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Divorce - latest guidelines on equity split?
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# 1
Scout
Old 24-05-2005, 2:51 PM
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Default Divorce - latest guidelines on equity split?

Hi, I hope I've put this in the right place but please feel free to move if not.

My problem is this. My husband and I are getting divorced. We are at the early stages and I just want to get the most facts and figures together as quickly as possible as I want us to sort things out amicably, for our kids and to save the legal fees. I have spoken to CAB but can't get to see a solicitor for a couple of weeks, for all sorts of reasons.

I am aware that once we have sold the house and cleared any debts against it, then the net profit will be split 50/50. What I want to know is what are the chances of me making a claim for more than 50%, in order that I can provide a reasonable home for our 2 children aged 3 and 6. I don't work as I care for the children. I will have to buy a new home in the primary school catchment area as it is a fantastic school with great secondary schools. However, the prices are very high - 170k for a typical old 3 bed terrace on the main road, for example. My husband can move to a cheaper area, nearer his work and still provide a decent house for when he has them. The house I will be buying will not require a mortgage. I understand from the CAB that the guidelines vary fro time to time.

My husband also has a pension that I will be looking into offsetting etc but for now, this is not part of the equation. If I have an idea of what I might get, then I can start looking for a new home.

TIA
Scout
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# 2
margaretclare
Old 24-05-2005, 3:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scout
I am aware that once we have sold the house and cleared any debts against it, then the net profit will be split 50/50.
I understand from the CAB that the guidelines vary from time to time.
It has been my understanding that the idea of a 50/50 split is something of a myth, that it depends on a whole lot of things. It's likely that your divorce will have 3 components to it:

1. The grounds for divorce and whether the marriage has 'irretrievably broken down' and on what grounds.

2. What is called 'ancillary relief' which is the financial settlement. As I said, I've been given to understand that while many people think they will *always* get 50% each, this isn't always the case.

3. The court will want to be sure that the children's interests are taken care of.

Have a look at this: www.divorce.co.uk/

There are several other sites listed on Google which say they offer free online advice about divorce, but ultimately, you need a solicitor.

Aunty Margaret
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# 3
Bossyboots
Old 24-05-2005, 3:55 PM
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Aunty Margaret is almost right about it being a myth. 50/50 is the starting point but each party's share is calculated up or downwards of that depending on a number of factors.
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# 4
Debt_Free_Chick
Old 24-05-2005, 4:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scout
What I want to know is what are the chances of me making a claim for more than 50%, in order that I can provide a reasonable home for our 2 children aged 3 and 6.
Every chance, I think. If 50% is deemed sufficient for a single person, does that mean it's sufficient & suitable for three?

In addition, the whole process is geared towards dealing with the needs of the children first. That said, I've seen plenty of divorcing couple come to blows over who gets what - so do try to remember, always, to do whtat's best for the children.

Quote:
My husband also has a pension that I will be looking into offsetting etc but for now, this is not part of the equation. If I have an idea of what I might get, then I can start looking for a new home.

TIA
Scout
You say that the pension is not currently part of the equattion , but I guess you know that the value of his pension rights can be included in the matrimonial assets?
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# 5
margaretclare
Old 24-05-2005, 4:04 PM
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Hi Bossyboots

I've just read some of the detailed, fascinating and complicated information on some of the sites on Google. It seems possible that Scout could be awarded more than the 50% because of the needs of the young children and her contribution to their care as a dedicated mum. One of the articles I read talks about the 'limitations' on a wife's career development because of the years out of the workplace etc and that this contribution should have a value placed on it.

However, I don't think that anyone can place any concrete figures on all this, not at this stage! House prices etc...buying another house incurs a whole lot more costs, conveyancing, searches, surveys, estate agents' fees etc.

There's a lot of background information freely available on any of those sites, however, when it comes down to 'how much will I get' in pounds and pence, I don't think that can be answered early on in a divorce process.

Aunty Margaret
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# 6
filigree
Old 24-05-2005, 5:16 PM
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You could try family mediation where you discuss your finances with a third party, instead of battling via solicitors and their huge bills. The local CAB should have a list of local mediation services.

