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Help! What outcome could I expect at court???

Posted by Concerned dad 
Help! What outcome could I expect at court???
November 29, 2020 10:16PM
Help! What outcome could I expect at court??

I met my wife in 2000 and we moved in together in 2003. She was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis shortly after. We married in 2006 and had 2 kids. Her condition deteriorated and due to various external reasons our relationship drifted apart. Her illness was probably the only reason we stayed together as long as we did. After years of a loveless marriage we split in 2016 and filed for divorce shortly after. Our children stayed with us on a 50/50 basis and I continued to pay the mortgage on the former matrimonial home. Her health unfortunately deteriorated and she moved in with her parents.

For the last 18 months our children have lived with me full time and will continue to do so until they are adults. The children live with me and my new partner in the house that she solely owns. My ex wife provides no financial support.

The former matrimonial home was sold and we have around 35k equity waiting to be split. I have been trying to obtain a clean break and subsequent decree absolute for almost 2 years but heard nothing back until recently - the day of my mediation consultation.
My wife’s starting financial offer was for 100% of the equity in the house, and £600 pm spousal maintenance, we both have pensions and she has stated that she is happy to leave these alone. She has provided no supporting evidence as to why she needs the equity or spousal maintenance money other than vaguely saying it’s for future financial security. Her housing needs are currently being met and she has not experienced a drop in her lifestyle as a result of the split.

I currently earn approx £2k a month so not a great deal whilst she receives approx £1200 pm benefits and lives rent free with her parents.

I have engaged in mediation but my wife refused so I have instructed my solicitor to start court proceedings as we are getting nowhere fast. I have since made a counter financial offer suggesting no spousal maintenance as it is not required and the equity in the house is split 50/50. Despite me thinking this is more than reasonable this has been rejected. I am concerned that any subsequent court costs will swallow up the equity in the house and we will both end up with nothing however this is now in their hands.

I think what I would really like to know is what would a likely outcome be at court??? What would be awarded and to who? I feel that as I the one caring and providing financially for the children the court would look financially in my favour. I know it’s a minefield and can vary on a day to day basis but what are people’s thoughts?
Re: Help! What outcome could I expect at court???
November 30, 2020 11:48AM
Unless your wife can show some sort of convincing reason why she needs 100% of the equity I think your proposal is more reasonable. She is not entitled to 100% because she thinks that would give her more 'financial security'. In fact if she did receive receive 100% of the equity that could possibly impact upon her benefits (although I am no expert on benefits).

Because of the length of the marriage and your wife's medical condition this would normally be a case for spousal maintenance. However, if you have the care of the children, her income from benefits is £1,200, yours £2,000 and if her benefit income would drop as a result of you paying her maintenance it is hard to see how 600 pcm could be justified. Possibly you are looking at nominal spousal maintenance (typically for £0.05 per year) in order to keep her claim alive in case her (or your) circumstances alter dramatically but what she is asking for does not seem reasonable.
Re: Help! What outcome could I expect at court???
November 30, 2020 01:20PM
Many thanks for your reply David, it has provided some reassurance in the circumstances. I am still however unable to fathom why my ex / her solicitors are suggesting such a ridiculous financial argument. It seems like she is receiving some really poor legal advice.

Thanks again
Re: Help! What outcome could I expect at court???
November 30, 2020 02:06PM
Well, solicitors can give their client advice but they can't make their client follow that advice. And ultimately the client gives instructions to the solicitor rather than vice versa. Unreasonable people tend to give unreasonable instructions. A solicitor may say, 'I don't think you will get that' but if it is the argument a client wishes to put forward then isn't much that can be done about it. A solicitor could say, 'If you are not going to follow my advice, I see no point in my acting for you' but very few solicitors will say that and the circumstances have to be quite extreme to justify it. More likely a solicitor will say, 'Well, this is my advice. I don't think you will get what you are asking for but if those are your instructions I will put the argument forward. Don't say you weren't warned.'
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