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Anita and Mark were married for 13 years and had three young children. They met at medical school. Anita was a part-time paediatrician and Mark was a GP, also working part-time. Their incomes were broadly similar.
Very soon after taking the decision to separate, they reached a mutual decision that their children would divide their time roughly equally between their two homes. This worked reasonably well but there was some conflict over joint decision-making regarding the children and the logistics of getting them to and from all the different places the children needed to be during the week. Anita came to us for advice both in relation to settling arrangements for the children and to deal with the financial settlement.
How we helped
Due to a lack of agreement on certain issues, an application was made to the court for a financial order. Anita and Mark had a large family home with a mortgage and both had NHS pensions. We helped Anita present all her financial information in a Form E – the standard form of financial statement used by the court – so that there would be clarity as to the available resources. Mark also completed a Form E with the assistance of his solicitors. There was some confusion as to Mark’s income. Being a partner in his GP practice, he was self-employed. Because of his part-time status and due to changes within his practice, it was difficult to ascertain what his income would be in future. However, by liaising with his solicitors to get detailed forecasts from his accountant, it was possible to generate a figure for projected income.
There was never any question of either party paying the other maintenance, due to the broad similarity in their incomes and the fact that the care of the children was shared. The main issue that arose was whether or not the family home should be sold or whether Anita – who had stayed in the property after separation – should remain there and buy Mark out.
Although a court hearing was scheduled to reach a final decision over the division of the equity in the home, the case was settled by agreement. Anita was able to stay in the house, which was really important to her, and we were able to agree a lump sum that she would raise by extending the mortgage in order to ‘buy out’ Mark’s interest in the property. There was no adjustment made to the parties’ respective pension funds as their provision was broadly the same.
NB: All of our case studies here are based on real life clients and their experiences. However, due to the sensitive nature of the work we do, all names and some factual details have been amended to protect the privacy of our clients
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