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Financial changes following separation

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  • Red-Squirrel_2
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    SoulPuppet wrote: »
    I understand that. However, if spousal maintenance were granted in the amount suggested, the net result would be that my wife owed me £40 pcm.

    I think it would be pointless for me to pay her £240 pcm and her pay me £280 pcm. I was just trying to shortcut it by setting one against the other, if that makes sense?

    SM is incredibly rare, and you don't seem like a likely case. I think your solicitor is being unrealistic there.

    If you want to try though, go to them, if they think you can get it.
  • pmlindyloo
    pmlindyloo Posts: 13,053 Forumite
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    I have to agree with a previous poster that using a solicitor should be a last resort. The only one, IMO who gains financially from this is the solicitor. Demands like spousal maintenance are all very well but can make for less than amicable relationships between you, your ex and your children.

    Unfortunately it is a fact of life that often when the father is on a fairly low wage he is the one who struggles financially. Sh*t happens.

    I personally think the sale of the house and your share it 'over and done with'.

    Debts - whose name were they in? - are a matter that should be discussed since they were both presumably used for both you and your ex. If your ex is benefitting from what the money bought then certainly it would seem fair for her to bear some of the burden. But they have now been paid so difficult.

    Car(s) and bike are small matters which really shouldn't be an issue.

    The problem is 'your mates give you advice', you read all kinds of things about divorce and what people get and you begin to wonder if things are fair.

    I am not saying you should not 'stand your corner' but don't sweat the small stuff.

    Everything will be sorted out during the divorce but to save money I would urge you to seek mediation. Much much cheaper and the people involved are totally impartial unlike solicitors who will be after your money.

    Have a read about it here:

    https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/family/ending-a-relationship/how-to-separate/mediation-to-help-you-separate/

    The child maintenance won't be forever - how old is your youngest? You could try to up your income (second/weekend job) and reduce your expenditure as much as possible whilst paying CM

    I suspect you are feeling very sorry for yourself, particularly since it wasn't your choice to separate but these things happen. Try to move on with your life and not dwell on what has happened/what could have been. Two of children are adults - don't put your feelings above continuing a good relationship with them - this doesn't cost anything. Ditto with your youngest. These are the important things to concentrate on.
  • FBaby
    FBaby Posts: 18,367 Forumite
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    At the end of the day she would still be much better off than I am but I would be content with that, as I could rebuild (which I currently cannot).
    Agreeing on a divorce settlement is different to continuing to live with a similar income.

    I do understand this morally considering your past, but legally, you have no right to expecting the same disposable income then hers.
  • nicechap
    nicechap Posts: 2,852 Forumite
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    edited 13 August 2018 at 7:34PM
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    SoulPuppet wrote: »
    My wife and I separated a little over a year ago, after more than 20 years together. We have three children, two of whom are now adults. The separation was her decision and I was (and still am) incredibly upset by it but I acknowledge that things had been difficult between us for some time.

    We have tried to sort things out financially with mixed success. However, I am increasingly feeling that the resulting situations were not fair and that I have been significantly disadvantaged due to trying to do what I thought was best for her and the children.

    I have sought legal advice and they suggest mediation and/or seeking Spousal Maintenance, neither of which are ideal but I am not sure what else I could try.

    The current financial situation is as follows:

    The family home - bought in joint names in 2000. I was sole payer of the mortgage until 2012 (my wife was a stay at home Mum and I was happy to try and support this). We became full time Foster Carers in 2012 and the income from this plus my salary paid the mortgage from then on. Following the separation, my wife remained in the house with the children and has remortgaged the property (for 25 years) in her name only, paying me half of the 'ball park' equity for it in November last year. I have since been informed that I might have been entitled to a greater share of the equity. Due to my age, I would find it difficult to get another mortgage for a 25 year term. The money that I received went to pay off my share of household debts plus new expenses where I eventually ended up living. At the time of the separation, we had 8 years left to run on the mortgage.

