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Worried & concerned about horror stories

Posted by Dwj100 
Worried & concerned about horror stories
February 07, 2021 11:07PM
Hi all,

I’m currently going through divorce proceedings with my wife of 8 years after she admitted adultery.

Initially she did not want a solicitor to handle finances, but it seems as we get further down the line she is now instructing one and I’m terrified I’m going to be completely left with nothing.

Background- my father gifted my wife and I £150,000 when we first got married which I used to pay off the mortgage on our first property. Unfortunately my father died in September last year (2020), and I’ve been left a further £42,000. Adultery took place July 2020, but I was only told in November.

I realise the £150,000 is probably lost as it’s been mixed, but hoping to claim the later £42k was towards the end of marriage and post the affair.

Other circumstances:

My salary; £96k
Wife’s salary; 0 (does not work) Pre children £40k as secretary
Children: ages 5 &7. Custody to be 50/50 (informally agreed)
House asset value (after mortgages and fees) ; £576,000
Loan from wife’s grandfather (still alive) : £51,000
My pension: £12,000, wife’s: £3000
Debts (credit cards): £9000

So far we have been speaking informally about the offer, which I thought was fair which was;

£1500 pm spousal maintenance for 3 years, tapering to £1000 for further year (total £66,000), plus £490 per month for child maintenance
50/50 split in house (considering I had put in 150,000 initially and willing to disregard that): £288,153 each

I would pay her the spousal as a capitalised payment, so total of £354,000
I would then loan her £65,000 as a charge against her new property, so total of £420,000 to allow her to buy somewhere mortgage free, if she pays her grandad back the £25,500 (her share of the loan) she end up with £395k
I walk away with around £99k, plus a £65k charge redeemable when youngest is 18 (this includes paying the grandad back my half)

She is saying no, based on the fact that I have said the £65k should be as a percentage value of the property rather than a cash value which I said is unfair as £65k today isn’t worth £65k in 13 years time! This has got her annoyed to the point she’s now instructing and saying that she can get a lot more than what I’ve informally proposed, and now I’m terrified I’ll be left with nothing!!!

My solicitor is really slow with responding so I thought I’d post here to see if anyone could provide guidance as to if what I’m proposing is fair, or if I’m in for a shock?

Thanks in advance



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/07/2021 11:09PM by Dwj100.
Re: Worried & concerned about horror stories
February 08, 2021 11:19AM
What you are proposing is more than fair and I do not think your wife would get it from a court in that I cannot see a court ordering you to capitalise maintenance. If your wife wants to go down this route I think she is the one running the risk not you.
Re: Worried & concerned about horror stories
February 08, 2021 12:28PM
Thank you very much for your timely reply.

She has indicated that she should be getting more like 70/30 on the house split as she has been the one staying at home with the kids and has lost the ability to get an income.

My counter argument to that is I have been out to work and have paid for everything we have, but I can see the value she has input into the relationship, hence why I'm prepared to offer 50/50 with the assets (which includes my inheritance), plus the £1500/£1000 pm as spousal to get herself back on her feet.

Two further questions, if you don't mind;

1. Does the court have a responsibility to house her, and if so would that not mean that if the avg house prices are around £350-400k (in reasonable distance to kids existing school), they would just give her that amount and leave me with the balance & to deal with the debts?

2. If this did go to court, from your experience what do you think the outcome would be?

Thanks again.
Re: Worried & concerned about horror stories
February 08, 2021 06:06PM
>>1. Does the court have a responsibility to house her, and if so would that not mean that if the avg house prices are around £350-400k (in reasonable distance to kids existing school), they would just give her that amount and leave me with the balance & to deal with the debts?

Well, not exactly. Courts don't rehouse people. They consider each party's needs and their respective financial resources. Then they try and work out a solution that is fair to both parties. In this case if the equity in the property is £576K and reasonable alternative accommodation for your wife and children can be bought for £350-£400K then there is no good reason why the property should not be sold, your wife receive that amount and you the balance. The she gets a house mortgage free and you are released from the mortgage to enable you to get a mortgage of your own. There is no reason you should be left with nothing on these figures.

>>2. If this did go to court, from your experience what do you think the outcome would be?

Although your wife does not currently work the fact is that she used to earn £40K and women can and do work and raise children. She has an earning capacity and she should be expected to use it. Perhaps not immediately but within some sort of reasonable time frame. The days of a meal ticket for life are over (mainly).
Re: Worried & concerned about horror stories
February 11, 2021 11:55AM
Thank you very much for your response and feedback.
Re: Worried & concerned about horror stories
February 16, 2021 01:31PM
Hi David.

Just picking up on one point you raised;

>>In this case if the equity in the property is £576K and reasonable alternative accommodation for your wife and children can be bought for £350-£400K then there is no good reason why the property should not be sold, your wife receive that amount and you the balance

Would this £400k come directly from the equity of the house, with me then left to also pay SM on top? If so this would leave me in a position to not be able to afford to purchase my own property, as on my salary and paying out c. £2000 per month (SM+CM) I'd only be eligible for a £230k mortgage (total of £350 property value).

I was hoping that if she was awarded the £400k then there was no SM, or she was awarded a 65/35 share of the house (351k) then I could capitalise the SM from my share, leaving her more like £417k. By the time she pays stamp duty etc this leaves her in the position to purchase a £400k house.

Her solicitor has indicated she will be able to get the £400k, without a charge from me, which I can swallow- I just can't do the SM on top of that.

I realise this leaves me open to risk of losing my job, etc, but I don't want to throw tens of thousands at solicitors when I'm just going to be left in a similar position at the end.

Thanks,
David
Re: Worried & concerned about horror stories
February 16, 2021 06:01PM
Bearing in mind that your wife seems to have a reasonable earning capacity I think you have a good case for arguing that if you have to pay spousal maintenance it should be strictly limited in terms of time in order to give your wife time to adjust and begin earning again. Also, it is by no means obvious that spousal maintenance needs to be paid if she is going to get enough equity from the house to be able to buy a place free of mortgage. That is because you are going to end up paying child support in any event. With your income and two children that amount will not be insignificant. Together with other sources of income such as child benefit it may just be that you could be able to obtain a clean break if your wife is going to get so much more of the capital than you. If you present it as - you can have the house free of mortgage and a clean break or a house subject to a charge in my favour for a percentage of its value plus spousal maintenance.

There are no guarantees in these things but often proposals are attractive to people for reasons known only to them. You also have to bear in mind that if litigation continues then it also incurs costs for your wife. That too can often put pressure on.
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