Hi All, hoping to get some advice on my situation.
10 year marriage no children. Me 51 wife 46. Wife wants divorce is going to site unreasonable behaviour. I have just received the petition giving 7 days to respond. I asked her if we could discuss a settlement. She said she would only do it through mediation. I have so far refused, saying it would be better to initially discuss it between ourselves to get an idea of what we expect.
I want to try and get a rough idea how our assets may be split.
I have worked since age 16, my wife has worked since age 22 both currently working.
I have worked hard from my early twenties buying houses renovating and selling on.
I purchased the marital home when I was single in April 2005 on my own with a deposit of £140k, house cost £310k. I then started improving the house by using builders and doing lots of work myself. Spending £47k upto april 2008.
I met my wife in dec 2005, she moved in with me in May 2008 and started contributing to bills then. By that stage the house was worth approx £380k. I remained the sole name on the deeds.
We married in 2009. All bills were paid 60% by me 40% by wife.
I earn approx £40k p yr, she earns £28,500 plus a part time job £4500 p yr=£33000
We have always kept our bank accounts separate except for a joint a/c which was not set up until 2011 and is used to pay bills. The mortgage has always come out of my bank a/c, my wife has a standing order each month to my a/c to contribute towards the mortgage and bills.
In 2015 my wife approached me saying she wanted to do a deed of trust, we also agreed to remortgage the house for £100k for building an extension.
The deed of trust was done professionally through separate solicitors. All the money that I had spent buying and improving the house before my wife moved in was totalled up. The initial draft stated if we divorced the first £275k went to me the remainder would be split equally. She didn’t like this so after various drafts we agreed on the first £210k going to me, the rest split equally.
As we were remortgaging we then changed the deeds to show we were to ‘hold the property on trust’. As tenants in common in unequal shares. I think it was all done above board and professionally.
I have worked hard building an extension with the help of builders. The house is currently worth around £800K with a mortgage of £155K
Question- will the deed of trust stand up in court? My wife now says its unfair and she wants more, I think her solicitor may have told her they doubt the legitimacy of the deed.
BUY TO LET FLAT
We equally purchased a flat in 2015. This was my idea and has been a good investment. it provides a profit of approx £3500 p yr and has approx £55k equity in it.
My yearly pension at age 55 is £18,000.
Hers at 55 will be £5000 p yr
so my pension pot is over double hers
Question- is she entitled to claim any pension from me? my pension plan changed in 2007. It was basically frozen and a different pension started. It clearly states I had earned £14k p yr pension from age 55 for my contributions upto 2007. This was before I started co habiting with my wife let alone getting married. So am I entitled to keep any pension that was accrued before marriage?
Am I being incredibly naive to hope that the deed of trust holds up in court and that I can keep my full pension?
I think that once the house and ‘buy to let flat’ are sold and If I receive my deed of trust money, then my wife would get a settlement of approx £240k
One other question, we both work part time at the moment. But I have the option in the spring of going full time again which would increase my wages by £10k a year. I would like to do it, as it may help with a mortgage after the divorce. But would my increase in pay work against me in a divorce settlement?
any advice greatfully received, I haven't got a solicitor yet.
It's complex, there is well over £1m of assets at stake and a big proportion depends on the Deed of trust and it's wording and legitamacy. Speak to a solicitor as everything else will be guesswork. It's a 14 year relationship so long in the courts view so the starting point is 50/50. If there is sufficient assets to allow pre-marital ones to be set aside they can do but it isn't guaranteed, if those assets are needed to get a fair deal they can be considered