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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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Advance preparation?

  • Alex123
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30 Oct 07 #5495 by Alex123
Topic started by Alex123
I'm considering separating from my wife of 2 years. Daft as it sounds, of the 6 years we've spent together in total, I don't think one has gone by in which I didn't consider leaving her at some point. There's never been any acrimony, it's just that being together never worked for me anything like as well as it did for her.

I know what you're thinking. What an idiot. But it is pretty hard to say no when everyone around you wants you to say yes. And it gets even more complicated when you add in the fact that I've been on and off medication for depression since before I met her. I always said 'yes' when the meds were working best, and regretted it when they weren't. The one time I started making noises about moving out (four or five years ago), she burst into tears, and I completely melted. That was it.

It can't go on for ever, though. I need my life back, I feel like I'm stuck in an airport waiting lounge at the moment. I want space to sort out my job, my mental health, life in general, and I can't do it with her. At the moment, she's got life pretty much how she wants it, and she's happy. She doesn't seem to register the fact that I'm not.

At some point, we will separate, whether it's now or in ten years time. Common sense suggests that if it is going to happen at all, it should happen sooner rather than later, for the best outcome all round.

So to cut to the chase:

Can anyone give me advice on advance preparations, in particular financial arrangements? Sadly, money seems to be the biggest issue in separations, and like everyone else, I don't want to end up being unfairly fleeced for everything I've earned. I've no idea how bad it can be, although high-profile cases in the papers seem to suggest 'very'.

There aren't any kids, and we don't have much shared property (only a car, and a small joint account balance for day-to-day running costs). We both work, and we've always contributed 50:50 to living and leisure costs, as well as housework etc. However, I've got four or five times more savings than she has (better paid job, plus savings from before marriage.) Also, my parents have been offering to help out with buying a house, and we have looked at properties in the past. I've deliberately put off buying because of my doubts about our marriage - but does she have any legal 'expectation', so to speak?

I don't think she's a 'grabber' by nature. She's always been vocally disapproving of women that are, and we've always agreed to keep our finances reasonably separate. I'd like to think that she would stick by her principles and agree to share just the existing jointly-owned assets, but with her mother behind her, I'm not sure she wouldn't try to go for more. How bad can it get, and what can I do to mitigate against it?

Thanks very much in advance for your help!

  • soulmanuk
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30 Oct 07 #5514 by soulmanuk
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beware woman change, my disagreed with affairs, people walking out on there kids, people going with people who are old enough to be there parent and people who take there ex's to the cleaners now she is doing them all, hope you can sort it out amicable, i tried but it as not worked

  • Sera
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30 Oct 07 #5517 by Sera
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Bear in mind that you can only split what there is!

If you divorce before buying a house, that would be easier, then have a clean-break divorce, which will prevent either of you making future claims.

Since it doesn't sound like there's a lot to squabble about, it all sounds straight forward.

It's a short term marriage, although the six years contributions could likely be considered. You don't mention how much savings? But bear in mind, if it went to a full hearing at court, it would not be worth fighting for, legal fees (to the bitter end) can run to £70k if both legally represented.

Each parties needs will be considered, but since you're both working, no kids, and both contributing 50-50%, then that sounds like you can just both carry on as you did before you were married. If their was a big descrepency in your incomes, she could be awarded spousal support, even if only short term.

I hope you get help with your depression. Please be aware though, that since you had it before you met her, you may still suffer once 'rid' of this marriage. You may also take it into another relationship. It's sad that you've come to this desicion. I hope she doesn't take it badly. Maybe also try some counseling together?

Divorce should be a last option! You say she's really happy. You project that you'll seperate anyway, if not now, then in say 10 yrs. Are you sure that's not just depressive (negative) thinking?

You say you need your life back. What were you doing before marriage that you can't do now? Not tied down with kids. Maybe explore building new self-esteem, new life, WITHIN the marriage?

Good luck
Sera
x

  • Alex123
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31 Oct 07 #5546 by Alex123
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Hi Sera,

Sera wrote:

You don't mention how much savings? But bear in mind, if it went to a full hearing at court, it would not be worth fighting for, legal fees (to the bitter end) can run to £70k if both legally represented.

