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What are we each entitled to in our divorce settlement?

What does the law say about how to split the house, how to share pensions and other assets, and how much maintenance is payable.

What steps can we take to reach a fair agreement?

The four basic steps to reaching an agreement on divorce finances are: disclosure, getting advice, negotiating and implementing a Consent Order.

What is a Consent Order and why do we need one?

A Consent Order is a legally binding document that finalises a divorcing couple's agreement on property, pensions and other assets.


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Minimising my financial settlement

  • d_cee
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26 Oct 07 #5339 by d_cee
Topic started by d_cee
Hi there

Does anyone have any advice as to how I can minimise the settlement sum that my violent wife will get as a result of our divorce?

I have full residence (custody) of our three year old daughter and still live in the home that was mine for 17 years before I ever met my wife.

My wife brought nothing into the marriage, never worked until after she left and makes no contribution to childcare.

She's insisted that everything is done through the courts - and of course she gets legal aid and I don't.

  • OBEs 1 canoodly
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26 Oct 07 #5340 by OBEs 1 canoodly
Reply from OBEs 1 canoodly
Hello d_cee

You maybe need to give a few more details then someone more knowledgeable than I will be able to give you the pointers you need.

You need to let us know:
length of marriage
your wages
her wages
your pension value
her pension value
value of house
mortgage outstanding if any.

You say you have residency so I would assume this was awarded by the courts? Was this due to your wife's violent nature? Does she have an illness? Could she have Bi-polar?

Usually the court will order that the resident parent remains in the home until the child attains the age of 18. Dependant on what she is earning they may even order your wife to pay child maintenance! You say that you owned the home prior to meeting your wife. If the marriage was a short one then you can retain your individual investments it's when a marriage is lengthy that the problems begin and all things become equal (or not in some cases) regardless of who paid what.

At this stage I wouldn't worry too much as the thing that is paramount here is your little daughter, her wellbeing and a roof over her head along with a very caring parent!!

Post some more details of your circumstances and I am sure someone on here will be able to give you some very good advice to help you on your way.

Stay with us, you will get a lot of support!!!

Regards

OBEs 1

  • d_cee
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26 Oct 07 #5345 by d_cee
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Hi OBEs 1

thanks for your reply:-)

we've been married 3 years 5 months (she left after 3 years). And you're right in part, the courts gave me custody of my daughter because of my wife's violent nature and also because she comes from N.E.India, where I met her, so there's a significant risk of her abducting our daughter.

My financial position is:
My net income is currently around £2,000 per month
My wife gets job seekers allowance and housing benefit and works part time for around £400 per month
I've paid around £40,000 into a personal pension over the past 25 years
She brought no money to the UK - or has any investments.
My house is worth around £250,000 (6 months left on the mortgage) and I own a commercial property worth about the same.
I had around £7,000 worth of shares and savings which I've cashed in to pay my solicitor so far!
I took a £15,000 loan to pay for our wedding which is paid in 5 months
and I've around £5,000 worth of credit card debts.
Car loan of £7000 is paid in 7 months time ( +trade in allowance £11,000)

As you might have guessed, I tried the Divorce Calculator earlier - it sadly failed at 'how many nights with Dad' - probably as I'm on a mac. :(

cheers

d_cee

  • LittleMrMike
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27 Oct 07 #5349 by LittleMrMike
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Hmmmm- without knowing more about your wife's ' violent nature ' it's difficult to say what effect it would have. There are a few cases where one partner physically attacked the other and caused injuries which prejudiced the ability of the other to earn a living, and in such a case it would be expected that an award of spousal maintenance would be made against the perpetrator, or that no award of spousal maintenance would be made in a case where it might have been made but for the violence. But generally it is not easy to persuade the Courts to recognise conduct as a factor.

The violence could, of course, and if proved probably would, have an influence on the issue of where your child was to live and, as OBE rightly says, this can indirectly affect the financial settlement, as it is not by any means unusual for the parent with care ( in this case, you ) to be given the right to stay in the marital home until the child reaches majority.

The law relating to short marriages is, as I understand it, regarded as uncertain as a result of the very unsatisfactory judgment of the House of Lords, in the Miller and McFarlane cases. It is not just me who is saying this - no less than such legal luminaries as the President of the Family Division and also Mark Posnansky QC, an expert in this field, are saying that reform is long overdue. If THEY don't understand it, what chance have lesser mortals like us got ?

I can remember the time when it was, I think, pretty clear that a spouse divorcing after a short marriage couldn't expect very much. I think that most people would agree with that, Lord Nicholls, in the case cited, referred to an 'instinctive feeling' that someone divorcing after a short marriage would have less call on the assets of the other than would have been the case after a longer one ; but then went on to say that the ' yardstick of equality ' applied as much to short marriages as to longer ones, so nobody knows what he meant. Good, sound, ordinary common sense dictates that a short marriage is a very good reason to depart from quality of division.

I'm still old fashioned enough to think that there is a world of difference between a marriage which lasts 30 years and one which falls apart after 3. What is, I think, rather more clear is that where there are children involved, the needs of the child have priority, but this is a factor in your favour ( it usually favours the wife ) as you need to retain the home to give your daughter the right start in life.

As to your wife - the obvious question is, why can't she work full time if she has no childcare responsibilities ? If she is on income support that means she must work less than 16 hours a week, so what is there to stop her working full time ? What can sometimes happen in cases like this is that the wife gets a maintenance order for a limited time, with the intention that she uses the time to find full time remunerative employment and have no need of support from her ex.

In your favour, there is the shortness of your marriage,and the fact that you are looking after the child, and your wife seems capable of work. The
difficulty is the disparity between your respective resources. I think your wife will get something here, but I have to make the rather obvious point that you have a solicitor, Should you not have some idea as to the likely shape of any financial settlement ? Or could it be that you do have an idea, but don't like what you see and are hoping that someone on this site can think of some bright idea ?

Mike 100468

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