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What are we each entitled to in our divorce settlement?

What does the law say about how to split the house, how to share pensions and other assets, and how much maintenance is payable.

What steps can we take to reach a fair agreement?

The four basic steps to reaching an agreement on divorce finances are: disclosure, getting advice, negotiating and implementing a Consent Order.

What is a Consent Order and why do we need one?

A Consent Order is a legally binding document that finalises a divorcing couple's agreement on property, pensions and other assets.


Child maintenance with 50/50 care

  • targaryen
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18 Sep 12 #356580 by targaryen
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Hi, my wife and I seperated back in January and ever since then we''ve had 50/50 care of our two children (3 nights at my house, 3 nights at her flat and alternate saturdays).
At the time it was agreed that she would purchase coats, school shoes and pay for school dinners (about £70 per month) and I would pay her maintenance to cover my share of these costs. A quick CSA calculation showed that I would have to give her £125 per month. I was also uninterested in child support as I was aware that only one of us could claim for it and was happy for her to do so as I earn more.
It became apparent quite early on that my £125 a month far exceeded the cost of their entire school dinner budget and the rare coat/shoes purchase. Note that I have purchased an entire wardrobe of clothes for them both including school uniform.
An argued renegotiation lowered my monthly payment to £100 but I still wasn''t entirely sure exactly why I had to pay so much.
I recently received a request for more money from my ex-wife so I decided it was time to ring cm options and find out the score. They told me that because child support should be going on the kids, it should ideally be split between myself and my wife equally (whether on a month by month basis or a year on/year off basis). Also if I am solely responsible for the children''s finances when they''re with me (ie I buy them each a coat, shoes and pay school dinners half the time) then the calculated figure for child maintenance should be halved.
Over all this would mean that I should receive from my ex-wife about £65 for child support and should give her about £60 for child maintenance (effectively cancelling each other out) meaning no payment should be made either way.
My ex-wife is incredibly entitled and unreasonable and has frequently threatened to take away my access to the kids whenever she has heard something she doesn''t like about my new life without her.
I know that if I approach her with these new terms for maintenance then there''s a good chance she''ll try and get more nights with the kids as a way of trying to get more maintenance out of me. My solicitor says I should hold off confronting her about it until after the finances of the divorce are signed and sealed as it''s also possible that she''ll go back on that agreement if she sees that her regular payment might disappear.
Does anyone have any advice on this? Does is seem like I''ve interpreted the information from cm options correctly? How would you recommend moving the situation forward?

  • TBagpuss
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18 Sep 12 #356585 by TBagpuss
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if you earn more than her I''d be surprised iof the CM completely cancelled out. Also, they don''t normally take into account other purchases such as clothing etc.

One option would be to propsoe to her that you treat one child as being primarily resident with each of you. Each of you therefore claims child benefit for one child, and you then look at maintenace on that basis also.

If you both earn the same, neither will pay anything in maintenace. If you earn more than she does, you will pay her something, and vice versa.(because maintenace is worked out based on the income of the paying party)

Another option is looking at what feels fair taking into account your respective incomes - e.g. if your income is higher than hers, it may be reasonable for you to offer to pay a bit more than half of the costs, in order to be paying a similar proportion of your income.

(i.e. - if you take home £1,000 per month, She takes home £500 and the childnre''s lunches etc cost £300, if you split it equally, you are paying 15% of your income to support the children, but your ex would be paying 30% of hers - equal isn''t always the same thing as fair.
It might be fairer to say that you will pay £200 (20% of your income)_ and she would pay £100 (20% of her income) or than you will pay £300 (leaving you with £700 for everything else) and she pays £0 (leaving her with £500 for eveything else)

Obviously these are only examples, you''d need to consider what is reasonable based on you own financial situations.

I think it is sensible of your solicitor to suggest finalising the remaining financial issues first (quite apart from anything else, it means ach of you knows where you stand, finacially)

Also consider the non-fiancial issue. If you can affod to pay the £100 per month, is it worth fighting over it or is it better to enjoy the time with your chilnre rather than getting into a new fight over it? If you ended up going to court ovr the issue of residence you could easily end up spending £5-10,000 on legal costs, quit apart from the emotional costs to you and the children. That''s 8.3 years worth of payments at the current level. . .

  • targaryen
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18 Sep 12 #356588 by targaryen
Reply from targaryen
Thanks for your comments. Your suggestion of one child being primary resident with each of us sounds like a brilliant idea. I''d be happy to pay her more maintenance than she pays me because I earn more. I did suggest this to my ex-wife a while ago and she flat out said no because she was aware that it wouldn''t benefit her to do it but maybe if it comes from my solicitor then I''ll have more luck.
Although I see your point about leaving things as they are because it might not be worth fighting, I dont believe that I should be subject to constant threats from her and I shouldn''t pay over the odds for years to come.

  • u6c00
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18 Sep 12 #356619 by u6c00
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you should read this post .

Apparently the rules on maintenance with shared care are changing soon.

  • khan72
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19 Sep 12 #356660 by khan72
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Wait until finances are solved. People know where they stand. stress levels come down. As you earn more, why are you stressing about paying a little extra. Trust me, your ex is giving you way more access than most fathers get. Its worth giving the extra money :)After all its for the children :)
Be grateful for having an ex that is more "reasonable" than the average.. If you are on talking terms, try to be friends. Try some post divorce counselling? Trust me, end things on a good note, even if you feel you have been dealt with a little unjustly. Time heals.

Kids are the only real losers in all of this. Both of you need to work together to recompense them.

  • targaryen
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19 Sep 12 #356675 by targaryen
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I get really frustrated with the concept that she is "giving" me access like because she''s the mother, she has the final say on every detail of the kids lives.
Our seperation was her decision based on her messing around with another guy despite my efforts to reconcile. Ever since then I''ve calmly and happily moved on with my life, met someone else and because of my working hours, I can ensure that the kids have a healthy meal after school, do their homework and a good amount of extra work to ensure that they''re well educated. I then have plenty of time to spend playing with them before bed.
In contrast, she has regular arguments with the man she left me for, has spiralled into depression and even admitted to trying to kill herself. She causes arguments on a regular basis between her and myself despite my efforts to stay friendly. She works a 9-5 so when with her, the kids are in after school club until 6. She then often gives them junk food for tea, usually ignores any homework they''ve been given and sits them in front of the tv until bed time.
How is it that she gets to decide what access I have? Because she''s female? If so then the system is broken.
Thankyou for your comments anyway. Although I earn more, her financial disclosure during the divorce has shown that her "income" due to a stupendous payment from tax credits is actually almost equal to mine. Although I can survive while paying what I currently do, things are tough and I''m about to take out a huge loan for the financial settlement of the divorce. Although I know that the money I give is supposed to be for the children, it isn''t. I''m funding her social life and I''d rather use that money on the kids when they''re with me than *hope* she uses it on them when they''re with her.

  • u6c00
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19 Sep 12 #356682 by u6c00
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Khan raises a good point though.

The legal costs if you had to go to court over this because she stopped access would far outstrip the amount you''re paying in maintenance.

If you''re already paying through the CSA it would be much better to wait until later this year / next year until you''re transferred to the new scheme. You will then be reassessed and your obligation will reduce accordingly.

I also have a problem with that kind terminology, having been told in court by a barrister that my ex had been ''generous with contact''. Can you be generous with something that isn''t yours to give away?

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