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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 24625
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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I need I for on divorce? I am stay at home mum.. what are my

Customer Question

Hi I need I for on divorce? I am stay at home mum.. what are my rights? What can I claim for, child support , how to negotiate time split between kids and if I get a job while this divorce is going through do I lose on on any support ?My husband had an affair amd is carrying on the affair while still with me and kids - what rights do I have to protect my health and emotional well-being and recovery right now please ?
Submitted: 19 days ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Stuart J replied 19 days ago.

Hello. Thank you for the question. It is my pleasure to assist your with this today.

Please bear with me and I will be online and off-line from time to time and therefore, may be delayed getting back to you. You will receive an email when I reply.

For background -

how long have you been together and married in total?

how old are the children?

and is the property mortgaged and in who's name is mortgage?

what is your preferred outcome if possible?

Customer: replied 19 days ago.
Hi , had trouble opening the app. We are married for 9 years going on 10 next month.
Customer: replied 19 days ago.
Been together for 16 years . Two kids 4 and 6 years old .Preferred outcome is to stay together but I may have to face reality
Customer: replied 19 days ago.
Property is under his name . I don’t have much savings he’s been putting money into his pension but not mine . I get £150 a week from him. We don’t have joint accounts . During covid he gave me £100 a week. My expenses are limited and controlled .I need to get a job desperately and he’s is pushing me to get a job.. if I get a job and we get a divorce in the next year does that mean I can’t claim any support for the years I sacrificed work to be home for this kids
Customer: replied 19 days ago.
Also I am South African - I left my family and career to be in the uk with him it was his decision to live here .
Customer: replied 19 days ago.
Property is mortgaged
Expert:  Stuart J replied 19 days ago.

There is a lot to read here so you might want to sit down with a cup of tea and look at it on the computer screen rather than a mobile phone.

Provided that at least one of the people wishing to get divorced lives in England, then getting divorced in England (& Wales) is infinitely a do-it-yourself job.  (I am not familiar with the system in Scotland)

Save yourself a whole load of money: the government website have a do-it-yourself guide

https://www.gov.uk/divorce

Although you can agree finances between you, it doesn’t draw a line under it unless you have a financial order

https://www.gov.uk/money-property-when-relationship-ends

And if have children under 18, and you cannot agree who they live with and who sees who and when, then you need a child arrangement order (which includes Specific Issue Orders:

To confirm that something can happen

and a Prohibited Steps Orders

To stop something happening

https://www.gov.uk/looking-after-children-divorce

In the United Kingdom, we do not have “irreconcilable differences”.  That is a thing in the United States for the time being at least.  The rules are changing here shortly to get rid of the following 5 grounds of divorce and to get rid of the fault issue but that has yet to be enacted.  To be honest, in my opinion, it’s going to make very little difference because the big arguments are over finance and children not the actual divorce itself.

It doesn’t matter who divorces who or why, the financial issues are exactly the same.  The court has not apportioned blame with regard to the division of marital finances for many years.

Grounds for getting divorced are:

1          The couple have lived part 2 years or more but less than 5 years and they both consent to the divorce.

2          The couple have lived apart for 5 years or more, regardless of whether they both consent or not.

3          Desertion.  Not common.

4          Adultery.  Very difficult to prove unless there is unequivocal evidence or an admission.

5          Unreasonable behaviour.  Most common and relatively easily to put together a petition on these grounds.  For example:

A spouse wants an unreasonable amount of sex/never once it.
Lack of personal hygiene/obsessive personal hygiene.

Obsessively tidy/extremely messy and untidy.

Gambles to excess/it’s tightfisted with money.

Never interacts with spouse or children/obsessive with children.

Violent or bullying or intimidating.

Excess alcohol.

Lots of grounds.

Please note that a legal separation is not the first step or precursor to a divorce.  It is virtually the same process but it doesn't dissolve the marriage.  However it draws a line under the relationship formally.  The difference between a legal separation and divorce is basically that you cannot get remarried again.  The reason you would have a legal separation, rather than a divorce is you can get divorced, for religious reasons for example.

As part of the divorce process, to draw a line under the finances you will need a financial order.

The courts will not get involved in marital finances unless divorce or legal separation proceedings have started.

Remember that the divorce itself is not that expensive, if you use solicitors, it is arguing over money and children which costs the big bucks.

