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Does abuse have an impact on the financial settlement of your divorce in court?

(26 Posts)
Fightingback16 Mon 06-Jul-20 09:14:53

Has anyone been to court for financial settlement of divorce with an abusive partner? Do the judges take into account years of abuse when reaching a settlement?

I only ask because I’m left with PTSD and M.E. I work 16 hrs and sometimes it’s a real struggle. I’m not looking for revenge but he has really impacted my health and work capability. Hopefully over time I will improve.

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CodyBurns Mon 06-Jul-20 10:01:11

I can only speak for my own experience, but my solicitor told me that they generally do not take conduct into account in financial remedy cases, unless the conduct is directly related to financial matters. For example if an abuser injured their spouse to the point of disability so they could not work.

A lot of people assume assets are split 50/50 (my abusive ex certainly did), but courts will also take into account any difference in earning potential between the spouses (including disability, taking time out to care for children) as well as who will be caring for the children most of the time.

In my case I got 75% of the equity in our family home - which is a high percentage but I was able to demonstrate (on a balance of need) that I would not be able to rehouse myself/DC without a substantial deposit.

It comes down to need, rather than who has done what to who.

Fightingback16 Mon 06-Jul-20 11:03:11

In one email he now says his mum and sister are reliant on him for money so he can only pay child maintenance for 3 years and needs his equity from the house. I will not be able to re-house myself and I think he is making me feel guilty. He did not send money home during the marriage. Does his family situation count?

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Dacquoise Mon 06-Jul-20 16:24:13

Hi @Fightingback16, I wouldn't take any notice of what he says in emails. He's trying it on. If you are married his financial responsibilities lie with you and any children only. His other relations don't come into it. He won't be able to dictate how much child maintenance and for how long as they are number one on the list of considerations in divorce. Ask for some advice on the Wikivorce website. They should be able to give you an idea of a reasonable settlement. Also courts consider the earning potential of each party. If you are able to produce medical evidence it may support your case. Good luck.

BumbleBeee69 Mon 06-Jul-20 16:34:30

ignore everything he says in emails.. do not respond but give them to your lawyer...

agree to nothing OP and very best of luck flowers

Fightingback16 Mon 06-Jul-20 16:55:20

I did forward immediately, I wish I never read it first because it does make me feel guilty, which I guess is the intention.

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PicsInRed Mon 06-Jul-20 18:42:24

Conduct isn't taken account of unless it is of the severity level of "tried to kill". Even then, iirc, the compensation was derisory.

There may be a proportionate rebalancing for squirreled assets, but that's about it.

Fightingback16 Mon 06-Jul-20 19:00:26

Why don’t they care, I just don’t understand. His behaviour almost killed me, I almost died a mental death and it’s been so hard recovering from it. I’ll likely have this M.E forever and mental scars. To me it’s everything and when courts don’t see the seriousness it’s very damaging, like I’m not important. It seems so insignificant, when it wasn’t.

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Fightingback16 Mon 06-Jul-20 19:06:07

Sometimes I feel like I’m making a bigger deal out of it then I should. Perhaps I’ve made a mistake with my memories. If courts aren’t really that bothered then why was I so traumatised and left with c-PTSD. Perhaps it was me who was too weak.

OP’s posts: |
PicsInRed Mon 06-Jul-20 19:50:23

Fightingback16

Why don’t they care, I just don’t understand. His behaviour almost killed me, I almost died a mental death and it’s been so hard recovering from it. I’ll likely have this M.E forever and mental scars. To me it’s everything and when courts don’t see the seriousness it’s very damaging, like I’m not important. It seems so insignificant, when it wasn’t.

I know, I know, really I do. It's not fair and it's not right.

Historians will look back on this period of life for women with a huge hmm and it really sucks that we're the lucky ladies who get to experience it first hand. I know. It isn't fair and it isn't right, it just is. 💐

PicsInRed Mon 06-Jul-20 19:52:03

Fightingback16

Sometimes I feel like I’m making a bigger deal out of it then I should. Perhaps I’ve made a mistake with my memories. If courts aren’t really that bothered then why was I so traumatised and left with c-PTSD. Perhaps it was me who was too weak.

No, lovely, it's our society which is sick, not you. Nothing's more maddening than being sane amongst a sea of madness. It isn't you, it's our culture and our legal system.

Fightingback16 Mon 06-Jul-20 19:56:41

It really hampers the recovery because it makes it feel like is wasn’t important at a time when I don’t feel particularly that important. Women like me need validation not dismissal. The brain needs something solid to rely on. Its hard enough convincing myself that it really happened and it was wrong. Thank goodness there are some amazing charities out there.

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Fightingback16 Mon 06-Jul-20 20:00:00

Sorry I’m a bit emotional today. I just sold my daughters pram and carrycot etc. I never thought I’d be a single mum, with all these memories in my head. I kept hold of it because I always wanted 2 children, but one cheeky monkey it will have to be.

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madcatladyforever Mon 06-Jul-20 20:04:03

You will get much more if you are disabled generally. If you can show the abuse means you can't work and have medical evidence you will get a larger settlement.
i'm disabled and got divorced a couple of years ago and it was taken into account. Good luck.

