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UKfamsol, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 560
Experience:  Very experienced specialist family law solicitor, qualifed in 1994
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can I have some advice on divorcing my wife

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can I have some advice on divorcing my wife
Hello and thanks for your question.

What exactly do you want to know?
Hello again

I see that you have looked at my query but not responded.

If you could give me a few more details, I would be happy to give you a full answer.

Are you planning to divorce your wife? Do you want to know the procedure, whether you have grounds? Do you have children? if so how old? Property? Have you thought what should happen regarding the kids and the property?

Let me know your question and I will do my best to answer.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have been married to my wife Michelle Craig since 2nd September 1995 and separated from her nearly seven months ago. I moved out of our house on 1st December 2013. My wife is registered blind, I am not sure if this has any bearing on how this may affect both of our position legally. I would like to know when I am able to divorce her. Since leaving the house I have been accused of having an affair which is complicating things further. I’d like to know where I stand with regard to the house and property. We still have a small mortgage left on the house, I continue to pay it out of my account and she pays me back her half of the mortgage every few months. We also split the cost of the council tax and water rates down the middle. All she has left to pay are the utility bills of gas, electric and telephone. I am still paying for the internet in the property and her mobile phone. In a recent telephone conversation she mentioned something to me called spousal maintenance, where she believes I have to keep her in the lifestyle she has become accustomed to. Is this the case? She mentioned that we used to have a car parked outside. I’m not sure if this is relevant as the car was bought and paid for by me, I paid the running costs I did give her lifts to and from work to make her life easier, but I have said to her if she ever needs a lift she would only have to ask.

I do not wish to fall out with her but she’s starting to get nasty and says she has taken some advice, so I feel its time I did to.

I would like to know what we are both entitled to with regard to the house, is she entitled to half of my pension, am I entitled to half of her savings, and is she entitled to half of my car and motorcycles? All I am interested in is the house, but if she wants to pursue everything else I need to know what of hers I am entitled to.

Many thanks

I will get back to you shortly - please bear with me.
Can you give me a bit more info please?

How much is the house worth and how much is the total mortgage on the house?
What other assets (including pension entitlements) and liabilities do you each have and jointly?
What income do you each have from all sources?
Do you have any dependent children, and if so, which of you do they live with?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.



I believe the house is worth between 270,00 and 280,000, the mortgage left is about £18,00. Im 37 and my wife 51, I pay into a local government pension. My wife is self employed and has no pension, but has chosen to save in an ISA I believe she has aprox £50,000. I have no savings, but own a car and six motorcycles. we have no children.

What is your income, and what is your wife's income?
What would you say roughly is the size of your pension pot now?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

My income is aprox 32,000. My wife's is fairly low normally under 10,000. but gets disability living allowance. I don't have the pension figures here with me, but have been paying in for about 14 years.

ok thanks

Pls bear in mind that the figures are approximate but at least this will give you some ideas.

1) the divorce. As you have been married more than one year, either one of you can start the divorce off by filing a divorce petition at court. It doesn't affect the finances either way which of you is the petitioner and which the respondent. The basis for the divorce petiton make no difference either. There's no longer any legal aid to cover a divorce, and legal aid for the financial side of divorce is only available to a party who has suffered domestic violence from the other party within the last 2 years.You could start the ball rolling by filing your divorce petition at court based on her behaviour (eg constant rows, not speaking, refusing to socialise - whatever. ) It's often diplmatic to agree the contents of the petition with the other side before finalising your divorce petition. What you need to say should be just bad enough to get your divorce, but not so bad that it makes negotiating over property & finances really difficult.

2) finance & property. Once a divorce petition has been filed at court, either side can ask the court to decide how the matrimonial assets should be divided, if they cannot agree between themselves. As going to court is stressful, time-consuming and expensive,it's much better to reach a settlement if at all possible - but any negotiation must be on the same basis that a court woiuld decide the issues or you risk the agreement being overturned by the court at a later date. That means that you both have to give the other full details about all your financial circumstances.

The court starts from the position that the matrimonial assets should be divided 50:50, then looks at reasons why that should not happen. eg if one person has a significantly lower income than the other, then they can argue for a greater than 50% share. Future earning capacity is also relevant.

In your case, the total matrimonial assets are the equity in the house of say £250,000, your wife's ISA £50,000, your pension pot of say £100,000, totalling £400,000. I haven't included the car and motorcyccles - as I don't have values for them. You could prossiblly argue that the car should not count as a matrimonial asset, esecially if it has finance outstanding on it - but I think you do have to add in the values of the motorcycles (less finance on them). That neans that the total of all the assets will be more than £400,000 once the value of the motorcycles have been added in.

So - if the division of 50:50 was agreed, on the figures I have, that would be £200,000 each. As you already have a pension asset of £100,000, that would say that your share of the house should be £100,000 and your wife's share £150,000. As she cannot afford to buy you out, the house could be sold with each of you getting your share from the net sale proceeds.

However, because your wife's income of £10,000 from self-employment plus DLA of say £5,000 is less than half of your income, plus the fact that you have another 20 years approximately to add to your pension pot, and to increase your earnings, I think it's highly likely that your wife could argue for a greater than 50% share of the assets, which in practice will come down to a greater share of the house. For example if her share of the total is 65%, ie 65% x £400,000 = 260,000, then as she already has £50,000, she would get £210,000 from the equity of the house and you would get £40,000. The house would still need to be sold, unless she was prepared to buy you out with £40,000 from her ISA AND a big AND the building society was prepared to take your name off the mortgage (it might do so as her mortgage capacity is £15,000 x 3 = £45,000.

In addition to a share of the assets, the courts can also consider whether one spouse should pay spousal maintenance to the other spouse. The court has to consider the needs of one spouse versus the abilty to pay of the paying spouse. So you would each provide details of your income and outgoings. You are entitled to have enough to live on, so an order for spousal maintenance cannot deprive you of so much that you yourself cannot afford your reasonable needs. If it seems likely that an order for spousal maintenance might be made, you can also look at capitalising this ie an order is usually for the joint lives of the parties, so £y x no of years = ? lump sum, reduced by a % as paying all upfront.

You can negotiate between yourselves or via solicitors' correspodence or via mediation. The family court anyway now requires parties to have attempted mediation before it will consider an application to court. Here's where to find a local family mediation service:

You would also benefit from some face-to-face legal advice. Here's where to find a specialist family law solicitor:

If you do reach agreement without going to court, that agreement can be made legally binding by a solciitor drawing it up into a draft consent order which you both sign, which is then sent to court for the court's approval. Once approved by the court and entered onto the court record, the consent order is as binding as an order made following contested proceedings.

Food for thought and I hope this helps.

I wish you the best of luck.

Thanks and best wishes...

UKfamsol and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you