And here is some reading on applying for a financial order.

https://www.lawteacher.net/cases/financial-matters-on-divorce.php

Which draws a line under the finances of the marriage and prevents either of you coming back to the other, in some years time, asking for more money if circumstances have changed (the lottery?).

That’s what happened here when the spouse popped out of the woodwork years after the divorce, when there was no financial order.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3634949/Victory-hippy-millionaire-s-unemployed-ex-wife-wins-500-000-share-fortune-money-decade-broke-up.html

and here

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1331925/Lottery-winner-Nigel-Page-pay-ex-wife-2m-left-10-years-ago.html

You can agree what you like between you, then it really is a case of putting the application into the court and the judge will rubberstamp the arrangements you have agreed.  Otherwise it’s a potentially expensive argument.

Here are some notes from the government

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/i-want-to-apply-for-a-financial-order-d190

On applying for a financial order

This is the form you need to start the process: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/885814/form-a-eng.pdf

And how you go on from there depends on whether you agree with what is happening with the finance or whether you are going to have an argument.

Fortunately, there is a lot of information on the Internet about Child Arrangement orders and the government have actually produced a guide on the subject which is here.

https://www.gov.uk/looking-after-children-divorce

The different types of Child Arrangement order are:

1              A Contact Order which specifies when parent sees a child, it is no longer called "access".

2              A Residence Order to determine who the child lives with, it is no longer called "custody"

3              A Prohibited Steps Order to prevent a parent doing something with the child such as moving away either in this country miles away or taking the child to another country.  Particularly relevant if there is a chance that the parent would go to another country and never return.  The parent wishing to prevent the move would have to convince the court why it’s not in the best interest of the child to move.  Friends, support, school et cetera et cetera all taken into account.

A Prohibited Steps Order is to prevent child Abduction and it’s one of the few areas of law for which legal aid is sometimes still available.  It’s often therefore worth seeing a solicitor.

4              A Specific Issue Order to allow a parent to do something specific with the child such as moving away to another part of the country or indeed to another country.  .  The parent wishing to move would have to prove why it’s not in the best interest of the child to move..  Friends, support, school et cetera et cetera all taken into account.  It would also encompass things such as changing school if the parents cannot agree, changing the child's name, and anything other specific.

The courts will not get involved in a Contact or Residence order unless the couple have been to mediation first.  So the couple would have to try mediation even if it subsequently fails and the matter proceeds to court.

You are eligible for child maintenance at the CMS rates which are here

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/672432/how-we-work-out-child-maintenance.pdf

Do read the whole document but the basic rates start at the top of page 18.

Child maintenance is reduced by 1/7th for each 52 nights that the non-resident parent has the children.

There is a possibility of a liability for spousal maintenance, maintenance paid to keep a spouse , as opposed to children. Although most commonly paid from husband to wife, that is not necessarily the case. Spousal maintenance is based on both incomes, ability to earn money, previous lifestyles and most importantly, need. It is not about equalising incomes. There is no exact formula, but these links will give some reading..

https://www.blbsolicitors.co.uk/blog/spousal-maintenance-how-much-and-for-how-long/

and

http://www.familylawweek.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed33597

and

https://family.findlaw.com/divorce/questionnaire-are-you-entitled-to-alimony-spousal-support.html

And here is an interesting and informative article with regard to the division of finances in general

http://www.lawteacher.net/family-law/cases/financial-matters-on-divorce.php

And finally, here is an article what happens to inheritance in the event of a

divorce:

http://www.marilynstowe.co.uk/2011/05/18/what-happens-to-an-inheritance-in-the-event-of-divorce/

What will happen with regard to the division of marital finances is that everything will be lumped in together including pensions.  With regard to pensions you will need a Cash Equivalent Transfer Value (CETV) which converts the pension to a lump sum for the mathematical calculation.  You cannot get hold of that money but it converts it to a theoretical cash equivalent.

All the value of the assets are then lumped together and there is a division which starts off at 50-50 and it would then be adjusted in favour of one spouse or the other spouse depending on the needs of the parties, how long they have been married, where the money came from, et cetera et cetera.

Not just the length of the marriage would be taken into account but also any length of time together before marriage because it would be unfair if the couple were together for 29 years and only married for one year before splitting up (not uncommon) to be treated in the same way as a couple who had a whirlwind romance got married, were married for 12 months, and then split up.  So the whole length of the relationship would be taken into account.

