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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 10464
Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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I have been married since 2002, I have 16 and 14 year old

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Hi, I have been married since 2002, I have 16 and 14 year old sons, my husband is a retired headteacher (aged 72) and I am a headteacher (aged 49). Our house is worth about £300,000. I want to divorce him on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour. I would like to either buy him out of the house or sell it and move into a new house with my sons. I don't know what his income is. What are the risks and possible outcomes?
JA: What steps have you taken? Have you filed any papers in family court?
Customer: Not yet. I contacted a solicitor on Friday for the first time but I was a bit upset at the time and probably didn't ask the right questions.
JA: Family Court normally sits in a local County and Magistrates' Court. Do you know the location of the court? If not, what county do you live in?
Customer: East Riding of Yorkshire.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Yes, my son has gone to live with my brother this week because he doesn't want to be in the house with his dad following a nasty incident between them last week. He is coming back next week to go to school as he is in Year 12 studying A levels. I haven't spoken to my husband about divorcing him yet.

Hello, this is Jim, a dual-qualified lawyer (UK & Republic of Ireland) and happy to help you today.

Much depends if you can make progress with your husband in terms of agreeing finances. Your husband is retired and you have a few more years of earnings - this will be taken in to account. However, the fact you have minors means you could if you wanted to stay in the property (your husband to move out) until your 14 year old reaches 18, after which the property can be sold. Or, you can agree to sell the property and split the proceeds. You would both have housing needs - your husband has a fixed income being retired so he may want more than 50% of the property proceeds. Your financial situation would be taken in to account, as would his. But so would your capital contributions to the property (mortgage, deposit, any home improvement payments). If he has a pension you can ask for a share - I presume you also have a pension but if his pension pot is larger then you could use this as a negotiation tool. Same with any other assets he may have. So in terms of possible outcomes :

1. House is sold - sale proceeds are split - how much depends on what you can agree. The court's starting point is 50/50 but it can adjust this with reference to a number of factors including those I mentioned;

2. House is not sold until your youngest reaches 18 - this may be an idea given the poor economy due to Covid. The boys life with you - until your youngest reaches 18 and then the house to be sold;

3. Your husband buys your agreed share - you re-home yourself from this.

4. You agree to keep the property - this depends on his finances though. If he has other assets then potentially this is an option.

In terms of risks - if you use a lawyer then legal costs can be high in a family law dispute where finances are also disputed. You could deal with the financial element yourself without a lawyer (or use this site for guidance) to keep costs down.

If nothing can be agreed then you would need to issue financial remedy proceedings once decree nisi comes through (if you start divorce proceedings), so you ask the court to become involved in a financial settlement as well as the divorce.

Before you involve the court with the finances you need to contact a local mediator which is compulsory before you ask the court to intervene in the financial aspect. You can find a local mediator here :

https://www.familymediationcouncil.org.uk/find-local-mediator

Assuming mediation fails or your husband doesn't agree to mediation then you will need to issue financial remedy proceedings and you would need to complete and send two completed copies of Form A (one copy is attached) to your local family court and pay a fee of £255 payable to HMCTS.

The court will then list a first appointment and give directions for a financial dispute resolution hearing (FDR) where the judge will give their opinion on a likely settlement - which usually prompts a settlement at this stage. The court will ensure the parties make full and frank disclosure of their assets and liabilities to ensure the financial positions of you both are known and to allow the court to make a settlement decision. If the case does not settle, further directions will be given and a final hearing may take place if neither of you can agree to settlement terms.

To apply for a divorce, the site is here: https://www.gov.uk/divorce

And for information on a financial order: https://www.gov.uk/money-property-when-relationship-ends/apply-for-a-financial-order

Just a tip - the more you can agree with your husband, the better. If you can agree finances, a consent order should be done - http://www.divorce-online.co.uk can draft an order and file it with court. Just ensure you have a consent order before you apply for decree absolute.

I hope this helps - if you can please accept the answer and give me a 5 star rating (there should be a button at the top of your screen to do this), I can answer follow up questions at no extra charge and Just Answer will credit me for helping you today.

Many thanks,

Jim

JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 10464
Experience: Senior Associate Solicitor
JimLawyer and 3 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Hi Jim, is it best to start the divorce before I talk to him about it or not. He is quite tricky and I don't trust him. He can be very aggressive and intimidating. I think things could get nasty. I don't want to spend a fortune on solicitors. Julie

Thanks, ***** ***** separate and do the same thing (the finances) via a judicial separation which is easier to apply for and takes less time. You would however remain married. But you can still apply for a financial order to deal with the house. He would need to attend mediation before you apply - if he refuses then you can still apply as the mediator will simply sign off the form allowing you to proceed. If he is aggressive and intimidating then you could bar him from the property with a non-molestation order (and an occupation order) - domestic abuse takes the form of not just physical abuse but bullying, coercion, etc.

For a judicial separation, the site is here: https://www.gov.uk/legal-separation

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
What is the first thing I should do to get the ball rolling? The solicitor I contacted didn't mention mediation - I am not sure if I want to work with these solicitors as they are very matter-of-fact and haven't discusses options and consequences with me so that I feel safe enough to go ahead. I can see this being very difficult. I have asked my husband to leave before but he refuses. He has been aggressive with my eldest son, which had let to my son not being here this week. My husband is a plausible person to anyone outside but he is volatile with me and my eldest son so I can't predict how he will respond. He has a strong self-preservation instinct and I think he will not take kindly to this at all. I just need to take the right steps to get out of this situation. I would be happy to move and I think I could buy him out. Should I contact an estate agent now? A sort of path out is what I am looking for.

Good day your question has been forwarded to me to see if I may be able to assist.

I Have read what has happened.what is it that you would like to ask?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Hi, I am fine now - I know what I am doing, thanks. ***** unsubscribed. Kind regards, Julie

Ok Julie that is fine.