Court date 01.06.07, all financial disclosure swapped:
Married for 16 years, I'm 37 she's 34
Me: Earnings with o/t & shift pay £35,000PA
Pension since 1993 with employer £37,500
Youngest child with me aged 13, in receipt of CHB but not child tax credit as ex objects, therefore they wont pay!
Living alone with my son in former marital home which is up for sale at £235k with £100k still owing, joint endowments valued at £25k also in the pot.
CSA assessment £270 per month for my daughter
Her: Living with new partner in rented, earnings part time (although qualified teaching assistant) £7500, His earnings allegedly £18,000
In receipt of CHB for daughter living with her (aged 15) also tax credit until recently but she's now stating these have ceased?
No CSA assessment for my son
What do you think the split will be decided at, the pot is not enough for either of us to re-house outright, new mortgages will be required.
Ok - as its a long marriage lets start with a 50:50 assets split.
Then lets consider any reason to vary from that:
This is often a big reason to divert from 50:50 but as you have 1 each then both have to be given priority. Both need to be housed.
You have significantly higher earning capacity.
Her outgoings are less because she has a new partner to share the bills.
I would think that the asset division of 50:50 of the 160k available is a likely outcome. (thogh it could also go slightly in her favour - especially if it is not accepted that she is co-habiting - perhaps 60:40)
The ongoing maintenance level will depend greatly on whether your ex is deemed to be co-habiting with her new partner.
If she is you may get away with just child support.
If the court is concerned that this new relationship could easily break down and leave her having to manage alone then they may award her spousal maintenance which could (together with child support) total 33% of your income.
Thanks for that, she has declared on the form E that she has a partner, however they have shown his income as low for his type of work, and submitted no proof.
I just know from the way things have gone already that she will say the new relationship is flaky and its likely it will fall apart.
Will the courts not look at the fact that, with a 15 year old daughter (almost 16) and a fully qualified career that she could go out to work full time and support herself rather than me having to pay spousal maintenance to support her in her newly aquired expensive lifestyle (already had a boob job and two holidays abroad since the split) all thanks to child tax and working tax credit which I am still battling to get for my son depsite him living with me since last october.
Also I have to say this site is excellent and I really appreciate your advice
Its good for you that she declared her partner on the Form E, and that they declared his income.
This could help you avoid/limit the heavy SM payments that many higher earners face.
(Some of our members pay as high as 60% of salary as Spousal Maintenance).
Re: her working full time - yes it is a fair arguement to make in negotiations and in court that with a 15 year old there is no reason that she cannot work full time.
One thing you may need to adjust to is that recent caselaw means that even if the lower earning party is able to support themselves - they are now entitled to an equal share of the marital assets - and that includes your earning capacity.
So she may get awarded SM even though she could manage without it.
The big factors in your favour in your case are that you look after 1 of the kids and that she has a new partner.
Thanks, still seems unfair as she could earn a good wage in her current field.
Additional problems, I need help with,
She has declared a gynacological condition requiring surgery (she has a weak bladder through alcolhol abuse altho this is not documented).
She has stated that she cannot work at the moment and has reduced her hours from 17.5pw to 15.5pw. I beleive this is to confirm that she cannot qualify for working tax credit hence needing more money from me.
I also beleive that she has been investigated by tax credits for fraudulently claiming, thereby declaring her hours lower she gets away with saying she cant claim working tax under a different reason than fraud.
My sol has queried why she is still not getting child tax for my daughter and we are awaiting to hear.
My son came to live with me last october, but I only made a claim for CHB & Child tax in Feb and was advised they were "currently paying this to another person", I have yet to be awarded this as they are "investigating", this I believe is why she is not receiving for my daughter as they have overpaid her.
Any ideas how I can find out or make this relevant at the first appointment?
At (or before/or after) the first hearing, as part of the disclosure process, you can request that she provides evidence of benefits and tax credits received in the last 2 years. Also you can ask that she provides evidence of the benefits and tax credits that she is entitled to.
The court will take account of her medical condition, but will also look beyond it and will have consideration for what they believe she has the capacity to earn (including benefits/credits).
Be aware that the first hearing is usually very quick (1 hour), held in judges chambers (meeting room not a court room) and nothing to be too daunted about.
Nothing gets finalised at the first hearing (unless you both decide to reach a voluntary agreement).
So you will have plenty of time beyond first hearing to build you case, based on requested disclosure and your own investigations (e.g. by ringing benefits office anonymously to learn exactly what she could be enititled to). There is also a website link in our Top Web Sites page that lets you find out all the benefits she could get.
You dont have to prove your case at the first hearing - use it to make certain key points and request additional disclosure.