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Harris, Law Specialist
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2851
Experience:  Family Law - Specialist in Divorce, Financial Relief and Children Matters
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Just divorced at 80 years of age, 41 years married before ex

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Just divorced at 80 years of age, 41 years married before ex left to cohabit with 74 year old woman in July 2013 he was 64 I was 77 at the time. My income £650 per month his around £2000. My expenditure av. £900 per month - no luxuries, hols etc. I pay all bills subsidised by savings. He pays half of bills where he lives.My assets around £70,000. His £60,000. My savings depleting his increasing. Each own marital home as joint tenants Joint Current value £160,000.
What would be a considered a fair settlement in these circumstances please. D. Brookes

Hi, thank you for your question. Just a bit more information required to fully assist you:

-Do either of you have any pensions, if so what is the value?

-Is there any outstanding mortgage on the former family home, if so how much?

-How many bedrooms is the former family home?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
we both have pensions his a Fire Service Pension and I have a final salary pension but do not have CETV'S.
There is no mortgage on the home.
The marital home where I still live has one main, one double one single room
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We also have State Pensions his a full pension I have a smaller proportionate pension based on his N.I Contributions. Sorry I missed these.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The family home is Joint Tenants in Common - don't know if this makes a difference other than to us.


Thanks for confirming. Given that there is a shortfall in your reasonable needs and your income, as well as his higher income, you will have grounds to apply to seek spousal maintenance to cover the shortfall. The court's starting point will be a 50-50 split of assets, however, given your lower income and assets, it could be argued that the split should be more in your favour.

Furthermore, and most importantly, you will need to both obtain CETVs of your pensions as if there is disparity in pensions, you have good grounds, given the length of the marriage and your ages, to pursue at least equalisation of pensions.

Initially this should be attempted through mediation - you can find independent mediators here: If a settlement is agreed this can be submitted to court under a consent order (together with a D81 form outlining your respective financial positions).

If mediation does not progress you should then proceed with an application to court under Form A for financial relief once the divorce petition has been issued.

You will both need to provide each other with full and frank financial and income disclosure, as well as disclosure of your reasonable needs. The Court's starting point is a 50-50 split of all matrimonial assets and ensuring that both your needs are met in relation to both assets and income. The criteria considered is:

1. 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;
2. The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
3. The standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage;
4. The age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage;
5. Any physical or mental disability of either of the parties to the marriage;
6. 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;
7. 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;
8. 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.

If you have any further questions regarding this please let me know. In the meantime if you found this information helpful please provide a positive rating using the stars at the top of this page. I will not be credited for answering your question without a positive rating. Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your help - I knew of the Court Considerations and am particularly interested in the Fire Service Pension as this is something which was earned during the marriage and a benefit which I should not miss out on and I will be keeping an eye on this and also the CETV'S which I have also raised with my pension provider, however, your information has confirmed my thoughts which I can take forward to the first'proper' mediation session.If I can ask question within this remit - when gathering information on assets particularly housing does the property value of the co-habitant come into the equasion as he has somewhere to live and 50/50 would be insufficient for me to purchase a property but would enhance his living standards. Would there be any drawbacks to me accepting 50/50 to stay in the property plus an allowance or raised pension or would this be considered a 'reasonable' path to follow? Thank you.

Thank you. He would not be legally entitled to assets from his current partner unless he has legally registered his interest and this will not impact on his right to claim from the matrimonial assets. It will need to be assessed as to how long-term his relationship in as this can be used as argument that his housing needs are reduced given that he has been accommodated.

In relation to accepting a 50-50 split settlement - the main "drawback" is that you will likely be able to obtain a higher share given that your long-term income prospects are lower than his. If you are able to buy out an equitable share of the home, then this may be a good option to ensure that your housing needs are met mortgage free, but it may be more suitable and financially viable for you to agree a sale of the home and equity to be divided in order to rehouse yourself in smaller accommodation. Again this will require a lot of thought and assessment from you to see how you wish to proceed.

Harris and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you very much indeed - most helpful and I appreciate your comments. I will give them a lot of thought. Best wishes, Dee Brookes.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Good evening Harris, I have now received a C.E.T.V. on my pension thank you. I have recently discovered that my ex-husband took a lump sum on retirement without my knowledge and understand there is no pension pot as it is a Government funded Scheme (Fire Service) and therefore no C.E.T.V. from his pension....not good news for me but thank you for your advice. Regards, ***** *****

No worries. He has taken a lump sum payment and therefore if this remains unspent it will form part of the finances for negotiations.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you Harris, I would like to think so but won't hold my breath that there is a lot left since he just bought a flash new car. Thank you once again. I have the next Mediation meeting tomorrow and the dreaded Form E. Rest assured if I need help I will certainly come back to you.

