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assett split 50:50, more, or court decide?

  • jony
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18 Aug 07 #2151 by jony
Topic started by jony
Any comments greatly appreciated.

Wife has left to co-habit with new guy a few weeks ago, 22 yrs married. He's working but she isn't, wife wants maintenace while she gets established ( a year to train etc ??).Shes admitting adultery.
I'm in FMHome with 13 YO and 17 YO, at college hoping for uni (both at moment?) . Just appointed solicitors and starting to fill in finance forms etc.
We have high equity in home with some investments etc we also live in low cost housing part of uk, so situation financially is probably better than some cases.
My wife hasn't worked for 14 years, shes mid 40s
Looking at the calculator tool and putting in sets of rough figures at this stage,it keeps comming up with split of 50:50, due probably to equity etc ?
My solicitor seems confident at this stage of going for and achieving 60:40 or 65:35 (?).
Obviously all the finacial details are required for a full answer but in general do you think my solicitor is over confident or 'talking it up'(she does have 20 yrs family law experience)??
Financially if its possible I'll be going for what I think is fair and I can get, don't want to be a soft touch, but also want to be realsitic. If hiring a barrister and going all the way means a reasonable possibility of split as above then I will be keen on it.
If the court decides, are settlements quite variable ie is this also a bit of a gamble rather than a well calculated assessment, alternativly can the risks be well worth it??
I'm also aware of not wanting to be overly aggressive and upsetting family relationships more than neccesary, but as we're going through all of this I've got a life to rebuild and a future for my children and me to think about.

Any comments very much appreciated jony

  • LittleMrMike
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18 Aug 07 #2153 by LittleMrMike
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Not an easy question to answer, because financial settlements on divorce will understandably look on the whole picture and not just one particular asset, although one must admit that the former marital home ( FMH ) nearly always features prominently !

So perhaps I can make a few comments of a general nature.

Where there are dependent children involved, as in your case, the Court will put their interests first , as indeed they are required to do by law, and in particular their need for a home. In your case that need is stronger because your kids are. or soon will be, in the middle of O and A levels, so you do not want any interruption to their education.

There is a very good chance that you would be allowed to continue to live in the FMH while the children are still dependent, and the issue of a sale usually arises only when the children reach their majority. In most cases, of course, this arrangement favours the wife, but there is no reason why it can't work both ways.

It was not clear to me whether you are talking about an immediate sale, or whether the sale is to be postponed until the youngest child is 18.

Where the wife is the parent with care, splits of 70/30 in the wife's favour are not uncommon but there may be a reason for this ; namely that the wife is usually, though not invariably, the lower earner and therefore needs more cash to compensate for her lower mortgage capability. But in your case your wife has a new home, so her housing needs are met, albeit for the wrong reasons from your point of view.

It may be that the Calculator has 'figured out ' that you would be perfectly capable of buying yourself a new property with a 50% split once the kids are off your hands, After a long marriage a 50/50 split would be normal unless there was a good reason for departing from it. I certainly don't think you're likely to get less than 50% and I don't think your solicitor is wrong to talk about 60/40, although I think 65/ 35 is on the optimistic side . Really it depends what view the Court takes about your housing prospects. I personally don't think the calculator came down from Mount Sinai in a flash of green smoke, and I tend to treat it with caution.

The other issue is costs, and regular readers of this website are only too aware of the problems this can cause. The more you spent on lawyers, the less there is for you and your wife. If you are still on speaking terms, mediation is worth considering. You have to balance the settlement you might get against the costs of achieving it. It is perfectly proper to ask your solicitor for an estimate.



Mike 100468

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18 Aug 07 #2156 by jony
Reply from jony
Mike , thanks for your comments, very useful for me to think about, I'm seeing my solicitor end of next week.
Re the FMHome, we would ideally like to stay here for a few years for the reasons you mention, not planning on selling it soon unless I have to, and haven't thought of the possibility of postponing sale until youngest is adult. But I'm sure she wants a 'Clean Break' if possible.
At the moment I'm not sure if I'll be able to buy her out, but this may be possible for me to look at especially if any split is in my favour and doing some basic sums 60:40 ish may make it all just possible.
So it could be worth me spending additional cash on legal fees, if I can afford it.
As you say mediation may be a way.
Unfortunately we haven't been talking over the last few weeks, she was walking into the FMHome, I told her politely I didn't want her coming into the FMHome without me being there, but that she had full access through me, didn't give her a key, she didn't like it and got solicitor to write etc, ( see my post under contact) not sure if it will get any better to make mediation etc a possibility or weather things will deteriorate further. I may have got this a little wrong, a reminder that you have to tread very carefully, but with the state I've been in an easy mistake to make.
( She's also contacting the kids direct to meet them and not discussing with me, not too bothered about this from 17 yo view point, but from me planning and running house/ work etc its not ideal). Thanks again

  • LittleMrMike
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18 Aug 07 #2160 by LittleMrMike
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Jony

Just a few further thoughts arising from what you have said.

If your solicitor confirms what I think - namely that it is very unlikely that the Court would order a sale of the FMH while the children are still dependent - then it might ( perhaps ) be an option for you to buy your wife out early in return for a higher share of the equity than you might get if you waited until the youngest child was 18, and as a bonus you would have five years longer to pay off a smaller mortgage. I just throw this out as a suggestion which, if it appeals to you, you should discuss with your lawyer when you see her next week. ; your wife may consider that a smaller sum which she gets now would be better than a larger sum in five years' time. I would, however, advise you quite forcefully not to discuss this idea with your wife, or anyone else for that matter, without speaking to your lawyer first. Don't forget that your solicitor is there to do the best deal for you, so it's quite proper for her to be a bit over-optimistic.

In your earliest post you mentioned that your wife was asking for spousal maintenance for a year. I would ask your solicitor about this as well. I believe that she could, in certain circumstances, apply for an extension, which for obvious reasons you would want to prevent if possible.

Mike 100468

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19 Aug 07 #2164 by jony
Reply from jony
thanks very much Mike,

Some good points for me to think about and raise with my solicitor thanks again, jony

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