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What do you think of this financial settlement proposal?

40 replies

MsFrazzles · 21/04/2016 16:25

My husband and I are separating at the moment and trying to come to a financial settlement through a mediator.

Our only asset is our house (around 220K equity) but we also have a large mortgage and I cannot afford to pay anywhere near the £1200 monthly payment (I work part-time and look after our 2-year-old daughter), so it looks like we'll be selling. I'm hoping to take ALL the equity which I know is quite unusual(?) but that will enable me to buy a smaller flat for me and my daughter, with a small mortgage that I can just about afford (~£400PCM).

I'm prepared to waive future maintenance (other than CM at CMS rate) for a clean break if ExH will agree to this. We live in an area with very high rents (£1K+ for a 2-bed) so if I couldn't buy I would need to claim a large amount of spousal maintenance from him in order to pay rent on a flat.

He is bitter about this because he has paid a lot more into the mortgage than me over the 6 years we've been married and understandably doesn't want to lose all that equity. On the other hand he wants to buy again eventually and doing it this way will mean he has a lot more of his income left to save, rather than paying rent/mortgage for me.

I haven't chance to see my solicitor before our next appointment, so wonder how this looks to people with more expertise than me? Does it seem fair or would a judge never agree to it?

His salary is £50K; my PT salary is £20K. His pension CETV is around £10K more than mine.

OP posts:
loveyoumummy · 21/04/2016 16:51

You need to see a solicitor, but no it doesn't seem fair, sorry.

On paper you have to have a fair settlement for it to be signed off and it seems that you'll go away with everything from the marriage and him, nothing.

Itisbetternow · 21/04/2016 16:55

His solicitor will probably ask if you can work full time. I can't see him agreeing to this as however much I completely agree with your proposal and your situation your ex is basically walking away from £220k. This means he has no deposit to buy. Spousal mtmce doesn't always happen so be careful there.

millymollymoomoo · 21/04/2016 20:44

Sorry but I don't think that is fair based on the info given and earnings as well as relatively short marriage.

Based on his salary you are unlikely to be awarded spousal maintenance other than for interim period and will be expected to increase your earnings and hours to support yourself. I don't think he will be expected to pay any of your mortgage either post divorce.

Unless he has significant other assets not mentioned here you are unlikely to be awarded 100% of house equity - more like 60:40, maybe 70:30 or something and possibly a mesher order or similar at best although with a young child the courts would probably try to avoid this.

I'm not a lawyer and you need legal advice but I think you need to prepare yourself for a much more reasonable split of the equity and no on going spousal as that is a likely outcome.

CoolforKittyCats · 21/04/2016 20:52

Sorry but I agree with others. I don't think it is fair and I can't see any solicitor agreeing to it.

Also I wouldn't rely on spousal maintenance. If you add on CTC etc your income would be more than 200. Even if you were it would more than likely be for a set short period of time, certainly not long term.

CoolforKittyCats · 21/04/2016 20:53


Micah · 21/04/2016 21:00

You cant waive child maintenance any more.

Even if you agree it, its not binding and ypu could go back to the csa at any point and he'd have to pay.

However, i do know cases where the rp has been awarded the family home if selling would be detrimental to the children. So you have a good chance of holding on to the equity you need to house you and your children. Unless he is homeless from a courts point of view he doesnt need the money to house himself, and as a man he can start again financially more easily than a woman with dependents.

One thing to look at though is keeping the house, then selling and splitting when the kids have left education, or until you get a new partner. This is also a common arrangement.

Realitybitesyourbum · 21/04/2016 22:47

Why do you think you need spousal maintenance? Surely a divorce means you are independent of him? You are either going to have to get a job, or rent a house for now. You haven't explained why you think you should have all the money and him none! Doesn't he deserve a fair share?

Iwantmymaidennameback · 21/04/2016 22:58

Good luck with that!
I now live in a crappy 2 bed house in an area that my DCs have no connection with, no garden and dependant on benefits. Whilst their "loving dad" lives in the family home as a basically single parson with a double driveway, garden, utility room, downstairs cloakroom, kitchen, dining room, office, 4 beds with ensuite and huge family bathroom.
He has offered me £10,000 plus the car plus £25.00 per week each child CM.
I think you are dreaming if you think your ex will agree to your terms, but good luck anyway.

niceupthedance · 22/04/2016 06:19

But you do want him to pay child maintenance at the cms rate, just nothing 'on top'? Sorry but I think your suggestion is vastly unfair.

