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financial settlement - should I agree to this?

Posted by bilen 
financial settlement - should I agree to this?
March 24, 2022 03:18PM

I need advice.

I was subject to false non-mol accusations by my wife and I was advised to accept them (in this climate) on a "no fault found basis" That's OK as I moved out with my daughter aged 16 at the time. My son is at Uni (20) lives with us on his Uni breaks.
A year on ....NISI is through and she has made a financial settlement offer but I am not too sure if it's the best deal I can get

Me 59 wife 50
My income 60K wife/s income 20k.
Married 1997 and she never worked (by choice) from 2000-2017 .
House equity 520k (4 bed detached)
100K shares in wife's name alhough these were min I just transferred them to her in 2001 for tax reasons
My pension 400K
wife pension 12k
We both have previous non-martial pensions of 200k

So the settlement is as follows ...

She will not let me buy her interest of house out instead she wants to give me 185K as full settlement.
Pensions off the table and she keeps the 100K

Problem is I can't buy a house with 185K (and furnish from scratch) for me and the kids as I need a 3 bed property whilst she lives on her "own" in a 4bed detached.

I would like to fight for half the house (force a sale) and I appreciate I will have to give up some or maybe half my pension as that is the only way I can afford to buy a replacement house. Ideally I want to move back into my old house with my kids but that is not an option .
The one thing that worries me, even if I do go to court to force the sale, is getting the house sold in a timely fashion. She is an awkward person and will stall the sale as the status-quo suits her (she is not paying a mortgage and I am paying rent). I don't want to be renting for years to come and I am becoming less mortgageable

I am wondering though as I am 60yrs old (heart bypass 2019) and may not have many years left in me to work I could fight for more.....
Half the house and keep my pension as in a few years time I need to live off that. Children are now (now 18 and 21) and I need to continue to provide a roof over their head whilst in education or longer .
Re: financial settlement - should I agree to this?
March 24, 2022 05:01PM
>>So the settlement is as follows ...

She will not let me buy her interest of house out instead she wants to give me 185K as full settlement.
Pensions off the table and she keeps the 100K <<

That is not reasonable. It is important you do fight for more because, as you correctly point out, your age means you have limited mortgage capacity and perhaps a limited remaining working life. You only get one shot at this. The circumstances here scream out that the former matrimonial home should be sold in order that you should both be properly rehoused. Your wife has no obvious need for a detached four bedroom home and she would struggle to argue that she has.

Regardless of how awkward she me about sale the fact is that if a court orders a sale ultimately that sale can be enforced and if your (ex)wife is difficult about it she will end up paying the cost of that enforcement. This is infinitely preferable to just agreeing to let her keep the house. You are also quite correct that this outcome will almost certainly result in some pension sharing but since you can't house yourself with a pension you do need to ensure that any settlement properly caters for your housing needs as well as those of your wife. Her needs do not take priority over yours.
Re: financial settlement - should I agree to this?
March 25, 2022 08:11AM
Thank you for your advice
I see my kids suffering everyday (living out of suitcases whilst renting in a small 3bed) so I just wanted to cut a deal and move on in whilst I am still mortgageable.
If i fight, it means going to court then to get a financial remedy solution which can cost 20K+ and a year.
OK it is what is and I guess I will need to pay out of the equity but what worries me more than anything else is her frustrating the sale. Sure the judge can eventually enforce (as you say) but that will only happen (in my view and reading after reading people's experiences on the internet) after a year or two when I can prove she has been wilfully obstructive. I don't know how this process works but if the Judge eventually has the power to sign on her behalf it will mean getting a buyer at short notice and then accepting a fire sale price - surely she will be in her rights to stop this? As I ay this whole mess could take years to sort and time is not on my side for a number of reasons
My wife knows this and she is holding me to ransom.
I am truly at a loss what to do and I need a solicitor who can get me the best outcome
Re: financial settlement - should I agree to this?
March 25, 2022 10:54AM
>>I am truly at a loss what to do

I have told you what you should do and why. Whether you follow that advice is your decision alone. Enforcing a sale does not mean a fire sale.
Re: financial settlement - should I agree to this?
March 27, 2022 09:27AM
Hi Dave

Thanks for your advice it looks like I will change my solicitor and look at financial remedy solution via the courts. One other thing which might have a bearing then,,,,
My NISI will be granted in a month and I believe I can apply for the absolute. I understand its best not to do this until we get our finances agreed so I won't. However, that does not stop the wife from applying 3 months later. How can I stop her because if she does this then how am I going to fight for a better deal (half the house and sacrifice half my pension) because you can't share pensions after an absolute?. So my question in essence is if she applies and gets the absolute before finances are agreed then the only deal we can make is the existing one (where she gets more house equity and I keep my pension as I can no longer share it)

