I am a 44 year old man looking at splitting up with my wife of 18 years. We have 2 children 16 and 11.
My wife has asked me to leave and when money was discussed she wanted 70% of the value of the property as she plans on the 2 children staying with her. There is no outstanding balance on the mortgage.
The house is worth approx. £160K and split 70:30 in favour of my wife this way would leave me with £48k. I only earn approx. £26K per year and there is no way that I could afford to buy a cheap 2 bedroom house with this settlement taking into account a child maintenance payment of approx. £280 / month also.
What I would like to know is how the split is calculated, are my finances also taken into consideration when the split is decided upon?
I am no expert, but recalling other posts seen on here, you need to be a bit more specific about your wife's position as regards employment.
Did she work through the marriage or make any specific financial contribution to the relationship?
Does she work now? If so, what does she earn? What are her future earning capabilities?
Is she likely to look for spousal maintenance in addition to maintenance for your children?
Do you or she have any pension provisions?
All of these things are factors in determining the split of assets. I believe that theoretically the starting point is 50:50, but then childrens needs are paramount, and if your wife will be the Parent With Care (PWC) then the split will be in her favour.
If you can answer the questions above, there are far more knowledgeable and experienced people on here that will give you a sensible 'guess'. There seem to be no fixed rules in all of this - different day = different judge is a common phrase here.
On a personal level, doesn't it all stink? I appreciate your position, I am in similar dire straights. Good luck with it, and try to keep smiling, even through gritted teeth!
She has worked during the marriage sometimes full time and sometimes part-time, more often part-time since we have had children.
She currently works part time and earns about £400 net, she is not looking for spousal maintenance and doesn't have any pensions provisions. She would have to take a full time job to pay the additional mortgage she would need.
I will contribute on a monthly basis for my children's maintenance.
It seems I am in a no win situation, where she carries on happily with her life and I lose practically everything.
Does it make any difference if one of the 2 children were to live with me? Would the split then be more likely to be 50/50 and how would the child maintenance thing work out?
If the 16 year old wanted to live with me but the mother did not want this to happen what would happen then? Is she able at that age to make her own decision?
The Law in England and Wales on splitting assets (and deciding maintenance) in Ancillary relief considers a number of factors and guidelines.
Being fair (which you might assume means 50:50) is certainly one aim.
But, in the vast majority of cases finances are stretched due to there now being 2 households to pay for....and fairness gives way to a decision based on 'needs'.
And in this order...
1) What do the children need.
2) What does the parent who cares for the children need.
3) What does the other parent need.
So if you have limited assets/income...then the person at the bottom of the above list can come out feeling pretty hard done to.
A couple of factors relevant to your case.
Pensions...you did not say whether you had any. They are relevant cos they are part of the pot. And it is common for the Parent With Care (of kids) to get greater share of the house, whilst the Earner gets to keep greater share of their pensions.
Affordability of FMH (house). If your wife is caring for two kids the court may not expect her to work full time. If she cannot afford to get a mortgage and buy you out of the property (buy your 30% for example)....then it is possible that you end up having to leave your 30% in the property....and dont get your hands on it til both kids leave home and the house is then sold....courts do not like to force the mum and kids to sell their house (though they do make this order on occassions).
If you had one kid then.....yes it does make a difference and would lead to a more even asset split. But of course the court will want to see that the living arrangements are what is best for the kid...not what gets you the best deal. I think with one kid each...as the higher earner you will find you still end up paying child support for the only one parent (her) gets child benefit.
If you can get a slight improvement on the 70:30...to maybe 35% or 40% for you....and get away with zero spousal maintenance...then you will have done well.