AnneLovesGilbert · 22/04/2016 12:44

As PPs have said, why do you think you should get everything from the marriage and your XH nothing? Has he asked if you could work full-time? Have you considered it? With your salary that high for a part time role I'm sure it could be argued that if you upped your hours you'd be earning nearly the same as each other and could each be independent apart from child maintenance which isn't negotiable anyway but will depend on the agreed contact schedule for your dc.

What are your living arrangements currently? Whether you get to keep the house or take most of the equity as per your proposal, how do you expect him to live and house himself somewhere suitable for your dc to stay there for contact?

By all means offer it up as your ideal outcome, but he's naturally going to see it as incredibly hostile and giving no consideration at all to fairness in the settlement between you based on your contributions to the marriage and the need for you both to be able to provide suitable accommodation for your child.

Surely if rents in your area are so high he'll struggle to afford them too?

FluffyBunny1234 · 22/04/2016 12:50

I think the starting point is 50:50 of equity which it should be.
That way he'd have a deposit to buy somewhere where he could have your daughter stay (which is a good thing isn't it?)
I think you need to think about moving to a cheaper area...

MangoMoon · 22/04/2016 13:12

I'm in the process of divorcing at the mo - we have agreed that he'll pay the mortgage, and £500 per month CM (that's for 2 children); I'll pay everything else (insurances, bills etc - all the day to day running costs).

We've agreed that when the kids are both 18 and left school, we will sell and split the proceeds 50:50 at that point.

MsFrazzles · 23/04/2016 16:19

Thanks for all your replies. I can see it does look very unfair. It's hard for me to be objective as he left me out of the blue for another woman when our daughter was under a year old, so in my head why should he expect to walk away with a fair share?

I earn just under £20K for 3 days per week. Childcare (£65 per day) and travel (£23 per day) mean that if I worked full-time I'd be barely better off. I certainly couldn't pay rent on a 2-bed round here without a substantial contribution from him. Moving to a cheaper area would mean leaving my job (I commute to London) and losing the one day of free childcare I get from family, so wouldn't really solve any problems.

I can't stay in the family home as between us we can't afford to pay the mortgage and rent for him too.

I am suggesting that he rent somewhere where our daughter can stay with him sometimes (his salary could comfortably cover that).

It's such a shit situation - I would never have had a child if I'd known that I'd end up a single parent (much as I love her to bits). But thanks for the advice - does anyone have any other ideas for a compromise?

OP posts:
ivegotdreadfulpmttoday · 23/04/2016 17:10

Could you find a second job nearer to home? I think you'll have to accept you'll be working more than you do now and keeping less of the marital assets. Don't worry about him other than if you doubt he'll pay maintenance.

FluffyBunny1234 · 23/04/2016 19:28

Ah sorry frazzles yes that doesn't seem fair that he should walk out & take half or more then.
I make it work by taking in a lodger, kids have to share but it does more or less pay the mortgage. He's an a level student from abroad & it works well. I work 3 days a week and get tax credits too.
Have you checked what you're entitled to?
We will probably sell the house & split profits when the youngest leaves education.

bingobingoed · 23/04/2016 20:06

I was going to suggest a lodger or exchange students, it would help top up your income.

It's a really crappy situation to find yourself in, especially as housing is more and more unaffordable these days. I earn the same salary and even going full time would be unable to rent anywhere and pay bills.

In terms of childcare, he should be paying for 2.5 days to your 0.5 as you are already sacrificing your salary to look after your DD. No need to do it twice.

millymollymoomoo · 24/04/2016 13:42

Sorry you're in the this situation and I can understand how you feel but from a pure settlement point of view there is no fault and it won't have bearing on the award. Each case is very different but I say this with best intentions it is un likely ( but not impossible) that you would get spousal even if you were awarded 60/65% or something share of assets. I think you need to prepare for that. By all means use it as bargaining but be prepared for that as reality in case.