GhostOfMe Mon 06-Jul-20 20:51:40

The effect of the abuse won't be directly considered but if you can get evidence from your doctors that you have a permanent disability you may be able to get a bigger portion of the assets as both parties abilities to work and earn are a consideration of financial settlements in divorce. This isn't because the disability is caused by the abuse, this is about your ability to earn and support your child and if you have a reduced ability to earn because of your own or your child's disability this can be taken into consideration.

Fightingback16 Mon 06-Jul-20 21:15:41

My doctor diagnosed the chronic fatigue syndrome and sent me to the rheumatologist for confirmation, which they did. I was told not to increase my hours and to get my stress under control. The doctor said the chronic fatigue occurred because of living in a constant high fight or flight. I was told it was life long and could go away a bit then come back worse depending on how my body handles it. When I’m stressed or work to much it’s hard to get out of bed and my legs ache terrible and headaches. I can tell them how I feel now but there is a chance it could get worse.

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BumbleBeee69 Tue 07-Jul-20 22:13:46

OP you're mentally and emotionally drowning under your conditions.. you need to think positive and fight back .. do not lay down to this... please flowers

Hopeisnotastrategy Wed 08-Jul-20 06:15:07

Some years ago I helped a lady with a child get out of a situation of extreme DV and abuse.

When they got to court the judge told him he was a liar and she got 75% of everything we'd been able to track down.

Every situation is different but I think some judges get it more than others. Good luck. 💐

Atadaddicted Wed 08-Jul-20 06:17:55

Did you ever report to the police?

It is not that they “don’t care”, however it is your word against his and without any police evidence or similar - what on Earth an they do.
If financial abuse was involved and again - there was evidence, then yes - that could impact the financial settlement because
A) you suffered financial result whilst he gained
B) there is evidence of it

SoloMummy Wed 08-Jul-20 10:07:19

@Fightingback16
The problem here is two pronged imo.
Whatever "compensation" wouldn't actually undo the harm that a person believes they've suffered and indeed would lead to counter claims, as no doubt the other party also feels they've been harned/damaged etc too.
Secondly, how do you "prove" the level of damage and prevent false allegations purely for financial gain?

Personally, I believe that on the whole, women do far better out of financial agreements and splitting of resources, sometimes walking away with 80%of the value. With "compensation" for child rearing and reduced career opportunities included etc in the calculations.

You say you struggle with working 16 hours now, but from a devil's advocate perspective, what's to say that you weren't already at a disposition of suffering from mh issues and that this was sort of likely to always be the case? Or indeed that if you're now free for him, that the mh issue isn't caused by him per se, but your disposition?

Personally, I think that you should be focusing on moving on, rather than dwelling on the past as this makes the future so much harder to work towards. Good luck.

Fightingback16 Wed 08-Jul-20 11:25:26

@SoloMummy that does make a lot of sense. I know what my husband has done to me, or should I say the type of relationship I was in. I know he raped me and he basically forced me to love him or else but it is very hard to prove. I know I have a lot of work to do recovering and the detrimental effect is has on my life.
What I can say though is that I have M.E, from whatever cause and it does effect my ability to work. I also have our daughter full time due to social services and my risk assessment at the MARAC telling me to stop contact. So those are very real situations.
You are right and there is no amount of money or payback that could make this any better.

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dontdisturbmenow Wed 08-Jul-20 12:07:36

To me it’s everything and when courts don’t see the seriousness it’s very damaging, like I’m not important
Its nothing to do with undermining you but because of the subjectivity of it all. There is no scientific evidence that says that ME is definitely caused by a particular trigger or that it will last forever.

I have a family member who was diagnosed with it in her 20s, put down to abuse from a boyfriend at the time. It was bad enough to be signed off for 12 months. But she recovered, fully. 20 years later she says that even though the relationship was bad, there were other factors, some about her perception of herself and the world and issues with work.

It wouldn't be fair for judge to just go by what one party relates because it would open the gates for anyone to make things to for more money.

Even doctors accounts is not worth much because doctors are expected by their profession to take everything they are told at face value. It is not up to them to question the validity of what they are being told.

SoloMummy Wed 08-Jul-20 13:05:19

Fightingback16

*@SoloMummy* that does make a lot of sense. I know what my husband has done to me, or should I say the type of relationship I was in. I know he raped me and he basically forced me to love him or else but it is very hard to prove. I know I have a lot of work to do recovering and the detrimental effect is has on my life.
What I can say though is that I have M.E, from whatever cause and it does effect my ability to work. I also have our daughter full time due to social services and my risk assessment at the MARAC telling me to stop contact. So those are very real situations.
You are right and there is no amount of money or payback that could make this any better.

Are you getting the financial support you should via pop or esa? Child maintenance?

Are you pursuing spousal maintenance?

Fightingback16 Wed 08-Jul-20 13:05:54

I understand but at the end of the day the abuse falls on my husbands shoulders squarely. I’m not looking for any validation from the judge. I need what I need. But I will look at it non-emotionally because that it seems is how it works. My husband abused me until I wished I was dead and I can’t ignore that. I would go for the whole bloody lot and let him sleep on the street but that’s me being emotional and not rational.

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okiedokieme Wed 08-Jul-20 13:08:15

They take into account ability to work and support yourself but not abuse per se. If you have a dr saying you cannot work more hours for health reasons, the cause isn't relevant but the financial impact will be taken into account with the settlement eg housing equity

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