    The family car - initially I took this vehicle with me and my wife had the use of my eldest son's car (registered in her name). A couple of weeks after the split, the vehicle broke down and was initially pronounced as un-repairable. I was going to scrap it for £50 and give my wife half but a friend of mine, that owns a garage, found a replacement engine that was initially expected to cost around £500 plus labour to fit. I went ahead but other problems were discovered and the final bill came to just over £2,400. My wife feels that she is owed half of what the car is worth, I disagreed saying that if I had not had the repair done and instead scrapped it and bought another vehicle, would she feel that she had a claim on that?

    Household debts - I took on £5,400 more of the debt than my wife did, including a lot of high interest items such as credit cards. I paid all of these off when I had the money for the house but the interest between May and November when the mortgage was sorted came to another £1,500 approximately. The only high interest item that my wife took on was an Argos store card, I offered to pay this off in December in lieu of paying Child Maintenance for six months, so that my wife would not be paying the interest. My wife accepted this.

    Child Maintenance - Initially there was no agreement made between us but I continued to pay half of the mortgage on the house, in lieu of CM, until my wife remortgaged. I then paid CM until the agreement about the Argos card (see above). I started paying CM again in July this year.

    Other -
    I had a motorbike on Hire Purchase, which I have since sold. However, it was stolen last October and recovered about a week later. The insurance increase when I moved address, plus the costs when it was recovered and the payments I made until the HP was completed, meant that I was actually about £250 out of pocket overall. My wife feels that she should get half of the sale value of the bike.
    My eldest son's car was registered in my wife's name and she has since part exchanged it to get a new vehicle (there is an unknown arrangement she made with my son in this transaction).
    I had to borrow money from my parents and sister, in order to rent a one bedroom flat. This meant that I was unable to have the children stay with me and my contact with them has been limited as a result.

    My wife feels that things should be left as they currently are financially but also wants a share of my private pensions when they become due.

    Our current approximate incomes are:

    Me -
    Salary £1600 pcm

    My wife -
    Foster Income ~£1600 pcm
    Child Tax Credits ~£700 every 4 weeks
    Working Tax Credits ~£300 every 4 weeks
    Child Benefit ~£140 every 4 weeks

    I pay £240pcm in CM currently.

    So, if you have made it this far, am I being unreasonable in thinking the current arrangement is unfair? I have been advised that I could seek spousal maintenance of £280 pcm plus a lump sum of approximately £6,000 to make up the difference in costs/debts/expenses between May and December and I should seek further advice regarding the house and whether I can ask for more money from it. BUT, even though I am finding things financially difficult, I don't really want to go down this road if I can help it.

    My proposed solution is the cessation of CM payments (currently due to be paid until June 2020) and offsetting my private pensions, so that my wife would no longer have any entitlement to them. I would then see this as a clean break arrangement once the divorce is finalised (note that proceedings have not yet begun).

    My wife and I are trying to remain on friendly terms and do what is best as far as possible for the children (despite their ages) and I know that me trying to talk to her about these things causes her to get upset and anxious, so I am trying to gauge whether what I am asking seems reasonable before I could potentially cause any further upset?

    Any advice or suggestions gratefully received, thank you. :)
    SoulPuppet wrote: »
    Not at all. I am just trying to reach what would be a fair settlement for us both. If you don't include the Tax Credits and Child Benefit, we actually earn about the same. My concern is that the separation has left us in vastly different financial situations and I feel that needs addressing. If people think it;s fair as is then I welcome that comment also.
    SoulPuppet wrote: »
    There would definitely be greater expense in terms of food and clothing, yes. The household bills though are similar now but when I first moved into a flat, my rent was more than double her mortgage and I was not able to afford things beyond the basic utilities (i.e. no TV licence and no Internet access).

    I understand these things are messy and I want to make sure that the children (including foster children) are safe and provided for and I certainly don't want my wife to be under threat of losing the house, but I need to be able to properly set up a home of my own and the financial circumstances as they stand are prohibitive to that (e.g. as already mentioned I am having difficulty trying to get a mortgage of my own, despite my current credit rating being Excellent).
    SoulPuppet wrote: »
    I have spoken to a solicitor and the advice is that I could press for both of these based on the information provided. My inclination is not to go down that route because it feels morally wrong.

