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Financial split questions

Posted by Hedghog 
Financial split questions
August 31, 2022 02:52PM
Hi there

I'm starting divorce proceedings to separate from my wife based on unreasonable behaviour.

Some initial facts:
I'm a high earner working full time (>£100k a year)
She has started a job last year with a zero hours contract earning about £1.8k a year. She does a very low number of hours ad hoc, working in a school (I estimate average of 3.5 hours a week over the year, but all around exam time).
we have 3 dependent children (5,10,12)
main asset is the family home (£150k mortgage, circa £800k equity)

A couple of questions:
1. As part of the divorce, would it be reasonable to expect her to increase her hours to a part time job (circa 20 hours a week)?

2. She repeatedly mentions that she will move away from the area, taking the kids etc. How does it work on financial settlement if she insists on staying in the marital home initially, but then after the divorce decides to move to a much cheaper part of the country? e.g. our current 4 bed house is worth circa 950k, but she is shouting about moving to an area where a 4 bed house costs 450k. Is there anything I can do to guard against her trying to get a larger portion of the settlement using this approach?

Many thanks
Re: Financial split questions
September 01, 2022 11:16AM
1. Bearing in mind the ages of the children and the history of your respective earnings during the marriage I doubt whether you could insist your wife does more hours in the short term. It may be reasonable to expect her to do so when the children are older and/or if it could be done without affecting child care arrangements.

2. I doubt that your wife would get more of the capital by insisting upon staying in the matrimonial home. The fact is that there is a lot of capital tied up in that property and it is the main asset. You would be entitled to a significant share of that capital no matter what. If she remains in the property your interest in it would be secured by way of a charge so if she moved you would get your share.
Re: Financial split questions
September 02, 2022 10:24AM
Many thanks for the response - much appreciated.

On the second point re FMH and capital, that helps - thanks.

On the first around work, does her work history during the duration of the marriage make any difference?

We have been married 14 years, she worked full time during the first couple of years of the marriage, then went to part time after our first child was born and continued part time (circa 20 hours a week) until some point between second and third child being born - maybe 7 years ago.

In summary - 2 years full time; 5 years part time, 7 years essentially not employed but instead a stay-at-home mum.

Now that all kids are in full time school (since 1 year back), it would seem reasonable to me to expect her to work part time in a job that fits within school hours etc. I'm fast learning that what I think is reasonable and what family law thinks is reasonable are not always the same thing!

Re: Financial split questions
September 02, 2022 10:58AM
The youngest child is 5 and your wife has effectively not worked for the last 7 years. Over time it might be reasonable to expect her to increase her hours but I doubt that will happen in a timescale that will meaningfully impact what you will have to pay out by way of spousal periodical payments in the short term.
Re: Financial split questions
September 02, 2022 11:19AM
OK thanks a lot, appreciate the feedback.
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