I would really appreciate some advice as I am in total shock and facing the daunting prospect of divorce because my husband has decided he does not want to have children (amongst other issues) and we are unable to find a compromise (I am 35 and he is 37). We jointly own a house, and cover the mortgage and bills equally using a joint account, but own separate accounts for everything else.
My husband is the higher earner and wants to take on the mortgage on his own (although this would require a loan 7 x his salary). However, I am not comfortable with rushing into this decision, as I chose the house especially as a development project, have worked hard to increase its value to date and would have continued to add value over the next two years (he is not interested in DIY or home improvements) and shared in a significant profit.
Could I insist on the improvements and loft conversion being carried out before getting a new valuation and starting divorce proceedings? I am not relishing the thought of having to move back up North from London, with a portion of the equity, while my husband suffers no such inconvenience, continues living in a three bedroom house and then profits from improvements we had planned to make together. Has anyone kept on a joint mortgage following a divorce and then rented out the property? Do I have any rights if I wanted to do this?
Our details are below:
Together 12 years 3 months
Married 2 years 5 months
Original value of home £390K
Current value of home £500K
My contribution to house purchase £25K
Husband's contribution to house purchase £86K
My earnings £36K
His earnings £58K
His savings £20K
We both have various personal and employer pensions
Also, could anybody advise on how our assets might be split e.g. would the equity be split 50/50 (so he would have to find £96,500 to buy me out)?
Sorry for the detailed post but I would really appreciate some pointers before I see a solicitor. I really don't know where to start and am now having to plan for a completely different future than I had anticipated (which could involve being a single mum).
When you say your husband is willing to ' take on ' the mortgage, does that mean that he will buy you out and raise the finance to do it by way of mortgage ?
A Court's primary consideration is to make sure that both of you have a home. In your case, it would seem that this is easier than it is with some divorcing couples, where resources are limited, and the solution requires a good deal of creative thought, much more so than in high value cases.
My first reaction to the idea of insisting on improvements is that it can often make sense for divorcing couples to carry out decorations or repairs to a house which is to be sold, to improve its marketability. But in your case it isn't clear whether the house will be sold. You would have to agree who pays for the cost of this work ; but would it, for example, be sensible for you to bear the cost of the work if you will only get a share of any increase in value ? Is it not arguable that if your husband stays there, he has a right to the final say in what is to be done to his future sole residence ? If the house is to be sold, would you get your money back at a time when property prices are forecast to fall ? and so on.
As to letting, I don't see it, quite honestly. It leaves both of you without a home, and neither of you seems all that short of income.
Spousal maintenance - most posters on this site would say that this would be considered where the husband earns twice as much as the wife. Probably not, therefore, but see a solicitor for confirmation.
You would certainly have a share in the marital home, and the only question is how much. It is not helpful to your case that you have only been married for two years. Nevertheless the Court can , and I think would, consider the prior cohabitation and the contributions you have made; and the case of Gojkovic, 1990 1 FLR 140 would be helpful. The Court would certainly adopt 50/50 as a starting point and then consider whether there were any factors justifying a departure from equality.
It seems to me you and your husband are into Clean Break territory ( namely that you split your assets and neither makes any further claim on the other in the future ). I am no expert on pensions.