There are no firm guidelines but my unqualified and informal opinion is that the parent who cares for the children will probably get more than 50%.
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# 7
Bossyboots
Old 24-05-2005, 6:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filigree
You could try family mediation where you discuss your finances with a third party, instead of battling via solicitors and their huge bills. The local CAB should have a list of local mediation services.

There are no firm guidelines but my unqualified and informal opinion is that the parent who cares for the children will probably get more than 50%.
There is also the situation where the spouse leaving the home gets a larger share but has to take a charge on the property which cannot be realised until the first of a list of events takes place (usually cohabitation or remarriage of the person in the house but often when the youngest child leaves full time education).

There is no cut and dried answer. It is a question of balancing facts and figures. It is a good idea to agree what you can beforehand but you really should seek proper legal advice about the settlement before signing anything.

If it went to Court, there is little or no chance that the parent with residence will be expected to move from the home. If there is a lot of equity however, that might be fairer. Again, it comes down the individual circumstances but as has been mentioned, a home for the children will be the first consideration.
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# 8
wendykearney
Old 25-05-2005, 8:00 PM
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Is it the same if the couple are just living together? My sis has broken up with her other half, 2 kids, one his but other knows him as dad. Sis had12 yrs in council house so they used her points to get a substantial reduction in price. He then paid morgage out of his wage, she payed bill etc. This lasted only a couple of years then she found out about many other women. He wants her out of house and is trying to force her to sell. Her soliciter unhelpful just said he gets 50% cause not married and no consideration to the huge discount she got. (because of this discount they paid 15k for a house valued at 90k) he won't pay anything for child not his and is paying 60 towards other. They have lived together for 7 years . apart from morgage has paid nothing else into house, ie bills, upkeep etc.

anyone any idea where she stands?
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# 9
Bossyboots
Old 25-05-2005, 8:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wendykearney
Is it the same if the couple are just living together? My sis has broken up with her other half, 2 kids, one his but other knows him as dad. Sis had12 yrs in council house so they used her points to get a substantial reduction in price. He then paid morgage out of his wage, she payed bill etc. This lasted only a couple of years then she found out about many other women. He wants her out of house and is trying to force her to sell. Her soliciter unhelpful just said he gets 50% cause not married and no consideration to the huge discount she got. (because of this discount they paid 15k for a house valued at 90k) he won't pay anything for child not his and is paying 60 towards other. They have lived together for 7 years . apart from morgage has paid nothing else into house, ie bills, upkeep etc.

anyone any idea where she stands?
This is a much greyer area and cohabiting couples are not protected by the same rules as married couples.

However, they are protected under civil laws and he cannot force her to sell. His only recourse would be to make an application to Court for an order for sale and in those proceedings the split of the equity could be agreed. This is not really an advisable route and, it could be argued that although they got the discount because of her points, that was not strictly a financial contribution. She could counter argue that the rent she previously paid contributed. I agree with the description of the solicitor being unhelpful. It is a shame they did not have an agreement drawn up when they took on the house which would have helped now. She needs to do some calculations as to who has put what into the house and see how that looks proportionately.

Financial issues and issues relating to children are separate and regardless of anything else, he has a duty to pay adequate maintenance for his child. I don't think he has a legal duty to maintain the other child. The father of that child should be contributing.
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# 10
wendykearney
Old 26-05-2005, 10:19 PM
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Thanks for the info. They were engaged when they bought the house so she didn't think she needed one..... We tried to advise her but she had stars in her eyes ( despite her catching him with other women previously...)

The other father refuses to work so he doesn't have to contribute ( pays nothing to his other kids either) and because of his violence to her and child niether she or daugter want to have any contact with him or know where they live.

