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    • Momanns
    • By Momanns 16th Apr 19, 10:48 AM
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    Momanns
    Unfair divorce - help needed !
    • #1
    • 16th Apr 19, 10:48 AM
    Unfair divorce - help needed ! 16th Apr 19 at 10:48 AM
    Hi all, long term user/fan of the forum but first time post! After some help as I’m supporting a friend through a griefy divorce and am finding it a stressful/illogical/unfair process.

    Background

    He had an affair whilst my friend was pregnant with their child early on in the marriage. They have been together since school. In fairness to the woman involved, he had spun her a story and she was the first of many victims. Once she had seen through his lies she called the relationship off and helped my friend through their split by providing evidence etc.

    Over the last few years, my friend has stupidly/nievely wanted to reconcile and live the family life she had always wanted. It was clear he was stringing her along but keeping her at arms length. They never got bac together or even went as far as dating/being intimate but as recently as a year ago he was promising her the world and they even looked at houses etc.

    Again, not to anyone’s surprise it transpired for the past 2 years he has had a partner. He was even living with her for most of the relationship. Interestingly, he always refused to give a current address and would only ever pick their child up for visits etc. Whenever my friend tried to distance herself he would up the charm, very often turn up unannounced outside of agreed visits and literally talk through the letterbox to the child to open the door. The child is primary school age.

    He has shown a constant manipulative, controlling and borderline emotional abusive behaviour towards my friend which continues to this day. Often verbally abusive in person but smart enough to play the game over texts etc.

    Divorce & assets

    Divorce proceedings were instigated and they have failed moderation and the terms offered to my friend at the lastest hearing were refused. They are then set to go to a full hearing which she can not afford and will have to borrow money. This was still the better alternative to agreeing the terms offered.

    Since separating, my friend has had sole custody/care of their child. The child has visits with the dad but has not even had an overnight stay as the child does not wish too/the dad doesn’t seem too bothered in having the child overnight.

    Property – My friend lives in the flat and has done since the split. He has in fairness continued to contribute to the mortgage but not to the general upkeep/maintenance etc.

    The judge ruled my friend should remortgage and awarded him a 50% split of the equity in the property based on the current value. However, the award was a figure as opposed to a % and has not taken into account that my friend may not be able to remortgage to the full amount given she is a single mother as well as any costs involved in doing so. Essentially she would have been obliged to pay him an amount

    My friend would rather sell the property as it was bought as a marital home 10+ years but would be unable to buy a similar property now (we live in Greater London) so is stuck.

    They are also going through the custody process but without the issues above. Although of note, he regularly cancels last minute when he is due to have the child and can go weeks without a visit. I think it’s all about getting back at X or “winning” in court rather than anything to do with the best interests of the child.

    Pension
    My friend has been with the same employer for 15+ years and has a bigger pension pot. He has been employed for a shorter time so has a smaller pot. The judge ruled on a calculation that both pots be merged to create a figure which he has then divided in half.

    I find it scandalous that a judge has attempted to give him money from her pension pot despite her being a single working mother with sole custody of their child! The solicitor/barrister stated after the hearing she had never seen anything like it but the judge would not be swayed.

    Additions

    As per the above, he is relentless in his dishonesty. He has filed all the paperwork late and missed every deadline set. There doesn’t seem to be a penalty for doing so.

    He has conveniently gone from zero debt to having a credit card debt of circa - £5,000 since proceedings began. We know him and his partner had 3-4 holidays last year and lead a relatively comfortable lifestyle.

    He has also made a sizeable payment to a family member marked as “return of loan”. There was no outgoing payment and when queried, the only reply was that it was an informal agreement.

    Despite signing a tenancy agreement within a month of the hearing he also claimed that he had split up with his partner and was therefore liable for 100% of the living costs.

    Key questions are:

    Is a 50/50 split in the above scenario an anomaly of pretty common?
    Is any importance placed on the background of the split and the constant missing deadlines etc?
    Does any of the dishonesty/deception mean anything or is it all a calculation based on finances only?


    We’re finding it hard as most cases seem to support the mother but he has managed to get a judge to suggest a 50/50 split. My friend isn’t looking to take him to the cleaners but just to split fairly and move on with her life of which he has destroyed for the last few years. She refused the findings and they are moving towards having a full hearing. She is also very frustrated with her solicitors and believes they have represented her poorly.

    Trying not to give details away but it is important to note his employment means he has experience of court proceedings and is in a position usually afforded trust/credit by the legal and judiciary system. Given the person he is, I would say he is a disgrace to the uniform/profession.

