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Devastated for Son

(63 Posts)
ExD Sun 26-Jul-20 16:17:31

My son's wife has just told him she's divorcing him and he's in bits. He won't talk, just mopes around and buries himself in work.
Hes told her she can have the house but she wants half his business which is a small string of three cafes (obviously suffering just now from covid problems). They have a huge mortgage so everything will have to be sold to raise half the money she insists is her right.
She also wants half of his private and state pensions.
They have been married 33 years and have 4 children, all married with family.
This is destroying me.

Illte Sun 26-Jul-20 16:19:31

He needs a good solicitor. Pronto!

Relationships fail but division of assets should be equitable.

B9exchange Sun 26-Jul-20 16:22:02

Desperately sorry to hear this, you must be suffering as much as your son, it hurts so much when you can't help.

If mediation is out, and she sounds quite bitter, then your son must get the advice of a good lawyer. Are you able to help with costs if he needs it?

Try not to criticise her to him, no matter what your feelings are, in the event of them eventually getting back together you will be the outcast.

Thinking of you.

paddyanne Sun 26-Jul-20 16:24:22

I think she's probably asking for whats legally hers,if he speaks to a solicitor it will be clearly explained .33 years is a long time there must be a reason she wants out ,maybe they could speak to a councellor too before it goes too far to change

ExD Sun 26-Jul-20 16:29:10

How do you find a 'good' lawyer?

Puzzler61 Sun 26-Jul-20 16:33:21

Good advice from B9. Nothing I can add.
If only all divorces could be amicable - but being realistic I know they’re not 😔

Starblaze Sun 26-Jul-20 16:38:33

I suppose with a huge mortgage, giving her the house has no value and doesn't leave her with a fair share, it's just passing on a debt.

I've never understood why personal pensions should be part of a divorce though in all honesty. People have tried to explain it to me before.

Hopefully a reasonable and fair solution can be found in mediation. From listening to friends, fighting it out in court can cost financially, emotionally and physically.

Charleygirl5 Sun 26-Jul-20 17:18:57

I asked around when I needed a solicitor to help me. I was lucky, he was so much in love he really just wanted to run out of the house but the love of his life had other ideas which she lost.

sodapop Sun 26-Jul-20 18:15:34

Illte is right, division of assets should be equitable. Ask around friends and relatives for the name of a solicitor they found helpful.
It is distressing ExD but these things happen, try to be calm and supportive for your son.

Chewbacca Sun 26-Jul-20 18:44:33

You don't say if your DIL is working ExD? If she is, and she has a workplace pension, that also has to be "put into the joint pot" for their financial assets to be divided; it's not just your son's pension that will be considered.
Your son needs to find himself a good matrimonial law solicitor asap because the law on division of matrimonial assets is no longer an automatic 50/50 split. He needs proper legal advice.

Septimia Sun 26-Jul-20 18:54:56

Agreed. Legal advice to make sure that any settlement is fair to him and not biased towards her. There are a lot of factors that need to be taken into account. He needs the support from a legal advisor to make sure that he doesn't agree to things that he doesn't need to.

My DS was in the same position but at a younger age and with fewer assets so it was easier to agree about everything. But he was devastated too - and it took him a good year to get over it. Now he's more confident about dealing with her and happier with his life.

Madgran77 Sun 26-Jul-20 20:14:17

Your son urgently needs a lawyer. Assets/pension etc for both parties are taken into account in divorce settlements ...and that includes the house.

FlexibleFriend Sun 26-Jul-20 20:31:28

It depends on the length of the marriage where private pensions are concerned, there is a scale for working out the percentage based on how long they've been together and how long he's had the pension. I divorced my husband after 27 years (amicably) which is how I know about the scale. I worked it out and I was entitled to around 47%. With my second husband much shorter married but were together throughout the length of that pension and I got 50%. They also take age into consideration and how long she has to build her own pension. Has she worked in his business and has she worked at any time during the marriage, all things to be considered. Your son needs legal advice.

Grannygrumps1 Mon 27-Jul-20 09:55:24

Information I received from my solicitor when I did this was as follows.
Draw a big pot. Everything of his and hers then goes in the pot. It is then split 50/50. She can’t walk away with everything.

