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Paying school fees after divorce

  • mnf
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19 Aug 12 #350500 by mnf
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My wife and I are going through a divorce and we are about to start mediation to sort out finances. A significant part of this is the following:

Our joint savings currently just about cover the school fees that will have to be paid over the next two years, and it was always the intention that they would, at least in part, do so.

As my wife and I go our separate ways I would like to use all our savings to pay off the school fees in advance. That leaves us with no financial assets and no school fees to worry about in reaching a financial agreement.

She is now suggesting that the savings should be split between us (apparently 60/40 in her favour!) and that I should then also cover all the school fees in future! That would obviously wipe out my share of the current savings and cost me considerably more from income (which I actually can''t afford). My wife, meanwhile, hangs on to her nice pot of money!

I have two questions:

1. Would I really be solely responsible for the school fees?

2. Is there anything to stop me just paying the school fees up front right now so that it is a fait accompli?

Any advice, suggestions, comments very welcome.

Thanks, M

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19 Aug 12 #350515 by happyagain
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In answer to both your questions, no. Whilst the money is in joint names you both have the right to do what you want to with it. After separation, you would both have to agree to maintain the school fees, it would not be an obligation unless you were earning big money.
Why has your wife suggested a 60/40 split?

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19 Aug 12 #350521 by mnf
Reply from mnf
Thanks for your reply.

My wife''s friend''s mother (!) is apparently a divorce solicitor and has said financial assets would be divided 60/40 (seemingly regardless of incomes!). And wikidivorce''s Divorce Calculator certainly split our savings in that ratio.

Unfortunately, I''m not earning big money. I earn just over £60k and my wife earns about £25k.

M

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19 Aug 12 #350523 by happyagain
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Remember, solicitors always work in the best interests of their clients. Your solicitor, should you get one, would do the same. However that split is probably about right given your incomes.
If you want a second onion on this, post all your details an that of your wife, including debts and pensions, and you will get some good guidance from other posters.
Returning to the subject of fees, your incomes will be maintaining 2 separate households post divorce. School fees may be considered an unnecessary luxury and too much of a strain on both your finances to continue with?

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19 Aug 12 #350525 by mnf
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Thanks again for this. Very happy to post all details - under what heading/title should I do that?

M

  • Fiona
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19 Aug 12 #350528 by Fiona
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How are the children to be housed, are the savings perhaps required to keep a roof over the heads of the children?

The first priority with divorce settlements is the welfare of children, in particular meeting their needs for housing. If your wife earns less than you she won''t have the capacity to raise the same amount of mortgage as you which may justify a larger sharing of capital in her favour.

Once the housing needs of both parties has been sorted then you consider any periodic payments for maintaining the children, school fees and spouse maintenance.

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19 Aug 12 #350536 by mnf
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Thanks for this. My large house is provided through my employment so will continue to be available to me and to the children (19 and 16). We own no property ourselves. I believe it is possible to find a financial agreement that provides my wife with a house/flat (rented) that can accommodate both children if they wish to be there, but that is more difficult if I am having to pay school fees periodically and only have 40% of our savings to support me in that. That is why I want the savings to cover them up front. Unless her having 60% of our savings is reflected in a much reduced maintenance payment to her, or she contributes to the school fees. But I don''t think she is offering either of those!

M

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