    Any and all help will be much appreciated!
Page 1
    • Momanns
    • By Momanns 16th Apr 19, 10:57 AM
    • 8 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Momanns
    • #2
    • 16th Apr 19, 10:57 AM
    • #2
    • 16th Apr 19, 10:57 AM
    Would also be useful to know if anyone has any information around the next hearing in terms of what to expect. I'm told it's like a mini trial with both sides being cross examined etc
    • caprikid1
    • By caprikid1 16th Apr 19, 11:36 AM
    • 748 Posts
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    caprikid1
    • #3
    • 16th Apr 19, 11:36 AM
    • #3
    • 16th Apr 19, 11:36 AM
    I guess in terms of the pension pot the Judge considered that when they both reached pensionable age they would no longer have dependent children. Why should she have a larger pension pot ? Assuming he pays her the required maintenance etc.
    • Caz3121
    • By Caz3121 16th Apr 19, 11:42 AM
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    Caz3121
    • #4
    • 16th Apr 19, 11:42 AM
    • #4
    • 16th Apr 19, 11:42 AM
    The judge ruled my friend should remortgage and awarded him a 50% split of the equity in the property based on the current value. However, the award was a figure as opposed to a % and has not taken into account that my friend may not be able to remortgage to the full amount given she is a single mother as well as any costs involved in doing so. Essentially she would have been obliged to pay him an amount

    My friend would rather sell the property as it was bought as a marital home 10+ years but would be unable to buy a similar property now (we live in Greater London) so is stuck.
    Originally posted by Momanns
    She is not stuck - she could rent rather than buy (many people cannot afford to buy in Greater London)
    How much equity is there currently and how much will be left roughly after the lawyers get their £££s for the court case?
    50:50 would be the starting point, with everything, flat, pensions etc being in the pot
    • humptydumptybits
    • By humptydumptybits 16th Apr 19, 11:44 AM
    • 2,378 Posts
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    humptydumptybits
    • #5
    • 16th Apr 19, 11:44 AM
    • #5
    • 16th Apr 19, 11:44 AM
    I thought a 50/50 split was normal, particularly if he has been paying his share (50%?) of the mortgage for years while she has been living there. I think splitting the pension is common, I know several people where this has happened but it seems more usual for the man to be losing some of his pension pot as they ten to be the higher earner/haven't had a career break for children. I suppose one of the outcomes of equality is that sometimes it is the woman who loses out.


    I assume she is getting child support?



    I don't think fault comes into it so his affair is irrelevant.


    I do know someone who fought a long bitter battle to get more than 50%, she did get a bit more but it was more than swallowed up by the legal fees, left the husband unable to live nearby as he had less than 50% plus legal costs as well. She regretted it later because she was no better off and in the end her children would have benefitted from having dad closer.
    Last edited by humptydumptybits; 16-04-2019 at 11:46 AM.
    • hazyjo
    • By hazyjo 16th Apr 19, 11:58 AM
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    hazyjo
    • #6
    • 16th Apr 19, 11:58 AM
    • #6
    • 16th Apr 19, 11:58 AM
    50/50 is normal. He will also be paying maintenance and she may be entitled to some benefits. Surely they can either rent, downsize or change areas. I couldn't afford the same size house when I got divorced (twice) so downsized.
    2019 wins: Bottle of Prosecco; Popcorn Shed popcorn...
    • Justiceforme
    • By Justiceforme 16th Apr 19, 12:35 PM
    • 147 Posts
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    Justiceforme
    • #7
    • 16th Apr 19, 12:35 PM
    • #7
    • 16th Apr 19, 12:35 PM
    Hi, 50/50 not always normal. You may like to read this extract about what happened recently re a family members situation.
    Family member had a very good barrister which cost him £1000.00 for the day, alongside all of his solicitors costs. Ex refused to pay for the cost of proper legal solicitor. Judge ruled the house has be to sold, placed on the market very soon. He has been awarded 30%, ex 70%. This outcome is partially due to ex's continual debt problem. He fully accepts this settlement and will continue to pay for maintenance for his child.
    Problem now is child is very distraught about leaving family home.
    Ex, is using child as an emotional tool against father, trying to blame him, for everything. He is now very distressed about this because she is passing all blame on to him, saying that he is making them homeless. After costs she will have about £8000.00, him £3000.00 There are no winners in this situation.
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 16th Apr 19, 1:00 PM
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    Comms69
    • #8
    • 16th Apr 19, 1:00 PM
    • #8
    • 16th Apr 19, 1:00 PM
    I was wondering what was unfair about 50/50, and I still am
    • Momanns
    • By Momanns 16th Apr 19, 1:43 PM
    • 8 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Momanns
    • #9
    • 16th Apr 19, 1:43 PM
    • #9
    • 16th Apr 19, 1:43 PM
    Thank you for the helpful replies. My thoughts are:

    1) Yes she can sell and go into rental etc. That said, I guess it's the frustration of why should she come off the property market through no fault of her own. The 50/50 split for the mortgage I agree is fair but again my friend has been lumbered with additional costs (not splitting bills etc) due to his infidelity. Yes he pays the required monthly amount but does anyone believe that covers the cost of a child as it doesn't come close.

