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Share of Wealth

Posted by Everest 
Share of Wealth
December 11, 2021 12:43PM
Hi everyone.

I split with my wife around a year ago and have applied for and got the decree nici.

However, I haven’t yet begun the bunfight over the financials etc.

As background, we are both professionals and she earned considerably more than me when we met (and for some years following). My salary increased significantly and it reached a point where I was earning (slightly) more than she was. At this point we had two kids and she wanted to take a career break to spend more time with the kids. I agreed, despite knowing this would mean a considerable reduction in living standards. After a year she was bored and wanted to go back to work part time. She took a job in the same profession, but at a lower level, where she has remained for the last five years or so.

She is now arguing that she deserves 70% of accumulated wealth as she only works part time. I argue that part time working is her choice. The other complicating issue is that our younger son (aged nine) has Asperger’s and goes to a special school. She says she can’t work full time because he can’t go to a childminder. Note that he has been with a childminder in the past with no issues.

Interested if anyone has any thoughts on how this would be seen if it got to court?
Re: Share of Wealth
December 11, 2021 01:16PM
Having read another post, I can offer more info.

We jointly own two properties, one is the marital home, and the other is a rental property that was my wife’s when we first met. Total equity is around £450k in the marital home and £50k in the rental property. We also jointly own a canal boat that has been purchased to enable me to affordably move out. This was bought for £45k cash but will be worth more once refurbished.

I brought £83k in savings into the relationship, and while I understand she has claim to that, she has offered to repay it. We both have small pensions and are not looking to demand they get split.

We were together for 14 years total, married for five.

One other thing to mention is that she has a long documented history of mental health issues, self harm, and threats of suicide. She has been diagnosed with ADHD and Borderline Personality Disorder. She is generally a good mum though. The mental health issues have never affected her ability to work.

I’m not looking to leave her destitute, but equally I don’t want to be left with a tiny proportion of what I spent years building up.
Re: Share of Wealth
December 11, 2021 04:39PM
Moving out and buying a boat were both very bad ideas if the aim was retain as great a percentage of the matrimonial wealth as possible. Now you have a very weak argument for saying what you want more for. Under these circumstances your wife is likely to retain her rental property (because there is now no obvious reason to bring it into the equation) and she will very likely also get to remain in the former matrimonial home so as to cause minimal disruption for the children and to avoid moving costs. You might get a charge on that property for a percentage of its value to be realised when the children cease to be dependent but that percentage is likely to be less than half.
Re: Share of Wealth
December 11, 2021 06:31PM
I haven’t moved out yet, I’ve bought it with that in mind.

The rental property is jointly owned, and in joint names. It was originally bought by her many years ago, but transferred into joint names when the lease was extended and it was remortgaged.

My first consideration has always been the children, and I really don’t want to force them out of their home. However, any custody arrangement will be a joint one, as I am not walking out of my children’s lives.

So I guess the question is now whether I should move out at all prior to arranging a financial settlement. Clearly (although perhaps a court would t see it that way), I may require more than a canal boat in the future as my circumstances change.

Also, what would be likely to happen in any settlement when the kids reach eighteen?
Re: Share of Wealth
December 11, 2021 08:06PM
Apologies, I have re-read and understood that when the kids cease to be dependent, I would likely still get less than half.
I guess then it’s a question of how close to half it’s likely to be. And whether I want to wait nine years to settle.

She argues that even once the kids cease to be dependent she’ll no longer be in a position to resume her former career and therefore will be stuck in a lower paying job. I guess the fact that she could go back into her former career but chooses not to will not be considered?
Re: Share of Wealth
December 12, 2021 11:26AM
>>So I guess the question is now whether I should move out at all prior to arranging a financial settlement.

No, you shouldn't. There are two reasons why not.

1. Although it may be uncomfortable for you and your wife the fact is that it acts as an incentive to get financial issues resolved sooner rather later. If you were to move out that incentive would be removed and in fact your wife would then have every incentive to prolong the status quo for as long as possible - ie with her living in the house without the inconvenience of your presence and you paying for it. It is also a lot easier to negotiate directly when you live in the same house. Doing everything by letters between solicitors (which is what tends to happen when one spouse moves out) is usually the slowest and most expensive way of reaching a financial outcome.

2. While you continue to live in the former matrimonial home your future housing needs have to be taken into account in any settlement and you will, not unreasonably, say that you also need a house to live in too. A court would not expect you to live on a house boat. If you were actually unwise enough to move out and into a house boat that would be a different matter. Then your wife would say, 'Your housing needs have been met. This is what you chose. It's not my problem.'

There are, of course, sometimes other factors to take into account. For instance, some estranged spouses are actually dangerous to live with. The usual factors, though, are the ones above.
Re: Share of Wealth
December 13, 2021 10:16AM
Thank you.

I've arranged for mediation that she has agreed to, and I'll update you when that has taken place.
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