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How much salary should I give to my wife whilst together?
#1
Hi all,

I've been married over 4 years. 

For the first 4 years, we effectively had one joint account into which my salary was paid, and if the wife did any work, hers was paid in there too. (hers was intermittent, min wage, low hours. Mine was always steady and reasonable, with occasional bonuses) By nature, we were both savers rather than spenders, though the saving was mostly a result of my salary. 

Things have been very rocky between us, particularly this last year. We also have a baby. 

Since discussing the possibility of separation, perhaps for in a years time, on the advice of others, on "the road to independence", I have taken back full control of money, and made sure we both now have our own private bank accounts, into which our salaries are paid. Joint savings are also due to be divided up, though I expect it won't be proportionally.

Based on this, my questions for your recommendations are:

1) If she gives up her job once her maternity pay finishes (likely) she will have no personal income. Should I feel obliged to send to her, a percentage of my income for leisure? She says she is entitled to this, since she's looking after the baby through the week instead of working weekends. I partly agree, though I would prefer she works to show some sign of financial independence instead of relying solely on me. Given that we'll likely separate in a year, I'm also cautious of any judge assessing the standard of life she was used to in marriage, where that consisted of her doing minimal or no work, and me giving her leisure money. That's the key bit I feel. (Personally giving her some leisure money I don't really have a problem with, rather than friction)

2) Going forward, if I get a significant pay rise and bonuses, should I feel obliged to increase her leisure allowance (if any), and give her any share of the bonuses? On this matter, given that I'm already paying the bills, and likely paying her some leisure money, I would prefer to personally keep any rise in take home pay for myself, and the bonuses which come from the work I've put in at the company. Whether I spent it frivolously if I wanted (unlikely) or paid off the student loan - I would prefer to use it at my discretion and under my control. I probably wouldn't plan to save it, as I have the feeling most of it would end up being awarded to her upon separation. So would a judge in some way take into consideration the fact that I didn't 50/50 split all my earnings/bonuses with her (when she was on a low/no wage and looking after baby)?

3) General marriage question - am I even entitled to keep my salary / increases / bonuses private from her, up to the point of any separation? If I'm still covering all other family bills regardless.

3) If she did continue working past maternity, should I put some emphasis on her paying a small percentage of the family bills, rather than she keeping all her salary, and me paying all the family bills? 

I think you get my gist. Apologies if the questions seem somewhat vague. In short, I'd like to ideally:
- either pay off my student loan or even squander, extra surplus money I may be getting in the near future, rather than saving it to give to her after inevitable separation. 
- keep my finances private up until any separation disclosure, so she can't quibble with me on how much I'm getting; how much she should get.
- All whilst of course, I continue to maintain routine family bills / life / leisure. 

Could this backfire on me in someway, that a judge might try to remedy in some way? Or would a judge only be interested in the "bottom line" of - what savings have you both got right now (not what are the ins/outs of your accounts over the past 12 months), that can be split according to each of your future needs. 

Many thanks for your thoughts.
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#2
Your problem will be that if she doesn’t return to work then your salary is effectively hers as well as she has no job and you are the breadwinner.

If you withhold any information you’ll be accused of domestic violence / coercive and controlling behaviour by way of financial abuse. If they can make up false allegations you can be certain that they will go to town on anything that was withheld from them.

It would be best not to do anything that could be used against you when it comes to child arrangements.

If you divorce everything goes in the pot to be shared, savings, pension , house literally everything. Secret savings and the like would have serious repercussions.
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#3
(06-07-2018, 09:42 PM)pretzelzzz Wrote: Hi all,

I've been married over 4 years. 

For the first 4 years, we effectively had one joint account into which my salary was paid, and if the wife did any work, hers was paid in there too. (hers was intermittent, min wage, low hours. Mine was always steady and reasonable, with occasional bonuses) By nature, we were both savers rather than spenders, though the saving was mostly a result of my salary. 

Things have been very rocky between us, particularly this last year. We also have a baby. 

