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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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quantifying and split of assets ... help!!!

  • scottishwoman
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22 Dec 07 #9430 by scottishwoman
Topic started by scottishwoman
Apologies for the length of this. I am the defender in a divorce action raised by my husband who left home 3.5 years ago, just short of 30 years of marriage. A prolific collector and very spoiled man, I have been left to try to quantify and value over 30 vehicles, records, jukeboxes, registration numbers, collectable toys, etc, as well as properties jointly owned. I have paid for valuations as best I can, I'm heavily in debt and have had his costs awarded against me for not providing information timeously and for failing to defend the original case (my ignorance I'm afraid). I'm unable to work due to ill health but did work for 25 years which is how he was able to buy the "collection". He now says that many of the items were his before marriage or gifted to him during the marriage which is a lie. He has possession of most of the vehicle documentation. I had professional valuations done on the vehicles but because of distance and money they were done from photos/information provided, very honestly, by me. He has had valuations done by a director of a bodyworks which are very much lower. I received a letter today (it was a Writ last Christmas) telling me to provide values and details of all items in the matrimonial home, including furniture (which is at least 7 years old and comprises beds, suite, 20-year old washing machine, etc). We have properties which are let and he wants to sign over the house to me and keep the other properties which generate income, thereby leaving me with a pension and incapacity payments - not enough to keep me and pay for my daughter's upkeep at university. He took over mortgage payments for those for which we had loans in June (I've juggled for the 3 years previously) but now says they should be met from the joint accounts (as before) and will no longer provide financial "assistance". This means that I will sink. We are due in court in January, my appeal having been successful. Please can anyone help. (I'm in Scotland)

  • Specialdad
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22 Dec 07 #9434 by Specialdad
Reply from Specialdad
Why the hell would your ex want a 20 yr old washing machine is my first question? Is he living in a third world country by any chance?

Seriously just keep fighting till you get 50% of assets and 50% of income. Dont give in to him.

Best of luck. Its tough but the judge will give a just settlement.

  • Fiona
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23 Dec 07 #9439 by Fiona
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If it's an Options Hearing the intention is to give parties a chance to meet before the sheriff in order to see if agreement can be reached without proceeding to a full court hearing or, if this is not possible, to focus the precise disagreement between parties. Usually expert valuations are instructed by both parties only if there is disagreement about valuations. If the various collections are valuable I'm surprised your solicitor didn't help organise this. Is the hearing in the Glasgow Family Court or elsewhere?

In Scotland the matrimonial assets are shared equally unless there are “special circumstances.“ Gifts and inheritances don't have to be shared, but they are resources which can be taken into account, as any award made by the court must be “reasonable having regard to the resources of the parties.” As well as sharing the matrimonial assets, the court can also order payment of a capital sum, a transfer of property or a pension share to compensate one of the couple for economic disadvantage sustained by him / her in the interests of the other or the family.

Periodic payments in Scotland are rarely awarded for more than 3 years to allow for readjustment, the exception being when someone can't be reasonably be expected to work because of their age or ill health. Under s1 Family Law (Scotland) Act 1985 all parents are generally obliged to financially support their offspring over 18 and under the age of 25 years who are in education or training.

  • Josh2008
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23 Dec 07 #9451 by Josh2008
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As stated above, fight for what you deserve that is a minimum of 50% of shared assets

In England & Wales all property brought into the marriage is taken into account and even if one can prove that, which is highly unlikely after 30 years, then a portion of the assets are awarded to the other spouse on a percentage basis over each year of marriage

After 30 years it is highly unlikely that any Judge will award anything less than 50/50 split after such a long marriage both parties will have equally contributed the fair share.

Regarding the incidental items in your home, it is proposperous to expect anything other than an 'auction' house valuation of them, because that in reality is all they are worth.

Again unsure about Scotland but here assets have to be of an individual value of £500.00 (each)

I too am going through a divorce after 31 years marriage and I put a value on the assets in the home, based on auction reality and to my horror the whole lot would only fetch about £2000.00 or so, but the cost of replacement would be somewhere in the region of £40,000.00

I therefore despensed with the idea of them having any true value and my wife and myself have agreed some items of exchange, ask him for a list of items he wants rather than bother valuing them

And make sure you get a receipt for all items given, because it looks like he's after more than he deserves.

Hope some of this helps

  • Fiona
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23 Dec 07 #9457 by Fiona
Reply from Fiona
I probably should have made it clear that in Scotland the matrimonial assets are those accrued between the dates of marriage and separation. However, if an asset was owned before marriage, inherited or gifted and incorporated into family finances then normally it becomes part of the 'pot.'

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23 Dec 07 #9470 by scottishwoman
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Thank you so much for all of your help and advice. I never expected to be part of such an uncivilised situation and wish it could be sorted out amicably. The hearing will be in Dumfries Sheriff Court. The options hearing was held there but I didn't understand from my solicitor's letter that the case was imminent (although I probably should have done) and thought because the last paragraph said something to the effect that they would keep me informed of the process nothing immediate was required of me. The hearing then took place undefended and the next I heard was that my husband had been awarded everything. I had to appeal and that was granted but I now have to pay over £5K in court fees including his. I wasn't aware of a date for defences to be lodged or the date of the case but the court doesn't know that and I believe I was deemed to be disrespectful I suppose. Certainly would never be my intention. The next hearing will be in mid-January but I've been warned that if we still can't agree a settlement a proof hearing will be very expensive (several thousand pounds). I have always had difficulty in that my husband wants to settle on the heritable properties first rather than involved the "collectibles" but that means that I would have to forfeit the rental income from the other properties and would not have enough income to keep the family home going. He knows, I presume, that I would then have to settle for whatever I could get for the collectibles as I would be so desperate. I think now, though, that he may be trying to avoid the court making a decision on the heritable split in case I might be awarded more than 50% due to my inability to work. (My solicitor didn't know that I am unable to work and originally advised that there was no obvious reason why the split should be anything other than 50-50 so I haven't brought the subject back up.) My husband has only provided valuations done himself (claiming to be an official valuer for a UK car club) but has now produced some by the director of a local body repair company. I employed the services of a recognised valuer in Surrey who, because of the distance involved and my lack of money, made his valuations from photographs and much information (honest info) from me both verbally and on the internet. I went to great lengths to value toys myself using a recognised collectors'dealers' book and he now says that they were all his before marriage. I am very frightened for my and my children's financial future. I know that the courts don't recognise any parental responsibility to provide for children over 18 (one isn't at university) but I have a personal, maternal obligation to them.

  • Fiona
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24 Dec 07 #9483 by Fiona
Reply from Fiona
Glasgow is the only court that deals specifically with family law in Scotland. Sometimes arrangements can go awry, especially if you live away from big towns or cities and the local solicitor is a jack-of-all-trades rather than a family law specialist.

You must tell your solicitor everything that could be of relevance and if you can provide any medical evidence that you are unable to work it would pre-empt a dispute about that. Don't forget any pensions. Proof hearings are expensive, which is why defended divorces are almost as rare as hen's teeth (did someone else say that on another thread?) so let's hope agreement can be reached in January.

If valuations can't be agreed at the Options Hearing you will probably need to find a valuer acceptable to both parties and share the costs. That needs to be weighed against the costs of going to Proof.

Please report back because it's difficult finding easily accessible information about divorce in Scotland so your experiences are valuable to others .

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