Kind Regards
Re: financial settlement - should I agree to this?
March 27, 2022 12:26PM
>>you can't share pensions after an absolute

You are mistaken about that. Also you are mistaken in thinking that you cannot prevent your wife from applying for decree absolute because you can by making a court application if necessary. However, it is usually only necessary to point that out in order to secure an undertaking not to apply for decree absolute until such time as financial issues have been formally and finally resolved.
Re: financial settlement - should I agree to this?
March 27, 2022 08:21PM
Hi Dave
I read somewhere that you can ask for a delay in the absolute but it won't necessarily be granted solely on the grounds a consent order is not in place unless there were exceptional circumstances (i.e. you can prove you will be severely disadvantaged)
This aside, I think the wife is keen to move on and remarry (not sure of I told you but the reason for the non-mol/ousting me and keeping the house for now as the house is equ-distant from him and where she works so extremely convenient). If remarries before any financial agreement is in place and of course after getting the absolute will she lose rights to any of the assets house, shares or my pension)

Kind Regards
Re: financial settlement - should I agree to this?
March 28, 2022 11:54AM
The circumstances here are such that you have proper grounds to prevent your wife applying for decree absolute. And it has nothing to do with a consent order not being in place. It has to do with pensions. Whether your wife loses any rights upon remarriage depends upon who issued the divorce petition and what financial claims, if any, were made in that petition.
Re: financial settlement - should I agree to this?
March 28, 2022 01:51PM
Hi Dave
I am the petitioner and the divorce is meant to be be "clean break" if that helps.

Re: financial settlement - should I agree to this?
March 28, 2022 02:06PM
Then if your wife does not issue a court application to resolve the financial issues arising form the marriage before she remarries she loses the right to do so thereafter. Please note that she only needs to issue an application before she remarries to preserve her rights. The financial issues don't need to be resolved before she remarries but in order to preserve her rights to ask a court to determine the financial issues between you she must at least formally issue the application before remarriage.

For what it is worth if she is in a hurry to get remarried that gives you rather than her leverage. If you say, 'No', to her proposals to settle she then has to stew if she wants to remarry. That situation does not mean there should be any hurry to accept from your point of view.
Re: financial settlement - should I agree to this?
March 29, 2022 02:14PM
Hi Dave
Great thanks I understand now.
I have been in some discussion with the solicitor I used for the NISI about that financial consent order but overall I have been unhappy with her charges. Everything is via e-mail and she charges every time she opens or responds to an e-mail (which is fair enough) BUT often her replies are ambiguous or she misses a point which causes me to respond and her to reply a fee times to clear up the ambiguity and those costs have mounted considerably. I have spoken a few times about being clear and consolidating replies but to no avail.
So I will change solicitor for the financial part and start again
She she not chare me for moving on ? as I don't want her to "handover" to anybody else because I want to start afresh and this time go for a remedy order
Re: financial settlement - should I agree to this?
May 23, 2022 10:00AM
Hi Terry

I'm back!
Although my STBEX completed her D81 it was incomplete (missing share information and low valuation of the FMH). I know roughly what shares are worth (they were mine before I transferred them over to her) so I have assumed a value for them and for argument sake just increased the valuation of the FMH from 520K to 540K which is still on the low side. .
I popped those figures into the D81 and sent it back for her to sign giving her 2 weeks (we've been talking finance for a year now) and said no response then I would start court proceedings. Got no reply for 4 weeks now so I have now asked my solicitor to submit form A
Although I have done this I think I have made a mistake, Yes I want the court process to start as I want to work to a timeline but not sure if my solicitor is the right person to fight for me. She charges too much and I expect lots of to'ing and dro'ing further down the line so being self-rep would be better. I have one income and no savings so paying for a solicitor and barrister is impossible. The ex has the share money to fight. Between now and the court sessions I can save money and borrow a to pay for a Barrister as and when I need one but that's my limit so I a thinking of ditching my solicitor.
Can I ditch them at this stage even though they have submitted form A. Also, I am not sure if Judges take seriously self-reppers.so have you any thoughts on this?
Finally, I know my EX will use everything at her disposal BUT I read somewhere that costs can be taken from the matrimonial pot anyway so what is the merit of me trying to save money by self-repping when effectively hers and I guess mine in thee end will come from the pot (both of us). If this is true then me self-repping is false economy?
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