Since discussing the possibility of separation, perhaps for in a years time, on the advice of others, on "the road to independence", I have taken back full control of money, and made sure we both now have our own private bank accounts, into which our salaries are paid. Joint savings are also due to be divided up, though I expect it won't be proportionally.

Based on this, my questions for your recommendations are:

1) If she gives up her job once her maternity pay finishes (likely) she will have no personal income. Should I feel obliged to send to her, a percentage of my income for leisure? She says she is entitled to this, since she's looking after the baby through the week instead of working weekends. I partly agree, though I would prefer she works to show some sign of financial independence instead of relying solely on me. Given that we'll likely separate in a year, I'm also cautious of any judge assessing the standard of life she was used to in marriage, where that consisted of her doing minimal or no work, and me giving her leisure money. That's the key bit I feel. (Personally giving her some leisure money I don't really have a problem with, rather than friction)

2) Going forward, if I get a significant pay rise and bonuses, should I feel obliged to increase her leisure allowance (if any), and give her any share of the bonuses? On this matter, given that I'm already paying the bills, and likely paying her some leisure money, I would prefer to personally keep any rise in take home pay for myself, and the bonuses which come from the work I've put in at the company. Whether I spent it frivolously if I wanted (unlikely) or paid off the student loan - I would prefer to use it at my discretion and under my control. I probably wouldn't plan to save it, as I have the feeling most of it would end up being awarded to her upon separation. So would a judge in some way take into consideration the fact that I didn't 50/50 split all my earnings/bonuses with her (when she was on a low/no wage and looking after baby)?

3) General marriage question - am I even entitled to keep my salary / increases / bonuses private from her, up to the point of any separation? If I'm still covering all other family bills regardless.

3) If she did continue working past maternity, should I put some emphasis on her paying a small percentage of the family bills, rather than she keeping all her salary, and me paying all the family bills? 

I think you get my gist. Apologies if the questions seem somewhat vague. In short, I'd like to ideally:
- either pay off my student loan or even squander, extra surplus money I may be getting in the near future, rather than saving it to give to her after inevitable separation. 
- keep my finances private up until any separation disclosure, so she can't quibble with me on how much I'm getting; how much she should get.
- All whilst of course, I continue to maintain routine family bills / life / leisure. 

Could this backfire on me in someway, that a judge might try to remedy in some way? Or would a judge only be interested in the "bottom line" of - what savings have you both got right now (not what are the ins/outs of your accounts over the past 12 months), that can be split according to each of your future needs. 

Many thanks for your thoughts.

You can be offically sepeated and still live in the same house. As long as your not sharing a bedroom, this is fine.  What you need to show, is that she has her own money coming in, and you do. If your eating together, you need to show your sharing the cost.

http://www.entitledto.co.uk will flag up what benefits as a single person your ex can get.

She needs to pay half the rent (if its in both names), and she might be able to get help with this via Housing Beneift (or her part of the rent would be covered in a Universal Credit Claim).

It mortage, your relatinship status has no legal bearing on it, it comes down to whos name is on it.

From her (and the baby's money), she needs to pay about 65% of the Utilitys. Things like TV Services, Broadband etc, you need to look at usage, taking into account she pays for the baby as claiming Child Beneift and Child Tax Credit (or it being in the Universal Credit Calculation).

You only pay for your own usage on things, and Child Support. This is at the Nil staying night rate, while you live in the same house. https://www.gov.uk/calculate-your-child-maintenance

She might get come Council Tax reduction, so half the bill and then take into account any beneift paid onto it was paid by her.

Note that any "Savings" from in relatinship, as far as law is concerned, is Family Money, its 50/50. Decisions on her work would of been affected by your income and the needs of the family.

The fact that she is going to be on Means Tested Benefit, means that any money you gave her (or spouce maintaince) she needs to report, and she would get a pound for pound reduciton in her benefits. The fact that she has not had an employment restricted due to the family comitments, means she will not get spouce maintanace, even if you earned overed the threashold.

1. Her claims she needs to make now as a single person will take her current pay into account. What she is trying to do, is make you pay extra by delaying seperation. The fact is shes made her decision, so she is on her own as far as money is concerned from now.

