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Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34589
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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My wife and I have now been separated 6 months. We were ideally

Resolved Question:

My wife and I have now been separated 6 months. We were ideally wanting a quick divorce and have a clean break of the finances. However, this will be difficult to achieve due to the value of the property.

My 19 year old son is not in good health and I feel it is important the family home is maintained. I think this means we need to defer the clean break split as it would mean selling the house although my wife wants to press ahead. We have decided my wife will move out of our home and I will move back (I am currently lodging elsewhere) but I would carry all the financial risks if I remortgaged and retain the home by myself. My job is precarious!

My plan therefore is just to delay divorcing until the position is clearer and until it is a more practical time to sell the family home. My question is about what will happen to the splitting calculations if we delay divorcing for say, 18 m, 2 years or even longer. Historically, I have been the major bread winner for 20+ years of marriage, but if I were to lose my job, I would not be contributing to the joint pot so our joint assets would reduce.

Questions: Would a 50:50 split be based on our assets when we finally divorce or the date we separated? Would there be any difference if I were to voluntarily resign from my job to spend more time with my son and live off savings. I think she will be nervous that delaying divorce could ultimately penalise her.

Thanks

John
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
How much is the house worth and how much is outstanding on the mortgage?
What other assets and debts are there and what income do you each have?
What is wrong with the 19 year old?
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Clare

Hi there and thanks for such a quick reply. The additional information follows:

- The family home is worth £525k. There are debts against it of £266k. We have other assets of £216k including a property abroad of £120k which my wife ideally wants to have as part of her settlement. ie total net assets of 475k .

- We also have pensions. I can take mine anytime which is currently a lump sum of £185 k and an income of £28,500 PA. I am considering taking the cash and using it as part of the settlement. Either way, the pension will need to be split by way of a transfer value to her. The current 50:50 share of the non-pension assets is around 330k each if I take the pension lump sum or 237k if I don't. The pension transfer will need to be calculated to offset her pension value of around £150k. Mine is about £1 million (before the lump sum).

- My income is currently around 60k PA but as I said, this could stop any moment. The 28.5 k pension could come into payment but once everything is split, it will reduce to about 18k for me. My wife's job is around 20k but this is only part time and has been for years. My current earnings have been this level for a couple of years but about half what it has previously been.

- Our only 19 year old son is struggling with epilepsy and migraine which has been diagnosed for 3 years. He has also been abusing drugs and alcohol. He is currently on an addiction program at The Priory. He will come out in 3 weeks. It would seem highly unlikely he will be able to go back for the 2nd year of a science degree in Plymouth.

Things are currently amicable with my wife. Priority is to do the best thing for our son but we also want to get on with our lives. A clean break with me having the house, a new mortgage and my son staying with me was the initial idea but really does not seem sensible for me financially.

Ideally, I don't want to work for the time being. This was always the plan before we separated and probably contributed to the reasons we split. I wanted to take time out and retrain or have more of a lifestyle career. This is why I am in a fairly rubbish job as I have been treading water and was planning to resign next month when I am 50.

That is the background to my question. The 50:50 calculations today are as high as they are ever likely to be. If I have a spell living off pension and savings, looking after my son, doing up the house, etc, the joint assets will inevitably reduce. At some stage, the house will need to be sold but I would prefer it wasn't straight away and that will be necessary if we do a clean break now.

If relevant, the catalyst for the separation was her adultery. We had however been in a loveless marriage for years. There is no hope of a reconciliation. I think she will be starting the process of a divorce against me soon.

Thanks again.

John
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
How much would a two bedroom property in the same general area cost to buy?
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi there

There would be quite a range. 250k + expenses could be done but 300k better. I think my wife was planning on keeping The holiday home and buying a flat for about 250k with a small mortgage. Once our main home is sold, I think I would be looking at a 250k house as things stand but that might change depending on my job, the boys health and view of the property market.

Our current house is a 4 bedroom semi on the sea front. The 250 budget would be a 2 bedroom in a relatively nasty area but quite close.

Thanks.

John

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Is your ex willing to wait for the balance of her capital from the house?
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hello


 


I think so. In fact, I think I am right in saying I could make her wait anyway up to 2 years from separation if I was minded. Is that correct?


 


Assuming she is happy to wait, we can achieve what she wants to happen while ownership is still joint i.e. I could use my lump sum and savings to buy her a property for 250k without selling our family home or holiday home. We could then split things sometime in the future but she might start moaning if she thinks her ultimate share is reduced due to waiting ie if I am spending more than I am earning.


 


To be honest, if this were to happen, I would not have much of a conscience. I am not getting a share of all her holidays and leisure time she has had over the last 20 years while I have been working!


 


The point is though, I want to ensure everything is amicable and I want things to be fair. It is the reason why I am asking if the sums are done based on values today or at the point in the future when we actually divorce as the joint pot then might be lower if I stop working.


 


I hope that makes sense.


 


John

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
I am sorry but if your wife wishes to have an immediate divorce then she could make allegations of Unreasonable Behaviour - which are very hard to fight.
Equally if she then pushed for an immediate division of the assets then the court would order it
Given the extent of the assets there is no reason why there should not be an immediate divorce and the division of the finances - there are ample assets apart from the house to cover the majority of her entitlement - and if she is willing to delay receiving the balance then there can be an Order that she only receives a small percentage of the property when it is eventually sold - to balance the books as it were,
If instead you both agree to the delay then the value of the assets is taken as at the date of division of the assets
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Clare
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