I have asked my H for a separation/divorce. He was initially reluctant but now agrees - no one else is involved. We have been married 20 years with 3 kids aged 17 down to 11.
We have agreed a financial split as follows:
Joint Assets including equity from house currently being sold and both our pensions to be split 50/50 - total valu approx £500k.
In addition I have recently received approx £400k in compensation for a disabilty of which i will give him £50k
outright and loan him £50k (secured)to enable him to buy a property for kids to stay over/visit etc.
Income wise, I work part time so that I can sort out kids and do the domestic bit (H agrees that I shouldn't be forced to work full time)my net salary p.m is £900 with approx £300 est in tax credits and est £600 I will receive from an annuity in respect of my disability.
H will give me £2000 for the kids costs. I will purchase a decent property with only a small mortgage and be able to live quite comfortably on this.
H net income is approx £5000p.m but this is on a contract and so may be subject to down time.Even if I worked full time I could never earn as much as him as my career went on a back burner during our marriage with my agreement I might add.
Q is - am I selling myself short? I really want to avoid a fight for the childrens sake and also filling the lawyers pockets (sorry lawyers!)My H is a good man and will not try to evade his responsibilties to his children. However I'm aware that at the moment he would still like us to be together - what about in 2 years when he meets someone else? Should I take advice?
The first thing I would like to say is that both you and your husband are approaching this in a very sensible and mature manner. Your are both to be congratulated for that, and as you say, the more you can reduce conflict, the less there is for lawyers.
But the question you asked was ; am I selling myself short ? My feeling is that what you have agreed concerning the house and pensions seems sensible and workable. My worry is about the income. As I understand it, he will have a net income of £60K per annum, and yours will be £21.6K and you have more mouths to feed. I have a gut feeling that a judge would make an order for spousal maintenance on these figures. He is getting nearly three times as much as you, and after a long marriage I think you should be entitled to more than a quarter of the joint income. There are two quite recent Court cases that back up my argument ; the first is the House of Lords decision in McFarlane v McFarlane, which has some similarities to your case, and the other is a decision of Mr Justice Coleridge in a case called V v V. Now I know you don't want to take your husband to the cleaners, and what you do with this information is up to you. But you asked my opinion, and you've got it.
A few other things I want to say ; firstly, your husband can always apply for a reduction of his maintenance payments if his income reduces. Second, you don't have to have a full blown fight in court. There is an alternative, called mediation, and it is much more civilised, and much cheaper, than using lawyers. But it is always sensible to take legal advice on your own account before going into mediation. You will find that on this site there are people who, though they are not professionals, do have a good knowledge of the law and the process, and it would be worth your while finding out what they think. But getting some preliminary advice, from specialist family solicitors who are committed to resolving disputes amicably, is always sensible, and I definitely recommend that you should do so. It should not cost you more than a few hundred for a consultation when you can check out the informal advice that you may get here. Divorce these days is a complicated subject and calls for advice from those qualified to give it.
In answer to your question, Should I take advice ? I would say Yes.
Thanks for your reply which is very helpful.
Think I may not have explained clearly re the income - he will give me £2k per month on top of my income so in fact I would have 55% of the total income on these figures.
I will have a look at the cases you mention.
As you say, it would be worth spending a few hundred pounds to get a professional opinion.
Just moving away from the financial nitty gritty for a moment, I suppose there is an element of my not wanting to be too grasping because I am choosing to end the marriage and this is very much guiding my decisions.
In the light of your revised information, I now think the arrangements are fair and I do not think you will get much more, if anything. But I don't think it is a waste of time seeing a solicitor. If he agrees that the arrangement is OK, you can get the arrangements embodied in what is called a ' Consent Order ' which makes your agreement legally binding. A solicitor will advise you on this and why it may be a good idea to have one.
It's good to see a sensible unselfish approach, well done. The only thing I would point out is that your children are quite old so your tax credits etc will be reducing soon. The £2000 for the children could be finished in 6-8 years and you will be left with only your wages. Can you afford to live on that?