My last mediation meeting. The mediator seems to have a problem with me, in truth, I do not know why or is his advice normal ?
40 year marriage, house value 300k wife's inheritance 300k / 148k of inheritance left wife claims 140k of inheritance spent on supporting the family. My business went down and she has supported us for 5 years & paid 55k off the mortgage, kids are all grown up no mortgage. My wife intends to buy me out as her solicitor has told her she will be able to afford to do so.
I do not have SERPS opted out years ago.
Pension of £246.6 monthly for life from an annuity fund value of £46,127.45.
Half of which I pay to my wife, I do not work at this time my wife works earning 17k she is aged 63 I am 62.
My wife's solicitor has stated that the settlement should be between 45k - 90k I believe based on needs it should be 150k Clean Break just seems fair.
My wife's solicitor had supplied a list of one bed properties from the internet that where in very bad areas and therefore cheap and nasty.
The mediator tells me that my figure should then take off 46k as this would be the cost my wife would have to pay if she wanted the same pension ? (I had to take the pension at the time no one in there right mind would take that sort of pension now)
The mediator told me that to find another one bedroomed property I could move out of the area why live in this town you could move away entirely !! told him this is where I was born, he tells me that if it is cheaper elsewhere then based on needs I could move. He suggested I move in with my son.
Is this normal at mediation ? I am being completely honest . I was devastated. I cannot afford court fee representation.
It may be that we don't have enogh information but on the face of it, this does not seem appropriate.
As I understand it, the capital assets are around £448K (£300 in the house, plus £148 remaining in your wife's name)
You are retired and have income of £246 p.c.m, your wife is working and has income of around £1,140 per month after tax. Presumably you will have a basixc state pension once you reach 65, and she would be entitled to claim a state pension now, depending upon her contributions.
I assume also that she has no private pension provision.
This is a very long marriage and while the inherietance is relevant, it is not 'ring-fenced' - there is no presumption that your wife should get to 'keep' that £300K inheritance and the rest ofthe assets be split equally.
I think the relevant factors here are:
- What each of your reasonable housing needs are - that does not mean "the cheapest possible property you can find", and it is fair to look at what is reasonable for both of you - why would it be reasonable for you to live in a one-bedroomed flat and for your wife to ive in a (presumably) much larger, nicer house in a better area?
- What each of your incomes is now and what it will be in the future. At present, your wife's income is much higfher than yours, however, it is likely that within the very near future her income will fall, when she retires.
I think it is likely that a court would take the view that the element of the inheritance which has been spent, including the elements used to pay the mortgage, is gone. Contributions made inot a matrimonial home are usually not considered to be 'contributions' which should be given special treatment - if they were, it could be that you might argue that you had made higher payments at some periods during the last 40 years.
That being the case, i think a start point of a 50/50 split of the house would be reasonable.
There is then the issue of your pension,and of your wife's inheritance.
Again, I suspect that a court would take a pragmatic view. If each of you has £150,000 from the sale of the house, that would presumably allow you each to re-house adequately - each of you would have a choice as to whether you sepnt the whole lump sum on a property, or spent less and retained some capital.
You have the benefit of income from your pension for life, and this will increase in 3 years when you reach state pension age. In the mean time, you may be entitled to other assistance such as income support, council tax benefit etc. Your income is not high, and seeking to split the pension would not be worth while for such a small fund.
Your wife has no such pension, but she would have capital of £148,000 so could chose to invest some or all of that in a pension - so she is likely to be in a stronger fiancial position than you.
I think that a settlement whereby you split the value of the hosue, you keep you pension and your wife keeps the remainder of the inheritance would be reasonable.
If you can reasonably rehous yourself for less than £150,000 - in a 1-2 bed property in a reasonable area of the town then it may be worth considering negotiating.
One option would be to offer to acceopt £148,000 - that would then give your wife the choice to retain the house (which she may chose to sell, or take out equity release on, when she retires) if it is important to her to do so, or alternatively to sell it now and retain capital to invest in a pension.
It is wholy inapproptiate to sugegst that you move in with your son, as that would leave you with no security and potentially very insecurely housed.
While I note what you say with regard to costs, are you aware that application for fees exemption is assessed in a different way to eligibility for legal aid? It is based on your gross income and so you may be entitled to fee exemption (which would enable you to issue an application at court, if the mediation is not successful) even if you are not entitled to Legal Aid.
I would aslso suggest that it may be worth your while to see a solicitor even if you don't feel you can afford to instruct one to represent you full time. I assume that you and your wife have compelted finacial statements as part of the mediation process? If you take copies of these with you when you see a solicitor so that you can give them all the relevent information and they can give you some advice.
It may also be sensible to consider getting state pension forecasts both for you and your wife, to see where you will each stand on claiming your state pensions. If your wife does not have a right to a full state pension, she can nominate to have her pension calculated based on your NI contributions, which may meeam she can claim more than she thinks.