    By not paying CM instead, I would be able to afford a mortgage but that doesn't feel quite right either, hence my issue.

    I appreciate your comments, thank you.
    SoulPuppet wrote: »
    I just thought it would be less painful and easier to try and agree that as an option with my wife, rather than pursue the other options. At the end of the day she would still be much better off than I am but I would be content with that, as I could rebuild (which I currently cannot).

    My understanding is that when a separation occurs, the two new households should end up in as equal a position as possible. I recognise that my wife having the responsibility of the children necessitates her getting that taken into account and I'm not disputing that. I just have the impression that the lines have been drawn too far one way.
    SoulPuppet wrote: »
    I understand that. However, if spousal maintenance were granted in the amount suggested, the net result would be that my wife owed me £40 pcm.

    I think it would be pointless for me to pay her £240 pcm and her pay me £280 pcm. I was just trying to shortcut it by setting one against the other, if that makes sense?


    Interesting username, just two letters out.
    Originally Posted by shortcrust
    "Contact the Ministry of Fairness....If sufficient evidence of unfairness is discovered you’ll get an apology, a permanent contract with backdated benefits, a ‘Let’s Make it Fair!’ tshirt and mug, and those guilty of unfairness will be sent on a Fairness Awareness course."
  • gettingtheresometime
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    How did your wife remortgage in her sole name? I thought it was a requirement that the names on the mortgage had to match those on the land registry documents
  • Seanymph
    Seanymph Posts: 2,877 Forumite
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    I lived in a house with my name on the deeds but not the mortgage, it can be done - what can't be done is taking his name off the deeds - she can remortgage all she wants, but he will still be on the deeds unless he takes himself off.

    I think that you are trying very hard to be nice - but your marriage is over, and no matter how nice you are she won't have you back. I wonder how you will feel when someone else is living with her in the house you spent your equity in bailing her out.

    You now need to ensure that you are ok. Not grabbing, not unfair, but ok. And if you don't do that now then the resentment you will end up with (and already are by the look of your post) will cause problems down the line.

    I support the use of solicitors, I have been well served by mine and it could end up being a solid investment - so far you aren't looking after your interests very well, so pay someone to do that. Then take their advice.

    You have been given legal advice, whether or not you follow it is up to you - but you will gain nothing by gifting everything in your life away.
  • Ozzuk
    Ozzuk Posts: 1,884 Forumite
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    Why would you get SM? I don't see anything written that says you were disadvantaged in the relationship/unable to work. IMO you have zero chance of that. And it isn't comparable with CM, which you have to pay.

    So I'd forget those two.

    If your wife is looking after the children full time then it is common for that person to get a larger share of the assets.

    And I get where you are coming from, you didn't want this, you are now without your kids, your wife, and worse off. Sadly that doesn't mean you are automatically entitled to more.

    You should both be listing all assets, pensions, debt and trying to reach an agreement that can be finalised in the divorce. If you can't then a court will, and that could cost you both a lot.

    Is renting somewhere larger then applying for more custody an option? you'll get a share of benefits and reduced CM which should offset higher rental costs.
  • gettingtheresometime
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    Seanymph wrote: »
    I lived in a house with my name on the deeds but not the mortgage, it can be done - what can't be done is taking his name off the deeds - she can remortgage all she wants, but he will still be on the deeds unless he takes himself off.

    As a matter of interest how long ago was all this?


    What would have happened if the OP's wife defaults on the mortgage and the mortgage company attempts to repossess the house?
  • -taff
    -taff Posts: 14,685 Forumite
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    Do you have a solicitor representing you in your divorce? As you've been advised, why don't you try mediation and see what happens next?
    Shampoo? No thanks, I'll have real poo...
  • Seanymph
    Seanymph Posts: 2,877 Forumite
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    gettingthere it was about 20 years ago, blimey just over that. And I have no idea how they would have dealt with any default. But the deeds were in my name, and the mortgage in his.
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