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Ask Harris Your Own Question

Harris
Harris, Family Law Expert
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1767
Experience:  Family Law - Specialist in Divorce, Financial Relief and Children Matters
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HelloI am currently going through a separation which will

Customer Question

HelloI am currently going through a separation which will lead to divorce which I have filed for and she’s accepted. The separation occurred in May 2014. My age is 42 and hers is 39.
I run my own electrical business and she works part time, on a casual basis.
Assets
My wife and I have 2 properties in our names, one which I live in (the family home) and a rented property. We have shared custody of our 2 children aged 13 and 11, with a time share of around 55% with me and 45% her. She currently resides in her new partners mortgaged home.
The family home is valued at £140,000 with £82,600 outstanding.
The rented property has been valued at £105,000 and the interest only mortgage is £101,500 outstanding. The rental on the property is £550 per month with the mortgage payment being £190 per month, so around £3,500 a year income from the property.
The only real other assets are the pensions. My pension has around £60,000 in and hers around £5,000.
Divide
I wish to continue living in the family home and would like to retain it in my sole name. She has expressed an interest in living in the rented property. I would also like to retain all of my pension.So my question is this:-
What would be considered a fair offer to her to allow this to happen?
I can see that the family home equity may be split at £27,000. This leaves the rental property and pension. The rental property does not hold any equity, however, it is worth some £3,500 per year as an income. My pension, I believe, could be bought back for a reduced cash sum?
I look forward to your response.Many thanksDerrick
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Harris replied 8 months ago.
Hi, thank you for your question. To fully answer your question please confirm:-how many bedrooms does each property have?-what are your respective incomes?-will you each be able to sustain the mortgages solely on the properties (you for the former matrimonial home and her for the rented property?)
Expert:  Harris replied 8 months ago.
Hi, this question remains open. Please could you provide the requested information so that I can assist you.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
HiThe former matrimonial home which i reside in has 3 bedrooms. The rented property has 2.My income is around £30,000 a year (possibly more as i run a business) and she possibly earns around £10,000 at a guess.
I would be able to sustain the home if i remortgaged to A, get an extended repayment term and B to remove her from the mortgage.
The rental property has an interest only buy to let mortgage and this is currenly £190 per month.many thanksDerrick
Expert:  Harris replied 8 months ago.
Thank you. How long have you been married?
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Hi,
We have been married since 2001, living together from around 1996 to 2014.thanksDerrick
Expert:  Harris replied 8 months ago.
Thank you for confirming. The marriage will be considered long, and therefore the court will consider the needs of the children first, and then the main carer (likely to be you as you have the majority of the time with them) and then her needs.The first need is housing and you can argue that all interests in this should be transferred to you. You could also potentially have the other home transferred to her for her sole benefit.The only contentious issue would likely be the pension - given the long marriage and disparity in pensions, she has a strong argument to have pensions equalised and if you do not wish for her to share your pension then the court would likely expect her to be compensated in some way. For your information, the court looks at the following criteria when deciding on division of assets and the starting point will be a 50-50 split of all assets:If mediation does not progress you should then proceed with an application to court under Form A for financial relief. This would include consideration of all your assets and financial position, as well as your needs, as well as his financial position and needs and the court will decide what is fair when considering the following criteria:1. The income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future, including in the case of earning capacity any increase in that capacity which it would in the opinion of the court be reasonable to expect a party to the marriage to take steps to acquire;2. The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;3. The standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage;4. The age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage;5. Any physical or mental disability of either of the parties to the marriage;6. The contributions which each of the parties has made or is likely in the foreseeable future to make to the welfare of the family, including any contribution by looking after the home or caring for the family;7. The conduct of each of the parties, if that conduct is such that it would in the opinion of the court be inequitable to disregard it;8. In the case of proceedings for divorce or nullity of marriage, the value to each of the parties to the marriage of any benefit which, by reason of the dissolution or annulment of the marriage, that party will lose the chance of acquiring.If you have any further questions regarding this please let me know. In the meantime if you found this information helpful please provide a positive rating. I will not be credited for answering your question without a positive rating. Thank you
Expert:  Harris replied 8 months ago.
Hi, this question remains open. If you found my information provided helpful please could you rate my response positively as I will not be credited for my response without a positive rating.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
HiThank you for your response.I refer you to my main question -
"What would be considered a fair offer to her to allow this to happen?
I can see that the family home equity may be split at £27,000. This leaves the rental property and pension. The rental property does not hold any equity, however, it is worth some £3,500 per year as an income. My pension, I believe, could be bought back for a reduced cash sum?"You haven't mentioned figures or a divide ? The rented property is also on a buy to let mortgage, does this matter? The pension isn't my main concern, only a guide as to how much is acceptable to buy my share back. Someone mentioned £7500. I'm asking for advice on the split and how to do it.thanksDerrick
I need to know where to go from here
Expert:  Harris replied 8 months ago.
It is difficult to advise on what a fair split, or figures would be. This is because initially the needs of both children need to be taken into account. The children need to be housed with their main carer and therefore it would be reasonable to expect the main carer to have the former matrimonial home for this purpose. Therefore what I have suggested as reasonable is for the former matrimonial home to be transferred to you - given that it is to house the children your wife does not necessarily obtain a share of this. Regarding the rental property - if this were to be transferred to her, which would be reasonable to house her, then she will need to obtain a residential mortgage and discharge the buy to let mortgage. Regarding the pension, given the long marriage and your ages, £7,500 would be too low. For you to have equal pensions (which is what the court will consider fair due to the length of the marriage and two children) she can apply for a pension sharing order, which means that a certain percentage of your pension is transferred to hers. £27,500 would therefore need to be transferred to her to equalise the pension position. If you did not wish for a pensions sharing order then she is entitled to be compensated to a similar amount. To get things started, I would suggest you make a referral to an independent mediator (you can find local ones here: http://www.familymediationcouncil.org.uk/). The mediator will assist with the disclosure of financial positions between you and encourage the negotiations - if a settlement is reached in mediation, the agreement can be provided to a solicitor to prepare a consent order to be submitted to the court for approval. If mediation does not help, then you will need to pursue a court application under Form A to settle the finances.Hope this clarifies the issues further. Please let me know if there is anything more you need.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
hiThank you for your reply.You are the only person that feels i may not need to pay her. My other solicitors spoke of a financial split with the starting point being £20,000. She will never agree to getting nothing as she has the kids for 45% of the time.I feel i need my question answering by someone else on here, is this possible?thanksDerrick
Expert:  Harris replied 8 months ago.
No worries. Payment in relation to the properties does not need to be provided immediately. For example, the court will have the power to order for the home to be held on trust for the benefit of the children - and for her to receive a share upon the children reaching a certain age (eg. finishing education). So there are ways of you delaying compensating her. The court will consider whether it is reasonable for you (being the main carer) having to pay any lump sum to her, as this may potentially impact you providing for the children's needs.

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