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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.


Do you need help sorting out a fair financial settlement?

Our consultant service offers expert advice and support to help you reach agreement on a fair financial settlement quickly, and for less than a quarter of the cost of using a traditional high street solicitor.


Is value of house at time of marriage significant?

  • Ephelia
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13 Mar 08 #16716 by Ephelia
Topic started by Ephelia
My partner had a house (as result of divorce settlement with his first wife - he bought her out) when he met his second wife; she lived there with him for 12 years with her children from her previous marriage but didn't contribute to household bills etc. The house is in his name but she has registered her interest with the land registry and my partner is still paying the mortgage.

She says she doesn't want to move out (its now been a year since my partner moved out) and wants the house as her 'settlement' (with my partner still paying the mortgage.)

My partner's solicitor hasn't been very helpful on this subject and has left him with the idea that this might be what a judge would give her. Surely this can't be the case? Does the fact that that he's had the house for nearly 20 years and it was worth @£200K when she moved in make a difference? Anyone else had a similar situation - and what advice did you get? He's happy for her to have a fair share but surely not the whole house?

Sorry this is so long and it probably seems a naive question but I can't seem to find an answer on the web!

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13 Mar 08 #16730 by Fiona
Reply from Fiona
The house was a contribution so it is relevant, but all his/her/joint assets, including pensions, minus debts are combined to form the matrimonial pot and housing children of the family (that applies to step children) is the first priority. Where assets originated from becomes less important as time goes on and if there was a period of seamless cohabitation before the marriage that might be added to the length of the marriage to give the duration of the relationship. The assets are then shared considering all the matters in s25 Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 which you can find by searching this forum.

So depending on the wife's ability to raise a mortgage the sol could be right and the wife needs all the equity to house the children, although there is a possibility that your partner retains a share in the equity in the form of a charge, usually paid out when the youngest child reaches 18 or his wife remarries or dies. Sorry if that's not what you want to hear. :(

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13 Mar 08 #16735 by Ephelia
Reply from Ephelia
Thanks for this - its always best to know what's what, even if its not good news... There's enough money in the house for her to buy a nice house in the area she lives in now, big enough to house her and her son and there still be a reasonable amount left over for my partner - so maybe she'll see reason and they can both house themselves comfortably; rather than the present situation where she can't afford the bills on the big house she's living in (does she really need 5 bedrooms?) and my partner is struggling to pay the mortgage on two properties.

What seems unfair is that no one seems to think that her children's father, who pays a very low level of maintenance privately to her, should be made to pay more for his kids when he earns a pretty good salary. How come the step father has more responsibility than the father?

Oh well, that's life I guess.

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13 Mar 08 #16739 by Fiona
Reply from Fiona
The responsibility for supporting children is seen as primarily being the responsibility of the natural parent and the consideration is the nature and length of the relationship with the step parent and if they have accepted any responsibility for financially supporting their step children.

Courts will try not to move children out of their home and away from friends or school if it's possible to avoid, but if the house is larger than required or has a lot of equity then the house might be sold. It's a balancing act between looking after the welfare of the children, the wife's needs and not leaving your partner destitute.

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14 Mar 08 #16746 by attilladahun
Reply from attilladahun
"There's enough money in the house for her to buy a nice house in the area she lives in now, big enough to house her and her son and there still be a reasonable amount left over for my partner -"

May well be the fair answer-Court will want both parties housing needs to be met-the danger here may lie in the fact your partner's housing needs may be said to have been satisfied by your house-sometimes when that happens the Court tries not to disrupt W+C and gives H what she can reasonably raise by way of LS and if H is owed more then a "charge" is taken over FMH to be realised on the happening of events such as C leaving full time tertiary education
remarriage, co-habitation, geath or further order of the Court. Look up "Mesher" orders.

As Fiona says it is a "balancing act".

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14 Mar 08 #16754 by Ephelia
Reply from Ephelia
Guess the moral of this story is that I should have taken legal advice before moving in with my partner!

Although I'm not the reason for the break up of his marriage, now we're together I'm clearly going to complicate matters for him. I put all my equity into a flat we bought together but we still have a large mortgage that we struggle to pay (small flat but in a big city where everything is more expensive than where I come from and I don't earn very much) and he still pays the mortgage on the marital home.

I insisted we buy the flat as joint tenants to make him feel secure that I want him for who he is and not to provide me with financial security (something he has a hang up about after conversations with the stbx about why she married him in the first place), and now she wants his half of our flat put into the 'pot' (which someone else on the site has suggested I look at a case about). On top of that she's demanding all the assets from the very large marital home and half his pension as her settlement, while keeping her own pension and an endowment she has intact. I don't know a lot about these things but this seems unjust; Don't get me wrong, I think she deserves a very fair settlement but surely not pretty much everything...

Anyone know if there is anything I can do about changing how we own the flat? I can't afford the mortgage on my own, so assume his name has to stay attached to it somehow to keep the mortgage lender happy.

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