Thank you. You should be aware that if you believe he is now spending the money he has received in order to defeat any claim by you as part of the financial relief proceedings you would be entitled to apply for an urgent freezing injunction but this must be in relation to specific assets with evidence of the potential disposition of it (eg. specific bank accounts or property).

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you Harris, that is a very important point as I do believe the car is an issue. I was intending to raise this at the meeting this afternoon. I appreciate your message very much. Regards, ***** *****
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Harris, I have accepted your offer of more Q and E time. I know I will need more advice and good to know you are available. Thank you.

Thank you - please let me know what the further question is and I will attempt to assist you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Good Morning Harris, I attended the mediation session yesterday. To options have come from this:
1, the house is signed over to me entirely but no further cash input nor pension involvement. I feel this would be the option to take as the house is continuing to rise in value and although I would have no further cash income, my liquid assets are in excess of his (according to his Form E) I could manage with that. This would also give a clean break which I would prefer to have.
2, I stay in the house with a monthly allowance. He is self-employed with a pension plus state pension. He intimated that he was running down his self-employment which I feel would give him a reason to stop the allowance. I know I could insure against this but if he were taken ill or worse still pass away I would lose that allowance. (Sorry to be morbid/mercenary but who knows).Although given to the end of the month to confirm which option HE preferred, I received a phone call his morning to offer me sole ownership of the house, waive any claim to pension and no cash. I have asked for time to consider this. I am prepared to accept this but do you see any drawbacks in addition to my thoughts? Thank you. Regards, ***** *****

You would need to find out what lump sum he has obtained from his pension as this would be relevant to deciding what settlement should be accepted.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Harris, I now believe the lump sum my ex-husband took was a percentage of around 25/27% of the whole as this was allowable then according to the Fire Service Pension Rules, again I believe this would have been around £45-50,000.I have considered his offer of the house being signed over but he is insistent that his pension does not come into it (which suggests there is a worthwhile pension pot) nor any spousal maintenance. I have not accepted the offer nor turned it down. I am concerned that he has applied for a C.E.T.V. but has not yet received it. My C.E.T.V. was included in Form E produced at the last mediation meeting so there was an imbalance in assets shown. The mediator said I could consider the offer or wait till ex's C.E.T.V. was received and another meeting called. I feel I should wait for the C.E.T.V. as there could be better options for a better settlement. What would be your advice please. (Also would I need to let ex know my decision to await his C.E.T.V. I that is the way to go). Thank you. Regards, Dee Brookes

There is no obligation on you responding to his offer, especially as his CETV is outstanding and it is vital to know this information.

Despite what he is saying, given the extremely long marriage of 41 years and both your ages you are entitled to make a claim towards his pension, as is he towards yours.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you Harris, I will await notification that the C.E.T.V. has been received. Regards, D.Brookes
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Good morning Harris,
Reference my last reply to you, I am not certain now whether I will be advised when ex's CETV has been received. Since I have dealt with the Settlement issue on my own so far (apart from your advice) I am unsure now of the next step to take, i.e. should I let ex know that 'until his CETV is received in conjunction with his Form E no decisions can be made one way or other'? and leave the ball in his court ?I have let the Mediator know that it would be my wish to await ex's CETV but have received no response. This leaves me 'floating' between ex's offer and a further Mediation meeting - if - ex submits his CETV and will attend another meeting. (On my Form E I asked 'To remain in the marital home' plus 'Spousal Maintenance and/or Pension Share.)Your advice would be very much appreciated. Regards, ***** *****

Yes, you should be informing him that no decision can be made regarding proposals until you have his CETV. There does not seem to be a need for further mediation appointment until this is received as you cannot reasonably accept or reject any offer without this information.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Harris, at last my ex-husband's C.E.T.V. He phoned me on Thursday making the same offer (signing over the house nothing else) and that due to a backlog it could be another month or so before his C.E.T.V. arrived.. I had the feeling he had received the C.E.T.V and was pressing for a decision from me which he didn't get. Yesterday, Monday, he phoned again to say he had his C.E.T.V. and gave me the value and this is a considerable amount of money and takes his assets to more than twice as much as mine (both including 50/50 share of the house). I understand he has advised his Solicitor but not the Mediator.Q. Do I now involve my solicitor or do I wait until his Solicitor has made contact?
Q. In view of the length of the marriage (41 years) our ages and the fact that he left to co-habit and still does and the huge disparity in assets - is it possible for you to give any kind of an idea as to a what a reasonable Settlement might be.What I originally asked for was the house to be signed over to me plus either a spousal allowance or Pension Share. A clean break would be ideal if it is possible.Thank you very much.D. Brookes

You need to inform your solicitors who should be able to advise you on an appropriate settlement in light of the CETV disclosure - but in general terms given your ages and the length of the marriage a court will more likely than not agree that pensions should be equalised.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you very much Harris for the information and quick reply. Much appreciated. Regards, ***** *****

No worries, I hope it goes well. If you have any questions in the future you can ask for me directly by starting your question For Harris