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What do you think about divorce settlements?

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
I was speaking to a friend of a friend last night, and her mums friend (lol, long chain) receives around £40,000 a year from her ex husband that she divorced 10 years ago, and should receive it for life. But she wasn't a housewife, in fact she ran and still runs a very successful business. I've heard about her a lot, my friend knows her too.

She spends most of this money on horses as she runs a riding school, and she now is fortunate enough to be able to retire rather than teaching directly. Fair enough, but even though I don't know all the details, it does seem to me that divorce settlements heavily favour the wife, or possibly the non-breadwinner. (Though as I said in this case, she inherited a farm and stables when she was very young which has given her a good income her whole life - the money from her husband generally goes to increasing her quality of life)

Then in the news there is a £48m payout to someone for being a housewife, as the legal precedent has been set that in the breakup of a marriage it should be split 50 / 50. She was offered £20m but turned it down, knowing that the law will favour something more towards a 50 / 50 split.

Whilst I appreciate the work a housewife must do, when there are these sums of money involved it is not that far fetched to speculate that much of the housework was done by paid assistants perhaps. Also, that the person in question BBC link seems to have amassed most of the wealth through his own initiative makes me think that the system is perhaps biased.

Yes, if you come to expect a certain standard of living you should be able to enjoy that and continue living that way. But I would have thought £20m would have been plenty, rather than the 48 the court deemed necessary.
"My offer to my former wife was an enormous sum... she could live off the interest for the rest of her life without even touching the capital.

"Why is it right that I should have to destabilise my business and career to provide her with a great deal more money?"

I wonder what your thoughts are though, I'm not trying to start a witch hunt about money grabbing wives, but a large part of this mans estate is his business which he built up. I mean, if you make a massive multinational business like microsoft and the sole owner, then get married, then get divorced the same year, your partner would be elligible to sums in the billions according to family law. 50 / 50 split and all that.

The law should represent whats fair and just, but is this fair? (then again, I think a fixed penalty of £60 for getting caught out by a speed trap - where the road changes speed from 60 to 40 after a blind corner with a camera mounted in the perfect position - is hardly fair either)
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Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    So let's look at the figures there for a moment.

    If £48 million is 50/50 split then his worth must have been in the region of £96m. He offered £20m and says that this is more than enough to live on. This settlement leaves him with £48m, twice what he believes is enough to live on.

    What's the problem?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    the way i see it she didnt make any of the money she shouldnt get a penny
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Territt wrote: »
    she didnt make any of the money

    How do you figure that?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    because it was his company, his work that made the money
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Her work at home gave him the freedom to go off an earn the money.

    You don't understand the concept of housewife, do you? You also seem to struggle with the concept of "contract"....
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Territt wrote: »
    because it was his company, his work that made the money

    So what if at some point she was employed by him?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Territt wrote: »
    because it was his company, his work that made the money

    Boo hoo, he signed a legal contract to split it 50/50 if they divorce. I just think that the legal system should cater for what everyone wants from a marriage. None of this overruling pre-nups for example.

    Also, assuming the man is the main breadwinner, and ignoring children, I think that the woman should be entitled to 50% of his earnings during the marriage. If he built up that £500m empire before she even met him, she has no claim that she contributed to it in any way (obviously if a bloke want to voluntarily give her half of it at the point of marriage, then fair enough). Similarly, he shouldn't have to have any financial dealings with her after the divorce. There is absolutely no reason that someone should have to pay for the lifestyle of their ex after they have divorced.

    That's my opinion anyway, but I think that the legalities of marriage should represent the fact that people have a different opinion of what marriage is, and should cater to that.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    If he built up that £500m empire before she even met him, she has no claim that she contributed to it in any way

    very good point, whilst i'm all in favour of splitting 50/50 stuff that you've earnt/built up whilst you've been together, why does anyone, male or female deserve anything from before they even met?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    i'm a bit confused about that woman getting 40k a year for life - all my mum's getting is a lump sum of 15k. 5k when the divorce is done and 10k when she leaves the house
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Similarly, he shouldn't have to have any financial dealings with her after the divorce.

