I know this may be contentious, but why are u assuming that what i expect is unreasonable, even though i have told u that every other source of information has told me that what the original lawyer said was accurate and that this lawyer is now the only person saying 50/50 to me? Is it because i am the woman in this and u assume i just want to take my husband to the cleaners? If i could i would walk away right now and never ask him for anything. The last thing i ever wanted was to carry on being dependant on him when i know he doesn't give a damn about me or the children! We aren't all just trying it on for an easy life!!
I think the most important aspect of all of this, is the need for both parties to carry on living after divorce. All too often, and it's traditionally been the male partner who battles with this, this seems to be lost sight of. I hear many stories, and have witnessed things that seem illogical, like a fabulously wealthy man, who saw his ex wife and children on the streets, with no accountability. Equally, some men have been reduced to destitution by divorce.
I was married for 16 years, and it needs to be accepted by both parties, that an investment was made by both, and settlements need to reflect that. Some are raped financially by divorce; whilst others, shamelessly avoid their liabilities with no consequence.
Yes, you are absolutely right, of course. Unreasonable and selfish behaviour is not a peculiarly male or female characteristic. I was however, mildly interested in what you say about men being reduced to destitution.
I suppose it depends on what one means by ' destitute '. Even from the blinkered view of the Treasury, there are many reasons why it is not a good idea to reduce the income of a payer to a level equal to his or her notional social security entitlement. It would just mean that you would have two people on benefits and not one. It must be right, ethically as well as financially, to allow the payer to retain a sum in excess of the level which is needed to pay for the absolute basic necessities and no more. For this reason the Courts sometimes use the so called ' liable relative formula ' which allows the payer to keep a sum equal to notional social security entitlement plus 15% of net earnings above that figure. I personally am in favour of a statutory level of protected income for the payer of maintenance.
Debbie, I'm afraid that it is not possible for me, or anyone else, to comment on your situation without knowing the facts. The problem is that our divorce law is so uncertain that it is difficult even for professionals to predict the outcome sometimes.
That head of department has not advised you correctly if I read this correctly. She may have been trying to counsel you against over-optimism. But the crucial thing she said is "If I were advising your ex" she would go for sale and a 50/50 split. But she isn't. She is advising you. Her argument is untenable. The law on ancillaries even in this country, notorious for its lack of clarity in divorce, is as follows:
"If the combined assets exceed the combined needs fo the parties, go for 50/50. Only deviate from that for good reasons. If they are less, then refer to the checklist of factors in s25(2) Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. Chief among those factors, especially if the wife has low earning capacity and/or children at home (you have both) then NEEDS will come at the top of that checklist".
Tackle your solicitor with this. If she doesn't concede the argument outlined above, pay her off (only that part for which they should be paid, not for the duff advice) and go elsewhere. Good luck!
Thank-you for the real advice you have given me. As you say it cannot be correct to try and equally split asets when there is huge disparity in earnings, children at home and also an illness which may make it impossible for me to work at all in the future. I saw the solicitor today to sign the application for Decree Nisi. We didn't get in to anything else as my husbands details have still not arrived! However i did raise the option of forgoing spousal maintenance in favour of a much bigger share of the house and she refused to comment. Whilst i understand her not wanting to say much until we have his figures she could talk hypothetically as i have told her the salary my husband is on etc.The next meeting will be about the finances and i will take that quote of yours to shopw her and if she still comes down too far on my husband's side i will change lawyers. I really appreciate you taking time to tell me that. Thanks!!
Debbie, my only 'warning' in your situation is this:
If you do get a larger percentage of the house, instead of spousal maintainance, and you can't work, how do you suppose you'll survive with no income? You can't live off / eat your bricks!!! They may serve you well for your pension, or once the kids leave home and you down-size.
Just making you aware of that, I'm property rich, and cash poor!