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  Reply # 2193908 8-Mar-2019 18:54
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As a real lawyer, I can tell the OP now that there's no useful, contextual advice that anyone can give you online in the absence of a serious investigation of you and your soon-to-be ex's circumstances. Issues of economic disparity (if that indeed arises at all) under s 15 of the Property (Relationships) Act can be massively complex. Talk to a proper specialist and not just a general practice lawyer. A couple of hours of advice shouldn't cost more than 1K. It's worth it for both of you, especially since you appear to want to approach this sensibly and amicably.

 

 

 

 


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  Reply # 2193915 8-Mar-2019 19:19
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dejadeadnz:

 

As a real lawyer, I can tell the OP now that there's no useful, contextual advice that anyone can give you online in the absence of a serious investigation of you and your soon-to-be ex's circumstances. Issues of economic disparity (if that indeed arises at all) under s 15 of the Property (Relationships) Act can be massively complex. Talk to a proper specialist and not just a general practice lawyer. A couple of hours of advice shouldn't cost more than 1K. It's worth it for both of you, especially since you appear to want to approach this sensibly and amicably.

 

 

The law is there (mostly) to facilitate in the breakdown of civil relations - not to dictate reasonable human interaction.

 

If two people are willing to come to a reasonable and mutually agreeable outcome it doesn't need a lawyer to drive that - however as pointed out a lawyer would be certainly recommended to help properly document the arrangement and check for any fish hooks.

 

I see the OP's post as a question of moral opinion, not of legal advice.

 

This perception some people have that you can no longer carry out basic human interactions without first consulting a lawyer is a troublingly authoritarian view. Lawyers are not magicians, and like any occupation some are terrible at their job.


 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 2193916 8-Mar-2019 19:27
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As a general rule, you split the assets and debt 50/50. Including items that you both consider belonging to ones self.

 

The only time income comes into play is when you have shared care of minors. I could be wrong, a lawyer would put you right either way you will need to seek legal advice, so you are going to have to pay someone regardless.

 

My advise is to go through it with your partner and amicably come to an arrangement, both seek independent legal advice, and then if you can agree on the split without involving legal letters back and forward, take it to a lawyer to make it official. There will be costs involved. More-so if you fight and require a barrister (like what happened in my case). This usually happens when one party feels like they are not being treated fairly.






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  Reply # 2193947 8-Mar-2019 20:55
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solutionz:

 

dejadeadnz:

 

As a real lawyer, I can tell the OP now that there's no useful, contextual advice that anyone can give you online in the absence of a serious investigation of you and your soon-to-be ex's circumstances. Issues of economic disparity (if that indeed arises at all) under s 15 of the Property (Relationships) Act can be massively complex. Talk to a proper specialist and not just a general practice lawyer. A couple of hours of advice shouldn't cost more than 1K. It's worth it for both of you, especially since you appear to want to approach this sensibly and amicably.

 

 

The law is there (mostly) to facilitate in the breakdown of civil relations - not to dictate reasonable human interaction.

 

If two people are willing to come to a reasonable and mutually agreeable outcome it doesn't need a lawyer to drive that - however as pointed out a lawyer would be certainly recommended to help properly document the arrangement and check for any fish hooks.

 

I see the OP's post as a question of moral opinion, not of legal advice.

 

This perception some people have that you can no longer carry out basic human interactions without first consulting a lawyer is a troublingly authoritarian view. Lawyers are not magicians, and like any occupation some are terrible at their job.

 

 

Can I suggest that you read everything that the OP has posted. They have said they haven't consulted a lawyer because of cost. Also can I suggest you read what @dejadeadnz actually said. He didn't say get a lawyer to drive the process, he said get advice on your specific circumstances.

 

The first advice any competent lawyer gives is don't get the lawyer involved more than is necesary. A quality lawyer will tell you to sort it out with your soon to be seperated partner but they will give you the boundaries. There are things each party is entitled to and this needs to be clearly understood otherwise you can end up making horrible decisions. There could be any number of factors to consider including children, trusts, property etc that we do not know.

