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Probability of a Clean Break (is all I want smiling smiley)

Posted by catexon 
Probability of a Clean Break (is all I want smiling smiley)
September 16, 2022 09:30PM
My wife of 22 years is seeking on-going maintenance on the basis of ill health + the house (not mortgage free) + my pension + my savings AND seems to want to keep her own NHS pension. I am by far the higher wage earner. We have NO children and have been separated 5 years. I have continued to contribute to the mortgage and bills as well as my paying my own rental accommodation (>£70k in 5 yrs). Her spend from the joint account is hugely disproportionate e.g. she’s draining the account for personal things. I am unable to do anything about this or the mortgage will go into arrears. I’m trapped.
Key to this – she is NOT ill but has slowly been building a case once divorce was on the horizon, shortly after our separation. The separation coincided with her mother’s death unfortunately and she is not emotionally well, refusing to work for various ‘health related’ issues. As an gov’t/NHS worker she’s had no trouble getting time off (impossible to be fired and seemingly no repercussions such has been my observation over many years…).
In the midst of all this, she had a cancer scare – fortunately not serious but a minor operation. Still, she is weighing on this heavily to thread a narrative of ill health and inability to work. ANYONE who knows her will tell you in certainty there is nothing wrong and she is coyly playing a game to suit her interests at all costs – to never have to work and take advantage of the fact that I am a higher wage earner.
My intentions from day one I feel have been fair – I would like to offset our pensions and savings against one another (for the most part equal) and divide the equity of the property where most of the money is. A 60/40 or 70/30 split would enable her to put a strong down payment on a new property with a small mortgage. I will have a small deposit to get back on the ladder despite being heavily in debt again and our respective savings/pensions stay in tact. There is more to it than this but ultimately am resigned to a disproportionate split as I do earn more money and feel she does need more for the mortgage BUT she will have to work as we all do. The trouble is she her starting point is essentially wanting 100% of everything – hers and mine..
She is bitter, vindictive and in my opinion seeking an ongoing maintenance to maintain a connection that she can use to make life unbearable for me. Will a court or legal panel cut through the BS here or buy into such an elaborately conceived narrative of a person in ill health in distress (it’s laughable to people that know her, but clearly others in this situation will not.)
Any advice on the chances of not achieving a non-clean break and her claiming maintenance for life?
Re: Probability of a Clean Break (is all I want smiling smiley)
September 18, 2022 06:56PM
Well, frankly, it was bonkers not to get a divorce and get financial issues sorted once for all as soon as you separated. Paying the mortgage and bills as well as remaining on a joint account with your wife has done you no favours. Basically you have been maintaining your wife for the last five years even though she apparently works. Why should she not want this to continue? If you have not already done so you should issue an application for divorce immediately and get the finances sorted within the context of that divorce. As it is you are building up a pension in which your wife is a stakeholder. The sooner you bring this situation to an end the better.

All is not actually doom and gloom. There are no dependent children and your wife is apparently in employment - even if she as often at home as at work. The point is, she will NOT get what she wants. She will not get 100% of everything in these circumstances. Pensions will be shared - including hers - and capital will be divided. A court will not think it reasonable that you should live in rented accommodation while she gets to own a property. This just isn't going to happen.

Also the courts favour a clean break where that is possible and there does not seem to be any obvious reason why there should not be one here. From what you say your wife is not going to be reasonable and you should not give in to her unreasonable demands. That is why you need to issue an application for divorce so you can also apply to the court to settle the financial issues. In that way you can get these financial issues resolved regardless of what your wife wants. And, if what you say is correct, doing this will in the long run be less expensive that giving your wife what she wants.

There is one final thing. You should close the joint account or at least freeze it. You should tell your wife to pay her own utility bills. Although your wife should be paying the mortgage, because she is the one who has the benefit of living there rather than you, you should not keep a joint account going just so that you can pay the mortgage. In the last resort you should make your own arrangements to pay but in the first instance you should tell your wife that she should pay or, at the very least, agree what contribution to that mortgage she will make.
Re: Probability of a Clean Break (is all I want smiling smiley)
September 19, 2022 06:49PM
greatly appreciate you taking the time to respond it's most welcome and draws some level of comfort.

We are actually in the process of submitting form E's next week but this is 1.5 yrs ongoing as she's been reluctant to participate.

The joint account presents a challenge as there seems no opportunity to close it on the grounds the mortgage comes out of this account. I've spoken to the bank and even for them it's probably unchartered territory so seem a bit stuck until we conclude this process.

My biggest concern is the claim for ongoing maintenance due to ill health. It's all nonsense and bottom line is she doesn't want to work. Am left wondering can a judge force the clean break or do both parties need to consent?

The prospect of a non-clean break and ongoing payments I know for certain will be like a 'green light' for her to keep coming back over and over, seeking more. It will not be the end, but the beginning of a life of misery and contention.

My sense is from a courts eyes there is zero interest in anything other than a clean break particularly with no children involved. It I imagine can clog a court system and overall lead to duress for everyone involved so nothing ever really resolves but as I'm not experienced in these matters who knows....
Re: Probability of a Clean Break (is all I want smiling smiley)
September 20, 2022 10:47AM
So far as I can see your wife is in employment and has presumably been in the same employment for a long time so claiming to be in bad health will not very likely take her very far. In principle in cases where there are no children and both parties are in employment a court will prefer a clean break.

You should not take no for an answer so far as the bank is concerned. If your wife is exploiting this bank account you should close or at the very least suspend this account. You should write to the bank, keeping a copy of the letter, saying that your authority to operate this account as a joint account is withdrawn with immediate effect and if they refuse to act on this instruction you will be making a formal complaint and taking the matter up with the Banking Ombudsman.
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