    I guess in terms of the pension pot the Judge considered that when they both reached pensionable age they would no longer have dependent children. Why should she have a larger pension pot ? Assuming he pays her the required maintenance etc. - He has simply paid into a pension for a shorter period through his own choices. He will be on a decent Police pension, he has already been promoted once so his pot is likely to grow at a far higher rate than my friends. He also earns a higher salary so will be contributing a higher amount.

    I was wondering what was unfair about 50/50, and I still am - In what way is this helpful? Is the mortgage the only cost associated with owning a flat? How about service charges, maintenance, upkeep. Things he has not contributed a penny towards but stands to earn an equal share?

    As for the pension, I can't see what's fair about handing over part of your pension pot to a cheating ****** simply because you've paid into a pension for longer?

    You tell me what's fair about marrying the guy you've been with since school to fall pregnant after the wedding to then find out he's having an affair. Then raise a child by yourself with the same guy making your life difficult just for his own amusement? Then face selling your only asset/security and moving that child which may affect schools simply because house prices/rentals have risen at an extraordinary rate over the past ten years?
    • Momanns
    • By Momanns 16th Apr 19, 1:46 PM
    • 8 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Momanns
    My friend is open to negotiation as I don't think either of them want the further cost. As stated she would agree to splitting the equity but the sticking points are:

    Costs associated with releasing this equity. If she sells, then ££££'s in costs and estate agent fees etc have not been including in the 50/50 split.
    Handing over part of her hard earned pension pot to someone who is in a better position financially
    • Soundgirlrocks
    • By Soundgirlrocks 16th Apr 19, 1:55 PM
    • 618 Posts
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    Soundgirlrocks
    I was wondering what was unfair about 50/50, and I still am
    Originally posted by Comms69
    Give (from what we are told) the father has very little interest in the child /childcare I think 50/50 is unfair as the non resident parent he can continue his career unencumbered, whilst the mother juggles working with being a sole parent. I highly doubt any child maintenance payments will cover the cost of childcare.
    • TBagpuss
    • By TBagpuss 16th Apr 19, 2:27 PM
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    TBagpuss
    Are you sying that the Judge has made a final order, or that the suggestion swere made by the Judge at n FDR appointment?

    If it was an FDR appointment, then the final hearing will be heard by a different Judge and that Judge will not have any information about the offers made or advicegiven at the FDR.

    If it was a final hearing, then she can talk to her alwyer about whether there would be grounds to appeal the decision, but the Judge has a fairly wide discretion so to sucessfully appeal she would have to show that the judge made a significant mistake about the facts or the law, or how they applied.

    The starting point is normally 50/50 and the court then has to decide whether there needs to be a variation away from that to be fair.
    If your friend and her ex have similar incomes , then an equal division on the basis that he will then also be paying child support, may well be reasonable.

    If your friend would rathersell the flat than remortgage then there is no reason that can't happen, she would simply pay her ex the lump sum he is due, and kep the rests of the sale proceeds

    If the comments were made at n FDR then they are advice, not binding. she can make proposals to him, which might involve his having a charge back over the flat (so he gets his share when the child is older) or a sael now with a lower lump sum.

    What does her solicitor advise?

    The background - who left who etc, is not relavant to financial split.

    If he missed deadlines then she could have asked the court for costs orders if his doing so meant that hearings swere not effecitve. Such applications are normally dealt with on the day - e.g. if the first appointment can't be used because one party has not filed their Form E, then they could be orderd to pay the other person's costs of coming to court that day. However, beyond that, it would not typically make a diference.
    • Momanns
    • By Momanns 16th Apr 19, 2:48 PM
    • 8 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Momanns
    Hi TBagpuss - this I think was the FDR so they have one final hearing left. The solicitors have quoted £10,000 for the hearing so I guess if they can moderate between themselves it would be preferential to both.

    It's useful to know most cases are 50/50 or thereabouts even if it is "morally unfair" so to speak.

    Would it be an option for my friend to accept the 50/50 house split but stay firm on the pension front? I think this is the bit she cannot grasp.

