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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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Only married for 6 months

  • Notsealg
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16 Jan 08 #10865 by Notsealg
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Firstly can I say i came across this forum and the advice is excellent and prior to my qaundry thank you to everyone in advance who might be able to offer me advice.

As the header says i was married for 6 months and now in the midst of a divorce and have a couple of questions but first a bit of background info.

We met in 2005 and she got engaged in February 2006. She had a house and sold it and made £55k equity. She moved in with me in April 2006 in a house I have owned for 5 years. As we are both self employed the idea was to use the equity to create a "slush" fund for when children came along - she would also pay for the wedding etc. At this point can I state I never had privy to her money nor did we have a joint account.

She didnt work full time but travelled back to her home town every couple of weeks to see clients she had kept (she was a beautician). During this time I converted a room in my house to allow her to work from home and establish her business in the area, paying for advertising etc.

Got married in September and got down to married life.

Came home in October to find her crying and she said all her money was gone and the cheque for the reception had bounced. After the initial shock I agreed to cover the costs as long as she made a serious effort to go out and find work which she agreed to do. The idea being we re-established the slush fund before starting a family. Her keeness lasted a couple of weeks before she said she didnt want to work as I earnt enough to support her.

We limped on for a couple more months until she was away one weekend in March and she sent me a text saying she no longer wanted to be married to me. She moved out in April 2007.

Papers were served in September by her saying she had spent all her money on the house and holidays etc. Wheras in reality, she spent about £5k on the house - £2.5k of which was on furniture (ie plasma etc). We also went halves on holidays and I ended up paying for half of the wedding due to her wreckless spending.

During the duration of living together (6 months) and the marriage (6 months) she never contributed towards the mortgage or household bills (ie council tax, heating, phone bills) even though my outgoings rose by about £450 a month with her living with me. She occassionally bought food or paid for a meal out but nothing extravagent.

We are due in court next week for the FDR and she states her capital needs are £100k as she needs to buy a house. She also says she cant work full time now as she has a form of arthritis - although from her bank statements in her form E she has joined a gym. She also wants about £900 a month maintenance until she establishes her business - I have been paying her rent since she left to help her out but this is seriously affecting my life and I am getting into debt.

There are no children involved. She just seems to be out for all she can get.

She has systematically destroyed my life - telling lies to all my friends and family who now know the truth of what she is like. Things dont look good at the moment

I have read that on such a short marriage the court will put each party back to the "financial position" they were before the marriage and then split any equity on the house gained whilst they were married 50/50

After reading this website I am reasonably confident she will get very little but I'm just looking for some advice / confirmation

Thanks

  • Josh2008
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16 Jan 08 #10870 by Josh2008
Reply from Josh2008
I think you are quite right in digging in, don't give in to her demands, she is obviously reckless with money and that in itself could be an illness.

Due to the very short marriage, it is likely that you will be put at the positions you were both at before marrying, she is likely to 'go all the way' if money is important to her and that may cost you, although she could end up paying your costs

But a court may take a dim view of her past recklessness and order a very small split...

In this situation I would be inclined to offer her by way of a 'Calderbank Letter' something slightly more than a judge is likely to make, that way if the court does decide and it goes in your favour, you can produce the 'Calderbank Letter' to prove that you had offered more and she will end up paying ALL costs

You need to pitch your offer just right and a solicitor is probably the only person to give the best advice on this

Good Luck

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16 Jan 08 #10871 by Notsealg
Reply from Notsealg
Thanks for the reply Josh

My solicitor advised me to make an offer although they were very ambiguous as to an amount.

Initially I was worried that the judge would return her to her position prior to the marriage - as in she had a house and I cant afford to do that - but after reading that its just back to "financial position" and she should get back what she put in, I have made an offer of £10k based on she only put £5k into the house. PLUS I have been paying her rent since she left - that amounts to £6k

So all in all the package comes to £16k - fair ?

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16 Jan 08 #10874 by Josh2008
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Honestly don't know, what happened exactly to the 55k, someone has to account for it, even if it was reckless spending...

Also you don't say what all the 'Pot' is.

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16 Jan 08 #10875 by Notsealg
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She made £55k on the sale of her house in April 2006 and by late September 2006 she stated she had no money left - pretty impressive spending by anyones standards.

As stated she spent about £5k on the house, with the addition of £5k on the wedding, £5k on holidays ( I virtually matched these amounts with my contribution), £8k on a car for herself, and so on and so on. I can account for about her spending about half of the equity (£25k) - but cant account for the remainder.

Her bank accounts show she has nothing in her account but is earning about £700 a month - she is self employed beautician.

I have about £500 a month spare after paying all my bills. The problem is that there is about £100k equity in the house - but I have owned this for about 6 years - long before I met her and have invested heavily in it -it is in my sole name and always has been. Its all well and good saying you have that sort of equity but only if you can sell the house.

My problem is that as she is self employed and can very easily work cash in hand so it doesnt show up in her accounts.

There is also evidence that she came into the marriage with lots of debt (and since she has gone I have received letters from debt agencies). My gut feeling is she came into the marriage to escape these debts, lived like a footballers wife for 6 months on her equity and then when the money ran out didnt want to work and now wants to have me pay for her new house and she has no debts.

One minute I feel confident that she will get a minimum - the next I think she might end up getting £50k (half of the equity) even though we only lived in the house together for 12 months ( 6 of those as man and wife) - which seems extremely harsh!

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16 Jan 08 #10876 by Josh2008
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Highly unlikely that you would be liable for a 50/50 split, only six months married and a money reckless wife.

Judges are not fools and will see straight through her, I think she will probably not accept the £10k and won't take the other £6k already spent into account.

Why not completely stop paying her, why should you, let her get off her a*** and do some work to earn and survive.

If I were you I would put an offer to her as a 'Clean Break' of £10k and in a 'Calderbank Letter' if she agrees ask a sol to submit it to court by a Consent Order and a judge should ratify it...

If she does not agree then let her proceed with 'ancillary relief' at her cost, but remember to pitch in the CB letter sometime up to the court hearing...

Good Luck

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16 Jan 08 #10878 by Notsealg
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So just to clarify, we have made her this offer with a clean break but I should also ask my solicitor to make a Calderbank offer for the same amount or slightly more?

We virtually know she will refuse this offer as she is on legal aid and her solicitor will be fueling her as I doubt she has told him about her wreckless spending.

But then again i doubt she realises she is liable to repay the legal aid costs upon any award

Also do i make sure the Calderbank letter is available for next weeks first hearing ?

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