Hi, thank you for your question. Just a bit more information required to fully assist you:-How old are you both?-What other assets and pensions do you both have (both sole and joint), together with values?-What qualifications and earning potential does your wife have?
Thanks for confirming.
As part of the divorce you will need to reach a financial settlement, initially this should be attempted through mediation - you can find independent mediators here: http://www.familymediationcouncil.org.uk If a settlement is agreed this can be submitted to court under a consent order (together with a D81 form outlining your respective financial positions).If mediation does not progress you should then proceed with an application to court under Form A for financial relief once the divorce petition has been issued.You will both need to provide each other with full and frank financial and income disclosure, as well as disclosure of your reasonable needs. The Court's starting point is a 50-50 split of all matrimonial assets and ensuring that both your needs are met in relation to both assets and income. Given that she will likely be the main carer of the children, and her earning capacity (at least initially) will not be close to yours, a court will likely agree that the split of the assets should be more in her favour in order to meet her and the children's needs. She would also be entitled to seek spousal maintenance to meet her and the children's reasonable needs. Your position would be for her to demonstrate that she is maximising her income (both benefits and earnings) and that she makes disclosure of all the efforts she is making to do this.
In relation to the property, as this is the only asset, and as she is unlikely to be able to afford to fund her own housing, a court may find it reasonable for her to remain in the property with the children until they reach a certain age, after which the property should be sold and equity divided between you.
For your information the criteria considered by the court is: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 using the stars at the top of this page. I will not be credited for answering your question without a positive rating. Thank you
Thanks for the further information and I note the substantial contributions you have been making to your family.
For a financial settlement arising out of the marriage, the court will not consider child maintenance if the child maintenance service has jurisdiction, which it will do in your circumstances. Any financial relief application by her will be for her needs (both income and housing needs) and providing her equity from the home or spousal maintenance will not discharge your liability for child maintenance.
In relation to what you would be entitled to from the equity in the home, the court's starting point is a 50-50 split of the equity of all matrimonial assets. Given your high income (and therefore better capacity) to obtain a mortgage or afford to rent, a court may be persuaded that the split of equity should be more in her favour.
In relation to timescales for spousal maintenance, court's nowadays are reluctant to grant long-term/life-long spousal maintenance provision except in exceptional circumstances. Given her capacity to obtain employment (due to her qualifications) you have a strong argument to keep this under review.
Of course an agreement in relation to spousal maintenance and a division of assets can be reached directly between you and then approved by a court.
For your information, in relation to child maintenance, on a gross income of £90,000 your legal liability will vary between a lower rate of £106 per week to a higher rate of £240 per week depending on how many nights, on average, the children spend overnight with you (the more they stay overnight the less your liability is).
Child maintenance liability (as assessed through the CSA/CMS) is a liability that ends when the children complete A-levels (or equivalent) and no further than 20 years old. You can see the guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/child-maintenance/eligibility. Once this liability ends you can provide any maintenance or finances directly to the children.
Spousal maintenance is only in relation to your wife's reasonable needs and not needs for the children. She would need to disclose all her reasonable needs (eg. mortgage/rent/bills/groceries etc) and what her income is from all sources and the court will start with you paying an amount to cover the shortfall. Without disclosure of what her reasonable needs are in figures it is difficult to confirm what sort of monetary amount you should be providing her.