    Is it also common for the judge to refer to a figure as opposed to a % amount? Again I think it would be fairer if he was awarded 50% of the actual equity minus any costs etc
    • humptydumptybits
    • By humptydumptybits 16th Apr 19, 6:50 PM
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    humptydumptybits
    I think the point with the pension is that what it is worth at the time of the divorce, what he accrues in pension after the divorce is none of her business. If he wasn't paying into a pension were they, as a couple, using that money for something else? What I mean is did she benefit in any way from that money?


    I don't know about the house, people I know seem to have had the option to sell and split the proceeds or get 3 valuations and then one buy the other out. Can she get that changed if she is going to have to move as that seems more likely that the pension.


    As to his payments not covering the full cost of bring up children, well they are hers as well as his so I don't see why he should have to pay 100% of the cost.


    Of course she has had costs with maintaining the property but she has also had the benefit of living in it, he has been paying his share of the mortgage and also pay to live elsewhere.


    As I said before the only person I know who really fought ended up no better off and the ex worse off to the detriment of the children. The only winners were the solicitors.


    Are you the person getting divorced?
    • mattpaint
    • By mattpaint 16th Apr 19, 9:21 PM
    • 259 Posts
    • 530 Thanks
    mattpaint
    Thank you for the helpful replies. My thoughts are:

    1) Yes she can sell and go into rental etc. That said, I guess it's the frustration of why should she come off the property market through no fault of her own. The 50/50 split for the mortgage I agree is fair but again my friend has been lumbered with additional costs (not splitting bills etc) due to his infidelity. Yes he pays the required monthly amount but does anyone believe that covers the cost of a child as it doesn't come close.

    I guess in terms of the pension pot the Judge considered that when they both reached pensionable age they would no longer have dependent children. Why should she have a larger pension pot ? Assuming he pays her the required maintenance etc. - He has simply paid into a pension for a shorter period through his own choices. He will be on a decent Police pension, he has already been promoted once so his pot is likely to grow at a far higher rate than my friends. He also earns a higher salary so will be contributing a higher amount.

    I was wondering what was unfair about 50/50, and I still am - In what way is this helpful? Is the mortgage the only cost associated with owning a flat? How about service charges, maintenance, upkeep. Things he has not contributed a penny towards but stands to earn an equal share?

    As for the pension, I can't see what's fair about handing over part of your pension pot to a cheating ****** simply because you've paid into a pension for longer?

    You tell me what's fair about marrying the guy you've been with since school to fall pregnant after the wedding to then find out he's having an affair. Then raise a child by yourself with the same guy making your life difficult just for his own amusement? Then face selling your only asset/security and moving that child which may affect schools simply because house prices/rentals have risen at an extraordinary rate over the past ten years?
    Originally posted by Momanns
    You're far too involved in this situation. Take a step back.
    • FBaby
    • By FBaby 17th Apr 19, 7:37 AM
    • 17,141 Posts
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    FBaby
    Divorces are rarely fair to the party who loses out the most. The pension split is what is almost always ordered, it is just very rare that it is the male partner who gets to benefit.

    The sale of the flat if it means that your friend has to rent is however unusual. Most judges would want se urity for the child. Is it really the case she couldn't buy anything, or not something comparable in the same area? Is she working full time? The judge might have considered that if she did and increasing her hours were a possibility, that she could then indeed buy another flat.
    • Momanns
    • By Momanns 17th Apr 19, 7:39 AM
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    Momanns
    Not me getting divorced & don't feel too involved. Just trying to help a friend in a fairly desperate situation. The guy in question is nasty and has been manipulating my friend for many years so there is a group of us trying to a ) Help her move on/cope and b) Get a fair outcome from the divorce. She is a full time working mother of one having to cope with this by herself and is up against an extremely manipulative and vindictive individual so I think it's only right to be involved.

    Thank you for your help - Probably should leave it there but it's been useful to get people's views
    • Momanns
    • By Momanns 17th Apr 19, 7:42 AM
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    Momanns
    FBaby - It's a flat in South London that was bought by two people using the Key Workers Scheme. My friend with a circa £50,000 deposit and a sole income with a dependent wouldn't be able to afford half the value of the flat unfortunately.
    • BoGoF
    • By BoGoF 17th Apr 19, 9:19 AM
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    BoGoF
    OP.....think you should stop there. Any more info and people who know the 2 parties will be able to identify them.
    • FBaby
    • By FBaby 17th Apr 19, 1:36 PM
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    FBaby
    Then her best argument is that she wouldn't be able to afford to rent in the area, her child would need to change schools, after school clubs and with the seperation of their parents, it would emotionally damage them. Her best argument would be to keep the flat but couldn't she afford the mortgage on her own?
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