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Hi, a slightly unusual request. I am writing a book in which…

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Hi, a slightly unusual request...
Hi, a slightly unusual request. I am writing a book in which I have the following character:

Male, 30 years old, has been married for five years. His wife is divorcing him.

They have no children. She is a well-paid professional, he is unemployed partly because he accompanied her on an overseas posting for four years and has been out of the workforce for all of that time. He has earned nothing since they were married. They own a flat in London and that is their main asset. It is mortgaged and all mortgage payments have come out of the wife's income. They are now back in London but have recently separated.

Is it possible to give me an idea of what sort of division of matrimonial property in these circumstances would be made by a court? What advice would he get from a solicitor?
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: UK Law
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Answered in 2 hours by:
6/21/2010
Solicitor: Clare, Solicitor replied 8 years ago
Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 35,301
Experience: family solictor with 25 years experience
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hi

where would the purchase monies have come from?

claire

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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
Hi Claire the deposit would have come from the wife's savings, and mortgage payments would all have come out of her salary.

Actually another complicating factor which I realise is probably very significant is that she is revealed to be pregnant. I'm guessing that this means she would almost certainly get the house. Is this correct?

Because this is a fictional story the exact order and indeed the exact nature of events is negotiable. I'm essentially looking for a situation which puts my character (the husband) in desperate financial straits following the separation, but I want it to be credible. What I'm unsure of is how the courts would be likely to treat a case like this, thus I'm unsure of what his negotiating position would be with his wife should they attempt to negotiate a financial settlement.
Solicitor: Clare, Solicitor replied 8 years ago

hi

how much do you plan for the house and the mortgage to be worth

claire

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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
This is a moveable feast but I'm thinking 600,000 pounds plus. It's a nice flat in inner London. The mortgage would be quite a large proportion of the value of the flat.
Solicitor: Clare, Solicitor replied 8 years ago

hi

in general terms this would be regarded as a short to medium length marriage

with a short marriage the court tries to put both parties back into the same financial position they were in at the start of the marriage and then divide any acquisition between them equally

since this is just over a short length - and more to the point the husband has sacrificed his career to support his wife it is likely that the court would look at a settlement - possibly between 20 and 30% for him

maintenance might be a possibility - but less likely given the pregnancy

the case of miller v miller would be relevant

claire

 

 

Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 35,301
Experience: family solictor with 25 years experience
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
Hi Claire

Many thanks for that, that's really helpful. I'm likely to have further questions over the next week or so as I develop these ideas. I'd be keen to come back to you personally with any further questions - is it possible to do this?

cheers
William Brandt
Solicitor: Clare, Solicitor replied 8 years ago

hi

feel free to keep this open and add to it - or mention my name in the first line of a new question and a colleague will alert me

claire

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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
Thanks Claire, I'll be in touch
Customer reply replied 6 years ago
Hi we had some discussion last year about a fictional story I am working on. I have some further questions. Because my thinking has changed I will recap:

For the purposes of the story I want to create a situation as follows:

Husband and wife, married for 7-10 years. The wife is a highly paid professional, the husband has no income of his own. He is a home maker, cooks, cleans, etc. They have no children. They separate when it becomes apparent the wife is having an affair.

The husband is left with no resources and is advised by a solicitor that the court is unlikely to direct that the wife pay him a settlement. The idea, for the purposes of the story, is that the husband is left without income or resources and is forced to survive on his own.

I am unsure as to how plausible this scenario is however, and I imagine that it would be unlikely to arise except in exceptional circumstances - for example, perhaps the husband owns half of a house left by his parents, but his brother is living in it, is unable to buy him out, and the husband is unwilling to force his brother to sell the house. Thus the court would consider him to have some assets of his own, but realistically he can't realise them. Another possibility I have thought of is that the wife has structured her income in some way which makes it difficult for the husband.

Have you any knowledge of cases where a husband has been left as above - ie, without income - or can you give me an idea as to how such a situation could arise? The story is a comedy so it doesn't have to be particularly likely, although it does have to be possible and more or less plausible.

If it really isn't plausible that this could happen, an alternative might be that the wife delays making any payment to him for a long period of time. If for example the husband is forced to rely on his own resources for a year or more, even though ultimately a settlement would result in his getting something, that might be sufficient for my purposes.

Any advice or comment you can give would be appreciated.
Solicitor: Clare, Solicitor replied 6 years ago
Hi
Can we have the house heavily mortgaged - or maybe with a temporary problem that hinders a sale (bats? planning?)
can the husband have employable skills - or would that spoil the story line?
Claire
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
Hi Claire

Thanks for this.

Yes I guess the house could be heavily mortgaged. What would the wife's argument then be? Couldn't the husband force her to sell? Could she use the burden of mortgage payments as an argument against paying maintenance?

The employable skills - maybe... I am thinking about it. Would the earning potential of the employable skills be the key consideration here? Maybe it could work if he has a degree and is able to work as a teacher but doesn't want to. Swore he would never teach... actually that's an interesting idea.

What do you think of the idea of his shared ownership of a property with his brother? Could that be germain?

William
Solicitor: Clare, Solicitor replied 6 years ago
Hi
What is the optimum time delay you are looking for - a year? eighteen months? two years? more?
Claire
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
Hi sorry about the delay in replying - took the weekend off.

The optimum time delay would be I suppose as long as possible. Any considerable delay - say over a year - would probably do the trick as it would force our hero to mobilise his own resources in the meantime. Also if the length of the delay was unknown he couldn't rely on money coming any time soon.
Solicitor: Clare, Solicitor replied 6 years ago
Hi
There are various very believable ways that it could take a couple of years or more for matters to be resolved.
You say that the wife is pregnant - this coupled with the fact that she provided the capital and is paying the mortgage would certainly leave her in the house whilst financial matters are being dealt with - and that could easily take two years if there are delays in the process - maybe she is slow to make financial disclosure; they try family mediation, the pregnancy delays things etc etc.
You could certainly give the husband an asset - maybe a share in a property abroad that is disputed - or an inheritance from his parents which is held up in probate.
In addition since he has qualifications - which means he could earn and there are no children then spouse maintenance would not necessarily be ordered - maybe the wife could have produced details of a job he could take but doesnt want to
Does this help?
Claire
Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 35,301
Experience: family solictor with 25 years experience
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Clare and 87 other UK Law Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
Hi Claire

Yes, thank you that is very helpful. I'll leave it there for now but maybe I'll come back later!
Solicitor: Clare, Solicitor replied 6 years ago
Hi
You are most welcome - have fun
Claire
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