Im new here (so be gentle), Male in my 50''s, married for 18 yrs - and just considering separation / divorce.
Does anyone know of a good source of general advice re. the basis on which the assets of a marriage are commonly devided on separation?
No exact details required at this stage, just the general principles that would allow me to form an outline estimate of the extent of my financial obligations.
Outline of my situation is 2 teenage children, we own the bulk of the marital home (in joint names), I have small pension and we both have some cash savings. I''ve allways paid the mortgage and the vast bulk of family costs, wife works full time, but earns a good deal less.
Ive just been quoted £160 per hour by a family law form to advise me on this (ouch)!!
The guidelines are in section 25 of the marital causes act 1973.
In layman''s terms all assets whether jointly owned or sole, go into the marital assets pot. They are shared out according to each of your needs, the needs of the children (and therefore their primary carer) taking priority. After the immediate needs (roof over heads, food etc) the remaining assets can be split, often 50/50.
If you want an idea of a split in your case we would need more information:
1. Your respective ages
2. Ages of children and how many nights a week they wold be spending with each of you
3. Your respective incomes including any benefits
4. Your pension CETVs
5. House value and outstanding mortgage amount
6. Other assets such as savings, shares, valuables
7. Debts and liabilities both joint and sole, credit cards, loans etc, what they were for, and whose name they''re in
£160 an hour is quite cheap for a solicitor. Many do a free half hour initial consultation though. If this firm does not then you can find one that do, you can have as many free half hours as you like, and choose the firm/solicitor you like most.
It''s worth seeing a solicitor early on to find out where you stand and what options there are in your particular circumstances. Even if you want to negotiate between yourselves or use a mediator you can then do it from an informed position.
In a nutshell any assets (including pensions) owned solely or jointly form the matrimonial pot which is shared according to the s25 MCA 1973. The problem is that it isn''t possible to just read s25 to understand it. The priority is the welfare of children. When there aren''t substantial assets usually the needs of the parties, in particular for housing, comes at the top of the list.
A good starting point is to consider how everyone is to be housed and research local property rices and both parties mortgage raising capabilities. If the children are to live most of the time with your wife she will require a more substantial property than you. Because her mortgage capacity is less than yours she is likely to "need" a larger share of capital to leave her on a similar footing.
IF possible it is better no to disrupt children''s sense of security by moving house and possibly changing schools, but if the former matrimonial home is larger than required it may need to be sold to release equity to enable you both to rehouse.
Information on the internet isn''t a substitute for professional legal advice. It may not always reliable, can be out of date or skewed because of a particular agenda or because of misunderstandings about the law. Anyone, even a solicitor, can misread a post and get the wrong end of the stick or make a mistake. There is no redress for not being properly informed or acting on opinions given on the internet.