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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 30620
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My husband has been working in Australia for a few years now,

Customer Question

My husband has been working in Australia for a few years now, and has declared he wants to divorce me. Would my financial future with spousal maintenance, [Austarial term] and my future life, be more secure and advantageous through an English solicitor and English law [we were married in UK] my husband has become an Australian citizen and wants to divorce in Australia as there is a 'no blame' culture there, and he can get a divorce even without my consent, if we have been separated for more than a year. I incidentally have been totally dependent on my husband as I have had cancer and also suffer with a chronic back problem.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question
I shall do my best to assist you but I need some further information first
Where are the majority of the matrimonial assets?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Hi Lizzie



You are absolutely correct in your reading of the papers on the procedure. I can provide you with the Australian equivalents of my P60 (end of year earnings and tax deducted statement - probably simpler than the full tax return). Spousal maintenance is preferably done as a lump sum rather than on-going payment - given that you have around 11 years til you can get your full pension, and based on my initial discussions with a lawyer, there's no point in selling the house at the moment and splitting the proceeds as your part of the settlement will almost certainly exceed the value of the house - but it will need to be valued so that the value can be included in the amount of your settlement. I was working on the assumption that the two cars are approximately equal in value (actually yours will be worth more as mine is at least 15 years old and has over 120,000 miles on the clock, but the difference is probably too small to be worth bothering about - I was working on a notional estimate of GBP 2000 per vehicle). The list of information you say you will send is good but there's no mention of the value of your state pension - as that and my university pension are not based on the actual value of any investment, but are subject to political control, the advice from my lawyer was that neither should be considered for the settlement as the 'values' may be meaningless. Obviously the Australian superannuation balance is based on an actual sum of money invested so that can be included in the calculations. I should get an up to date balance fairly soon as the financial year has just ended here. My lawyer also said that the contents of the house and my chattels shouldn't be included either I think - again this would be to your advantage as I've only got one bed (the other is worth nothing), the sofa, a table a fridge (the telly has been thrown away as it wasn't digital and the analogue signal has been switched off here like in the UK), whereas you have a whole houseload of stuff.



My lawyers advice was that she thought it was reasonable if we split things as follows:



You to keep the house, contents, and all UK monies, your car and all rights to your UK state pension when you get it.


Myself to keep my Australian superannuation (I can't cash it in anyway), my car and chattels and all rights to my University pension when I get it.



In addition I pay you the equivalent of 18 months worth of what I have been sending you every month, which comes to GBP32,400 or $54,000 (at current exchange rate) to tide you over til you can sort out how many hours you can work and any allowances you can claim.



If this is acceptable , then I can fill in my part of the consent orders and send it to you.



I think we should fill in the application form bit first and submit it as it can apparently take some months for that to be considered by the Family Court; there is then a period of up to a year before you need to submit the consent orders (but obviously better if done sooner). I'll fill out another application form (hopefully with the missing bits filled in) and send to you tomorrow.











Date: Wed, 3 Jul 2013 15:06:19 +0100
From: [email protected]
To: [email protected]; [email protected]
Subject: Re: Form - attempt 2


Hi Adam,



I have read through the information you have emailed me, and would like to read through it a couple more times, such that I can fully understand it. My initial comments, responses and questions to it are as follows:-



The use of the kits, rather than courts makes sense if we can come to a fair and equitable outcome. Using the kits will be more efficient, and less expensive than a protracted court scenario- especially given the complexities of us being on different continents. From reading the literature, we fill out the forms (divorce and consent orders) jointly, and once completed these are sent onto:-



a) a lawyer/financial advisor for review to ensure they are filled out correctly and are fairly


b) the West Australian Family Court



In relation to the divorce kit form, I request that you fill out the form entirely and include an address and other details that have been omitted.



In relation to the final orders kit, I will wait on your proposed split of our current property before I fill it out. Can you provide proof of the values you describe please. I have had no income other than what you have provided me, so my financial records are limited, I will provide the following to you:-


  • a balance of my bank accounts (in the form of bank statement)

  • a statement of ISA (in the form of bank statement)

  • a valuation of my car (from internet valuation)

  • an approximate valuation of inventory of the contents of the house

  • a valuation of the house (from property surveyor)



If you could provide a:-



  • tax return for the last 3 years

  • valuation of your car

  • Australian superannuation balance

  • your UK USS balance- I have had a look on the USS website see below and this may assist us.



Once you provide these I will be able to confirm your estimates.



I understand that the final orders kit makes reference to spousal maintenance. My interpretation is it considers an ex-spouses ability, and capacity to work. Given my health problems and earning capacity I would like to hear your views/thoughts/intentions on this aspect of the final orders kit.



