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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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Seperation

  • jaustin
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18 Feb 08 #14256 by jaustin
Topic started by jaustin
My wife & i have a property worth £1.2 million so we can sell this and split the value to buy each a house £600,000 each.
What i want to know is how much will i need to pay her in maintence per month. I earn £40,000 net she does not work. Iam 58 she is 58 we have one 15 year old living at home and we have been married for 38 years.

John Austin

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18 Feb 08 #14266 by Specialdad
Reply from Specialdad
CM will be £500 a month ie 15% of net pay plus SM of £1,000 a month if she cant work.

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18 Feb 08 #14267 by mike62
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John,
Sadly not too clear cut.
child maintenance is 15% of nett for 15yo until he reaches 18 or 19 if in full time education.

Old thinking on spousal maintenance (pre 2000 White vs White case) was that SM and CM should be around a third of combined incomes.

Current thinking on SM is that it depends on the needs of the parties and the parties ability to pay.

If it were to go to a court, the judge would take account of the provisions of the matrimonial causes act.

These are:
5 Matters to which court is to have regard in deciding how to exercise its powers under ss. 23, 24 and 24A

(1)It shall be the duty of the court in deciding whether to exercise its powers under section 23, 24 [F2, 24A or 24B] above and, if so, in what manner, to have regard to all the circumstances of the case, first consideration being given to the welfare while a minor of any child of the family who has not attained the age of eighteen.

(2)As regards the exercise of the powers of the court under section 23(1)(a), (b) or (c), 24 [F3, 24A or 24B]above in relation to a party to the marriage, the court shall in particular have regard to the following matters—

(a)the income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future, including in the case of earning capacity any increase in that capacity which it would in the opinion of the court be reasonable to expect a party to the marriage to take steps to acquire;

(b)the financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;

(c)the standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage;

(d)the age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage;

(e)any physical or mental disability of either of the parties to the marriage;

(f)the contributions which each of the parties has made or is likely in the foreseeable future to make to the welfare of the family, including any contribution by looking after the home or caring for the family;

(g)the conduct of each of the parties, if that conduct is such that it would in the opinion of the court be inequitable to disregard it;

(h)in the case of proceedings for divorce or nullity of marriage, the value to each of the parties to the marriage of any benefit F4. . . which, by reason of the dissolution or annulment of the marriage, that party will lose the chance of acquiring.

(3)As regards the exercise of the powers of the court under section 23(1)(d), (e) or (f), (2) or (4), 24 or 24A above in relation to a child of the family, the court shall in particular have regard to the following matters—

(a)the financial needs of the child;

(b)the income, earning capacity (if any), property and other financial resources of the child;

(c)any physical or mental disability of the child;

(d)the manner in which he was being and in which the parties to the marriage expected him to be educated or trained;

(e)the considerations mentioned in relation to the parties to the marriage in paragraphs (a), (b), (c) and (e) of subsection (2) above.

(4)As regards the exercise of the powers of the court under section 23(1)(d), (e) or (f), (2) or (4), 24 or 24A above against a party to a marriage in favour of a child of the family who is not the child of that party, the court shall also have regard—

(a)to whether that party assumed any responsibility for the child’s maintenance, and, if so, to the extent to which, and the basis upon which, that party assumed such responsibility and to the length of time for which that party discharged such responsibility;

(b)to whether in assuming and discharging such responsibility that party did so knowing that the child was not his or her own;

(c)to the liability of any other person to maintain the child.]


As you can see it far less clear cut. Given that you will both have your housing needs met, the question arises as to how much you need to live and hence what 'surplus' income you have.

Also, what are your wife's needs? Is she able to work? Are there any health issues? The court takes the view that she should also make an effort to support herself.

I would say, take your nett income. Deduct the child maintenance. Deduct your 'reasonable' living expenses. Split the surplus in two. She gets half, you keep half.

Spousal Maintenance is not seen as a lifetime meal ticket. So if a judge were to impose SM, he may do it for a fixed period of time only. It would allow your wife to 'find her feet' financially and become self maintaining.

Sometimes Spousal Maintenance is negotiated away against equity, to give you a 'Clean Break'. Courts favour (where possible) a clean break situation to allow both parties to move on with their lives.

If it is possible, why not negotiate with your wife through a mediation service? Consensus beats conflict any day.

Best of luck,

Mike

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18 Feb 08 #14288 by jaustin
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Thank you for your help. How do you arrive @ £1000 per month for SM. Could i expect my wife to start work at aged 58 - she has looked after our 4 children for 30 years and we still have a 15 year old still at home

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18 Feb 08 #14293 by Fiona
Reply from Fiona
I'm afraid you are correct going back to work at 58 after a 30 year break is a non-starter and SM in one form or another is likely. What happens when you reach retirement is going to be a big factor here, presumably you have a pension?

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