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VERY Clean Break - How Likely?

20 replies

essexmum2019 · 11/01/2019 11:19

DH of 7 years left on Sunday and has said he wants a divorce. He says he has fallen out of love with me and doesn't want to attempt a reconciliation - he has been talking to other women on social media/snap chat for the past 8 weeks and I suspect is having an emotional affair (I do not believe there has been a physical affair). He originally left for a week at the end of November but returned home to work things through in early December and things seemed to have improved - Sunday's leaving came as a bolt out of the blue.

We have two children (10 and 1.5) and jointly own the marital home which has around £100k of equity in after some recently building works. I am the higher earner (£56k to his £32k) and have the children 12 nights in 14 (he has every other weekend contact).

At present (this month - he only left last week) he is paying £100 pw maintenance (this is slightly more than CMA calculator but does take into account his cash in hand overtime) and £300 towards household running costs - this is equivalent to approximately 27% of our monthly mortgage payment. I am paying all other household bills and childcare (currently £850 per month).

He says he has known for over a year that he wasn't in love with me but stayed for the financial security - by this he means using my credit to purchase 2 vehicles leaving me with a loan of £10k to repay over the next two years - in hindsight this was really stupid but I had no reason to believe our marriage would break down.

He has moved back to his mother's but this can only be a temporary arrangement. He has verbally said to me that he doesn't want any money from the house/my pension - he just wants a divorce. I earn enough that I am likely to be able to transfer the mortgage into my sole name if he agrees. I could not afford to buy him out. How likely is it that he would just sign it over if I acted quickly? It would likely suit him as with an additional £300 pcm he could afford to rent somewhere adequate. It would also allow him the freedom to purchase another property in the near(er) future as I understand I could ask a court to delay the sale for some time on account of the 18 month old. In any event I couldn't afford to buy out a 30-50% share for at least 5-10 years.

I have been recommended a solicitor by a friend who recently went through a divorce and was happy with the service - she charges £70 for a fixed fee consultation and I have an appointment on Monday. Her fees thereafter are £200 per hour, £20 per letter and £20 per telephone call.

I am horrendously sad but feel I need to push forward with a divorce quickly before he changes his mind about signing it over. Advice/opinions on how likely this is to go in my favour? I'm happy to pay for an expensive solicitor if they get the job done quickly and I can keep my home for me and the children.

OP posts:
Aprilshowerswontbelong · 11/01/2019 11:22

Firstly collect your vehicles and sell them to repay the loan.

essexmum2019 · 11/01/2019 11:23

@Aprilshowerswontbelong the vehicles are in his name so although I technically paid for them I think they would be considered a joint asset.

I would rather he keep the vehicles and I service the debt if it won't rile him up to change his mind that he agrees to no stake in the house/pension.

OP posts:
Wolfcub · 11/01/2019 11:29

Op I am in a similar position. Separated early nine months can’t divorce yet as there are some wider issues that need resolving that would be pertinent to grounds for divorce.
I am the higher earner although I wasn’t when we first bought the house. I put more money in to start with but everything since has been relatively equal
I don’t want to touch his pension. I don’t want him near mine. The house is in significant negative equity and I have a five figure joint debt in my name. Since he left I have paid for everything except 50% of the life insurance. He pays basic maintenance at the rate advise. He says he will sign the house over. My concern is a court agreeing to it so I will follow your thread with interest

essexmum2019 · 11/01/2019 11:36

@wolfcub this is my main concern - on paper it would look as though I'm fleecing him when that's not strictly true. We only purchased the house 2.5 years ago at below market rate from an aunt of mine and the massive equity is as a result of the below market value purchase and the building work.

I'm unsure why if both parties think the agreement is fair a judge would rule otherwise.

OP posts:
wobytide · 11/01/2019 15:10

I'm unsure why if both parties think the agreement is fair a judge would rule otherwise.

Because the courts priority is the children first, but also ensuring the financially weaker parent is also adequately housed and able to be financially independent too. If there are sufficient assets like equity and pensions then as the marriage was a long one, achieving parity and equal standards of living for you could be feasible so the court would need to know why that isn't the case.

lifebegins50 · 11/01/2019 21:00

Are there pensions? If you draw up the assets what % would you be getting?