Lastly I have obviously had to think about the house... I was under the influence that you would be returning to the UK. Given the circumstances, I think it would be wise to sell the house and split the money with you as part of our settlement, rather than receive it as a physical part of the settlement. Please give your thoughts/feedback on this.



Look forward to hearing your feedback. Feel free to call me should you want to discuss.







On 11/06/2013 10:49, Adam Beer wrote:


Hi Lizzie



I am attaching a different format of the form I sent you which you should be able to read. AS I said on the phone, the first form doesn't have anything about financial settlement in it - I am attaching the form we will have to fill in as well, once we are agreed on a settlement. I am also attaching the guidelines which shows what the court considers to make sure what is agreed is fair to both sides.



As you will see from the forms, we need to list everything that is owned on both sides before the division is specified.



As a first pass, and based on my discussions with a lawyer, I am assuming that between us we have:



The house worth around GBP140,000 ($224,000)


Your car worth around GBP 2000 ($3200)


My car worth around $2000


Your ISA worth around GBP10,000 ($16,000)


My savings/shares worth around $120,000


My Australian pension worth (I think - need to check) around $90,000



Based on my discussions with the lawyer, we concluded that our state pensions and my University pension can't be evaluated, as the amount of money they will eventually pay out is determined by politics rather than how much contributions we may have made to these.



I need to check what my Australian pension is worth; if you could please confirm that my estimates for the value of the house, car and your savings are correct then we can work out what is reasonable based on the twin principles of need and ability to pay.










This email has been scanned by iomartcloud.






This email has been scanned by iomartcloud.



Hi Clairep80

My son has been trying to help me with the emails backward and forward to my husband, these are the ones with hopefully the 'gist' of the informtion. I am concerned however as I said in the previous email, that as I can't work that a lump sum, considering my age, which is 55years, and have been dependent on Adam's provisions financially, that the comments regarding the final salary pension from here in the UK later will not be given to me as Adam is keen to divorce me and get on with his life, I feel though that even though these suggestions of the division of assets, that the division looks very generous but I wont have anything in my old age apart from the state pension. I am finding all of this very upsetting and dont really know what else to type to you.

Thank you

Elizabeth Beer


Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
What strikes me immediately is that he is wrong about the University Pension - unlike your state pension it does have a specific value and can be divided between you - so you need a valuation of that
What is the extent of the capital and what has he offered by way of maintenance?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Claire


I cant remember exactly what Adam put into his university pension, as he was made redundent and had a lump sum pay off to help him transfer his skills to another job [Adam was a lecturer at the Camborne School of Mines] I think he had worked for about 14years possibly a bit longer, he did his degree there prior to the job offer of a lecturer, plus a doctorate also there, so I am not sure how old he was and whether he did a bit of research initially before he was offered a lecturers post. He was made redundent at the age of forty. His salary was about £35,000 per annum, when Adam was working for CSM. As is in the email from Adam, he hasnt mentioned any maintenance as such, the assets, what I have here ie the house, although this is actually my house, as Adam and our marriage, is actually my second marriage. Adam put money into my home so we could buy it outright with no mortgage, I believe it was about £22,000, plus obviously we were living as man and wife in the marital home and as a couple initially. Then when Adam lost his job and he decided to work abroad,he was providing me with our joint bank account money per month, and is still sending me money [approximately£1,700 occasionally fluctuates because of the exchange rate] but as you can see from the email Adam is effectively dividing what is over here and low value assets [as in they will stay roughly static in value] which will run out before I reach 66years old which is when I can draw my state pension only, which at the moment is £114.00 per week. Adam has said in the email I can have the savings from here which are about £15,000 [ISA's] the house which is a lease hold property, large and very old[there is always a lot of work at various times to do which are costly] thus I would have to sell pdq, as it costs a lot to keep it ticking over, I would need at least £1,000 per month minimum, this doesnt keep up with inflation either. The property is worth about £140,000 I would be lucky to find a small appartment, which would cost about £100,000-failing that I'll have to look at a mobile home as they are less money, and then Adam is offering me monthly maintenace of what he is giving me now for 18 months. I can obviously not agree to what Adam has offered if I felt this is unfair [which to me it is], but like my son said once I start having to challenge what Adam as offered this is where the courts will have to decide what's fair and equitable, and on need and ability to work[Adam is in very good health and I am not], and every penny I have to pay to get a fair and equitable settlement, will reduce my life long living.


I am wondering if I have jumped out of the fat and into the fire with asking for help.


yours sincerely


Elizabeth Beer

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
How long did you live together for and what capital did you bring to the marriage?

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