6th March 2017
I’ve been thinking a lot about what to do about the house, whether to push to stay here, whether to have a fresh start and find a new place; just what to do about money generally. It suddenly hit home that I will still be so financially dependent on James – on him paying me child and spousal maintenance. But what happens if he’s made redundant or if his boss isn’t happy that he’s “in a relationship” with his “secretary” and fires him? How will this affect us?
After going round and round in circles and getting advice from Mum and Ellie, I rang Marilyn and she spent time explaining where I stand legally. I find her pragmatic approach such a relief. Mum is amazing but it always ends up in such an emotional conversation. At least I can rely on Marilyn to tell me what I need to know in a calm and supportive way. For example, she’s suggested that I consider taking out an insurance policy in case of James’ death, or if he’s critically ill or made redundant. This would ensure that I receive the maintenance payments that we’ve agreed. Definitely something to look into.
In short, once we’ve reached a financial agreement, any money or assets I’ve been given are mine, even if James loses his job. However, child and spousal maintenance payments would be affected if James has no income unless he has savings. If he doesn’t have any, I may not get a penny while he’s out of work. I don’t want to be greedy but I do want peace fo mind that myself and the children will be secure financially and I will not be worrying all the time.
Ideally, once James got a new job, he would make up the missing payments – but that doesn’t help with paying the mortgage for the time he’s out of work. Also, if his new job was not as well paid, I may have to negotiate new payment levels. Definitely food for thought when deciding what to do about the house and how much mortgage I want to take on board.
I’ve also learnt that I should get half of the total of both of our pensions. As we’ve been together since we were students, so before we started saving into a pension, our accrued pension pots are part of the matrimonial assets and will be divided equally. I won’t get any actual cash, but the Court can make an “order for pension sharing” so that a percentage of James’ pension comes to me as pension for me. I need to speak with an Independent Financial Advisor to work this bit out but it’s good that the pension share takes place at this stage and does not have to wait until he retires and it won’t be affected if James loses his job.
I’m pleased that there are at least some practical steps that I can take to protect myself and the children but it’s still a worry until we’ve agreed a financial settlement.