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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.


What should i do?

  • Ladybelle
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10 Feb 08 #13422 by Ladybelle
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LOL that did make me laugh - Tom and Jerry frying pan in the face !! that's exactly what happened to me. I had NO idea and was feeling the same as poor loopylou is now.
Loopylou - I feel for you and Mike is right this place is so wonderful and supportive. I have had so much support and friendship from here and I will need a heck of a lot in the future too. Keep posting and talk .... it really helps. It has helped me immensely and helped me come to some decisions. I'm sure it will help you too. Take care xx

  • attilladahun
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10 Feb 08 #13424 by attilladahun
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I have seen a solicitor and they have advised I go down the collabrative route, but my husband is not in agreement to this.

SO without consent of H that option is not open to you

I totally disagree -with respect the Courts are much more generous than previously in cases like this see below the comments of the appeal court underlined....as it is H has unilaterally opted out of the marriage.

There is a huge risk that in the collaberative process H is not going to approach anywhere the sum you will need let alone the sum you will get.

He has already shown his colours -he is not going to be fair or reasonable.

Clearly you will get generous SM -as you have important "needs".....if H accepted child as a son...the Court can order him to pay maintenance its NOT the jurisdiction of the CSA!!! You will also seek an educational school fees order.

Your query is in essence how much is a short-lived marriage worth?

Mr Miller’s solicitors thought they knew. He was 39 years old and his wife 34 when he left her for someone else, less than three years after they married. He offered his wife £1.3 million – after all; he was an exceptionally wealthy fund manager with assets of more than £30 million.

Mr Justice Singer thought this less than fair and awarded Mrs Miller £5 million. In July, the Court of Appeal dismissed Mr Miller’s appeal (Miller v Miller [2005] EWCA Civ 984, [2005] 2 FCR 713, [2005] All ER (D) 467 (Jul)). The decision will encourage rich fiancés to use pre-nuptual agreements.

The answer to the question, at least where the parties are young and there are no children, used to be simple. In H v H (Financial Provision: Short Marriage [1981] 2 FLR 392, Lord Justice Balcombe said: ‘[With] short marriage(s) between two young persons, neither of whom had been adversely affected financially by the consequences of the marriage and [where] each… is fully capable of earning his or her own living, the approach which the court should normally adopt is to allow for a short period of periodical payments to allow the party… in the weaker financial position… to adjust herself to the situation and thereafter to achieve the wholly desirable result of a Clean Break.’ Mrs Attar (Attar v Attar (No 2) [1985] FLR 653), for example, received only the equivalent of two years’ lost earnings from her wealthy husband.

In Miller, the Court of Appeal gave two reasons why such an approach is no longer appropriate. First, it had originated when the yardstick for measuring the extent of a claim was the applicant’s reasonable requirements and could not survive the decision of the House of Lords in White v White [2000] 3 WLR 1571. Second, in the words of Lord Justice Thorpe, ‘marriage is not to be equated to a purely financial venture where the court may redress breach of contract… by an award of damages’. A more sophisticated evaluation of the extent of the wife’s commitment to and investment in the marriage emotionally and psychologically is required. ‘What a party has given to the marriage and lost [by the separation] cannot be measured by simply counting the days of its duration.’

What advice can now be given? The Court of Appeal repeated what had been said in Foster [2003] EWCA Civ 565, [2003] 2 FLR 299 to the effect that the section 25 criteria (Matrimonial Causes Act 1973) have to be applied to all the circumstances of the case to achieve a fair result that avoids discrimination. The length of the marriage is only one circumstance. Pre-marriage cohabitation can be taken into account as part of all the circumstances whether or not it is also reflected in the contribution or conduct factors.

As Mr Justice Coleridge commented in CO v CO (Ancillary relief: pre-marriage cohabitation) [2004] EWHC 287 (Fam), [2004] 1 FLR 1095: ‘Committed, settled relationships which often endure for years in the context of cohabitation (often, but not always with children) outside marriage, must, I think, be regarded as every bit as valid as those where the parties have made the same degree of commitment but recorded it publicly… by marrying.’ The Millers had not cohabitated but the court held that the fact that Mrs Miller had committed herself to her future husband for four years, even before they became engaged, was a matter that could properly be considered.

A short marriage will not diminish the importance of contributions on the facts of a particular case. Where a surplus has been generated by joint efforts, it does not matter whether it had taken a short or long time to do so (Foster). In many cases, there will be children and, where the marriage is a short one, the period of future contributions towards the family’s welfare will be conversely lengthy (B v B (Mesher Order) [2002] EWHC 3106 (Fam), [2003] 2 FLR 285). In Miller, the considerable financial contribution came from Mr Miller but his wife changed her employment, moved to London, worked to ensure a primary home and a holiday home ‘fit for his status’, and tried to have a child.

The needs of the parties may be important. Mrs B needed a home for herself and the couple’s two-year-old son which was secure until he attained his independence. For many years, even if able to return to work, she would be unlikely to obtain a job that would generate the income and pension she could have been expected to earn if she had not had a child. However, it may be difficult to fix the standard by which the needs are quantified.

Prior to her marriage, Mrs Miller was earning about £85,000 annually and lived in a rented flat. Did she ‘need’ a house worth £2.3 million and a lump sum that would provide for life an annual net income of £98,000? In one sense, no, but Mr Justice Singer and the appeal court held that she had ‘a legitimate entitlement to a long-term future on a higher plane of affluence than she had enjoyed prior to marriage’.

Lord Justice Wall took pains to emphasise that the result in Miller was fact-dependent, but one feature of the case may make it difficult to predict the outcome in future cases &150; the weight to be given to conduct.

Since Wachtel [1973] Fam 72, courts have been reluctant to investigate allegations of misconduct unless ‘obvious and gross’ or otherwise relevant to the case. Lord Denning commented: ‘Short of cases falling into this category, the court should not reduce its order… merely because of what was formerly regarded as guilt or blame.’

Perhaps the important word is ‘merely’. Even though, in directions given after a failed financial dispute resolution appointment, Mrs Miller had declared that she would not rely on section 25(2)(g) (conduct), the appeal court held that the trial judge was entitled to conclude that Mr Miller was to blame for the breakdown of the marriage. ‘That finding,’ said Lord Justice Thorpe, ‘entitled him to give much less weight to the duration of the marriage than he would have done had he found that the wife was to blame… or the parties had separated consensually each acknowledging unexpected incompatibility.’

Ancillary relief proceedings are quasi-inquisitorial and the judge is never confined by what the parties have elected to put in, or exclude from, evidence.

The main lesson, then, may be that errant, wealthy spouses should err on the side of generosity.

Now this is definately a case for not consulting any old divorce solicitor. You need a genuine "specialist".There are some important issues not least of which H may put assets beyond your reach say into "trusts" if you are not careful....probably "I need space and time...to do this!"

The Bulgarian situation needs examination -It doesn't sound as if you have ever lived there so proceedings over there for divorce don't seem a possibility.

What is your local County Court.
If you are anywhere near London ie within 50 miles I would try to ensure the case is heard there..as much more experianced in "big money" cases.
I may be able to give you a "name" of Solicitor in your area and Counsel who is a "player".

As an example we got £92K a year for a 42 yr old W where H on £210K:)

see also:
Link: www.manches.com/practices/family/article.php?id=77
Sorry so long a post but the position is not simple.

  • loopylou
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10 Feb 08 #13431 by loopylou
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Hi!

I have sent you an email back.

Thank you so much! you have no idea how much that has lifted me.

I have answered all your questions and I hope to hear from you.

THANK YOU AGAIN
;)

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