I find it mystery how someone who has only contributed a couple of grand over 7 yrs can suddenly get over 30k by making her sell the house. My parents have contributed more than that in repairs and bills. Ill tell her to find another soliciter who specialises in this field.

thanks again

wendy
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# 11
tobit
Old 26-05-2005, 11:06 PM
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In reply to Scout. Please take my advice. Do not approach a solicitor until you know exactly what you are doing. Take advice from everyone who will speak to you. Keep talking. My divorce cost me TWENTY THOUSAND POUNDS. I was totally taken to the cleaners by my solicitor who, I realised too late, was interested only in extracting fees from me. I came away with around ONE THIRD of joint assets, including my own, very recent, inheritance. I was a total, naive blob of jelly. And this was only three years ago.

Solicitors learn every trick in the book - that's their profession. Don't trust any of them one tiny inch.

If you do your homework, can keep your head, and are as intelligent as you sound - then conduct your divorce yourself, as much as you can. Keep on good terms with your husband - I did, until solicitors got involved. The first thing the two of you must decide is how to divide your assets. That is the major problem. Be fair with each other. Otherwise, your solicitor will sort it out - by taking most of your assets from you both!!

Do I sound cynical?

Don't have the years of Hell that I was put through.

Pension? Forget it? 50/50? A myth.

Any other gruesome tales out there? You bet there are......

PS: Nice to save? Yes, if you can, which you can't, after a gruesome divorce. Please be warned.......
Nice to save.
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# 12
Bossyboots
Old 27-05-2005, 5:54 PM
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[QUOTE=tobit]
Solicitors learn every trick in the book - that's their profession. Don't trust any of them one tiny inch.

If you do your homework, can keep your head, and are as intelligent as you sound - then conduct your divorce yourself, as much as you can. Keep on good terms with your husband - I did, until solicitors got involved. The first thing the two of you must decide is how to divide your assets. That is the major problem. Be fair with each other. Otherwise, your solicitor will sort it out - by taking most of your assets from you both!!

QUOTE]

That is a sweeping generalisation and unjustified. Just because your solicitor acted in that way, and we only have your word for it that the fees were too high, does not mean they all do. If you believed your fees were too high you should have taken notice of the information on the back of your bills and invoked your right to have them assessed by the Law Society.

Fees can only be incurred when action has been taken on a matter and the level of charges should have been pointed out to you at the beginning. If not, you have grounds to make a complaint.

If your solicitor had blithely let your hubby take 95% of the assets to keep your costs down, you would be complaining about that. Too many women are ripped of by their own husbands (and in some cases the other way around) and are only rescued by caring solicitors. My friend is a prime example. She would have been left homeless and penniless had a solicitor friend not stepped in and ensured she received her share of the equity from the matrimonial home.

There are solicitors out there who cannot do the job and charge for stupid things I would agree but there are remedies. If you dispute the level of their fees as I have said, there are options open to you. Until people invoke their right to have costs assessed, those who are not playing fair will continue to do so. Do not frighten other people off getting proper legal advice just because of your situation on which we have only had your subjective viewpoint. What is good advice is to do as much as you can. If things need copying, do it yourself. If information needs to be gathered, do it yourself. If you are worried about fees ask your solicitor what you can do for yourself to keep them down. If you are brushed off with a "no, no, that is what you are paying me for", then change your solicitor.

If you are instructing your solicitor with the benefit of legal aid then the Court and/or the Legal Services Commission will assess the bill in any event and decide if it is reasonable.
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# 13
Scout
Old 27-05-2005, 11:23 PM
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I have to say that after taking the first steps ie legal advice, getting house valued etc, I managed to get husband to talk - for the first time in years. I don't think he thought I would take it this far and I don't think he ever thought what was occurring in my life - ie nothing.

We have managed to pull things back from 'the brink'. I can again see the man I married and hopefully he can see me as I was a few years ago. Thank you all for your replies, because at least if it ever gets to this stage again, I will be prepared. With luck, we can start again, at least for our children. It will take work, but we have begun the 'healing' process.
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# 14
Debt_Free_Chick
Old 27-05-2005, 11:33 PM
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Scout

What a lovely post. I had some rotten news today*, but your post has cheered me up no end.

I really hope that things work out. It's true what they say ..... communication is the key. Keep talking ... it can be tiring, but it really does help to heal. After all, you can't fix the things that you don't know are "wrong".


