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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.

What steps can we take to reach a fair agreement?

The four basic steps to reaching an agreement on divorce finances are: disclosure, getting advice, negotiating and implementing a Consent Order.

What is a Consent Order and why do we need one?

A Consent Order is a legally binding document that finalises a divorcing couple's agreement on property, pensions and other assets.


Lots of questions

  • Random
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07 Aug 07 #1815 by Random
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so glad I've found this site, we have so many financial queries and so much information to read through.

Some background: partner and wife separated nearly two years ago (she went abroad to find herself!), we've been together less than a year. All three children live with him (two over 18 - eldest at uni), the youngest was living with her mother but has just moved back to do her GCSE's. Partner is divorcing ex on grounds of unreasonable behaviour - she disagrees with some of the grounds, but isn't going to defend unless the reasons come up again during ancillary relief. He is now in the process of filling in the financial declaration form

I have several questions, but as this will end up a long post I'll start with the most pressing.

I'm in a bit of a dilemma - my partner wants me to move in with him (as do I), but I am worried this will have an adverse affect on the financial settlement? The solicitor told him to be honest, but if we put down that we might move in together will this be consider in the same way as if we were actually co-habiting? I have thought about waiting until it's all over, but then it could go on for months, and he is already struggling to support himself and the children (more going out than coming in) and the best way for us to reduce costs would be to move in together.

From a purely selfish point of view I resent my money being taken into account when this is the first time I have been on a decent wage (am still on probation as well) and I'm only just starting to sort my own finances out so I don't see why my partner and his children should end up worse off (we both earn roughly the same) just because I've done ok for myself, and she is swanning about finding herself.

Has anyone been in similar situation, or have any thoughts on what to do for the best?

  • DownButNotOut
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07 Aug 07 #1820 by DownButNotOut
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Random,

Welcome to the site.

You have missed one key bit of info - the relative income levels of your new partner and his wife. Its hard to answer your question without this info.

But here are some general points...

- the assets of the new partner (i.e. you) are not considered in any settlement. i.e. your assets are protected.

- the income of the new partner (you) is not directly assessed (i.e. you cannot be ordered to pay any portion of your income)

However....

- if you use your assets (e.g. a house) or your income to contribute towards joint living costs then you are effectively reducing his outgoings. By reducing his outgoings you reduce his 'needs'.

- 'needs' are a key factor in most cases (not for wealthy couples) and the resources will be allocated by the court based on 'needs'

- so by reducing his 'needs' you reduce in the courts eyes the amount they have to allocate to him to live. This could lower both the assets and the income awarded to him.

You need to declare whether you currently co-habit or intend to co-habit. So staying separate for now and co-habiting immediately after the settlement doesnt work. She will be able to apply for a varition to the order based on the new circumstances, or even get the order overturned and a new one put in its place.

However, in your case as he is supporting the kids (who is paying towards the kids at uni?) then his needs are far greater than hers, she just needs to support herself.


What you might consider doing is co-habiting, but limiting the contribution you make to the day to day household expenses. i.e. dont pay the mortgage and the bills and buy all the food. Use your money to pay for holidays or extras.
Don't put your name on utility bills. Don't get a joint account. Don't generate any documentary evidence that your are supporting him.

But as I said at the start - the relevance of the co-habiting effect on the settlement depends to a great extent on which of them earns the most. If he is a v high earner he may have to pay her Spousal maintenance. If she is the high earner she may well have to pay him child support/spousal maintenance. I need to know who is gonna pay who maintenance before saying what impact cohabiting will have on the amount.

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16 Aug 07 #2049 by Random
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thanks for the welcome and the reply. I've not been able to get on the site for a few days (work computer is very slow!)

My partners income is £28,700 approx (mine is £28,200. His wife is not really earning, she went back to studying and sometimes does part-time work. We don't really know how it will work as she is living in the US - she's British so it's hard for her find jobs, but then she has put herself in that position.

He pays for practically everything, and up until recently she has been hitting the credit card hard. In order for her to stay for 2nd year of study she had to prove she had the cash, so my partner took out a loan for £12,000. Unfortunately this is in his name and he has been paying it off.

We've worked out that over the past two years she has spent £50,000 (we have all the statements)- this includes the loan, and their savings. He didn't realise it was so much has it's been a little bit here, a little bit there. We given all this to his solicitor but she doesn't seem to think it will make much difference.

They sold their house, and there's about £135,000 sat in the solicitor's (the one who sold the house)bank account. The original plan (agreed by both of them) was to pay off the loan (hers) and the credit card (mostly hers) and then split what was left 50/50. This was all amicable and without solicitors being involved. Then she got a solicitor and suddenly can't remember agreeing to it :angry:I think someone has got £'s in her eyes.

Hope all this makes sense.

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17 Aug 07 #2086 by divwiki
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Your partner's solicitor doesn't seem to think she has embellished her expenses, could you pick out some ovbvious examples that they might challenge. Chipping away at the £50K may still have some effect even if the solicitor doesn't want to challenge the whole amount. Check solicitor's fees first though.
As a counsellor myself I'm generally all for people "finding themselves", but not at the expense of the kids and why do people have to go away to do it? They must sometimes run into themselves coming back.:P
You might be interested in a little known Kate Winslett film, "Hideous Kinky" on that subject.
Hope it all works out for each of you.;)

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17 Aug 07 #2106 by Random
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thanks :)

I'm not sure if the sol had read through all of them at the time. A few times she has put her course fees on the credit card. The rest I guess might not count as it's things like rent and shopping - which is why my partner didn't really keep an eye on what was going out as she had the youngest with her at the time, so he was more bothered making sure they had a roof over their heads.

I have the same opinion as you, have no problem with her 'finding herself', especially I have done things the other way round. I do have a problem with her not seeing her eldest two kids, uprooting the youngest and using studying as an excuse to chase some toy-boy half way round the world at my partners expense.

Think I've seen the film, but a long time ago, is she a bit of a hippy in it dragging the kids round Morocco?

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17 Aug 07 #2115 by divwiki
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That's the one!
She sounds like as much of a self-centred idiot as the one Kate Winslett played.
So sorry she is putting you and especially the kids through this.

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18 Aug 07 #2149 by Sera
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Hello Random, :)

Erm, you're on here trying to sort out your new partners marital disputes. If you were my best friend, or my sister, I'd be telling you that this is not a well-space for you to be starting a new relationship in!

I'd leave co-habiting until after his divorce and financial arrangements are settled. You will begin to resent both the dynamic of a new relationship you're supposed to be having, (whilst your partner is in such an emotionally negative space) and you'll resent both her spending, your new partner repaying her debts, and the impact that has on your new beginnings.

I personally see a thousand Red flags here. Just be warned, I don't want you to become a 'buffer zone'.

It might take a few more months before he is in a truely well space to be there for you. He may be great to date, (you sound wonderful, concerned and a great corner stone in his sad life). Do not allow yourself to let him use your positive time, in moaning at you about his ex-wife.

Take care of yourself. I understand things might be great between you both, that you love him, want him, and can't wait to move on into a new life. I just think you'll end up with more resentment if you start supporting him at this moment.

Normally, people divorcing find this forum both a great scource of information for both their emotional and financial needs. But you're not divorcing, and you deserve to be in a better place than living in Divorce Hell.

Take my advice. take care of yourself before you worry about their problems.

Sera
xx

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