I have had a long and difficult marriage. Suffice to say I realise now I've been gaslighted and abused (20 years not watching TV, can't go to shops on my own, detailed report on every day at work, huge rows for speaking to women, massive pressure to pay for things I can't afford...)
We both ran up big debts and have been on a debt management plan for many, many years.
For the last many years I have paid all bills, all she earns/earned (about 10-12 k a year) she spends on holidays (without me), health club, our daughter (21 at uni) her food (she hasn't shared food with me for years) and her car.
My wife ran up more debts and in the end we remortgaged to clear them up, she was going to cover most of the repayments (I got a small amount). I agreed mainly as I thought it might save marriage.
Irony is I have a lot of 'stuff' but virtually none of it is worth much.
She got injured, twice so stopped working. She ran up more big (huge) debts without me knowing.
I have paid all the bills including two mortgages and DMP for years.
I've only been able to do this the last three years by taking money out of my pension to pay corp tax/personal tax.
Last years I've managed because I got some big PPI payouts.
She expects me to keep pouring money into our daughter, who is troubled, about 9k a year.
She's older than me and not earning a lot.
I went self employed about 7 years ago.Thought it might make life easier but in fact it ended up so I had to be more independent so she started ignoring me, got her own fridge and food .
I earn about 38K, with Covid taking home <£2k a month. Realistically, I can take home up to 2.5K a month, maybe 3K after tax etc when things settle down. Getting by now with mortgage holidays that run out in October.
I work really hard (pre-covid) and virtually all my money goes on servicing debts and bills, I would like to work less and accept that means earning less.
We went to mediation and agreed a split that would cover all her outstanding debts from the house and then split rest of house and pension 55/45 in her favour. I would settle DMP out of pension, which is happening).
There's about 80k in house 135k in pension.
She said OK, got her solicitor to look at documents.
I put in for a financial order (I've paid all financial order costs, mitigation costs and most of her legals costs).
Now Draft Financial order comes back.
She has gone back to her solicitor who wants:
A Martin order so she gets the house while I pay the mortgage (£1400 a month, I can't even begin to pay that ).
She gets an extra £15k from the house (leaving me with £13k capital) plus £900 a month maintenance until she reaches pension age in 3 years time.
When I saw a solicitor, ages ago, I was told that any judge looking at our finances would just do a straight 50./50 split of assets, but this was pre-covid and I wasn't aware that that she has problems with osteoporosis.
Now I'm terrified because he stated aim is to 'rinse' me.
I just want it all to end, but now I'm in a really dark scary place.
I feel like just letting her have all the assets now to make it stop, but my rational self says I need
and deserve something.
BTW we are at Decree Nisi. I could apply for an absolute would that be a good or bad thing to do?
We are both living in the house. Can I move out and just stop paying the bills?
Can I move out and just pay the mortgage - I can stay with family.
Should I go to court?
Should I try and settle?
Even typing this she's come in to my tiny 'office'* trying to pester me into saying what I will do and claiming that she's trying to help by just asking me to agree what her solicitor says instead of her having to pay him to write me a letter.
*She has a lock on her bedroom. I sleep on the sofa and she is happy to walk in on me at any time of day or night. On the plus side, I have got my life and pride back.
Sorry you have had a tough time, things will only get better. Answers to you questions:
BTW we are at Decree Nisi. I could apply for an absolute would that be a good or bad thing to do? - I understand it makes no difference to sorting the finances. One of the benefits is the ex would not be your wife in law so would not be entitled to your assets, assuming you haven't changed your will already.
We are both living in the house. Can I move out and just stop paying the bills? - Yes you can stop immediately if you want to. Might affect credit rating if bills are in your name so this would need to be changed.
Can I move out and just pay the mortgage - I can stay with family. Yes you can do this.
Should I go to court? Going to court is expensive if you hire solicitors, around 15k upwards I have been quoted.
Should I try and settle? If you were to hire solicitors its cheaper to settle. If you want to litigate yourself then cheaper to go for court.
Last edit: 07 Sep 20 by Vigorate. Reason: adjustment
The first thing to know is that any settlement will be based on your respective needs and the means you have between you to meet them.
We can advise more effectively if we have a bit more information.
We need to know
Incomes inc any benefits
Length of the marriage plus any cohabitation
Value of FMH
Size of FMH
Pensions CEV and type
Value of other assets in sole or joint names (property , savings, cars etc)
Debts/loans in sole or joint names.
Any other factors that may affect settlement ie disability.
It would also be useful to know how much it would cost to buy/rent a 2 bed property.
You can spend a lot of money negotiating through solicitors and get nowhere. Sometimes it is a good idea to get yourself into the court timetable. You can still settle at any time. We have a range of low price services to help litigants in person. It needn't cost 1000s to go through the courts or to get help to deal with her solicitor. Give the Wikivorce helpline a call.
It may also be worth getting some personal support. What you have described is domestic abuse. This is the number for the national domestic abuse support line 0808 2000 247. Give them a call to talk through your situation.
NB. Martin orders are very very rare. Your housing need is the same as hers. I think it very unlikely in the circumstances you describe that this is a likely outcome.
In terms of income, she would be expected to maximise her income by claiming any benefits to which she may be entitled.
Conduct is rarely considered, needs are the first consideration.
As far as moving out etc goes, you could consider an occupation order so you can stay put. The bar for these is pretty high.
Or you could move out and pay the mortgage temporarily to protect your credit rating. You would need to take your name off all bills. NB This may make selling the place more difficult and there may be sabre rattling about claiming spousal maintenance but as above she would need to apply for benefits first.