The best thing you can do is seek legal advise, don't agree to anything without out but also be realistic about outcomes and currently I don't think this proposal is.

iwantavuvezela · 24/04/2016 13:49

Perhaps another option would be if you used the equity to buy another house for you and your child, but he retains some equity (percentage) in that house when your child no longer stays at home. So you would get the initial benefit of having an affordable place to stay for a specified period of time and he retains some (longer term) financial gain.

traviata · 24/04/2016 14:03

I strongly disagree with earlier pps, especially those talking about 50:50. That is just not the way the court approaches things.

I think your proposal may need a bit of tweaking, but is a reasonably way to look at things.

First question - What do you each need? You both need somewhere to live and your DD's need to be housed is top priority.
How can those needs be met? You can't pay the existing mortgage, but you can pay a smaller mortgage. There is no point in renting because it would be more expensive (and less secure for your DD). If your exDH remains on the existing mortgage he can't buy anywhere else. If he is released, he can buy somewhere else, especially if his income is maximised by not paying spousal maintenance.

However, this is the crucial bit - can you really justify having all of the equity to house you and DD, leaving DH with nothing for a deposit?
If you adjust your housing need, could you find yourself a flat - perhaps in a less nice road, or with a smaller garden, or whatever - to release (say) £20-50k to DH for his deposit?

And look at it this way - for the time that you are the primary carer, not only will your earning capacity be less but so will your pension contributions. The impact of having DD and caring for her will permanently skew your lifetime income compared to DH's. The capital split is bound to be unequal.

lifeisunjust · 24/04/2016 14:43

It really hurts when you're the one who has been left, my husband left after 20 years and 4 kids and he also spent 34k of the children's savings shortly after leaving me, plus had 2 years of DV in the years before, plus he wants a sex change!!!! But none of that mattered. I got 63% of assets, no spousal maintenance (didn't ask for it either) and I now work 3 jobs and only just earn more than you.

I am sure you'd get child tax credits on your salary and get child care covered partially.

If your marriage has been short, you're unlikely to get any more than 60% max of assets.

I cannot understand you think you should take 100% so you can buy a house whilst he rents?

Perhaps if you ask for 60% he might say yes, then go and move to something smaller, even a cheaper area. Yes it sucks it really sucks for you, but with 1 child, your life is ahead of you.

Xmasbaby11 · 24/04/2016 14:53

I agree your ex should have some equity from.the house. Either remortgage to take equity out, or sell and both start again. It may be that you need to increase your working hours. Your ex should pay maintenance to contribute to childcare. It's shitty because your standard of living is bound to fall, in addition to the upset of being left by your oh. I hope you come to a reasonable compromise.

Laura812 · 24/04/2016 20:17

SOme parent do these things:-
1,. Keep the house and when the parent has their contact with the child stays in it and when they don't they stay elsewhere - airbnb, with ap arent, small studio etc. IN other words child has stability of their home, parents do the coming and going.

2. Or spilt current house into to flats.

It sounds like your biggest issue is childcare costs - that is his issue too. If you went back to work full time and paid half the childcare costs and he paid the other half or you shared a nanny or au pair who moved between your two homes that might work.

Traditional mesher order would be house stays in joint names, you go back to full time work, house split 50.50 when child is 18 or you cohabit or remarry and if your ex cannot afford a second place even with a second job and even with his lover's income to help he just has to put with sleeping on his parents' floor etc as this way the child is housed. It is getting less likely a court would award that however.

Could you get your parents to buy jointly with you and help with the mortgage on a new place if you got half the equity from current house and you go back to full time work and perhaps take a second job too? My ex and I made it work because we both worked full time and also did extra work at weekends.

traviata · 25/04/2016 08:33

OP do you have legal advice?

Please get some. The posts on this thread, whilst well meaning, demonstrate very little experience of how the courts make their decisions.

eg "If your marriage has been short, you're unlikely to get any more than 60% max of assets. "- this is just plain wrong.

At least get a few hours of advice to talk through the proposal you are putting forward. This is a huge issue for you.

CoolforKittyCats · 25/04/2016 08:39

The posts on this thread, whilst well meaning, demonstrate very little experience of how the courts make their decisions.

You don't know the credentials of anyone posting tbf.

I do agree that OP however needs RL advise.

No one can really give any type of advise from a few lines.

babybarrister · 25/04/2016 11:08

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