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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.

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Hello everyone!

  • BirdyBob
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14 Aug 12 #349455 by BirdyBob
Topic started by BirdyBob
Hi everyone,
Where to start really? And any advice gratefully received.
Just two weeks shy of our 4th wedding anniversary and I find out my husband has had what I thought was just a holiday romance. This, I would have worked through as our marriage was important to me. My husband then announces he no longer loves me and no longer wants to be married to me. The affair continues to happen and husband continues to bury head in the sand (and change beyond recognition).
I invested heavily into the marital home and my husband didn''t put a penny into it. How do I stand with splitting this asset? We have no children (thankfully). He earns a fraction more than I do and I''ve paid for most of the major renovations in the house. Do I consider this too? I have the option to buy him out, but have no idea where or how to start the negotiations for this.
I have no intention of starting divorce proceedings as I need every penny I can get my hands on to buy him out of the house (if I decide to take the house on). I''m quite happy at the moment to wait two years.
Unfortunately for me we both still live in the marital house. After my husband saying he will do the decent thing by moving out he is now refusing. He is demanding I make a decision about the house as it''s only me who is in a position to keep it on (he cannot afford to buy me out). The other option is to complete the half finished DIY projects and sell up. We then both walk away with half of what''s left after my investment is returned.
I have no idea where to go from here and am terrified of losing my investment (no pre-nuptial agreement in place). Considering it wasn''t my choice to end the marriage I want to walk away with the best possible new start I can get.
Also, is there anything I can do to stop my husband from bringing his new girlfriend back to the house? I have no idea who he is anymore or what he is capable of.
Thank you in advance.

  • LittleMrMike
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15 Aug 12 #349572 by LittleMrMike
Reply from LittleMrMike
Pretty nasty situation and my heart goes out to you.
Can I assume, first of all :
That there are no children ; and
That the house is in your joint names.
On the assumption that this is correct :
Firstly, you may not want to divorce him just yet but unfortunately you have to accept that he may try to divorce you. Everything you say suggests to me he wants to sell the house, a.s.a.p., and marry the OW.
Secondly, bringing the OW into your house is insensitive to the point of callousness, and is to be deplored. Now normally one of the rights a property owner has is the right to exclude from the property people whom he does not want there. So if he does try it on I would at least take legal advice with a view to having the OW excluded.
Unfortunately, as you realise, it takes two to make a marriage work, and if one party is determined that it will not work there is little the other can do to prevent divorce. So we can have to do a bit of crystal gazing and try and anticipate that might happen in that eventuality.
What we have here is :
A short marriage ;
No children ;
Both parties, I assume, comparatively young ;
With equal incomes.
Now all of those factors suggest to me that the likely outcome of a divorce is that there would be a Clean Break, the house would be sold ( or one buys the other out ) and there would be little or nothing in the way of ongoing maintenance.
The fact that there are uncompleted works to be carried out is undoubtedly a complication, but let''s leave that aside for now. If you get into a divorce situation, then the Court would look at the housing issue and would want to make sure that you both had homes. The fact that you expended money improving the house is not irrelevant, but I think I''d better warn you that the parties'' need for a home would be regarded as more important.
But there is one factor here which I think you can use, that being that, if he intends to marry the OW, then there are two incomes going into his new household, and so, while it is emotionally hurtful for you, the fact remains that his new, household, with two incomes, could afford a larger mortgage - and in your position I would argue that this factor alone justifies a higher share of the proceeds for you, and that a 50% split, which he clearly wants, is not appropriate.
The other issue is that you do not want to spend good money on improving a house which may have to be sold if the result would be, say, that you spend £10,000 and get £5000 back. He may well be thinking on similar lines, but doing the repairs prior to sale ( something I would normally advise ) merely makes the house more saleable and thus brings forward a situation you want to avoid. If you want to buy him out, leaving the works incomplete depresses the value of the house and makes it more affordable for you.
Anyway, there''s a few thoughts and we shall see what, if anything, other posters think.
LMM

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15 Aug 12 #349623 by BirdyBob
Reply from BirdyBob
Thank you LMM,

There are a good few pointers to get me started in your reply.

I do want to get divorced as the marriage is quite clearly over but I need every penny I can lay my hands on at the moment. I''ve accepted it''s definitely over. I don''t believe my husband has any grounds with which to start proceedings, so I''ve accepted it''ll take two years to dissolve. In the meantime I need to start over. Like you said, I''ll only have one household income so hopefully that''ll go in my favour. I also have quite strong community ties and do quite a bit of voluntary work for my village. I don''t really want to move away and selling the marital home would mean moving to a cheaper area.

We are relatively young, we have no children and at this present time have good incomes. My husband wants to give up his well paid job and is part of the bigger picture of being unhappy with his life in general. I genuinely hope he finds what it is he is looking for that he thinks will make him happy.

Would my husband be entitled to maintenance if he gave up work completely? Or if he took a job on half his current wage?

  • LittleMrMike
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15 Aug 12 #349661 by LittleMrMike
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Sorry to disappoint you but waiting two years will not necessarily solve the problem.

The reason is because after two years both parties must consent. Oh yes, I can see it now. Yes, I''ll agree to divorce you if -- followed by a shopping list of demands.

I am not in the habit of rushing anyone into divorce but if you want to do it now then adultery is at least an obvious candidate. But as I said, it''s your life and your decision - not mine.

As to claiming maintenance - well, I''ve heard it all now. Some men threaten to give up work to avoid paying maintenance ( but very rarely do it when it dawns on them they will have nothing to live on ) But giving up work to CLAIM maintenance ? Well, I cannot see that happening. Basically he is under a duty to maximise his income.

Oh and by the way if he gets married he couldn''t claim maintenance anyway. I can assure you that men very often do think along these lines when in the throes of a divorce, but judges are well aware of this and I don''t think they would swallow that.

LMM

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