In short my ex had two affairs, one 2 years ago which we managed to get over and carry on, the second more recent has led to me filing for divorce on adultry grounds. In between the two periods the ex decided, and with legal representation, to sign over the house completely to myself. I am not sure of the reasons and did try to put her off doing this.
The ex has left the home and is staying with her Mother.
We have two children, one of 19 and one of 16. The 19 year old is in full time work and lives at home, the 16 year old is still in school and finishes in May 2008, again lives with me at home. I have no financial support whatsoever from the ex.
We have reached an agreement with the property, pensions, finances etc. which includes my right to stay at the house for the next five years in which I can then opt to pay 50% of the market equity or sell to split the 50% market equity.
Would this agreement be looked at as reasonable by a court, especially as both children live with me, or could the court persue a payout to my ex wife, of which would mean great hardship in maintaining the current living status we are used to ? Any advice in this area would be greatly appreciated.
Well done for coming to an agreement without solicitors!
I think that if you both had legal advice, and particularly if you got your agreement drawn up by a solicitor, then a court would be fine about it. I suppose if your incomes were wildly disparate in your favour, then a judge might order you to pay her spouse maintenance for a while. On the other hand, you have the children, which makes a difference the other way.
I'm not sure about the status of the house having been signed over to you. If you were fighting over money that would be in the marital pot regardless so your wife would still have a claim on it. But if you are agreed on what will happen I think it is probably OK. One of the solicitors on here will come in and say if it isn't, I'm sure.
The one thing the court can't rule on, however, is the child maintenance issue. Although you would have to put in a claim, your wife should be paying you child maintenance for your younger child until she or he is eighteen. You can't sign that away, though of course you can just not claim, which will be fine unless you find yourself on income support, when they will insist that you do it.
In the first place, it is not really possible to offer definite advice without knowing the full state of your respective finances. That said, if you have the care of the children it is likely that a Court would allow you to occupy the FMH until the youngest was 18 and maybe a little longer. Your wife's housing needs are met because she lives with her mother and the agreement you have made gives her an eventual 50% share.
This is nothing here which strikes me as clearly unreasonable, and I think it is worth your while applying for a Consent Order, which converts your agreement into a legally binding order, and leaves you free to move on with your lives. This is not particularly difficult or expensive, and a Court would be likely to approve an agreement made with proper legal advice on both sides, as long it was a fair one.