* I heard of a business associate, whom I admired immensely, who died suddenly, aged only 47 about 6 weeks ago. I hadn't heard. Am devastated
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# 15
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Old 27-05-2005, 11:49 PM
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so sorry to hear of your bad news dfc.weel done scout. I am a divorced (amicably) woman, and we did split completely 50/50.
I am now in a relationship of 5 years and if there's one thing we know is that talking about everything really is the key to keeping everyting o.k.
good luck and I really hope it all works out for you both.Whilst I never would advocate parents staying together for the sake of the kids if you can manage it, it's got to be for the best.
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tobit
Old 27-05-2005, 11:55 PM
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Hi Scout! I'm so pleased to hear that you and your husband are talking again - and making up. Time is the most precious thing any person can give to another. Hope you all have a lovely, sunny, holiday weekend together. Best of luck:-)
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# 17
crutches
Old 28-05-2005, 12:15 AM
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great news scout.good luck to you all.
Every day above ground is a good one
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# 18
margaretclare
Old 28-05-2005, 9:29 AM
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Hi Scout

Congratulations! Isn't it amazing how it happens sometimes, that you have to go 'right to the brink' before both of you can 'see' each other again.

This happened with a good friend of mine. After 35 years of marriage she went 'right to the brink'. And as you say, husband didn't think she would go that far. Not until they'd sold their house and she'd bought another from the settlement, he was buying a flat on a mortgage but keeping his pension scheme - not until the furniture vans rolled up did the penny actually drop with him!!! In fact, they went as far as the decree nisi stage. She was sharing her new little house with an older man who seemed very nice, but turned out to be a complete control freak when alone with her. She's now back with husband, divorce never became absolute, they've sold her nice little house, the other bloke is back living in sheltered accommodation, they're selling the flat and buying a bungalow. And now they're able to communicate, after all those years of him taking her for granted! He wasn't a bad man, just went to work, brought money home and thought that was it, left everything else to her including helping his elderly parents (who are in-laws from hell). It's amazing how things have changed for her - they had a nice holiday recently, the first they've ever had!!!

I was talking to B yesterday about how/why we seem so happy and contented. He said 'It's because we can communicate with each other, we have clean water, food to eat and a roof over our head'. I asked about his 2 previous exes. He said there are 2 things he cannot stand, never has been able to stand - hypocrisy and lying.

Best wishes to you, Scout!

Aunty Margaret
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# 19
thetheboy
Old 20-06-2005, 8:48 PM
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hope this helps - there are now quite a few online divorce services that can do all the paperwork and everything for you click here for divorce online.
It's better to travel hopefully than arrive...
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# 20
AuntyJean
Old 01-07-2005, 8:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thetheboy
hope this helps - there are now quite a few online divorce services that can do all the paperwork and everything for you click here for divorce online.
Having taken the free 1/2 hour advice from a solicitor I am resigned to the fact that my husband, who hardly contributed a penny to our home or any other costs, is entitled to half of everything. My parents died and we inherited the house my father had bought for me which I agreed to be put into joint names. I spent the rest of my inheritance doing up the house (new kitchen, central heating etc.) bought a nice car and paid for a two week trip to Egypt (our first time abroad).

I left him shortly after, leaving with only a suitcase and left him in the house and with the car. I even transferred money into his account for a year to help him out.

He now wants to sell the house and get a divorce. I will agree to 50/50 if he will (as I believe he will) and we are to meet on Monday to discuss).

He says he cannot afford the divorce (his new girlfriend is an accountant! so rather than pay out more money I was hoping to do the divorce myself.

Rather than use the Divorceonline is there anywhere else I can obtain the papers and instructions? I managed to sort mums probate out with my sister and I being the sole inheritants, at a total cost of only 550 as opposed to the 2,000 charged to mum a year earlier when dad died (1984 and 1985). So divorce should be fairly easy but I want to be made aware of any pitfalls.

Has anyone managed a DIY divorce themselves? Any advice please?
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