Grannygrumps1 Mon 27-Jul-20 09:56:33

Sorry posted early. She is only entitled to half. What makes her think she is allowed more.

icanhandthemback Mon 27-Jul-20 09:58:06

Very often, in order to make a clean break, the various pensions can be left untouched and the other assets split more favourably to the other person. However if the house has a big mortgage on it, it is unlikely your son will be able to do that.
It is in your son's best interests to agree this as quickly as possible because if your DIL runs up credit cards, etc, they can be taken into account too. The courts will look at assets less liabilities so if your son has debts against the business, then these are taken into account so, in the end, it works out fairly based on a lengthy marriage.

Chewbacca Mon 27-Jul-20 09:59:50

She is only entitled to half.

That has recently changed and is no longer strictly the case. Factors such as earning capacity, age of both of you, number of working years left etc are taken in to account now.

JulieMM Mon 27-Jul-20 10:02:20

Whatever the law, I think it’s so unfair that even though it’s the wife who wants the divorce the husband seems to have to give so much to her. With children grown and settled why on earth should she have the right to a share of his pensions?
We are going through this with a family member - decree nisi was through more than a year ago but his (nearly) ex is determined to fight for his pensions while refusing to go to work or allow him to see his 12 year old child whom he has supported by paying more than half as much again of what the court decreed.
I really feel for your son. By the sound of things he has a good mum to talk to and hopefully as the children are adults he can still be involved in their worlds as much as he ever has. All the best.

Hellsbelles Mon 27-Jul-20 10:13:02

Everything that is his, and everything that is here goes into the marital ' pot ' regardless of who worked fulltime/earned the money/owns the business . Marriage is a joint enterprise.

annecordelia Mon 27-Jul-20 10:17:41

He definitely needs to speak with a solicitor but also they could try counselling? It's been a frequent joke that divorce solicitors will do a roaring trade when lockdown ends but there's a lot of truth in it. After almost 4 months of working at home with my husband I'm at the stage of fantasising about leaving him every day - working out what we'd get for the house etc. All his little habits have been magnified and he is actually driving me mad. But I'm trying to be sensible. These are strange times with a lot of pressure on many of us. I'm certainly not going to do anything in a hurry.

ExD Mon 27-Jul-20 10:17:43

The house is mortgage free, as of last year - its a big 4 bed, 2 bath renovated farmhouse (lovely, I really envied it sad ), but the cafes have been struggling this year. He was (is) spending a lot of time getting regulations in place.
She's never had a job but did cover when staff were off sick or they needed help in the kitchens or waiting on.
The accounts for last year (the only full year available) show a healthy profit, but of course most of it has been wiped out by covid now, although that won't show when assets are added up.
I sound mercenary when really I'm more concerned that my son has suddenly changed from this confident business man to a feeble wreck. He is nearly 60, and they have been married 34 years.
Its emotional support he needs because he's not fighting, he's lost his get up and go. I can see he probably did neglect her needs, and he didn't help in the house enough and like a lot of men thought providing money was showing his love so she missed out on companionship.
What a mess.

paddyanne Mon 27-Jul-20 10:18:44

BUT ,he's not "giving" her anything apart froma HUGE mortgage if all she gets is the house.33 YEARS is a long marriage ,no doubt she raised the children,probably worked too and contributed to the building of "his" business .She must be compensated for that surely ?
JulieMM do you think your family member shouldn't pay to support his child ? Sadly thats how many men think ,they leave the ex with all the child care and expense and swan off an dstart another family !

MarieEliza Mon 27-Jul-20 10:20:12

How do you find a good lawyer someone asked. When I needed one I asked friends who had first hand experience with good ones

esgt1967 Mon 27-Jul-20 10:33:42

Hi, it's always horrible when this happens but, as others have said, he must get a good solicitor. She won't be entitled to any of his State Pension though, that just sounds really vindictive.

lolarabbit Mon 27-Jul-20 10:42:51

If you don't know of/have recommendations for a solicitor, the law society has a database of solicitors (just Google 'law society find a solicitor') and you can select family law practitioners and location. There is also a lot of information on the Citizens Advice website.