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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 17234
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I need to look into a divorce and the assets we share but he

Customer Question

I need to look into a divorce and the assets we share but he is a very cleaver and educated where as I’m not. I’m just totally clueless on how to go about this and get what I feel I deserve after all the emotional abuse I endured while with him. I’m so scared and frightened about the whole process
JA: What steps have you taken? Have you filed any papers in family court?
Customer: No I have not done anything as I don’t no what my first step should be
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: Ashford, Kent
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: like what, as u are the first person I’ve ever spoken to about this.
Submitted: 8 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 8 days ago.

Welcome to Just Answer.

I will be happy to assist with your question today. I need some time to consider this and compose a response. There is NO need to wait online because you will get an email when I respond. Sometimes it will be minutes, sometimes longer.

I apologise for any unavoidable delay, but rest assured I have not forgotten your question.

I will try to help you so please can i ask -

how long have you been together and married in total?

he has been emotionally coercively controlling - in what way?

what are the marital assets? house(s)/savings/pensions?

any children under 18?

and what is your preferred outcome if possible?

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
We got married in June 2007 and only separated. He controlled everything, together be brought a house of of his mother who ended up living with us there. I lost my own life then as I was made to feel I was living with my husband and his mother. I had a son about 1yr old when I met my husband in 2004 but the year prior to that I had a life changing Tragedy when my dad took his own life and I found him hung on Father’s Day. I suffer from bi-polar and but I was able to manage it very well and was well enough to get married and a year later we had an amazing daughter daisy. But as the years went on the more my ex husband and his mother began to control everything, his mother took my role and my husband stopped working and was collecting Carers allowance for myself and I thought he was truly doing it to help me, he used to control meds, always encouraged me to lay down, have a nap and even converted to garage to a bedroom and over 6 years 90% was always trapped in the bedroom, he would bring me medication and knowing how sleepy it makes me as time went by I began to become a prisoner in my own home: my son doesn’t know that my husband isn’t his real father and he’s going to be 18 in November and my daughter is 12 and autistic. Our assets is only the house and my life is under that roof. The house had doubled in value from when we bought it. Things got so bad for me and I started to become ill so I left the family house as my kids are Important to me and it wasn’t healthy and no matter what I can’t argue with a mother and her son. So I’m in a horrible little flat, living alone for the last few years. He is a great dad, really good but a awful person to be married to. All I want is to be able to start again, I’m now 37 and I just want to have Stability for myself and my kids. He has poisoned my sons mind with really crazy things but I have no fight in me. I’m worried that he’s now as I don’t think he’s expecting me to do anything about a divorce and the house as like he once said he’s to clever for me to “outwit” him. But I’m worried if he’s been doing something to try make sure that he doesn’t have to give me a penny. I don’t no anyone who’s had a divorce or anyone who I’m able to get advice from. I’m sorry for the rant I don’t think you needed to hear all this but it’s feeling so much better even talking about things now it’s like a weights being lifted, xxxxx
Expert:  F E Smith replied 8 days ago.

Let me give you my complete do it yourself divorce guide and then afterwards, the thread stays open, you can ask me any questions arising.

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 divorce is 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 wants it.
Lack of personal hygiene/obsessive personal hygiene.

Obsessively tidy/extremely messy and untidy.

Gambles to excess/is tightfisted with money.

Never interacts with spouse or children/obsessive with children.

Violent or bullying or intimidating.

Excess alcohol.

Lots of grounds.

The court will not get involved in marriage and finances unless divorce or legal separation proceedings have started.

As part of the divorce process, it is always a good idea to apply for a financial order:

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

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

Strictly speaking, one of the parties should do that before they get the Decree Absolute otherwise there going to have to explain why the delay.

Here is the link to the Government webpage on Child Arrangement Orders.

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

There are lots of different Child arrangement orders.

They can include:

A Contact Order which specifies when parent sees a child,

Residence Order to determine who your child lives with,

Prohibited Steps Order to prevent a parent doing something with the child such as moving away

Specific Issue Order to allow a parent to do something specific with the child such as moving away.

Please note that before rushing off to court you have to have tried mediation first, even if it fails

A person is not responsible for the mortgage or rent or the bills of a house that they do not live in although they remain liable to the lender or landlord if the other person stays in the property and doesn’t pay the mortgage or rent.

In that case, the non-occupier would be entitled to recover any mortgage or rental payments made by the non-occupier, from the occupier within the finances of the breakup of the relationship/marriage.

So if he moves out, you would be faced with paying the bills.

But if he moves out you would be 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 (don't worry about it no longer being updated)

https://www.lawteacher.net/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/

The starting point for the division of marital finances is 50-50 and it is then adjusted up or down, one way or the other, in favour of one partner or the other depending on what the individuals put in at outset, the length of marriage and the time together before marriage, the needs of the individuals after the divorce, what savings, assets, pensions et cetera there are and also the ability of each person to work after the breakup.

The time which a couple are together before they get married will be taken into account because it would be grossly unfair if someone had been together for 30 years and then split up after being married for 12 months to have the finances treated in the same way as a couple who had got married not long after they met and were then divorcing after just 12 months.

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 the bulk would be 50-50 and therefore one person may keep the house and the other for example could have the savings and the pensions.

I am glad to help.

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand.

I would be more than happy to clarify anything else for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.

I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

Please be aware that my answer is based strictly upon the information you have given me.

If you still need any points clarifying, I will be happy to reply because the thread does not close. In fact, it remains open indefinitely.

I am always happy to answer any further questions you have on any new thread in which case, please start your question with, “ For FES only”.

You don’t need to do it on this thread, just a new thread. You have me exclusively on this one.

Thank you.

Best wishes.

FES