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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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The four basic steps to reaching an agreement on divorce finances are: disclosure, getting advice, negotiating and implementing a Consent Order.

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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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3 year marriage, no kids together, joint mortgage

  • bluecity
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07 May 12 #328947 by bluecity
Topic started by bluecity
Hi everyone,

Firstly thanks for reading this if you took the time out of your day to do so!

Myself and my wife decided to separate in Jan, after just over 3 years married together. She has a 16 year old from a previous relationship (in education), who I am not bonded to and do not directly pay anything towards. His father does not see him and does not pay any maintenance.

Myself and ex are both named on the mortgage and land registry for our house. Which we bought exactly 3 years to the day that we decided to officially separate. She put in a claim for income support on that exact date and now gets paid around £75 a week extra.

I put in a large deposit when we bought the house, along with substantial home improvement money, which came from inheritance I received before we were married. I decided at the time that I didn''t need any agreement/pre nump putting in (hindsight!)

There is around £20k equity in the house but by the time fee''s are deducted for early mortgage repayment, estate agent and solicitor fee''s, that drops to around £10k

My suggestion is that we are both entitled to half of that amount each (£5k). I would like to buy her out of our mortgage, something which I can afford to do, but she couldn''t do. I have suggested I pay her her share of equity. Plus 1 or 2 more thousand to help her with moving on. (buying furniture, moving expenses etc)

She wants and thinks she is entitled to more.

She seems to be taking poor advice from "friends" who are solicitors, but not in family law. She doesn''t recognise that our situation is probably very easy to resolve, and she isn''t entitled to a lot of the things she is claiming she is, due to the fact she has not become acustomed to them during our short marriage. She has said she could get 50% of all my finances if she wanted to go through court. She also says she is entitled to maintain the same standard of living after our divorce.

We did not "officially" live together until we bought the house, although we were a couple of 3 years before we were married.

She will not move out until she has found a council property, but her priority is quite low and it could take up to 18 months for them to place her. She is also admitted she won''t move into a rough area and will wait it out until they offer her somewhere in a nice area.

I understand I cannot sell the house without her agreement.

I offered to compensate her equity and pay half her private rent for 12 months, in order to help us both move on quicker. In that time she could have managed to get herself into a council property. She turned that offer down after nearly going for it, she said I was throwing her out of the house.

Her mother has told her that my inheritance money should stay as mine and that my ex should put no claim on it. As I understand a Judge would see that as money I had before the marriage and the ex has no claim on it after such a short marriage. It would form part of returning things to how they were before we married.

I believe I''m being fair. A divorce is not something that either party should try to "win" its should be about what is fair and both sides have to compromise.

I am currently stuck in the situation where she lives in the 3rd bedroom, has put a lock on the door, and a lock on her sons door and she is showing very few signs of actively trying to move out and move on with her life. We have been living in reasonably good spirits, staying out of each others way but co-operating quite well when it''s been needed in general.

Does anyone have an advice or is anything I''ve said above not fair or not technically accurate??

Thanks again for your help.

  • somuch2know2
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07 May 12 #328969 by somuch2know2
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You are being completely fair and reasonable.. She is being a gold-digger.

From what I understand as it was a short marriage you will get what you brought (i.e your inheretance, and any big renovation costs). The sale of the house will/ should be split 50/50

Your pension= yours
her "lifestyle"- will be maintained by whatever she has to do so. You should not be forced to contribute.
her son is the baby daddy''s responsibility.

This is very straight forward. If she wants to push court- let her. but if I were you I would self-rep so you dont incur any additional costs.

In the meantime- make sure she is paying the mortgage as she is living there, and push for a court date ASAP as this stuff drags out.

And next time.. Pre-nump, or marry someone who is bring the same amount to the party...if not more

  • Fiona
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07 May 12 #328990 by Fiona
Reply from Fiona
The length of the marriage is only one factor when sharing assets and there are several others to consider in the s25 Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. In particular, the welfare of dependent children of the family is the priority.

"Children of the family" means children who lived with the divorcing spouses as family and there is no discrimination between step children and natural children of the relationship. Meeting the needs of children, especially for housing, will always trump over a short marriage.

As far as child maintenance is concerned the first port of call is the natural father.

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07 May 12 #328997 by somuch2know2
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Are you saying he can be held accountable to support a child that isnt his from a marriage that only lasted 3 years?

That seems grossly unfair especially as it was such a short marriage with no cohabitation. Or is it now a matter of legalities?

Like a pre-nump is there anything that can be signed saying "I''ll support you and your child while married- but if we divorce- I''m not liable for csa payments"- ??

  • bluecity
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07 May 12 #328998 by bluecity
Reply from bluecity
Thank you both for your comments.

Fiona, I''m very interested in what you say. Does her sons age affect anything as he is 16, is he officially still a child? He is due to finish his exams this summer and has a place at college to either re-sit his GCSE''s or do further education courses. That means another 2 or 3 years in education should he be able to attend regularly enough to not be thrown out.

My ex has never paid 50% of the monthly mortgage payments. I thought in theory that means that more than 50% of the equity could be mine, should it go to court and should I want to put that point across/. She paid more like 25% of the total per month, I was happy to do this while we were married but she has now agreed, after 5 months, to increase how much she pays me, but only up to 33%. Her income is not too different to mine, less a couple of hundred pounds a month to be honest. This is now that she is getting income benefits.

She is perfectly capable of working full time, no medical or disability reason not to, just laziness, although that discussion is not really for here.

I just have a feeling she might be holding an Ace, and wants me to take it to court because she could get Legal Aid. The amounts to be won make it barely worth anyones while. I''ve also been told she would be told to pay back a certain amount of legal aid, I''m really not sure how that would affect what she might "win".

Thanks again.

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07 May 12 #328999 by Fiona
Reply from Fiona
To be clear I didn''t say there was a liability for CM. Rather when sharing assets dependent children of the family are the priority;

"(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." - s25 Matrimonial Causes Act 1973

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07 May 12 #329057 by bluecity
Reply from bluecity
Hmm interesting.

Would there be a benefit in the ex and her son moving into a new place before starting any proceedings? That way their accommodation situation would look much better on paper perhaps?

From what I was told, having no emotional attachment and the fact I was never relied on to support her son, could be considered. She herself told me many times I had no claim or responsibility towards him.

If there is a responsibility, is there any guide on what a fair settlement might be to try and gain agreement out of court? Its very raw and emotional and I''m resisting the urge to say that her son is not entitled to a bean or thread from me. I understand it doesn''t always get seen that way in the eyes of a court.

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