It’s largely a mathematical thing but does look at needs after divorce.

Even if everything is being divided down the middle, it’s not really a case of dividing it down the middle, all the assets wouldn’t be split 50-50 but, for example  one person may keep the house and the other for example could have the savings and the pensions.

Thank you for letting me assist you with your legal question.  I am glad that I was able to help.

I am not certain whether that answers the question for you or not, but I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

It will be my pleasure to help you again either further with this or any future questions you have

Kind regards

Customer: replied 19 days ago.
Thank you
Customer: replied 19 days ago.
Lots to read . I will get back with my questions . As for the moment we may have to take a informal separation while we figure things about but he is already planning finances and times he want with kids yet we have no outside help. Would I use a mediator in thsi case until we decide on a divorce ?
Expert:  Stuart J replied 19 days ago.

Remember that there are 3 parts to every divorce.

1              The divorce itself

2              Finances

3              Children

1      is relatively straightforward and infinitely a DIY job and you can save a whole load of money by doing just that.  Even if solicitors are involved, the bill shouldn’t be more than a couple of grand although the court fee alone is GBP550.
It is arguing over 2 & 3 which costs big-money if solicitors are involved.
Nonetheless, people don’t have to have a court order in respect of 2 & 3 and they can actually agree what they like between us.  Many couples never have arguments and have no court orders.  My ex-wife and I never argued and never had a court order other than the actual divorce itself.

I have had people report that their spouse would not let them have a divorce.  In which case they just need to take control and divorce the other.

Do try and agree what you can with the children and finances because it will save thousands of pounds.

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
Thank for the info/ with regards ***** ***** maintenance . What if he starts moving monies around etc or transferring monies to his parents to get out of support ?I’m not sure I should even inform him of the process of finances etc as I fear he may do something like this .
Expert:  Stuart J replied 17 days ago.

You can either make an application to court to stop it on the basis that he is trying to put that money beyond your reach or if there is plenty of other money sloshing around, raise it at the eventual financial hearing and ask for example all of the house on the basis that he has already moved cash elsewhere

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
How much are your services?
Customer: replied 17 days ago.
Can I do the divorce on my own but use a solicitor to agree the finance and children bit so it’s fair - can it be done that way ? To reduce the cost ?
Expert:  Stuart J replied 17 days ago.

I’m afraid that we are specifically not allowed to take instructions from here.

If the site were to be a source of potential clients, we would no longer be independent because we would have an interest in pursuing litigation.  With no interest in pursuing litigation, we can be really objective with our view is to whether something has a good chance or a limited chance of success.

In any event, for logistical reasons you would be better using a local solicitor .

There is nothing to stop you doing half yourself and then engaging a solicitor when you feel you are out of your depth.

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
Thank you so much. you have been so helpful .After discovering my husbands affair on 3 august he and AP have still been engaging in communication and seen each other. First he lied about it and now he’s going to see her even though I know .He also doesn’t want to leave the house because of money issues ‍♀️This has severely affected my emotional distress - I am with a counselling and on sleeping tablets .
As now the damage is intentional emotional abuse - what rights do I have ? I’m thinking communication by solicitor only but this is costly - can a mediator be a cheaper option?Re. divorce process ? Can I reduce his visitation with kids? I do not trust him with them… I ave many other reasons proof. Drugs , drinking, forgetting to pick daughter from school repeatedly etc. Not around at home weekends with the kids / me (prior to me finding out about affair) so he can go see his AP at race events?
Expert:  Stuart J replied 17 days ago.

It doesn’t matter the reason for the breakup, the end result is exactly the same.

I don’t know what you want to achieve with mediation.

You cannot reduce the amount that the children see him unless his conduct affects the children’s welfare.  Certainly not because he’s had an affair.

Running around you have proof of drugs and drinking et cetera that may be a reason to reduce contact or indeed have it supervised

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
With mediation -to have a safe environment to communication. . Solicitor would be best but costly.Also if he petitions for divorce first , does that mean I can’t petition?Thank you
Expert:  Stuart J replied 17 days ago.

If he petitions first, not politely, sign the papers and send them off.  Don’t worry about what he’s said because the courts have heard it all before and the court doesn’t apportion blame when it comes to the division of marital finances.

However you want to be in control, get your petition submitted.