Hi, first posting so I am hoping that I provide enough information to get some great feedback.
I am currently separated from my wife of 16 years and haven't lived at the marital home for nearly a year. We have two children aged 14 and 10, wife hasn't worked since the birth of our first child. The marital home is worth around £400k with around a £120k mortgage I have a very well paid job around £120k in the pension, with some equity (shares/options) but I don't get this equity if I leave my job and it will not be mine for around 3.5 years lots of lockin clauses etc etc. Right lets get to the detail.....
We are on speaking terms both found new partners (no one prior to the separation). Get to see the kids when I want to which is pretty much each weekend. We are now moving forward with the divorce, she has been speaking to her solicitor and being told lots of things like you can get 50% of his salary he will pay your legal fees etc etc. I have always said that I would give her the house and maintenance per month etc would be discussed.
I think we would both like to get things agreed without the solicitors involvement and the get a Consent Order draw up when we are both happy with the finances. My going in position in terms of negotiating is as follows:
I am prepared to give her the house as long as she takes on the remainder of the mortgage. I will also give her a monthly payment which equates to around 28% of my monthly salary, clauses around when the children leave home it reducing etc.
In return I would keep my pension and equity and she would have no future claims on earnings etc.
hopefully then we can both move on.
Does this sound like a fair and reasonable position. Is ther anything I need to consider for example CGT or any other claims she could be advised to make.
In the first place, I think most contributors to this website, myself included, would agree that, in principle, it is far better that you should negotiate a financial agreement with your wife rather than go through the whole gamut of a contested hearing, which can cost £20,000+. I assume from your letter that you know what a Consent Order is and why it is desirable for you to have one, but if not, please ask.
I believe, and certainly where there are significant assets involved, that legal advice should be taken at an early stage from a solicitor who specialises in family law. I do not think this suggestion is inconsistent with the previous paragraph about the desirability of negotiation. You need to know the sort of order that a Court would be likely to make in your case before you can negotiate sensibly, otherwise you may be at a disadvantage, especially if your wife has already taken advice from a solicitor who, on the basis of what you say, may be giving her expectations which are unlikely to be realised.
First issue is child maintenance. I suggest you go to the CSA website. This has a calculator which should enable you to work out your liability. As you say, it reduces when the children grow up.
As regards maintenance for your wife - well, I think 50% of your salary is too high but you have omitted one piece of vital information - your wife's own earnings, assets and other resources. The fact that she is cohabiting will also reduce your potential maintenance liability.
Then there is the house. Normally, where there are children, it is likely that the spouse who has the care of the children - normally the wife - will have the right to stay there while the children are still under 18. In normal circumstances a Court will be unwilling to give the house to the wife outright with no compensation to the husband, but a trade off whereby the wife gets the house and the husband keeps his pension is certainly a possible option for you.
I am sorry if this reply is not perhaps as helpful as you would like, but you do need to remember that contributors to this site are not professionally qualified although they do have a better than averge knowledge of the divorce process ( from first hand experience, I may add ! ). Can I suggest you read the FAQ section on this website which you will find helpful.
Well, you did say you had both found new partners !
The fact that your wife has an income of her own does, of course, have a bearing on the issue of spousal maintenance. Could she be entitled to tax credits ? If so, that might reduce your liability still further. If in doubt talk to a CAB on the benefit aspect, that advice will be free.
many thanks for your prompt response. I am due to see my solicitor this week and then the ex at the weekend to discuss a financial position. I will take into account your feedback and the solicitors advice.
I personally think what I am prepared to offer is very reasonable but then again I'm not a solicitor