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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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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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How to split debt and pay maintenance?

  • SJRSJR's Avatar Posted by
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31 Jul 12 #346438 by SJRSJR
Topic started by SJRSJR
I met my partner after he had separated from his wife and divorce is looming. Their 20 year marriage had faltered because they were accumulating debt and although she had previously been a nurse she was sidestepping his pleas to go back to work to help with their finances. He was earning 90k salary and they have been educating their 3 children privately (kids now 17, 16 and 14). They separated when she started a relationship with someone else, with whom she is now living.

Their house has recently been sold but it was in negative equity so he has borrowed to finance the shortfall. There was 30k of joint credit card debt in his name and a 12k loan in her name which she took out without his knowledge, but which he has been repaying.

The 30k credit cards were preventing him from getting a mortgage so I lent him the money to repay them. He has recently stopped paying the 12k loan, which has infuriated her.

We are now living together. I have funded the purchase of our new house from a recent redundancy payment and by re-mortgaging my other house. Our intention is that when his credit rating improves we will get a mortgage that repays me the 30k and half the cost of the house purchase. He is on the title deeds but I have 100% beneficial interest until he can repay me. In the meantime me pays me a below market ''rent'' to cover my mortgage repayment.

We have his children 50% of the time and he pays her more than the CSA guidelines. He is continuing to fund his children''s education but has been advised by a solicitor that if he does, he is not obliged to pay her spousal maintenance in additio, and that she has to take steps to support herself.

I''m not currently working because I have re-located but I do have my first house as an asset. I''ve used my savings on our new house but if we get the re-mortgage, they''ll be restored.

My questions are:
1. Is she entitled to walk away from their combined debts or is it reasonable for him to at least pass back the 12k loan? Shouldn''t debts be considered in the same way assets would be?
2. After they broke up he lost his job but has been getting a year''s salary as compensation. This will run out soon and he is working to get a new business off the ground. There''s no guarantee he will earn anything like his previous salary. How will that be treated in any divorce settlement?
3. I have never been married and have worked hard to achieve what i have. I wasn''t involved in their break up. Is there a way to arrange our finances in the house so that I can be kept out of it? Should I avoid getting a job right now?

Thanks for any advice.

  • TBagpuss
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01 Aug 12 #346612 by TBagpuss
Reply from TBagpuss
1. Debts are part of the over all picture. A court has no power to ''move'' a debt from e partner''s name to the other. They can make maintence orders or adjust capital splits to take account of debts.

2. A court looks at both income and *earning capacity* so a relevent issue is whether he could get another job earning at a similar level as before (and indeed what he wife could earn, if she were to return to work)
If he has set up his own business becuase he could not find work, that is a diferent situation to if he could have continued to earn £90K p.a. but has chosen to do something else.

3. You need to keep your and his assets separate. I hope that you have a formal Turst deed definiing your respective insterestd in the property, and that you have documented the loans you have made to him and that he is repaying these. A court can''t give her any of your assets but it can take into account hi new relationship and the impact which that has on his finacial needs and resources. The fact that you have loaned him money for the debts, for instance, may mean that these are seen as ''soft'' loans.

Your partner may need to consider with his solicitor whrther it is appropriaet for him to be paying school fees on top of child support.

  • SJRSJR's Avatar Posted by
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01 Aug 12 #346706 by SJRSJR
Reply from SJRSJR
Thank you. Our conveyancer has referred us to a colleague for the Deed of Trust.

My partner''s (he''s 50) new business is a genuine attempt to maintain 90k income (65k net) in his specialist field but it''s in the finance sector which has taken a bit of a battering and is the reason he was made redundant. We don''t know how he will fare. But we recognise that he ought to be able to achieve a reasonable salary even if he has to find a job, albeit taking a 30k drop.

The solicitors advice was that school fees don''t come in to the child maintenance calculations but I understand it does count towards spousal maintenance. On that advice he stopped paying it. It might also explain why his ex now wants their 14 year old to go to a state school. Even though this would ease the financial burden my partner is keen that his youngest and most vulnerable child does not suffer even more upheaval from the breakdown of their marriage.

His ex (she''s 49) has taken a local teaching assistant job so she probably earns about 10-12k. She could go back to nursing but she does not want to travel or work shifts. She is living in rented accommodation with her new partner paying £1000 per month. Does her partner''s income come into it? She gets tax credits, he has a pension of £1000 per month and he works too.

I have tried the Divorce Calculator but to be honest I don''t really follow it. I know imy partner is emotionally driven but he feels very strongly that her refusal to work brought down their marriage and burdened them with debt which he will be saddled with. He just wants a Clean Break but there''s no cash in the pot. Does anyone think offering to take on the 42k debt but pay no spousal maintenance be reasonable (in addition to the school fees)? Thanks.

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