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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 14477
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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My wife and I have been married for 16 years, and have now

Customer Question

My wife and I have been married for 16 years, and have now been separated for 2 years. She lives in Scotland with her brother, and I live near Portsmouth. She is retired. I am 64, and she is 66. We had no house to sell as we were renting prior to separation. When we separated (no adultery on either side), I had £15000 in a savings account. I gave her £8000, and kept £7000. I then agreed to pay £300 per month until I retire.
JA: What steps have you taken? Have you filed any papers in family court?
Customer: Not yet
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: Hampshire
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I have an Army pension. I was married to my first wife for 27 years. My current wife and I married 9 years after I left the Army.
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 7 months ago.

Good morning. I will assist with your question - be aware this is an email not chat service therefore maybe delayed in replying.

what do you need to know please as you havnt asked a question?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
We are trying to agree on a settlement figure. I retire in 20 months, and when we separated, I agreed to pay £300 per month until retirement. Now that we have agreed to divorce, she has suggested we have a clean break and I pay her a lump sum instead of paying monthly. I had already explained that I could not keep paying £300 per month if /when I remarry, (which does seem to be likely). I have offered to pay £200 monthly instead until I retire. Would she have a claim on my army pension ? We never married until I had been out of the Army for 9 years. Am I being reasonable ?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 7 months ago.

The courts will always prefer a clean break because it means that no one is coming back to trying to enforce payment at some stage in the future.

I need some more information from you please.

What do you both earn?

What pension does she have?

During the course of the marriage, what did she do with regard to income pension et cetera?

Please confirm no dependent children under 18.

I am trying to ascertain why you are paying her this money at present?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
She is retired and has a small pension, but I don't know how much. She also makes money from her craft hobby, but once again, I don't know how much. I am still in full time employment and earn £47000 per annum. During the marriage, I have always given her money when needed. We rented, and shared rent equally between me her brother, and her son. I paid her share. We do not have any children together. I agreed to pay her money monthly because I felt it was reasonable. I agreed to more than half of my savings to help with her move to Scotland. I am happy to continue with a reduced monthly payment of £200, or I have offered her £4800 as a settlement figure.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 7 months ago.

The court will not simply look at your income and her hobby income and decide that she is entitled to a shed load of money. She can’t sit at home and drink tea and have coffee mornings and we her own sandals and make lentil pancakes and have a jolly time while you earn money and she expects to be paid.

I’m sorry to be so blunt. The court are likely to look at this that while she might enjoy what she’s doing, if she wants to do that, then she has the financial penalty associated with that and you would not necessarily have to bolster that up. It would look at her ability to pay over the last few years and until retirement. Whilst I agree that half of the savings is probably the right thing to do, all the above needs to be taken into consideration.

What also needs to be taken into account is why she only had a small pension and the value of it. Just because she didn’t make pension arrangements doesn’t necessarily mean that she is entitled to a large chunk of yours.

If she wants to argue, solicitors are going to charge GBP250 per hour for the argument and that is not going to be recoverable. The amount of money that she is potentially going to be arguing over therefore is going to pale into insignificance compared to the legal costs.

What will also be taken into account will be your need and her need after the divorce and that would be tempered with both of your incomes.

Whether what you are proposing is reasonable would depend on the value of your pension and/or the other things I have mentioned above.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
From your answer, I think that you feel I am being reasonable ? Would it be reasonable to reduce monthly payments to £200, or offer a final payment of £4800 (or £5000) ? £5000 would equate to £250 per month until my retirement day. My only worry would be whether she could claim part of my army pension.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 7 months ago.

I don’t think you are being unreasonable at all.

That’s not because of the amount, I think it’s probably because your wife isn’t doing as much as she could do to look after herself financially and hasn’t done during the course of the marriage.

There is always a risk that she may want to claim part of your army pension but it depends, not only on whether that was accrued during the course of the marriage or whether it predated that but it will also depend what other assets there are because any kind of sharing order like this is not necessarily based upon when the assets were accrued what the needs are of the parties after the breakup.

Before you go (you can come back here at any time as the thread stays open), please do not forget to use the Rating Service because that gives me credit.

You may need to login again to use the rating service.

It doesn't just give me a pat on the head!

The thread remains open, and we can still exchange emails.

Kind regards.


Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Thank you
Expert:  F E Smith replied 7 months ago.

I am glad to help.