Useful to know... That would certainly make a very big hole. I'm not exactly rolling in it, but it would be enough to attract interest from her parents. She admitted recently that part of the reason her mother has been pressing us to buy a house (using money from my parents) is so that we have proper joint assets.

If their was a big descrepency in your incomes, she could be awarded spousal support, even if only short term.

Not a massive difference in absolute terms now, she's had a few pay rises. But I've been working four more years than she has.

I hope you get help with your depression. Please be aware though, that since you had it before you met her, you may still suffer once 'rid' of this marriage. You may also take it into another relationship.

Thanks. Yes, I know it will carry on, that's sort of why I'm accepting that it will end our marriage sooner or later. I've had it for years, and definitely coped better when I lived on my own. Amazingly, my wife doesn't seem to have realized that I'm ill, despite all the ups & downs. She probably does know deep down, but doesn't want to acknowledge it. Any time I've ever tried to talk to her about 'big stuff' like this (including why I don't want to have kids), she blanks me.

It's sad that you've come to this desicion. I hope she doesn't take it badly. Maybe also try some counseling together?

I did think about it, but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't work with her. She just doesn't do big conversations. (Not with me, at least. It seems to be a different matter with her family).

Divorce should be a last option! You say she's really happy. You project that you'll seperate anyway, if not now, then in say 10 yrs. Are you sure that's not just depressive (negative) thinking?

She's happy as long as everything is superficially OK, regardless of what might be going on underneath. I can't live like that. Yes, I'm sure the depression is a factor, but it's part of me. I hate taking drugs to be someone else, for someone else's convenience.

You say you need your life back. What were you doing before marriage that you can't do now?

Glad you asked! Lots. I had loads of hobbies, through which I had regular contact with a circle of friends. That's all fallen by the wayside. My spare time during the week seems to get eaten up with chores around the house. We do go on outings at the weekends, but they mainly involve long walks together full of empty conversations about her family, or work. Never anything about us.

Sorry to vent. I'm not sure if this particular board is the right place, but as you can probably guess I don't have many other people to discuss it with at the moment. Thanks for all your support and advice, it's a big help.

  • duncan McEnzie
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31 Oct 07 #5550 by duncan McEnzie
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shame you cant get your life ,your friends and your hobbies back and stay married. Its a shame she cant talk about the big issues. Sometimes you see your own faults more clearly after you split. If you can ,try and see yours before you split. I take my share of the blame for our problems but then i too was always willing to talk about the big issues. My wife wasnt and i never expected her to behave like she has since i left her. If i were you i would do what is fair and decent but protect yourself . Joint bank account etc.

  • Alex123
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31 Oct 07 #5561 by Alex123
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davjam wrote:

Sometimes you see your own faults more clearly after you split. If you can ,try and see yours before you split.


Oh, I know mine pretty well. That's one of the reasons why I held out for so long before getting engaged (2 - 3 years), despite the endless pressure from her side. I knew I wasn't the person she seemed to think I was, but in the end it was easiest just to say yes and go for it. I suppose I hoped I would gradually change.

  • Sera
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31 Oct 07 #5577 by Sera
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davjam wrote:

shame you cant get your life ,your friends and your hobbies back and stay married. quote]


Viz magazine has a 'Vizism' to describe this particular choice of men to stay home and abandon their pre-marital mates:
Viz calls it 'SALMON HANDCUFFS' !!!! :)

Seriously though Alex, if you are preparing for divorce, (for sure) then do not enter into any further joint transactions, especially the part about buying a house. You'll have the expense of Surveyors fees, Stamp Duty, Legal fees, Mortgage registration fees, moving and usual decorating costs, transfer of services fees etc; etc.

And when you divorce a few years down the line, you can meet us lot back here who are mostly fighting over the matrimonial home!

What you spend your money on prior to divorce is up to you. If you lose your savings to an expensive car, a collection of Art work, Vintage Wine cellar (whatever) then you will still need to declare all items (and collections) over a certain limt (£500-£1000? I think).

Your question is really how well toprotect her claim against your savings.

Answer: How long is a piece of string!

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