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 including the equity in your house and both of your pensions. 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.
Your marriage is a long one and therefore the starting point for the division of all assets is equality.
The court considers the following criteria when deciding 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).
From what you have said as your wife is likely to be the main carer for your minor children and also given your income is more than your wifes then shes likely going to be seeking a larger share of the assets - around 10% more.
In relation to the house - The courts main priority is the housing needs of your children and making sure that they will be met. Given that there is not enough equity in the house to sell and rehouse the children then a court would likely order that the house not be sold and your share be realised until your children reaches 18.
In relation to income:
- Your ex can claim child maintenance - the Child Maintenance has a calculator on their website which can give you an idea of your liability.
You ex may also seek spousal maintenance on divorce as your income is higher. There is no set rule but a court will want to make sure that she has 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.
In relation to the matrimonial finances 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 and what is going to happen in the interim whilst you are separated. 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.
Please do let me know if I can help you further
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