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Harris
Harris, Law Specialist
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2545
Experience:  Family Law - Specialist in Divorce, Financial Relief and Children Matters
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In divorce negotiation with wife after being together 13

Resolved Question:

In divorce negotiation with wife after being together 13 years and married for 5 years. Two children between us at 11 and 5 years of age.
Need advice on financial settlement offer from her. Matrimonial home has been valued at £625K with about £225K mortgage outstanding. I am 56, earn approx £46K and plan to retire from teaching at 60 on a teacher pension. Wife is 43, headteacher, about £84K earnings with teacher pension. She has the potential to earn higher salary.
Assets - I have a car worth £7K and a bike about £4k. She has a car on finance and a piano worth £5K.
I was asked to leave the FMH in January and have been refused return so have had to rent a flat in the local area at around £800 pcm. No domestic violence is involved.
She is making the following financial offer prior to filing for divorce.
Lump sum payment of £70K when I sign over my deed to her. This will also include no touching other persons pension or listed assets. Retaining own investments (nothing for either party), a clean break situation and she will pay for the costs of this financial arrangement.
My question to you is:
Does this seem a fair settlement or could I expect more if this was to go through the courts?
I was looking to purchase a small 2 bedroom flat or bungalow to allow the children to stay with me overnight or for longer periods during the holidays. I am also nearing the retirement age and so would find it difficult raising a mortgage to help buy my own property. These are currently around the £130 to £150K price range.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Harris replied 9 months ago.

Hi, thanks for your question. Just a bit more information required to fully assist you:

-How much are each of your pensions worth?

-How many bedrooms is the former matrimonial home?

-Are there any other assets, savings, investments or properties at all?

-What are the proposed arrangements for the children?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
How much are each of your pensions worth? My pension about £1400 per month with lump sum of £30K. Her is guessed at £2000 per month and a lump of about £50K but this would have to be confirmed.-How many bedrooms is the former matrimonial home? marketed as 5 bedrooms. Actually 4 large rooms with additional playroom used as bedroom.-Are there any other assets, savings, investments or properties at all? she has a small isa about £1500. Two life policies totalling £275000 but no cash in value.-What are the proposed arrangements for the children. She will look after them in the house along with her other daughter(previous marriage) of 16 years old. I will have open access to our children but not in the FMH.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hi Harris
Did you get my response to your 4 further questions?
Expert:  Harris replied 9 months ago.

Thanks for confirming. Firstly, based on the figures you have provided a £70,000 lump sum settlement will not appear to be a fair settlement at all for the following reasons:

-You have a short marriage, but this is extended by the fact that you have been in a relationship for 13 years. The court can consider this a long marriage if there was a period of cohabitation prior to the marriage.

-You have two children together

-The home has approximately £400,000 equity

-Her earning capacity is higher than yours and you are now nearing retirement

-The other assets/investments are not substantial and are almost equalised between you.

Given the above, the main matrimonial assets will be the matrimonial home and potentially the pensions. Given that you are nearing retirement your capacity to increase your pension are very low whereas hers is high given her young age and earning potential - you may therefore have grounds to pursue a share of her pension or to be compensated from the matrimonial assets.

It will depend on what the court considers matrimonial assets but the settlement she is proposing is between 18-25% of the assets and would not be in your interest to agree to this based on your figures.

Given that it appears that there has not been detailed disclosure of finances, 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. The criteria considered 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.

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.

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

Harris, Law Specialist
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2545
Experience: Family Law - Specialist in Divorce, Financial Relief and Children Matters
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