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Financial settlement - what is realistic?

Posted by zfftfq 
Financial settlement - what is realistic?
March 10, 2021 09:30AM
I am in a process of a divorce. I have two 5 year old twins and one 16 year old stepdaughter. The children will spend their time 50%-50% with each parent. I am about to be granted the decree nisi but haven't sorted finances yet.

My marriage was 7 years in total (married since 2013), and the relationship has lasted 9 years since 2011.

I am highly qualified and can earn about £80-£90k/year and my wife has no qualifications.

I am unsure whether I have to give my wife 50% of what I own, or 50% of everything accumulated during the marriage? My marriage is exceptional because it is incredibly asymmetrical. I have been the main breadwinner for the entire duration, including paying for my stepdaughter.

I have a BTL house which I bought in 2014, shortly after getting married, with savings that predated meeting my wife, plus some money from my parents. This house has about £70k equity in it. It was the family home for a brief 3 years, but it is currently rented out, administered by me, with no involvement by my wife.

I also have the family home (4 bedrooms) where we were living until recently. It has £80k equity.

My wife has been financially dependent on me for 9+ years. The 4 years before having children, I funded her studies (3+ years of university access courses). She has never shown any desire to work and since the kids went to school 2 years ago, she has mostly done nothing. She has dissipated about £10k-£20k on an extramarital affair. I paid for people to help with the housekeeping most years, so my wife had a lot of free time.

In total her contribution to the marriage/relationship can be summed up as about 4 years of pregnancy/SAHM. All the rest of the time (4-5 years, both preceding and following the birth of the twins in 2015) she was "studying", funded by me. None of these "studies" ever led to anything.

She has not been an engaged parent, and over the last few years I have done at last half of the childcare as my wife frequently disappeared for 2-3 days without warning, including during the lockdowns, to pursue a social life/extramarital affairs. There are severe concerns about her neglect of the children, which I am dealing with via a solicitor. However my post today is about the finances, as I am uncertain what my options are and how much she can take.

My question is, is there any argument I can make to keep the assets that predate the marriage (about £20k of pension plus the BTL house)? I understand the 50-50 split is to help the financially weaker party and to compensate for career sacrifices. However in our case there is no career sacrifice: I have funded her studies and she has never worked. Can this be taken into account?

Currently my wife is living in the family home and I have gone to my parents' house. I am paying £1500/month to maintain the family home (bills+mortgage) and passing £600/month to my wife. We haven't done a financial settlement yet, but I would like to ask what are the options? Can I ask the solicitor to suggest a 50-50 split of *marital* assets only?

In terms of strategy, because my wife spent all the money on adultery, she will want to avoid financial disclosure at all costs. She is very conscious of image and would not want the amount of money dissipated to come to light. She has booked holidays, flights, hotels etc with her boyfriend as far back as 2 years ago and told me that the money was for household expenses. She is terrified of having to show bank statements. How can I use this to my advantage?

In short, what I would like to achieve is the following:

1. I should not have to pay a mortgage for a house I am not living in. I am terrified of the nightmare scenario of being on the hook for the family home mortgage for the next 13 years. I want my wife to be responsible for her own housing. If I have to pay her a contribution, that is fine, but I do not want the mortgage in my name.
2. In the worst case scenario, if I am paying the mortgage, I want all equity accumulated after the split to be mine.
3. I do not want to have to give my wife savings that predate meeting her.

One option I am interested in is selling the family home either ASAP or in the next 1 or 2 years, and giving her whatever equity I owe her, and paying her only child support thereafter.

How realistic is all of this? What are my options? I want to fulfil all my obligations to my children but I am desperate to be free of a person who is just taking advantage of me. As long as she continues to receive money from me, she will not look for a job.

How do financial negotiations work? Do we start with a low ball offer? I would be really grateful for any advice on strategy and tips on how to get the best result when divorcing a highly dependent and lazy person.

I live in England.


Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 03/10/2021 09:47AM by zfftfq.
Re: Financial settlement - what is realistic?
March 10, 2021 10:02AM
1. You have a solicitor to whom you can and should address these questions.

2. You married this 'highly dependent and lazy person' and have had two children by her.
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