Any out of line could be questioned by his solicitor (he will be strongly advised to have one) and a judge for the reasons outlines above.
Your ages are relevant as it reflects mortgage term and pension needs.

essexmum2019 · 11/01/2019 23:01

@lifebegins50 we are 29 and 31. I would be getting all of the equity, he'd be walking with nothing except the vehicles that I'm still paying for.

There are pensions. Mine is, again, worth more because I'm sensible and he's the one who's spunked any of 'his' money up the wall. I'm now going to have to pay him money for lying to me for two years, abandoning me for an online affair with two young kids and leaving me in debt 😫

OP posts:
lifebegins50 · 12/01/2019 14:42

Age is on your side as it gives both of you the opportunity to rebuild pensions and also get a reasonable mortgage term.

How this is presented in a financial consent order will be important..given you have the children deviation from 50:50 is fair, also both keeping pensions as is but if it's 10k to him and 100k to you that might be judged as unfair.

He will have to take legal advice and a solicitor is likely to ask for a greater share split...he doesn't have to agree but their advice is likely to be documented so that they are protected.

Could you put some of the equity in children's names? Can you prove the below market value of the house? Is there a charge on the house from your Aunt? Not sure of this could he done retrospectively.

Some solicitors offer fixed fee divorces..I would start the process now whilst he is amicable.

Long term you have income, your children and a home.I think you will do fine and most likely thrive.
At your age the world is still your oyster so the future will be bright, even if it doesn't look like it now.

essexmum2019 · 12/01/2019 18:11

There's no charge on the house and approx £100k equity in the property. We have around £85k of assets once you consider the debts. 18 months ago, when he says he wanted to leave but stayed for the money our assets were around £50k. I feel used and vulnerable.

I'm petrified that they will say I have to sell the house and downsize to a two bedroom (both DD's but a big age gap) and I won't be able to afford to stay in the area - my DD has just got a place at the local grammar- if he's awarded anywhere near 50% equity. I can't afford to buy him until my youngest starts school in 4 years.

It's only been the last year I've earnt more-I got a pay rise and he moved jobs for a pay cut but better hours- he's taken advantage of that and now he's got the car etc he's got nothing to stay for. He's been honest that money is a big factor of him staying.

Regardless of the differences in salary his disposable income is more- he has no childcare costs, no need to take unpaid leave for sickness/school holidays, his housing costs will be smaller as he'll only have the girls 2 days a fortnight.

I'll update after I have spoken to solicitor on Wednesday

OP posts:
NotBeingRobbed · 12/01/2019 18:36

Oh poor you OP. This won’t turn out well because of the IDIOT law that will say half of the assets are his, even if he did spend all his cash while you save and even if you poured money into the house and he didn’t.

I’ve written about my own problems on here at length. I am higher earner and have sole charge of the kids (and am mum).

My ex wants 65% and to stop paying any child support. I have a better pension pot because I always worked and paid in before marriage and he didn’t. He thinks he is “entitled” because of “equality” under the law.

I think you have what us know as a “cocklodger”. I just hope you get a better outcome than me.

lifebegins50 · 12/01/2019 18:39

You could delay payment to him for a few years..if he is in an agreement.

You could also propose that childcare costs are x and if you cover these it equates to a fair % of equity. Some dad's would happily secure the children's main house, hopefully your Ex is one of these dads.

NotBeingRobbed · 12/01/2019 18:50

Of course you cannot make any lump sum agreement on childcare costs. The costs won’t accept it and even if you attempt an agreement it will only last for a year. You will always have a chance to go back to the CMS - for example if his circumstances change for the better. Or maybe he will be out of work so his parental support will be lower. I’m only saying this because it’s what I have been told. I suggested deducting child support off the total he gets and was told that is not possible.

Weenurse · 13/01/2019 04:17

Good luck 💐

madcatladyforever · 13/01/2019 04:38

Do it quick, I did it before he changed his mind and did the whole divorce online without using solicitors. I offered him £10,000 which it sounds as if you have with the cars.
If you go down the solicitor/court route you will not get your house in full.
Doing it myself meant I got the whole house, if we'd gone to court the advice I got was that my ex would have got £50,000 which would have made me homeless.
If you are doing the divorce yourself you will need to get a solicitor to draw up the consent order as it has to be perfect.
The judge just rubber stamped mine without any questions.

