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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.

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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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Clean break settlement - advice needed!!

  • DMJ
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04 Jun 07 #564 by DMJ
Topic started by DMJ
Please help me someone.

My Decree Absolute is through (was two months ago)
Before the Decree Absolute, my then wife and I agreed a voluntary settlement between ourselves.

- half the equity in the house after we got it valued (to the sum of £100k cash) in return she signed the house over to me. It is in my name fully now.
- Me to pay the kids private school fees for the rest of their school life (36k per year) the kids are both 10 years old.
- Maintenance for our two children (to the sum of £1100 per month)
- Paying the full rent on a house the same size as the one we lived in (£1000 per month)

In addition to the above she had a new car (value £10k) which I maintained apart from the petrol used plus additional expenses like my daughters private singing lessons, their pony riding lessons etc.

My ex-wife and children are moving in with her new man in July so the only thing I will cease paying is rent. I no longer pay for the car now as she sold it and kept the £6000 profit it made.

She has now sprung on me something called a 'Clean Break settlement' which she claims she is entitled to the following from me:

- A third of my future earnings
- Half the house
- Half of my sports car I have just bought (in celebration of my divorce!)
- part of my pension
- And half of any of my other assets

This is on top of what she gets and has had already from me!

My questions are:

Can she do this?
I wish to marry my fiance fairly soon, what happens if I do? Can I transfer my house and car to her (my new wife)? Does this have any impact on my ex wifes intentions?
My ex wife is co habiting, does this matter?
If we have agreed voluntarily the finances already and the only purpose of the Clean Break order is that we can make new wills and and both get remarried so that there is no future financial claim, is there not a simpler way to acheive this without the need of the courts? Can we not just agree via our solicitors?

The background is:

My wife had an affair and left me for another man. A year and a half later we divorced. 6 months ago I met the woman I want to marry and we are engaged. My ex says she wants this extra money as I'm talking of marrying again and having more children and she's only protecting their own childrens future inheritance.

I'm trying to look to and provide a future with my fiance, does our childrens inheritance or even our financial future not matter? My ex-wife said, 'the goal posts have changed', that's why she's doing it.

Please, if someone has any legal advice or experience or simply words of reassurance, please, please help me. I am away for a week before I can see my solicitor and I can't take another sleepless night of worry. The internet is full of jargon.

Please help.

Regards,

DMJ

  • DownButNotOut
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04 Jun 07 #566 by DownButNotOut
Reply from DownButNotOut
It sounds as though your divorce was completed quite recently and you voluntarily agreed a financial deal but that its wasnt formally drafted as a Consent Order.

Until you formalise the agreement - then things are up in the air and she may demand changes to the agreement as she is doing.

The voluntary agreement you came to will be taken into account by the courts / solicitors when you come to negotiate a new deal and she will not get to keep all you gave her the first time around and then get to come back for half of what is left.

Without knowing your financial details i cannot be very precise - but as a rough guide:

As the primary carer of the two kids she may well get allocated 60% of equity and you 40%.
She will be entitled to child support of 20% of your net income til kids are 19ish or finish uni if they go.
Then (if u earn much more than her) she is likley to be
able to claim spousal maintenance which will boost this up to a total of 33% of your net income.

The equity to be shared out will include everything you mention - your house, your car, but also her car and the 100,000 you already gave her (unless she spent it in which case thats another big complication).

The fact she is moving in with a new guy is great news for you. It means she will probably not get spousal maintenance and so you just have to pay the child support of 20% of your salary.

The impact of you also cohabiting is that if the woman you move in with also has a decent income then a judge make take the view that your needs are easily met on two incomes and so award higher % of house or higher maintenance to your ex. But your ex cannot make any direct claim on the assets or income of your new partner.

The new deal your ex is describing is not a Clean Break cos she wants 1/2 of everything and 1/3 of your income.

The wife's in these case have 2 choices:
- maintenance deal (1/2 of assets plus ongoing income from maintenance)
or
- Clean Break deal (higher % of assets but no ongoing income)

The trick she may be trying to pull off is to get you to accept a Clean Break (i.e. give her more assets up front) cos she knows she will lose the maintenance when she moves in with the new guy.

i.e. in the knowledge that she is about to co-habit - it would be unwise for you to pay more assets for a Clean Break, you should choose the 50/50 deal with ongoing maintenance cos she will lose the entitlement to the maintenance once she moves in

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