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Ask Clare Your Own Question
Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34105
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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After 24 years of marriage, my wife has had an affair starting

Customer Question

After 24 years of marriage, my wife has had an affair starting in a platonic sense shortly before Christmas last year turning to an intimate relationship sneaking around until being confronted and admitting to the affair in May.
She is not really willing to make a go of things to a point where we can rekindle the flames of desire, and we have talked of separation / divorce!
we have 3 children the eldest is 22, a daughter of 20 (away now at University for 3 years) and a 16 year old who has just started college.
I have a good job and principally cover all the costs of running the home and paying all the bills. My wife has a job as a Learning Support Assistance in a local junior school and her salary isn't great, she earns less than £1000 per month. Her money has never been brought directly into the financial pot, but she has covered costs of mobile phones for the Children and various other misc bills that have come up over the years.
If we divorce what would she be entitled to?
I have had the house valued and through mortgage advice am able to remortgage the house to the extent that i could offer her 50% of the valuation without considering deducting our existing outstanding mortgage.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
HiThank you for your questionMy name is ***** ***** I shall do my best to help youHow much is the equity and what other assets are there?Who will the youngest child live with and what income do you each have?Clare
Clare and 2 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Clare,from the market valuation the property is worth approx £330k - £350k depending if it was sold for the full asking price.the outstanding mortgage is £30k therefore the equity is approx £300 - £320k?We haven't yet made that final step to decide if this is the end but it looks more than likely. I have no saving except for a few hundred pounds in a single account, at this point i'm not aware of the assets my wife has.As i have been in a position to basically run the house and bills etc through my income, her salary has been regarded as hers to do with as she pleases, but she does contribute to paying some bills etc.Apart from general fixtures and fittings we have no other assests, apart from my pension.Salary wise, i earn £55000 including a £5k permanent car allowance. my wife earns around £13kAs we have not yet concluded if we can continue or not the question has not been asked of him where he wants to live. Worse case scenario it would be with my wife.
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
The starting point for division of the capital is 50/50 making your offer generous
However she is also entitled to a share of your pension, and unless she moves in with a new partner she may also be entitled to Spouse maintenance
On balance your offer is still generous if it is coupled with a Pension Sharing order
Please ask if you need further details
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Clare,
Many thanks for your response, can you tell me about the pension share order you mentioned.
In terms of capital offer, my initial thoughts if she finally decides not to wake up and see the grass isn't greener on the other side of the fence was to offer a straight 50% of the market valuation ignoring the outstanding mortgage.
I understand if our youngest wants to live with her that I will be liable for around £200 maintenance per month, what I fail to grasp if why I may have to pay her maintenance on top of that. Where's the justice in that? Why should I have to support someone who's bailing out of a marriage by taking easy route of walking away from the marriage without carrying any responsibility for its percieved failings?
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
What pension provision do you each have?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Clare,
I'm not armed with any actual numbers financially with regards ***** ***** I've had a pension with my last two companies + my current practice (circa 24 years worth of contributions), which include employer contributions. My wife works in a junior school and has a small local authority pension, which she's held for about 8 years. She gave up work for the birth of our first child but went back after maternity leave but finally gave up work after the birth of our second child two years later, only returning to work in a part time capacity with the school circa 8 years ago. She may well hold a small pension from her original employer.
Am I correct in saying should all this happen (which hasn't yet been confimed) that if i offer her a pension share, that is then nullified if she re-marries?
In the round and its a how long is a piece of string question, what would i be liable for in terms of Spouse maintenance?RegardsBrian Morton
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi BrianA Pension Sharing Order (if made) woudl transfer some of your pension pot to that of your ex - so her remarriage would not be relevantSadly the difference in your incomes means spouse maintenance could be payable - unless she cohabits immediately.How much is harder to guess as it is meant to be needs based BUT there is a very old rule of thumb (that no one would admit to using but...)which suggests that the lower earner should have a third of the joint income however that would be the very most - and frankly I do not think it would be as high as that
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Clare,Many thanks for your advice, based on that I suspect my plans to buy her out dissappear in a cloud of smoke if I then have to pay her maintenance on top of maintenance for our youngest assuming he goes to live with her.Morally that seems totally unjust, (as i'm trying to make the marriage work and she doesn't want to even try dismissing all attempts out of hand saying she doesnt ever see herself loving me again, though she loves me as a companion and 'provider') why she is entitled to be maintained when she's unilaterally decided to tear the family apart because she feels justified in doing what she's done.two further points if i may. Does the maintenance continue until the point she cohabits? and then what happens if that falls through?
the other point is what happens if our youngest decides he wants to live with me.should it come to a separation (leading ultimately to a divorce) or a clean break, can any of these discussions decisions be made without the need of a solicitor i.e. can we agree between ourselves and go through the divorce process online or is it always best to have legal advice to determine the financial split before commencing formal actions in terms of a divorce or legal separation.
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
The spouse maintenance is totally separate from child maintenance - and would be better dealt with by offering her a slightly enhanced share of the net equity - say 60% rather than 50%If you opt for the maintenance route then it ends on her cohabitation It would be sensible to try and negotiate an agreement using FamilY mediationwww.familymediationhelpline.co.ukto resolve the issueClare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks Clare,Humour me for a moment if you would.
What would happen if the roles were reversed here and I was the low paid party and had had the affair. Would i be entitled to spouse maintenance?
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Yep!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for partially restoring my faith in the system! I'm sure when the red mist has cleared there may be a follow up question.
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Deep breathes!The fact that she already has a new partner means you may get through without Spouse maintenance being mentioned
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Here's the rub,She doesn't have a new partner as such, Yes she's had an affair and she's convinced herself she loves him the trouble is (and obviously things can change) but there was no long term plans between them, shes admitted she doesn't eally know him that well and never had any intention of just running off to live with him.given the nature of the 'relationship' she's had with him and her very admission that she was stressed with all the sneaking round demonstrated it was more infactuation rather than actual love. The whole dynamic of that relationship changes as she then has to live with the guilt of the affair and hurt caused by splitting up the family and would this guy actually want to take on someone elses child when he walked away from one of his own when he had an affair that ended his first marriage!! and that's before he walked out of his second marriage claiming he was being neglected by his business woman wife!most can see this for what it was, unfortunately one person isn't prepared to admit that.
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
I am sorry - what a difficult time for youDo NOT mention spouse maintenance at all.,If your ex does push the capital settlement option
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** is the worst part of all of this.Its easy to say but after 4 months now I'm actually prepared (easier said than done) for either eventuality,even though its not what I want as I believe the situation is recoverable.I will hold back the spouse maintenance, i have to keep some cards close to my chest. Whilst it doesn't play to my long term plans having already established that i could buy her out comfotably on a 50/50 basis, if i don't have to pay her maintenance then i could offer her more and still retain our house and pay maintenance if our youngest chooses to live with her.My final point. If our youngest stays with me would that negate any spouse maintenance entitlement or would she have to pay maintenance (if her pay permitted).
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
If the child lives with you then your wife would have to pay child maintenance - but your liability for spouse maintenance would remain
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** information to take on board and ponder.If only one person would back down and face up to their responsibilities and open up the lines of communication, I feel ll of this could be avoided.
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
I hope things go as well as they can for you

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