Hello Please accept my sincere apologies for my delay in responding to you today. Thank you for your patience. I am sorry to hear about how your wife has treated you.
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 long marriage, considered to be over 5 years, then the starting point for the division of all assets is equality. This period of time can include any previous periods of cohabitation. You are a bit short on this time. You may want to consider waiting before you issue divorce proceedings to deal with the issue of the matrimonial finances.
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 spouse’s pensions).
Please note not your wifes infidelity has no bearing or impact at all in relation to the matrimonial finances and there division.
In reality you can expect that your wife is going to argue that the premarital assets should remain her assets. You need to be aware that the Trust Deed no longer has the same legal effect following your marriage as the home is now your matrimonial home.
As your wife does have more assets then you, then even if she did argue that you should both walk away from the marriage with what you put into the marriage I do not consider that a court would agree with her. The court can set aside some pre marital assets but only if there is sufficent assets to meet needs. The courts main priority is going to be that your housing needs are going to be met. You also need to be considering a claim for spousal maintenance as your income is much less.
If you are considering separation then 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. 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 but separation is 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.
Let me know if I can assist you further
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