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Rebecca and Simon: Divorce
Rebecca (49) and Simon (51) have been married for 30 years and do not have any children. They live in a three bedroom house. Simon works full-time as a business analyst and has a collection of old and valuable motor cars. Rebecca works part-time in a travel agency.
Recently Rebecca has spent very little time with Simon, does not help with household tasks and has also started to sleep in the spare bedroom of their house. As a result of Rebecca’s behaviour, Simon has decided that he would like a divorce, although he is concerned how a divorce would affect him financially. What does he need to consider?
Simon could file a petition for divorce on the basis that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. To prove this he will have to show one of five facts: adultery, unreasonable behaviour, two years separation with Rebecca’s consent, five years separation without consent or desertion. Simon could petition based on Rebecca’s unreasonable behaviour, citing examples of her behaviour which have led to the breakdown of their marriage.
Once the petition has been issued, Rebecca will be served with a copy and she will need to file a form at court called an Acknowledgement of Service. The court will firstly pronounce a Decree Nisi and six weeks and one day later Simon can apply for the Decree Absolute. The Decree Absolute is often delayed until an agreement has been reached about finances.
Family finances are dealt with separately from the divorce process. In order to ascertain the full value of the family assets, both Simon and Rebecca should undertake full financial disclosure. It is important to note that the division of family finances is unaffected by the reasons for the breakdown of the marriage save for very specific circumstances such as severe financial misconduct.
The court will attempt to ensure that there is a fair division of the matrimonial assets to provide adequate housing for both Simon and Rebecca. Various factors will be taken into account to determine what a fair settlement might be. The entire capital accumulated between the couple would be taken into account, to include but not limited to savings held in their respective sole names and other assets which would include Simon’s collection of motor cars.
Simon should be aware that on the basis of the length of their marriage and the fact that he earns a considerably larger salary than Rebecca, Rebecca may need some spousal maintenance (monthly income) from him to supplement her income. Rebecca would also be encouraged to maximise her income by for example, increasing her working hours.
Simon should be made aware that due to the length of their marriage, Rebecca may be entitled to a share of his pension.
Simon should contact a family law solicitor who can provide him with legal advice about his options for the divorce and the finances.