I have been separated and seeking a divorce from my husband for over 4 months now. The grounds for the divorce is because of his meaness towards me.
We have two properties and he lives in the jointly owned and most expensive property. I am living in the second property owned soley by my husband.
The property was uninabitable when I moved into it but with finacial help of family and friends I have improved it to enable me to live there more comfortably.
My problem is that I am finding it ever so difficult to secure a job and I've only managed to get one 'temping' office job in the last 4 months. My husband has made me an offer of £75 per week, until I find a job and the bungalow as a 'Clean Break', which I have refused because I would find it impossible to live on this. At the moment I am receiving 'Jobseekers Allowance' of less than £60 per week and it's a real struggle, I could not survive without the extra help that my family and friends have given me.
We are both due to appear in 'mediation' in a weeks time where I am hoping to have a fairer offer made.
By fair, please consider the following:-
1)I had my own house, job, car etc when I met him 10 years ago.
2) I sold my house and gave the proceeds to him to pay off a bank loan taken out to give his ex her settlement
3) I accompanied him abroad for over 6 years while he continued his army career in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, thus, amassing a great deal of money. My career in accountancy was finished as women are unable to work in Riyadh.
4)He retired from the army at 55 and is now very comfortable on a 30K pension along with the proceeds of the guest house business that we bought together and he continues to run after forcing me to leave.
5) In 2 years time I am eligible only to a state pension which was underpaid by 6 years.....the time that I spent abroad with him!
What do you think will be the fair outcome of what I should expect from mediation?
In the first place, may I stress that mediation cannot force a settlement upon you or your husband ; the job of a mediator is to help the parties reach their own agreement which can then be formalised into a Court order. If the mediator can't broker a settlement you have to go down the Court route.
So I would tend to approach the matter from the point of view of a Court and what factors a Court might take into account in reaching its decision. The first is your housing situation ; a Court would want to make sure both of you are adequately housed, but in this case there are two houses, so that perhaps should not pose as many difficulties as housing often does.
The thing that strikes me about your case is that you have obviously made sacrifices for him, and in the light of recent case law, notably the House of Lords decision in McFarlane, I think a Court would say that you are entitled to be compensated for those sacrifices.
You don't say how much the guest house business is producing ; that could be important information and in your position I would certainly want to know. I assume that the Army pension to which you refer is already is payment and it often happens that such a pension can't be split, therefore you have to look for spousal maintenance out of his pension.
Frankly, Barbara, I do not think you should settle for a Clean Break. I think you can expect spousal maintenance here, and possibly even for life, considering your age and limited income. Please don't ask me how much it might be ; I am not an expert in this field, and you should seek advice from someone professionally qualified to give it. But my gut feeling is that your husband might be due an unpleasant surprise. I would recommend, in any event, that you find a solicitor specialising in family law, who is willing to give an initial free half hour interview. Ask him/her about legal help while you are at it. I think you might get rather more than you think. But, as I say, take advice here, to get some general idea of what you can expect, so that you can judge any proposals which may emerge during the mediation process.
My situation is similar to yours in some respects.
Are you getting Council Tax Benefit? Hope I'm stating the obvious, but thought I'd mention it just in case.
Will send you friend invitation we can correspond
privately if you wish.
Job situation is not good at the moment, so don't go blaming yourself if you can't get work. Also try not to take those rejection letters to heart (you have to be lucky to even get one of those). It's nothing personal they don't know how wonderful I'm sure you are.
Thank you very much for your advice which I will certainly act upon.
Yes, I agree that spousal maintenance is the way to go but I think that he is purposely dragging it out to bring me onto my knees and accept the £75 pw that he has offered me which I have refused. As you said, I did make many sacrifices so that he could amass his huge off shore account. Living in Saudi as a woman is not easy.
How long will the law allow him to drag it out? I am getting really embarrassed asking for money from my family all the time!
Yes, I have applied for exemption from Council tax.
I will try to join you in the chat room when I can but it is difficult as I haven't got a computer or phoneline of my own at the moment and I am doing this in my local library and you cannot use the computers for more than an hour at a time.
When I get myself sorted I will join you. It would be great to speak to people in similar circumstances.
I believe you can apply for Interim Maintenance. At least you should receive enough to cover your living expenses. You may be entitled to legal help. I would get that half hour free appointment, if I were you.
MIKE- you say that service pensions in payment are rarely split. how would i stand -as i currently earn £24k and have a forces pension in payment of £8k? Wifes is earning £30k in her own right - therefore I'm only £2k over her income. She worked whilst I was in the forces - but mostly in the private healthcare industry - who do not contribute to pensions. She is now back in NHS but has obviously missed out on building up a significant pension with them.