Consumer rights: Husband wants lion's share of divorce settlement
A stay-at-home mother fears losing out from the house sale...Losing a deposit when a kitchen firm goes bust
Sunday 03 July 2011
Q. My husband and I have decided to split up. We're still living in the same house but we've put it on the market.
On the face of it, it should be easy to work out how to separate the various aspects of our lives and move on but we can't seem to agree on anything. My husband has earned much more during our 25 years together but I worked part-time, brought up the children and run the house. I feel I'm entitled to a fair share of the money from the sale.
I've never been able to pay into a pension because I wasn't earning enough. My husband as earned a lot – partly because I was running the home – and he must have a big pension. I feel that I should be entitled to a share of that too. However, my husband says he's earned more, paid for our home and should get the majority of the proceeds of the sale. He also says he's entitled to keep his pension. I don't really want to go to a solicitor as I can't afford the fees, but I feel my husband is being greedy and unfair and trying to make out that I've contributed nothing.
A. It can cost a lot of money to involve solicitors. Once you see a solicitor it's likely that your husband will feel he must see one too. The money you both spend will come out of any money there is left to be divided up at the end of the negotiations. However, you really do need to know where you stand and what you can expect to get.
A good solicitor won't prolong negotiations, will work for a quick settlement and will aim to get everything resolved without having to go to court. He or she will go through your assets, ask your husband's solicitor for details of his assets and negotiate a realistic and fair settlement where you don't end up simply giving in to your husband's demands. You are entitled to a fair share of the family home and to a share in his pension. The tricky thing is to remain on speaking terms while the settlement is being negotiated, which is hard while you're both still living in the same house. You also have to be realistic; think about what you would consider fair and accept that you might have to take a bit less.
Keep the solicitor's bills down as far as possible by doing as much of the work yourself as you can such as compiling all the necessary paperwork. Don't use your solicitor as an emotional crutch – cry on a friend's shoulder, not the solicitor's because the solicitor charges for tissues. Take someone with you to legal appointments because you won't remember everything that's said and will end up going over the same ground. Be firm with your solicitor. He or she will be fighting your corner but if you're satisfied with any outcome and don't want to fight for more, you have to be strong enough to get your solicitor to accept your decision.
The place to start is at your local advice centre. Charities such as the Citizens Advice Bureau have good relationships with solicitors and know who is experienced in this area of law. They will probably be able to arrange a free initial interview for you so that you have an idea how things might work out. The big problem is that, while your solicitor is believing everything you say and fighting for you, your husband's solicitor will be doing the same. Do you think your husband might consider the cheaper route of mediation? Mediation isn't about trying to persuade the two of you to get back together. A trained mediator helps you both, together, to reach your own fair and acceptable settlement without involving the courts. Ask your advice centre about mediation services in your area or try familymediationhelpline.co.uk.
If your case does reach the point where the courts become involved, you will be referred to mediation and, although it's not compulsory, the Government wants couples to consider using it. It's an alternative worth thinking about.
Q. I paid a £1,500 deposit on a new kitchen a few weeks ago, and just as the job was due to start the company went bust. It's a small local firm so I don't suppose anyone is likely to step in and honour the outstanding orders. How do I go about getting my money back?
A. You may not get your money back. You will probably be one of a long line of creditors who are owed money. Some of those such as HM Revenue and Customs come well ahead of you in the priority list. You need to find out more about the firm's situation. It may not have gone bust but could be in administration where someone has been brought in to try to save it and clear the debts while working out how it could continue trading. If that's the case, you can find out who the administrator is. It's likely to be a local firm of accountants. Talk to your local trading standards department at the local council or your local advice centre and ask local accountants. If the firm really has gone out of business with no assets or money, you may lose everything.
You don't say how you paid the deposit. If you paid by credit card your card company has joint liability in cases where the goods don't arrive and you can't get your money back. Talk to your card issuer. If you paid cash you may have to wave goodbye.
- 1 Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
- 2 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 4 Dad attempts revenge on teenage daughter, plan backfires spectacularly
- 5 Ball pool for adults opens in London
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account
iJobs Money & Business
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...
£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...
£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...
Day In a Page
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion