Length of marriage + pre marriage cohabitation;
20 years (17 years at time of separation) plus 4 years cohabiting
Me 50K (employed), Her £15K (part time 50% hours – possibility to go full-time on request)
Family Home £200K
Rental – 25% share of 2 bed property £15K – gross income when occupied £90pm
Rental –50% share of 1 bed property £65K – gross income when occupied £350pm
Her – 2014 family car £8k
Me – 2005 car £1.5k
2019 Scooter £1.5k
£17k mortgage remaining
£2k balance of loan taken during marriage (purchase of above family car).
Me – CETV (1) £280k CETV (2) £115k
Her – CETV £170k
She began the process of arranging a financial settlement via a solicitor. I don’t think she expected the solicitor would want information from her, and when they asked her for it she didn’t respond and subsequently dropped them. She then asked me to make an offer, but when I said I’d also need some information, she again did not provide any.
We had one mediation session pre-lockdown. I went fully prepared with all figures – she brought no figures, but came up with some off the top of her head. This included halving the value of the car and claiming to have no money/savings. She said she has £5k in her account but owes each of our sons £3k each – claimed borrowed to pay off a credit card balance.
She inherited £35k about 3 months before we split. No mention of where this has gone.
At the session she demanded the following:
• She would get the family home outright.
• I keep shares in rental properties.
• I would settle all outstanding debts.
• She would get 25% (almost £100k) of my pension transferred to hers.
• Both keep our respective vehicles and belongings.
• I pay child maintenance.
I agreed to all, in principle, except the pension transfer % as I did not have her pension CETV. She has now provided this, so I need to decide what to offer as a proposal.
Her demanded % would mean she has 57% of the total marital pot.
My thinking is that £80k (20%) would be a fair offer, given her housing needs would be fully met with no outgoings.
However, I’m conscious that the proposal would mean that I have considerably higher monthly income than her, although my housing needs would still need to be met. I’m currently renting and also have a 15-year-old car that’ll soon need replacing once this is all sorted out.
The two rental properties can only be shared with the agreement of the other shareholders, and they’ve indicated they don’t wish to sell in the near future.
As the property split (taking into account me settling outstanding debts) would be 77% - 23% in her favour, what would be a fair and reasonable amount of pension to transfer?
You may be right, but that depends what the answer to my question is. We’re due to reconvene mediation. Now that I have her figure, I’m looking for advice ahead of that on what would be fair and reasonable - if I agree to the proposed split of the other assets.
I don’t want to get into an argument with her about it, so if the view is somewhere between £80k and £100k would seem reasonable, then the answer to your question is probably none. And if the advice is she could reasonably expect at least what she’s asking for given our respective incomes, then it’s definitely none.
But if the answer to my question is that, given what else she’s asking for, even £80k would appear very generous and so unfair to me, that may suggest I should be offering less or asking for a different split of the other figures if I agree to £100k. For example, that she settles the remaining debts.
The point of financial settlement is to ensure that your respective needs for housing and income, now and in the future are met.
The proposal you have outlined does not appear to address your housing need.
If she increases her hours she will have mortgage capacity. NB if she is receiving tax credits and child benefit plus child maintenance, her income may well be more than you think!
You need a lump sum as a deposit. If you cannot realise the capital in the two shared properties this will have to come from the FMH. The key here is the cost of suitable alternative housing that would allow you to provide space for the children to stay and your mortgage capacity.
The btl investments could be seen as a long term income stream and potentially offset against pension and/or used to negate any income gap .in the years before retirement - and support a mortgage for her.(this could be through spousal maintenance if you own the shares).
I think a more even share of the capital is likely outcome, you will both need to obtain a mortgage and that the pensions should be split in such a way as to ensure equality of income in retirement. The recent PAG report on pension sharing is an interesting read...
However, you can't do any of this without full financial disclosure. If she won't disclose, you may have to apply to court to compel her to do so. To do that you will need sign off from mediation to say it hasn't worked. You can still settle at an early stage; it doesn't have to be a fight to the bitter end. You can self represent to save costs with the help of this site. As well as the free advice on the forum, we offer a range of fixed price services to support litigants in person.