Seperation, divorce and finances
I am a new member on here but have been reading through the forums over the past several months and I find them to be really useful. I hope I do not ramble on for too long.
My situation is that I and my wife have effectively lived separate lives for almost a year. I left the matrimonial home and I am currently back at my parents but will be renting somewhere soon. We have been married 6 years and we have 2 children, 4 and 6 year olds. We have a house with mortgage and approx £135k equity. Since the first child was born I have essentially met all the housing costs and anything she has earnt has simply been her "play" money! Contact with the children is not an issue.
I have a reasonably well paid job. Wife does not work but is looking, it was always planned she would go back to work once the youngest started school which will be this September. Child care issues resulted in her giving her job up around 2 years ago. She is currently on universal credit, child benefit etc but is looking for work.
We are about to start divorce proceedings and it is all fairly amicable. Once this is started I am keen to get a financial order agreed and sealed as quickly as possible - so that I can start making my own plans for my future.
I am keen for her to stay in the house with the children as it is ultimately their home and where they are happy. With this in mind i am expecting that we will have a Mesher Order for the home but with a provision that she can buy me out of my share at any time if she can/wants to without there being a trigger event. This means that I will not have any £ myself and I will simply need to treat my share in the house as savings that I can not touch for 5/10/14 years or whenever it is finally sold etc.
I currently pay:
£413 per month for 1/2 mortgage payment - this was not going to be the case originally but after speaking to a solicitor this was advised as a potential way to hopefully avoid a spousal maintenance order.
£700 per month child maintenance (this changes monthly as my pay changes monthly but this is an average). As yet this is through agreement but one that we both seem happy with.
On leaving the home I also agreed to take over the jointly accrued debts - approx £7,500. I have also agreed to transfer her car to her as it is in my name and I paid for it. Her car is valued approx £15k, mine is valued around £3k. We had no savings, other than childrens savings.
I have accrued some savings after I left but this will be gone by the time I furnish my own place.
At the moment we are struggling to agree on what % of the equity I should get when she buys me out of the house or it is sold through a trigger event on a Mesher order. I argue that since I will continue to pay 1/2 the mortgage I should receive 50% of the equity. She does not agree obviously - despite me having also taken over the debts.
I have suggested that perhaps it stay at 50% but from this can be deducted 50% of the costs of any essential maintenance she has carried out to the property. No comment from her on this yet.
What are peoples thoughts as to what would be "reasonable" and what I could try and go for bearing in mind I have taken over the debts also?
Also what do you do with regards to extra costs such as after school clubs, swimming lessons etc? Would this form part of the child maintenance or dealt with separately on a 50/50 basis?
Thank you for any input.
I believe you should take legal advice in relation to this. When it comes to a financial order there are too many variables that will all play a part. Eg do you expect to have 50:50 shared care of children or will your ex require additional to support the children if she is the resident parent (not just CMS), you haven't mentioned any pensions, these are also included and depending on value may need an actuary to determine cash value and then legal advice re best split. Sometimes it's best to put all assets and debts into a single pot (Inc pensions) and then work out a split but again the best approach for you based on your individual circumstances can only really be determined with legal advice. It would be difficult for any of us on the forum to advise really to ensure that everyone, you, your ex but especially your children get a fair and equitable outcome.
All the best.
Ps the extra costs such as school clubs and swimming lessons would depend on a a few factors too eg can you mutually agree to something with ex, do you have 50:50, usually CMS should cover and then you each pay for activities that fall on your days, however what if all activities fall on your days and you end up having to pay for it all,also cannot be deducted from CMS.
If you have 50:50 shared care order then no CMS is payable, what would you do re activities in this case, could you afford to pay for them all and have them all on your days etc etc..
Definitely take some legal advice and you could try to get something formal agreed regarding contact with the children as well. Parents can often see a reduction in contact if it helps a financial outcome for the other party.
Best of luck