    Even if she is the primary carer for their children?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Even if she is the primary carer for their children?

    I did say ignoring children. And even then, it's technically a financial dealing with his children, she is simply handling it as the adult.
  • BunnieBunnie Posts: 6,099 Master Poster
    Ballerina wrote: »
    i'm a bit confused about that woman getting 40k a year for life - all my mum's getting is a lump sum of 15k. 5k when the divorce is done and 10k when she leaves the house

    Its all dependant on how much her husband has. They cant give your mum money that isn't there.

    In relation to OP, there is a lot of unfairness in divorce when it comes to money, but without knowing the ins and outs of every case, you dont know who deserves what whether she has supported him at any point, got rid of another home before moving in with him, he may have had an affair, the list is endless.

    People often take the value of the house into consideration when discussing settlements, and on the assumption that the couple were joint tenants (which most married couples are) that will automatically be spilt 50/50

    Children also come into it, and maintenance and support for them who often lives with the wife, can make people think she has done 'well'.

    Although there are unfortunately situations in which the husband gets 'fleeced', if it goes to court, rather than settling through negotiation etc, it is the judge's role to divide the assets in a just and equitable manner whilst taking into consideration the needs of all parties, including the children.

    With regards to the £48m, I do see that as excessive, but then I don't have £48, so I wouldnt know what that would feel like to lose.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    So let's look at the figures there for a moment.

    If £48 million is 50/50 split then his worth must have been in the region of £96m. He offered £20m and says that this is more than enough to live on. This settlement leaves him with £48m, twice what he believes is enough to live on.

    What's the problem?

    I think it's his total estate, not cash, so a of that is actually part of his company. I think it's slightly less than 50% as the court said it did take into account he earned the money without her support.

    Whilst in cases where there isn't such a substantial income I can understand it, especially when there are kids involved, giving this man a £48 million bill for all the housework whilst they were married seems a bit callous (someone mentioned the job of being a housewife).

    I'm not trying to override the judge - it may be an acceptable amount. But I do see sometimes like in the case of my friends friends mums friend (lol) that they use it to complement their already very comfortable lifestyle. Having said that, her husband could have been a millionaire and so she could argue he needed her support.

    Although a pre-nup doesn't seem very romantic, the way it's split at the moment just doesn't seem fair, it's very very simplistic. Just whack split down the middle and that's it. I've been warned off marriage by people older (wiser is up to you) for that reason alone - that if it falls apart I may well get fleeced.

    Whilst a woman who has no transferrable skills on her CV and has only known looking after her family her whole life should be entitled to financial support, I think it's a different case to the awarding of £48m because 'a legal precedent has been set'.
    In their ruling, the appeal judges made a call for the review and reform of divorce laws in England and Wales.

    A statement read by Mrs Charman's legal team said: "I acknowledge that the sum awarded to me is huge by any standards, but the Court of Appeal has decided that it fairly reflects the contributions made by John and me during our 28-year marriage.

    The couple had two sons during their marriage, which began in 1976 when neither had much money.

    Mr Charman built up a fortune in the insurance industry and became head of the Axis group.

    But when the appeal case was heard in March this year, lawyers for Mrs Charman argued that her contribution could be seen as being of "equal value to the family as a whole".

    They said that previous divorce rulings made by the House of Lords had laid down guidelines that family assets should generally be divided equally between the breadwinner and the homemaker.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    when i divorced, the money was split 60/40 in my favour because i am the childs primary carer. its not always 50/50
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Ah right. Well I was just using that figure for simplicity.

    Would you say the law is a bit too simplistic though or biased towards the housewife / husband? Not to take a penny away from those who are legitimately entitled to it, but the large payouts that we see. I know one man who was giving around 50% of his income to his ex wife.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    So let's look at the figures there for a moment.

    If £48 million is 50/50 split then his worth must have been in the region of £96m. He offered £20m and says that this is more than enough to live on. This settlement leaves him with £48m, twice what he believes is enough to live on.