 

A good lawyer will say these are the boundaries, make the OP aware of the process and what needs to happen to settle this in a low friction manner. They will also make the OP aware of any pitfalls with the proposed approach. At that point the OP is properly prepared to conduct a negotiation that is fair and legally binding.

 

This particular topic is much more difficult than most due to the highly emotional nature of it. 

 

You are right that some lawyers are terrible. Some doctors are terrible and some software developers are thieves. That doesn't make all lawyers terrible, most are not.


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  Reply # 2193948 8-Mar-2019 21:02
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darylblake:

 

The only time income comes into play is when you have shared care of minors. I could be wrong...

 

 

While you clearly indicate you're not a lawyer you are posting not too long after an actual lawyer has posted, and that same lawyer has given a direct reference to the very section of the relevant legislation that suggests you are indeed wrong.

 

While this section does indeed mention children as one factor, it also provides for that other huge category of 'any other relevant circumstances'!

 

This highlights that offering legal-type advice but sticking something like 'IANAL' or 'but you should still consult a lawyer' doesn't exempt people from needing to be careful about making statements they don't necessarily know are correct. In this kind of example, advice from someone who's actually gone through the process may be able to offer some general advice that may be relevant, but perhaps us bush lawyers could learn to simply leave it to those with actual quals and experience in the matter at hand?! (And I get the OP was asking for general advice on a non-legal forum, but sometimes the best advice can be simply 'talk to a professional, even if it costs a decent amount', as some of the posts above indeed have recommended.). 

 

And, brought to you by the power of Google, here's what s15 says:

 

 

15 Court may award lump sum payments or order transfer of property

 

 

 

(1) This section applies if, on the division of relationship property, the court is satisfied that, after the marriage, civil union,or de facto relationship ends, the income and living standards of one spouse or partner (party B) are likely to be significantly higher than the other spouse or partner (party A) because of the effects of the division of functions within the marriage, civil union, or de facto relationship while the parties were living together.

 

 

 

(2) In determining whether or not to make an order under this section, the court may have regard to—

 

 

 

(a) the likely earning capacity of each spouse or partner:

 

 

 

(b) the responsibilities of each spouse or partner for the ongoing daily care of any minor or dependent children of the marriage, civil union, or de facto relationship:

 

 

 

(c) any other relevant circumstances.

 

 

 

 

 

(3) f this section applies, the court, if it considers it just, may, for the purpose of compensating party A,—

 

 

 

(a)order party B to pay party A a sum of money out of party B’s relationship property:

 

 

 

(b)order party B to transfer to party A any other property out of party B’s relationship property.

 

 

 

 


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  Reply # 2193989 8-Mar-2019 21:09
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Go see your local community law centre for high-level advice if you're not in a position to fully retain a lawyer for advice yet.  


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  Reply # 2194006 8-Mar-2019 21:25
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(Replying on behalf of someone else - this is not from me)

 

Speaking as someone in the legal profession, forums such as Geek Zone are really not the place to be posing what can be complicated legal questions.

 

What is "fair" on a separation is not a case of answering a), b) or c) because there can be a multitude of complicating factors such as one party earning less because they sacrificed their career to stay at home with the children, one party coming into the relationship owning significantly more property than the other, one party supporting the other for years while the other re-trained into a new profession etc etc.

 

Another point is that relationship property agreements, contracting out agreements etc require each party to take independent legal advice. This is to protect both parties. And yes, lawyers will charge for this.





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  Reply # 2194048 8-Mar-2019 22:02
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My thanks to all who have contributed so promptly. It is the intention to keep things amicable, and of course seek independent legal advice once we have an agreement. Some really useful stuff in this thread that I hope others may also find useful in the future.

 

Cheers :)


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  Reply # 2194052 8-Mar-2019 22:10
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Sorry to hear this, I've been there & done that, the scars are mostly healed now.

 

My parting from my former wife was done, as these things go, in an adult, amicable and reasonable manner.
I did most of the arithmetic, via a spreadsheet.

