Financial Settlement - What would be fair?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Marriage, Relationships & Families
43 replies 6.9K views
paigesauntpaigesaunt Forumite
112 Posts
Ninth Anniversary Combo Breaker
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Marriage, Relationships & Families
I would appreciate some opinions or possible sinario's in the event this goes to court.
The only joint martial asset is the former matrimonial home which I currently live in with our adult son, his partner and their baby.

I work full time £16,500 PA
Property value £230,000
Outstanding mortgage 190,000 (interest only) 8 years left.
No scheme in place to cover capital.
Restriction on property in ex's sole name (approx £50,000)
Debt £10,000
No pension
Age 56

Ex husband
Semi retired company director, income Unknown (dividends)
Property 1 value £250,000 (inherited 50%)
Property 2 value £100,000 (as above)
No mortgage on either property
Debt unlikely
Pension will become payable in a few months.
Aged 54

Seperated 3.5 years, not yet divorced.
Company director and inheritance are both post seperation.
Nothing was paid into pension during marriage.

Ex has refused mediation and opted for court route, he has representation, I cannot afford it.

If you were me, how would you approach this?
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Replies

  • tacpot12tacpot12 Forumite
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    I would suggest you take a look at this Wikivorce page https://www.wikivorce.com/divorce/Divorce-Calculator.html

    Especially the section on fixed price legal advice. You really need legal representation and you need to beg or borrow the money to ensure you have it. It needn't be expensive, but your situation is precarious without it.
    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always try to check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • paigesauntpaigesaunt Forumite
    112 Posts
    Ninth Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Thank you, I know I'm in a vulnerable position without legal representation, not to mention what it will do to me emotionally.
    One would have thought leaving me after 23 years married would have been enough punishment for being a loyal wife, clearly not, he wants me homeless too!
  • tacpot12tacpot12 Forumite
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    One of the reasons you need legal representation is that you are emotionally involved with the case. While entirely natural, this makes it difficult to argue the fine points of the case, or even to remember what the points of the case are when the hearing becomes stressful.

    You can expect your husband to try to get the very best possible settlement for himself and the worst for you - because he has chosen to go to court rather than choose another route. The judge will try to achieve a fair distribution of assets, but needs to hear the arguments for and against the range of options.

    It is possible your husband will try to hide the assets and income. You can download the annual accounts for his company from companies house for a small fee. I would get the last four years accounts if possible.

    Can you explain what the plan was to have been for when the Interest Only mortgage came to an end? Did your husband propose what the plan should be?
    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always try to check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • edited 30 July 2018 at 10:40PM
    tacpot12tacpot12 Forumite
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    edited 30 July 2018 at 10:40PM
    Regarding your original question: my guess is that based on the information you provided in your post that a fair settlement would be

    50% of the equity in the matrimonial home
    50% of the pension fund
    25% of each of the inherited properties
    Which will not be quite enough for you to clear the mortgage on your house, but which will probably be close enough for you to work something out with the mortgage company.

    However what is fair outcome and what is a likely outcome could be quite different. I have very limited experience, but I am wondering if your husband wants to go to court to argue that the pension and inherited properties are not marital assets. If he can do this successfully, then you would will not receive any part of them.

    There is a case called Rossi v Rossi which is sets a precedent regarding assets acquired after separation but before divorce. I think he may be able to argue (using the principle in Rossi v Rossi) that the pension is as a result his own labour and did not result from any marital asset. I think there is an arguememt that the inherited properties are NOT a result of his own labour - whether this arguememt is worth introducing in court is a question for your legal representative.
    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always try to check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • paigesauntpaigesaunt Forumite
    112 Posts
    Ninth Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Hi All
    Many thanks for the replies.
    The plan was for the last 10 years I would return to work and we'd try and pay as much off as possible. Our intention was always to convert part of our home to a self contained annex for ourselves and travel, whilst our adult son and his family would have the main part of the house.
    Unfortunately for me I wasn't aware ex's plans had changed, it could be that he was planning a different future without me in it a lot longer than I thought.

    The FMH was remortgaged to its limit to pay off ex's income tax, vat, all personal debts and buy him a new work vehicle. I had no access to this money.
    The mortgage was 5 months in arrears when he left me which I wasn't aware of, but did pay off eventually.
  • tacpot12tacpot12 Forumite
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    Hi Paige's aunt

    Thanks for your last post. So in summary, your husband and you had committed to a plan where each of you would clear the mortgage to the best of your financial abilities, but he has declined to follow through with this plan.

    The fact that the funds from remortgaging were used to pay his bills and debts is a debatable point. Yes, he has created the reduced equity in the house and has the benefit of this, but if he hadn't he would still have these debts acquired during the marriage.
    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always try to check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • rpcrpc Forumite
    2.4K Posts
    The only joint martial asset is the former matrimonial home

    If the marriage has been long enough, and with an adult son it sounds like it has, all assets are joint marital assets until an order is in place (this is in E&W, a little different in Scotland).

    Looking at the two of you separately, you have £40k equity and owe £60k of that. Ex has £175k plus pension, no debt.

    I'd second tacpot12's proposal.

    It does sound like he has schemed and planned a little, so you will need legal representation.
  • paigesauntpaigesaunt Forumite
    112 Posts
    Ninth Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Thanks again for the replies.
    Why is the £50,000 debt mine, I thought a restriction only applies to his half of the equity because they're in his sole name?
    The debts (2x's restrictions) were both business debts from his self employed business he had at the time, and before his father made him a director of his ltd company 6 moths before sadly passing away.
    I knew nothing of theses until after he had left, he told me they were dissolved in his bankrupcy a few years before, at the time, I had no reason to doubt him.
    I have tried to get him to communicate via email to try and figure something out but he insists we'd never agree so there's no point.

    I'm pretty sure he wants me out of the FMH so that he can move in, pay off the mortgage and have what I have got, ie a family. I've no doubt he would happily see me homeless even though it was him that left me for someone else, but naturally it's all my fault.
    I would genuinely like to know what others would do if they were me, no matter how grim it looks. I would rather walk away now with nothing than go through a court case and end up with legal fees I can't pay.
    I don't earn enough to be able to afford it, but earn too much to qualify for legal aid, despite qualifying for the DV part as he was mentally abusive.
  • paigesauntpaigesaunt Forumite
    112 Posts
    Ninth Anniversary Combo Breaker
    So after months of no contact, ex has emailed saying he doesn't want to go through solicitors and courts, but asked what I want to settle the divorce.
    I'm wondering, since probate has recently been granted on his fathers estate he may think the courts would consider that as part of the pot, given there's very little in the pot in the first place.
    In my position, would you initially include what he has inherited and negotiate downwards until he just agrees to pay off the charging order, which is all I really want?
    Thoughts anyone..
  • MojisolaMojisola Forumite
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    paigesaunt wrote: »
    So after months of no contact, ex has emailed saying he doesn't want to go through solicitors and courts, but asked what I want to settle the divorce.
    I'm wondering, since probate has recently been granted on his fathers estate he may think the courts would consider that as part of the pot, given there's very little in the pot in the first place.
    In my position, would you initially include what he has inherited and negotiate downwards until he just agrees to pay off the charging order, which is all I really want?

    No.

    Ask him for what you actually want - if he's as desperate as you think to get it settled, it will all get done very quickly.
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