    What's the problem?

    that was already his to begin with ;)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ShyBoy wrote: »
    Ah right. Well I was just using that figure for simplicity.

    Would you say the law is a bit too simplistic though or biased towards the housewife / husband? Not to take a penny away from those who are legitimately entitled to it, but the large payouts that we see. I know one man who was giving around 50% of his income to his ex wife.

    It really doesnt happen often though. Spousal maintenance really is rare, and its usually only given if people have been married a very long time, the wife gave up her own career/earnings/prospects to facilitate her husbands work and to run the home and then he leaves years later for a younger model (for instance) Then spousal maintenance may be awarded.
    If its awarded in other cases its certainly not the norm.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    that was already his to begin with ;)

    The thing with getting married is youshare things, so when he married, he agreed that half of what he had was hers and vice versa.
    Theres always pre-nuptial agreements if you want to avoid that.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    The thing with getting married is youshare things, so when he married, he agreed that half of what he had was hers and vice versa.
    Theres always pre-nuptial agreements if you want to avoid that.

    Which the court then overrules when you get a divorce? Pre-nups aren't guarenteed in Britain.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    The thing with getting married is youshare things, so when he married, he agreed that half of what he had was hers and vice versa.
    Theres always pre-nuptial agreements if you want to avoid that.

    one guy i know, he puts a small amount of money into a unjoint bank account which his wfie dont know about, quite easy to do with cashback and stuff in case they ever split up

    he's got the right idea

    dont beliee this country practices the 50:50 split rule like some places cough california
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    that was already his to begin with ;)


    Maybe in his mind it was... ;)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Whowhere wrote: »
    very good point, whilst i'm all in favour of splitting 50/50 stuff that you've earnt/built up whilst you've been together, why does anyone, male or female deserve anything from before they even met?

    I think that you need to look at wedding vows (which ultimately are terms of a contract), as the answer to your question...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    from talking to friends all these divorce settlements you hear in the news just puts people off marriage, or makes them cynical about what their partner's motives might be for wanting to get married.....really this just means the whole perception of marriage in today's culture is wrong, i would never marry someone unless i trust them in the first place. but in the event of divorce i don't think a partner should be entitled to earnings made before they were together, as they haven't contributed towards it have they? common sense.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Well the thing is, when you marry someone you love them and don't want to worry about such things as pre-nuptual agreements. But then if the worst does happen and you get divorced, and especially if there is ill will, then in my friends case (well, he was my next door neighbour) he had to give up his house and thousands of pounds to his wife. He was really well off before and ran his own security firm, but afterwards it made him essentially broke. He thought it was one of the worst points in his life because he had so many opportunities and lost them all at once.

    He did re-marry though, so at least there was a happy ending.

    As for the reasons of breakup of marriage, I read a few years ago in a survey that 60% of men admitted cheating on their wives and 40% of women admitted cheating on their husbands. A new survey a few days ago in one of my cousin's glossy mags said that 51% of women now admit to cheating on their husbands.

    I think we are living in a society where the surety of marriage no longer exists. Both of my parents had already been divorced once before they married. My brother has been divorced and remarried. My other brother is still married but has been seperated for about 3 years.

    I dont think marriage means the same as it once did.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    from talking to friends all these divorce settlements you hear in the news just puts people off marriage, or makes them cynical about what their partner's motives might be for wanting to get married.....

    TBH If they have tha little faith in.level of cynicism about their partner, it's not a case of not getting married but whether there should be any kind of relationship at all...
    but in the event of divorce i don't think a partner should be entitled to earnings made before they were together, as they haven't contributed towards it have they? common sense.

    So?

    Again, the vows are important and it's why you need a pre-nup to dictate any other agreement.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Yea but MoK, marriages can break up, when people get married they don't think they will. When they do break up, do you think the distribution is fair? Most people never consider it UNTIL they get divorced because they've convinced when they get married they never will get divorced.

    You could write into marriage that upon divorce the husband is allowed to slap her ex wife with a wet fish and the wife is allowed to chop his testicles off with a cleaver. People would still get married because they love each other and they don't think they'll ever get divorced. But if and when they do get divorced, they'll both regret it because the consequences don't seem fair.