 

However, each party must get their own independent legal adviser, you cannot do this yourself

 

Yes, it will cost money, but that is just one of the prices everyone pays for the dissolution of a marriage.


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  Reply # 2194056 8-Mar-2019 22:31
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surfisup1000:

 

Beccara:

 

From my experience with this salary difference doesn't matter, Relationship property is split 50/50 and that's about that. Whats the argument for this lump sum payment?

 

 

A friend had to pay out his wife for the difference in careers while she looked after the kids. 

 

 

 

 

I can see that can of worms becoming a very tricky argument - how on earth can you make a reasonable prediction in the no doubt many cases where people do not follow prescribed career progression?!






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  Reply # 2194079 8-Mar-2019 23:46
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solutionz:

 

The law is there (mostly) to facilitate in the breakdown of civil relations - not to dictate reasonable human interaction.

 

If two people are willing to come to a reasonable and mutually agreeable outcome it doesn't need a lawyer to drive that - however as pointed out a lawyer would be certainly recommended to help properly document the arrangement and check for any fish hooks.

 

I see the OP's post as a question of moral opinion, not of legal advice.

 

This perception some people have that you can no longer carry out basic human interactions without first consulting a lawyer is a troublingly authoritarian view. Lawyers are not magicians, and like any occupation some are terrible at their job.

 

 

All these points are kind of cute and interesting as mere theories but a few human realities tell against them in this instance. What the OP is interested in (this being in-line with what most would judge to be his objective long term interest) is avoiding long term pain/cost, maintain civil relations with the ex, and get a binding/fair agreement done. You can't get an enforceable agreement under s 21F unless both parties have taken independent legal advice and each party's own lawyer has certified that appropriate advice had been provided. You know what will likely kill the possibility of an early agreement? One party's lawyer telling his/her client that the other party's offer is patently unfair and out-of-step with the law. Now the offer might have been made in good faith or at least genuine ignorance of the law. But that's not going to make a lick of difference to how it will go down for the recipient party when the lawyer gives the advice.

 

If the OP takes early advice instead and structures a more appropriate offer, he likely will avoid that pain. This also helps to maintain civil relations and assist both parties to move on. Civil human interaction and genuine consent also assume that both parties are fully informed as to the options and confines under which they operate under before agreeing. I endorse what @jonathan18 said about posters on GZ frequently getting themselves involved in providing highly opinionated "advice". Really IMO most of the "Don't bother with the lawyers; I think the law is X, Y and Z" type statements in this thread are about as accurate and interesting as anti-vaxxers who continue to maintain that vaccines cause autism.

 

I've never practised family law but had a degree of exposure in s 15 matters in my days lawyering for the judiciary.  I was working with judges who were often themselves QCs, presiding over cases run by QCs (who are by professional ethics and court rules obliged to assist the court with legal submissions) that are the absolute superstars of the family law world, and also assisted by young research lawyers who are usually the top 5% of law graduates, with many set to have further post-grad education in Ivy League or Oxbridge universities after working for the judges. Two of my colleagues in the days of working for the judges are my close friends -- we all agree that s 15 matters were some of the toughest things that we ever had to work on. We saw for ourselves expert trial judges and appellate court judges struggle to come to terms with it, let alone us in the earlier days of our career. But we still were eminently better equipped than anybody on here to deal with this. And we are people who, for illustration, find reading and interpreting hundreds-of-pages long contracts to be easy. All 3 of us have top LLMs from top US or UK universities and one has a PhD from Oxford. One is now an Associate General Counsel at a listed company, whilst two of us work senior risk/commercial roles that utilise our legal skills daily. And we still engage with external legal advice every day. I go into our backgrounds not for the sake of "Hey, look at us!" but to show how much complexities legal issues can present for even people who are supposed to be well-versed in it, in addition to the benefits of obtaining objective advice.

