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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.

What steps can we take to reach a fair agreement?

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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Where do I stand?

  • Munchbunch
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04 Oct 12 #359299 by Munchbunch
Topic started by Munchbunch
I was wondering if I could ask for some perspective on settlement in my current situation.
My partner and I are going to separate, eventually. No other parties involved on my side, possibly on his, but that is not the reason for the split.
We have been together ten years, cohabited for nine years, purchased a house together five years ago, married three years ago, have a son of two.
The house was purchased using equity of £45k from my house sale (sole owned by me) plus paid all fees and costs from moving. At the time of purchasing the house I also gave him £16k to buy his car and paid for all furniture and initial set up electronics in the house (mentionned as this was over £10k too).
Me:
36
Salary approx. £34k
Pension approx. £20k
Car approx. £2k
Debt approx. -£5k
Husband:
31
Salary approx. £31k
Pension approx. £20k
Car approx. £7k
Gadgets approx. £8k (if sold on now figure-he works in IT and has a photography habit, we have thousands in all of the latest gear, much of which is responsible for his high debt figure)
Debt approx. -£15k
My intention is to be the parent with child but offering 50/50 residence (I don’t know if he’ll take this as he’s not great with the responsibility, but I’ve based my assumptions on him taking the opportunity). Rather than maintenance it would be my intention for us to both still pay for our son’s nursery fees, which come in at the amount full CSA payment would be (he may not agree to this but I know he wants our son to stay in the same nursery so would hopefully).
Previously my plan was I was going to leave the marital home upon settlement, find somewhere else to rent with my son and was happy to either sell the house or for him to ‘buy me out’ as I couldn''t afford the mortgage on my own. However, our mortgage rate has dropped and it is in fact much cheaper for me to remain in the house than to rent elsewhere. Also, when I was going to leave I had assumed there would be a profit in the house. It also now transpires that there will be virtually no equity, once estate agent fees and solicitors sale fees are paid we would perhaps be left with a couple of thousand to split if anything. I may be able to take the mortgage on too in just my name, but once some haggling with work is done over my hours and pay.

I have made the following assumptions (please correct me if any of these are wrong):
We would be classed as a long marriage due to cohabitation.
It does not matter that I paid for the house deposit or gifted him money for the car, that’s all water under the bridge and will not be taken into consideration.

My questions are:
Am I likely to be forced to sell the house with no equity available?
(Bit ambiguous this one) Is it fair for me to stay and him go? I am concerned he won’t have any money to get anywhere else and will probably return to his parents.
What do I do if he won’t leave, is court to get a judge to decide my only option?
Split wise , I’m happy to split equity with him if there is any by the time this is sorted, but I feel that financially we walk away with what we have and split the remainder of the home stuff. What do others think about this?

I don’t want to screw him over, which is why my plans have always been for me to leave the house and sell either to him or through an estate agent. But it seems crazy to leave the house if it’s so much less than renting a two bed (nearly £300 per month). Now I appreciate I could leave him with the house enjoying the cheaper rent, but then I get concerned about (1) remaining on the mortgage with him (he spends way beyond his means) (2) I paid all the deposit, part of me does resent him keeping the house, which I know is petty.
I am looking for views. I think I have thought everything through but other people’s perspective is always welcome.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

  • maisymoos
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04 Oct 12 #359301 by maisymoos
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Your assumptions regarding length of marriage and that all assets will be regarded as joint are right.

It appears that you are income wise on a pretty equal footing and if you each have your son 50% of the time your housing needs and income needs are going to be similar.

I agree there is little point in selling the house if there is next to no equity and the mortgage is affordable to one of you.

The issue here appears to be who gets to stay and who goes?

This is not worth fighting in Court over,have you considered mediation?

  • Munchbunch
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04 Oct 12 #359307 by Munchbunch
Reply from Munchbunch
Thanks for replying.
We''re not there yet. In my experience these things can always remain civil at least until the subject of money comes up.
I just wanted to make sure I''ve not missed anything glaringly obvious.

  • Lostboy67
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04 Oct 12 #359313 by Lostboy67
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Munchbunch wrote:

Thanks for replying.
We''re not there yet. In my experience these things can always remain civil at least until the subject of money comes up.
I just wanted to make sure I''ve not missed anything glaringly obvious.


Your assumptions are pretty much spot on, you would there doesn''t appear to be much in the terms of equity to divide.

If you are going for 50:50 split on child care its reasonable for him to pay for half the ''running costs'' of the child rather than CSA. I think once the new CSA system goes live this will be the case anyway.
Something to also concider is what will happen to the child associated benefits.

