despite the fact that when they got together he remortgaged the house and took out 30K of the equity to pay of his debts, and they have paid the mortgage equally since. And he told her he had paid 'her' car loan so she would need to give him the money for it - despite the fact he has cleared the joint account of her wages!

So that's taken the wind out of her sails a bit. Hopefully the sol will give her a more hopeful picture, but she is worried that the costs will be more than can be saved, IYSWIM.

The ex does have a private pension - is BF entitled to a share of that?

MimiSunshine Thu 06-Apr-17 06:11:54

Would a list help? Like a list of everything they've paid for together (mortgage, what was the in the joint account etc) the plus any and all car loans / furniture and total it.
Then a another list of everything he wants her to either get be up (equity / furniture) or pay him.

The hugely disproportionate values may steele her resolve a bit more

He doesn't just get to keep everything in the house because it once had furniture in.

Graphista Thu 06-Apr-17 06:31:12

Like fuck has he had advice from a solicitor in a week! Either he possibly consulted one when they separated before, he was planning to leave himself or ... shock he's an addict who needs money to fund his habit so he is LYING.

I know what my bets on!

Tell her to get a reputable recommendation or 3, meet with a few solicitors, check reviews (there's a few sites).

As there's no dc there's absolutely no need to communicate except through solicitors.

The new bank account I hope it's at a different bank to him.

What he's saying is basically bullshit. The court will assess all assets, all debts and split down the middle taking into account what both contributed where that makes a difference. But he is already claiming he brought more in than he did as he's not accounting for the debt he also brought to the marriage. He's not accounting for her contributions either.

Like all controlling addicts he's trying to get her to go along just for the sake of peace. She'll regret it if she does.

Good luck to her!

MrsBertBibby Thu 06-Apr-17 07:49:45

Yes, pensions may well be relevant.

I have been a family solicitor for 20 years. If I had a tenner for every time someone made claims about the advice they had received that were blatantly insane, I would be planning early retirement.

He is making shit up. Tell your friend to ignore him, listen to her own solicitor, and get on with the process. Head down, blinkers on, like a carthorse. It's the only way with pricks like this one. I see them every day.

ElisavetaFartsonira Thu 06-Apr-17 12:50:49

Private pensions can very much be part of the pot of marital assets for dividing!

hellsbellsmelons Thu 06-Apr-17 15:06:40

Does she have a private pension as well?
If not then yes it can be considered.
Make sure she doesn't disclose anything to him at all about her plans.
Pensions, anything.

Can she get a bank statement for the joint account to show he cleared it out?
She needs to get any other paperwork she can.
She will need marriage cert for divorce.
Wage slips, account info, credit card info, saving info.
Anything she can think of she needs to get a copy of.

balia Thu 06-Apr-17 17:08:44

Oh God, she won't have thought of any of this. Of course you are right, I'll have to ask her what paperwork she has come away with. She hasn't got a private pension, so I'm pleased that can be part of the arrangements, I think that will put her in a better position.

And I've told her you all think he is talking bollocks and I think that has given her the strength to start fighting for her fair share - there's been a lot less of the 'It'll be easier just to give him what he wants' type talk. I'll be strongly recommending that she doesn't have any further contact with him - she just kind of shuts down around him and goes into a kind of mini-shock.

MrsBertBibby Thu 06-Apr-17 18:03:31

Balia, are you able to go to the appointment with her? It can be such a help, both for client and lawyer, to have a supportive friend to help listen, remember, and support. Especially when the client needs a bit of resolve.

Graphista Thu 06-Apr-17 19:05:13

So true mrsbert

Graphista Thu 06-Apr-17 19:10:40

"It's the only way with pricks like this one. I see them every day."

Questions -

How do you resist being blunt with them? My 2nd solicitor was fab and very calm etc then when it was just us she'd be like 'well he's a prize Pratt isn't he!'

Is it hard resisting constantly correcting legal advice on here (possibly even mine)? Personally I get irritated every time I see 'you can't insist on meeting his new partner' because I could and I did WITH a courts backing! (Plus of course 'all solicitors offer an hour/half hour free', all solicitors know what they're doing, all solicitors are only in it for the money etc)

Op I do think it best she doesn't deal with him direct as there's no need. Glad she's got you supporting her.

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