 

Human reality is that you can never fully divorce (unfortunately pun for the OP not intended) your own biases and emotions from the assessment of the merits of your case and legal issues are generally too complex and nuanced for even highly qualified lawyers to make decisions on their own, especially in areas that they aren't 100% specialists in, when the stakes are really high. And for your average person, there aren't many things that are higher stakes than how to divide your worldly possessions and how to sort out what was hopefully an otherwise meaningful 30 year relationship, notwithstanding the fact that it is ending.

 

This mode is thinking is what, for example, specialist doctors engage in every day. You don't see surgeons passing random opinions on how to treat cancer and tell their patients to not bother with the oncologist. That doesn't mean that the surgeon doesn't know that X medicine is the first line drug for lung cancer. People just need to be a little bit more mature about how to engage with legal issues and not view the idea of talking to a lawyer through the caricatured lenses that many segments of society love to perpetuate.


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  Reply # 2194093 9-Mar-2019 00:29
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Just to balance the ledger a bit, I actually agree that much of the modern day reliance of lawyers by corporates, in particular, is nothing short of inefficient and stupid. Classic examples being the relentless, zero-value-adding vetting of simple or standard letters asserting statements of facts or communicating genuine issues that operational people of appropriate seniority and experience have established. Factual statements like "A search of land title record shows that you are the owner of...." sometimes get edited by lawyers into pointless, mealy-mouthed crap like "As at the date of this letter, records show that....." in case the recipient receives the letter by e-mail or whatever a day after it is drafted and somehow the house is sold in the meantime. In that case, it would be no big deal and the letter later would then later invite the recipient to hand the letter to the new owner - and typically people don't sell their property that often and likely not the day after you write to them. This is a real example of the kind of rubbish that I have seen.

 

But this anecdote in no way reflects the problem faced by the OP. His issue (and this ought to concern anybody that is serious about his interests) is that, it seems to me, off the bat he has contemplated there being a lump sum payment payable following the dissolution of the marriage merely because there is an earnings/economic disparity. A disparity of itself is a requirement before a court may exercise the discretion to make a lump sum award to address economic disparity but it's not of itself sufficient to make out the grounds for an order, as a quick look at s 15(1) will tell anyone (however bear in mind that its interpretation is hugely influenced by a large body of common/judge-made law as well). Now the OP may value his time (or for any other reason open to him) with his wife sufficiently to want to do this off his own bat and that is perfectly fine. But wouldn't anyone sensible want him to decide on what to do after fully understanding what the law says on this issue?

 

 

 

 


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  Reply # 2194108 9-Mar-2019 06:54
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Geektastic:

surfisup1000:


Beccara:


From my experience with this salary difference doesn't matter, Relationship property is split 50/50 and that's about that. Whats the argument for this lump sum payment?



A friend had to pay out his wife for the difference in careers while she looked after the kids. 



 


I can see that can of worms becoming a very tricky argument - how on earth can you make a reasonable prediction in the no doubt many cases where people do not follow prescribed career progression?!



In all likelihood it was child support, not part of the settlement. There may have been other circumstances but that is the most likely reason.

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  Reply # 2194110 9-Mar-2019 07:32
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Kerry54321:

 

Assets aside, what would be a reasonable recognition of this imbalance in incomes in terms of a lump sum payment in the settlement?

 

 

I don't think there's any legal requirement to consider future earnings, so legally it is just assets. But there's no particular reason to think that what's legal is morally correct; think of it as a bare minimum. You decide what's reasonable. Be generous... it's only money, and it's better to resolve this amicably if you can. Especially if you have children and grandchildren. If you get to the lawyers stage you'll *all* lose.

 

 


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  Reply # 2194116 9-Mar-2019 08:35
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Handle9:
In all likelihood it was child support, not part of the settlement. There may have been other circumstances but that is the most likely reason.

 

 

 

I don't think it was child support as they equally share the children.  

 

It sounded fairly complex to me as children were involved, his career skyrocketed while hers fizzled due to being the main carer for the kids. 

 

And, she was going for future earnings too. Don't know if she got that though. 

 

Even now, after everything is supposedly settled, she goes to her lawyer to see if she can get more money out of him. 


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