I would really appreciate any comments/advice on the financial settlement draft I have drawn up.
We are currently in tied accommodation, which I will continue to live in, but own no property ourselves. I earn about £65k and my wife about £25k. We have two children - 19 and 16. The 16 yr old has two more years of private school to go (£26,000 total). I am assuming that they will both get uni grants if they are resident with their mother in future. We have savings of about £30k.
I am suggesting that we split the savings 2:1 in my favour. My share will go towards school fees leaving me paying £267 per month from income. My wife''s share will pay for her rental advance and deposit and removal costs (£4500?). The remainder will form a security pot for her (£5930?). I will be left with no savings.
I am proposing paying my wife £1200 per month towards her rent of about £1500 until both kids have left uni when it will halve to £600 per month.
By the way, my wife has asked me to act as guarantor for her rental agreement (because she does not fulfil the criterion of earning an annual income of at least 30 times her monthly rental p.a.). I think I am happy to do this- is that unwise?!
I will pay all kids'' costs until they leave uni.
This should leave me with disposable income of about £500 per month during the next year; my wife with £400 per month. My "disposable" should increase gradually over the next few years and then signicantly once kids are through uni which means that I can start saving towards accommodation when I retire (I am 49).
I am suggesting that we value all furniture, cars and other belongings then set about dividing it up in a way which suits and achieves an equal split. It may well be that one or other offers cash in lieu.
Obviously my teacher''s pension will be carved up accordingly.
I would make the usual conditions such as there being no claim on future inheritances and that any signifcant changes to circumstances might require a renegotiation of the agreement. Is that OK? Have I forgotten anything else?
Well, many thanks for reading this far. I am really looking forward to hearing from people out there what they think.
Well, my friend, I have already put on my wise old man hat once before today, and perhaps I need to put it back. I am a great believer in learning from one''s mistakes. I am an even greater believer in learning from other peoples'' mistakes.
Number 1. Be very very careful about drafting agreements that provide for support of grown up children through uni.
I have seen agreements that provide for supporting an adult child '' till the end of tertiary education ''. Then, one fine day, they wake up and realise that '' tertiary education '' can include postgraduate courses/degrees. But they had only intended support till the attainment of the first degree. Be very clear as to the extent to which you are willing to offer support and make **** sure that your agreement accurately gives effect to that intention.
Number 2. You need some savings. We all do. We need something to fall back on for heavy unforeseen expenditure. Ideally the recommendation is that your savings would tide you over three months'' unemployment. That admittedly is a counsel of perfection. But don''t leave yourself with nothing at all.
Number 3. You are talking about paying your wife £1200 p.m. towards her rent. Whatever name you put on it, that is spousal maintenance, alimony, whatever name you care to put on it, and on this forum I can tell you that there are other names which are not quite so nice.
Now when it comes to spousal maintenance ( SM ) you must be clear about a few basic facts. Most men in your position are naturally concerned about how much SM they will have to pay. They tend to overlook the issue of how long they have to pay it for - and this may be even more important.
The one thing you need to avoid is an order for joint lives. An order must specify precisely when SM starts and when it ends.
You realise, I take it, that if you have an order for SM which is limited in time, your wife can apply for an extension ? ( whether she''d get it is another issue ) UNLESS the Court makes an order ( known technically as a section 28 bar, any family lawyer will know what you mean ) preventing an extension.
And you are proposing a pension split. OK, but do please try and make sure if you can, that SM ends on retirement and no later.
Number 4. Be very very careful about guarantees. You may want to help your wife but it is absolutely crucial that the guarantee is not open ended. If for example your wife were to default, heaven forfend, and the landlord is tardy in enforcing, she could run up a considerable sum and you could find yourself liable for it.
Other posters may want to add something. But this is my tuppence worth. As I said, learning from the mistakes of others.
Do the numbers/proportions seem right? I know it is really difficult to tell but I feel like I have no benchmark in terms of what is fair and reasonable and don''t know how to achieve that, short of paying lots of money to a solicitor who will, no doubt, feel obliged to "fight" for me paying as little as possible.
I think that Mikes suggestions and cautions on the pitfalls to avoid make perfect sense.
In principle I think that your offer is fair and fair is a very difficult thing to get absolutely right.
You make an offer to act as guarantor but I would only guarantor a sort term lease (6 months) so that you don''t get involved in guaranteeing a long term tennecy (in any case they are rare these days).
If she choices to spend large amounts on solicitors then that is her choice but seems totally pointless when there is nothing much to fight about. Perhaps point that out and if you do get solicitors letters avoid the temptation to answer immediately, get on here and get advice from Wikis.
When you do decide on an offer, make it an open offer in writing to her to avoid courts and legal costs. So do not mark it without prejudice.
Get your Petition underway immediately, I wouldn''t bother waiting for her to get a solicitor, follow the proceedure you find on here, hopefully she agrees the marriage has broken down irretreivably and you are on your way.