Given there doesn''t seem much to fight over wasting money on solicitors would seem unwise. If your s2bx is moving out though you might need to offer some cash so that he can get himself a deposit etc.

LB

  • Elphie
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04 Oct 12 #359318 by Elphie
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You say there might be a couple of thousand left over in equity after solisitors fees have been paid....if there is even a couple of thousand, maybe agree to give him all the equity (baring in mind this will be cheaper than courts!) if you are able to extend the mortgage this way and if he moves out, in lui of him having the inconvenience of moving out and renting at a higher monthly cost?

Debts are considered joint liabilities, regardless of whose name they are in, so if this were to go to court you would need to be able to prove they we his debts, ie he was the only one to benefit from them. Which it sounds like you can do, anyone.

As for not knowing if he will agree to pay half the nurse fees, well it''s good to suggest this. If he refuses, you can either agree the same amount is then paid to you or go via the csa.

As for benefits, from the sounds of it you will only be entitled to child benefit even as a single parent, so probably not a big concern.

  • Munchbunch
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04 Oct 12 #359326 by Munchbunch
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Thank you for your replies.

Concerning the equity we''ve got a mortgage of £180k and a comparable house round the corner is under offer at £185k (same beds, they have slightly bigger garden, they have ensuite but we have conservatory, they have a newer kitchen blah blah...). So once the solicitor''s fees and estate agency fees are taken out we would be really lucky to have change.

I take your point though, I would have borrowed some money from my parents to set up a rented home, deposit and such, no reason I can''t do the same so he has the ability to move out and since he has the inconvenience of moving.

Regarding debts, I think once you add up our debts and assets we''re roughly on an equal footing. He has £10k more debt than me but also a much better car. His camera equiptment is worth more than £5k alone if he sold it plus well over £3k in computer, net book, laptop, naz box, printers... It''s worth enough that I would want it all considered an asset of the marriage.

Concerning the rest of the stuff in the house I think the fairest way to split it all is to attribute a value to it (perhaps a sell on price) then split everything equally, leaving us both with stuff we have two of and splitting the rest according to need, any descrepancy then could be made up with cash. I don''t know if anyone has any better ideas on that.

I believe I''ll only be getting child benefit so that is not such a relevance. I currently work in London with a four hour a day commute. Eventually I would like to work more locally which could mean a drop in salary, in which case it would be easier for me to have the benefits as I might qualify for tax credits (no idea when these start as have never claimed them so just assuming they might). Plus there are redundancies at the moment where I work and although not included in this cull I expect to be made redundant within the next year or so. Whereas my husband''s salary is not including his bonuses, which could be an additional £7-£10k, so he definately wouldn''t ever need the safety net of tax credits.

  • Munchbunch
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12 Nov 12 #365868 by Munchbunch
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My husband has decided that he will not leave the house. He will either agree to sell it via an estate agent or to buy me out. He will not move out and allow me to live there with our son, either voluntarily or if I bought him out, unless ordered to do so. He wants half of the equity. He wants me to take on half of his debts.

Nor will he be having my son overnight despite being offered shared residence.

Now, I''m so very tired of all of this. Friends and family are giving me all the helpful advice of change the locks, move him into the spare room and put a lock on your bedroom door (did I forget to mention we are still sharing a bed as we don''t have a spare one). I just don''t want to live in a house with someone I have to lock out of my room nor do I wish to ruin any hope of a future relationship co-parenting our son by changing the locks.

I think my options are, we live like this for however long it takes to sell the house (which he doesn''t want to do, so more expense and time dragged out whilst I get him ordered to accept a reasonable offer), me buying a bed for the spare room (very bad back so I cannot do the sofa) and have our son continue in the lovely atmosphere that dominates our house currently or I move out with our son to rented accomodation, granting him full access obviously (this is not about stopping him seeing our son).

In your views, what disadvantages are there to me moving out with regards claim on the house?

I am not emotionally attached to the house. It''s lovely and in a lovely area. It''s the fact that it is nearly half the cost of rent in the area to live there that I am attached to. I''m irked that a guy who has contributed nothing financially except half the mortgage costs is going to be the one who benefits from the cheaper living costs, but I''m too tired to fight for a house I''m not that attached to. This goes to court all that happens is we get rich solicitors and end up penniless.

Part of me feels like I''m wimping out. That I should stand my ground and that he should be the one who moves out, that our son-who should be the most important thing in this-should be the one who is least disrupted. But he''s not going to be that guy, so what''s worse, living on our own somewhere else or a year of hellish living conditions causing our relatioship to deteriorate further?

Sorry, a bit rambling there. Any views, slaps round the face to make me stand up and listen, any input gratefully received.

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