Thank you for your response.
Please do accept my sincere apologies for not being able to respond to you sooner. I was having a few IT problems!
I think it is appropriate to give you an overview of the matrimonial finances and how the court deals with the same.
In relation to the matrimonial finances - the correct way of dealing with the same is by making a claim which can only be done once divorce proceedings have been issued.
The matrimonial finances includes all of the assets and liabilities for both of you. You will both be under a duty of full disclosure to provide full details of all assets and liabilities for both of you to each other.
With a longer marriage, then the starting point for the division of all assets is equality.
The court considers the following criteria when deciding whether to depart from equality:
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;The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;The standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage;The age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage;Any physical or mental disability of either of the parties to the marriage;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;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;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 (e.g. a right to your husband’s pensions).
From what you have said as your children are minors and if you were to be the main carer for your children and also given that your income is less then you need to be seeking a larger share of the assets - around 10 - 20% more.
In relation to the house - there is not sufficent equity for the house to be sold and the equity to be split and you both rehoused. A court would order that the house should not be sold and the equity split until your youngest reaches 18.
In relation to who stays in the house - this is really going to depend on whom is going to be the main carer for your children. You do however have £300k which would be sufficent to buy another property so the childrens housing needs could be met at properties. A court will decide if you both cant agree but there does appear sufficent funds to be able for you both to meet the childrens housing needs.
In relation to income:
- in relation to child maintenance - if there was a genuine shared care arrangement between you then maintenance would not be payabe under the child maintenance service rules. If one of you had the children more then the other then maintenance would be payable and there is a calculator on the CMS website which will give you an idea of liability for either of you.
You can also seek spousal maintenance on divorce as your wifes income is higher. There is no set rule but a court will want to make sure that you have enough to meet the childrens needs.
You need to consider referring to family mediation. This is a prerequisite before you can apply to court. Google family mediation in your area and give them a call to self refer.
Mediation will try and help you both through full disclosure of both your financial positions and discussions about division. You can discuss providing for the children at mediation.
If agreement can be reached at mediation then a consent order should be submitted to the court when applying for decree absolsute in divorce proceedings to finalise matters.
If agreement cannot be reached at mediation then the mediator will sign the form that you need to apply to court.
If divorce is not yet contemplated then you could consider a separation agreement. Mediation could again help you agree the terms for this. You need to be aware that such separation agreements are not legally binding on a future family court Judge but they can and do order in line with what was agreed if they considered that full disclosure had taken place and what was agreed was fair.
In relation to the children - it is the position of the courts that children are entitled to a really good relationship with both of thier parents and this should prevail as long as there are no child protection reasons as to why this cannot happen. The courts expect parents to be able to agree arrangements without the need for court intervention but the court will make a child arrangements order if the parents cannot agree. Courts do not consider one parent as being more important than the other its all about meeting the childrens needs and the court will make what they consider as ebing the best order to meet the childrens needs. Shared care arrangements are made if this will meet the childrens needs. As with the matrimonial finances - you cannot make an application to court in respect of children matters unless you attempt mediation first.
Please do let me know if I can help you further
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