    I'm not saying all divorce settlements are unfair, I believe especially when there are kids involved the husband should continue to contribute (assuming the kids live with their mum). I just think it does seem simplistic to say a split down the middle more or less when everyones circumstances are different. One size fits all laws never work. But you can argue that the legal precedent for a 50/50 split or whatever has been set in this case by this person in the year 1152 or something, and therefore Mrs. Jones should be entitled to 50% of all Mr. Jones estates to the sum of £753bn, regardless of the fact they were married for 12 months and he'd made his money before.

    In the case I highlighted, even she admits it's a huge amount of money, she doesn't say why she feels it's justified but that her defence thought that it followed on from other cases. Whilst the husband potentially must sell his investments in order to remain financially 'safe' so to speak.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ShyBoy wrote: »
    Yea but MoK, marriages can break up, when people get married they don't think they will. When they do break up, do you think the distribution is fair?

    You mean, do I think that it's fair that people are held to their word?

    Damned right I do.

    Remember you are speaking to a married man, I'm the "breadwinner" and I wouldn't quibble over Mrs MoK getting half my income/possessions if we split. She has worked hard, as a housewife, to make sure that I have a home to come back to after work, to make sure that my children are fed etc and with no income of her own.

    It would be a fucking disgrace if I walked away with everything just because she is "just a housewife".
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    aw, ain't you sweet.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You mean, do I think that it's fair that people are held to their word?

    Damned right I do.

    Remember you are speaking to a married man, I'm the "breadwinner" and I wouldn't quibble over Mrs MoK getting half my income/possessions if we split. She has worked hard, as a housewife, to make sure that I have a home to come back to after work, to make sure that my children are fed etc and with no income of her own.

    It would be a fucking disgrace if I walked away with everything just because she is "just a housewife".

    I think you've misinterpreted me.

    I said that in the case of divorce that often it's completely fair. I said however, that the 50 / 50 split is in my opinion too simplistic and doesn't give a fair payout in all cases.

    You're the only person who has said in this thread "just a housewife" so I'm not sure who you're quoting MoK ;). I'm not getting at that housewives don't deserve as much.

    Surely you see the distinction between a woman who caters for her husband, the house, and the children, and a woman who is independent and has her own career. If she earns less than her husband in the event of a split she would be compensated because of this. Whilst that may be fair in some cases, the law is so simplistic that it just says man + wife = 50 / 50 split in the case of divorce.

    To look it at from a different perspective, if a woman has a successful career and is married to an also successful man, and she purchases things with her own money, which is substantially more than her husband has, if they were to get divorced she would have to give him a fair amount as some sort of compensation.

    I don't understand why there is a definate 50 / 50 split without establishing any basis of need or for want of a better word, what's deserved. I mean someone mentioned that if a husband leaves his wife and kids to leave for a younger model he should have to pay out. J'agree. But what if the wife leaves with her kids for a younger model? As far as I am aware the husband would probably still in court have to pay a similar award.

    So if there was some stupid clause in marriage saying if you got divorced then... something daft - you weren't allowed to wear clothes to work for a week - would it stop you getting married? Probably not, but it is a daft rule. Whilst this is way extreme compared to the divorce award situation, I think there is some comparison to be made with regards to the need for a rethink. Not a change, but more flexibility. That different circumstances do warrant different awards. The same with family law in general, upon divorce it is fairly biased towards the woman to get custody of the children. This is because when many of these laws were written bringing up children was seen as a woman's job.

    Whilst in many cases it is appropriate to give the mother custody, the law is still outdated in its implementation and gives imo an unequal chance of the father gaining custody if everything else is the same. That's a different debate though and is a much more complex situation and we should try to stick to the point - which is of divorce awards. They fall under the same umbrella of laws though and were written and decided in a different social and even political climate.

    I say 50/50 split, it isn't always exactly that as SCC pointed out, but it is generally towards an equal divide.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    why does it matter whether one partner leaves for a youger model? Should teir future behaviour effect the settlement?
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