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Ask Buachaill Your Own Question
Buachaill, Lawyer
Category: Republic of Ireland Law
Satisfied Customers: 10111
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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It looks like my wife and I are about to separate. In fact,

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It looks like my wife and I are about to separate. In fact, I am living with a fried temporarily already. I have never considered this situation before. What are my financial obligations in this situation? All my money goes on household bills. It is difficult to see how I can afford to pay for the family home and a new life for myself? We have one child together. I realize child support is a given but what else will I have to pay?

1. At the outset, as you mention, child maintenance will be payable by you. For instance if you have two children, then you will have to pay 20% of your net after tax income in child maintenance. Secondly spousal support only occurs today when the wife cannot work. Otherwise, the wife will be considered able to work, if the children are of school age and the amount of spousal support will be minimal. Thirdly, rent or mortgage payments will have to be paid so that the children have a home to live in. This would normally be one half the mortgage payments or else one half of the rental payments. Fourthly, some form of property adjustment order will have to occur if your wife seeks this. Normally this will mean that one half of the family home will be given to her if she does not already own it. Normally the family home will be left in place until the youngest child is 18 before each spouse can realise their interest in it. Fifthly, divorce law provides that "proper provision" must be made for a spouse. This is a malleable concept but it means that the more financially secure spouse will contribute some of their assets to the financially weaker spouse. Finally, each spouse can seek a pensions order whereby some part of the other spouse's pension be given over to the other spouse. This effectively is set at one half of the proportion of the working life of the spouses were together.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you. This answer does help. Can I ask some more please?

My wife can and does work part time. Neither of us has a pension. I am the main earner. We have a joint credit union loan.

The family home is in my wifes name, although I have paid every mortgage payment. I also own another house from before we were married which is rented out (but doesn't cover the full mortgage). If I agree to pay half her mortgage + child support is that the end of my legal obigations? What is likely to happen to both houses? Are we jointly liable for the credit union loan?

I won't ask anymore. thanks

2. Yes, you most certainly can ask a follow-on question. I am delighted to assist. You need to appreciate that the application of principles in the area of separation and divorce occurs in a rough and ready fashion. There is nothing wrong with the solution you propose to the division of the assets, if the two houses are all that there is. However, the one question a judge acting in the case is going to ask, is whether your wife can afford half the mortgage payment on the credit union loan on her house, given that she only works part time. In law, as both the parties names are XXXXX XXXXX credit union loan, this could mean that you will have to pay off all the loan if there is a default. You are better off get your name taken off this credit union loan and merely contribute the value of one half the mortgage payment. 3. Additionally the judge will consider the amount and value of equity in each house. It does not matter in the final reckoning that you took this second house into the marriage. Additionally, the income you are earning from the second house will be considered income by you, even if it goes in discharge of a mortgage. There are no hard and fast rules. I merely set out these issues for you to consider. Every judge applies their own rubric of what is "proper provision" for your wife. The most important fact here is that she has sufficient money to live on and pay the mortgage on the former family home.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.


There is a bank mortgage on both houses

The credit union loan is separate

From your response above, I don't think that makes much difference though.

You mentioned "once she has enough to live on". Does that include electricity, heating etc? Could I have to pay for that?

It sounds like a private agreement may be the best solution, without going to court etc.

Do you have a final comment or advice in this situation?


3. A private settlement is definitely better in any divorce or separation situation. However, be aware that divorce legislation requires a judge to examine every case and ensure that the parties needs are met. So the settlement needs to be able to pass muster before a judge. Secondly, when I say your wife needs to have enough to live on, you need to realise that a judge will look at it in the light of the positions of the respective parties, to ensure each is OK and is not struggling financially afterwards. This is particularly important in relation to a woman who has children. So there is no rule that you might have to pay her outgoings, but this will be looked at.
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