EatsPlantsandLeaves · 13/01/2019 10:00

Hi there

Some similarities to my own situation and some good advice from previous posters - all I would add is that until there is a court approved consent order, the actual legal divorce doesn't bind any of the financial stuff. The consent order is the important part of the process.

If you want to protect yourself financially, personally, good legal advice could save you thousands down the line (I'm not a lawyer), but you need the right words etc in the consent order to make sure pensions protected etc

Good luck

MissedTheBoatAgain · 14/01/2019 03:02

The judge just rubber stamped mine without any questions

The judge was obviously satisfied that the drafted Consent Order was fair to both. Of there was a glaring error whereby one was obviously short changing themselves then the Judge was not stamp the order.

MissedTheBoatAgain · 14/01/2019 03:18

I'm petrified that they will say I have to sell the house and downsize to a two bedroom (both DD's but a big age gap) and I won't be able to afford to stay in the area - my DD has just got a place at the local grammar- if he's awarded anywhere near 50% equity. I can't afford to buy him until my youngest starts school in 4 years

Courts can order almost anything. If one partner wants to keep the existing Family Home then they will have to buy off the other partner. If they can't then courts likely to order that property is sold to release cash that can be distributed to both partners to house themselves

If it's the intention that the 2 children stay with their father once a fortnight then he too needs a house that can accommodate himself and the children. If a two bedroom house is sufficient for you and your children then that will be the end of the story. Orders are based on needs as opposed to wants and wishes

Regardless of the differences in salary his disposable income is more- he has no childcare costs, no need to take unpaid leave for sickness/school holidays, his housing costs will be smaller as he'll only have the girls 2 days a fortnight

Child Maintenance is calculated on Gross Earnings of the NRP. Disposable income is irrelevant.

LemonTT · 14/01/2019 21:40

Hello Essex. I hope you are bearing up. I know it is a difficult time. Don’t try to overdo things even though this is important. Overall my advice is too move with pace but try not to overtly bamboozle him. Get him to suggest these things to you in writing. Look fair and reasonable.

The issue you face is that at some point he will be advised (probably incorrectly) that this isn’t a fair deal for him. In terms of his split, the maintenance and access. That could have major implications for you if he digs in. He seems to want to be fair but has shown himself to be cynical and selfish about money.

That being said there isn’t a lot of asset here to justify a big legal battle. On either side. So maybe start formally agreeing some things with him in writing. I would go fo a mediation session, agree to leave pensions alone (I assume you are too young for them to be significant), list assets and decide what both your needs are. It’s sounds like 2 beds would work for at least one of you.

Things to consider
The fair outcome is that you both are able to secure homes that meet your needs
Your earnings mean that is easier for you than him. 😐
Is it possible he can earn more or take more child care responsibilities?
Do you really need the house you are in? Really really
How much would it cost you to sell and buy, this could wipe out a lot of equity so it’s worth assessing and highlighting.
What costs can you reduce around childcare and when can this happen. If within 2-3 years would he wait for his equity?
Find out what your mortgage options are now and when childcare is reduced. Maybe extend to 35 years.

Finally don’t waste time with the solicitor discussing things that are not legal or pertinent. Like how he behaved, except in relation to money and grounds for divorce (unreasonable behaviour, just think up a few things he won’t contest). It’s not a therapy session, use MN or a good friend for that !

The bottom line is that in a divorce, neither party emerges better off than before. But you should try to get into a position that allows you to repair the damage to your finances ASAP. That might involve short term sacrifice and compromise for both of you.

Thinking of you

stirling · 16/01/2019 21:17

Ex and I completed a very clean break six months ago. Like you I was terrified that the judge wouldn't agree.
Ours is, I stay in the house and he gets to keep his entire salary no maintenance at all. It was an abusive marriage and we wrote a supporting statement to the judge to say so and why it was imperative for the wellbeing of our children that we were no longer affiliated with one another.
We both wrote out how we would financially manage without one another and without leaning on the state.

Good luck

MissedTheBoatAgain · 17/01/2019 00:56

no maintenance at all

Guess you are referring to Spousal Maintenance? Even in a clean break there is an obligation to pay child maintenance.

We both wrote out how we would financially manage without one another and without leaning on the state

That's excellent.

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