2, You can do child support by a "Family Based Agreement", or by CMS. In a CMS situation, unless your income changes either way by 25%, it stays the same for the "Case Year". The calculation is based on your Taxable Income, what takes into account anything like Benefits in kind (company car etc).

3, In a CMS case, you can apply for a reduction, if you can show your still paying off bills from during relatinship. This is very complex, and you need expert advice on it. It will come down to how much you have after they are paid, and the child support is also paid.
Posts made by me are my opinion and any factual information should be checked out. If you do not have a Solicitor, often your local CAB can get you some initial advice.
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#4
Thank you Mark and Hazy for your insight on this topic... lots to take in and consider.

Can I clarify one thing. Hazy you mentioned: Your problem will be that if she doesn’t return to work then your salary is effectively hers as well as she has no job and you are the breadwinner.

Does this mean, as a strategy for managing our current money, that it would be feasible to do this?

Account 1: mine (salary + bonuses going in). Send 50% of it per month into the joint account. Spend the remainder on what I want.
Account 2: hers (low salary going in, may stop soon). Send 50% of it per month into the joint account. Spend the remainder on what she wants.
Account 3: joint (family bills / family leisure paid from here)

Or I suppose say:
She makes X.
I make Y.
Combine X & Y together. Take enough out for bills/utilities/family leisure activities (put into joint account)
Split what's left, 50%, which can be for personal spending/saving each.

What's happened in the past, is that we both pool all our money into the joint account, and I get little say over what it gets used for. It would be nice to have more control over more of my money. Like taking a lump of it and paying off the student loan. But in the spirit of equality I'm willing to do what is best for us both, and in the eyes of the law.
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#5
(06-08-2018, 11:46 AM)pretzelzzz Wrote: Thank you Mark and Hazy for your insight on this topic... lots to take in and consider.

Can I clarify one thing. Hazy you mentioned: Your problem will be that if she doesn’t return to work then your salary is effectively hers as well as she has no job and you are the breadwinner.

Does this mean, as a strategy for managing our current money, that it would be feasible to do this?

Account 1: mine  (salary + bonuses going in). Send 50% of it per month into the joint account. Spend the remainder on what I want.
Account 2: hers (low salary going in, may stop soon). Send 50% of it per month into the joint account. Spend the remainder on what she wants.
Account 3: joint  (family bills / family leisure paid from here)

Or I suppose say:
She makes X.
I make Y.
Combine X & Y together. Take enough out for bills/utilities/family leisure activities (put into joint account)
Split what's left, 50%, which can be for personal spending/saving each.

What's happened in the past, is that we both pool all our money into  the joint account, and I get little say over what it gets used for. It would be nice to have more control over more of my money. Like taking a lump of it and paying off the student loan. But in the spirit of equality I'm willing to do what is best for us both, and in the eyes of the law.

She will not be able to claim as a single person while you maintan a joint account.

Split the savings 50/50, unless you can show that some existed before relatinship. (her having over £6,000 in a bank account also affects her means tested benefits, but that is not your problem).

What needs to happen, is the person whos name the bill is in need to pay it from their own account.  The other person needs to transfer their share of it, to the other person.

Best way to do it, is list your bills, and who paid it, and what the other should pay.  Settle up on your pay day, taking into account you have to pay her Child Support that day. Example, if you have paid Utility Bill, 65% of it was hers (as she gets money to cover the childs costs as well as her own), so you would short the child support payment by that, unless its a CMS case.

Paying a lump sum off the student loan would not affect things, as long as you ensure you can give her half of any savings from in the relatinship.

You need to close any joint name bank accounts or contracts, so that you can once they are all ended, dissassociate from her, in terms of credit file.
Posts made by me are my opinion and any factual information should be checked out. If you do not have a Solicitor, often your local CAB can get you some initial advice.
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#6
I really appreciate that wise advice, and am noting it all carefully in my file. But I should clarify, since we aren't separated yet, in fact we may not separate for possibly up to one or two more years from now so that the baby gets full daily attention from us both - would the best way to manage our finances at present (that a judge might be happy with) be:

She makes X (could be nothing)
I make Y
Combine X and Y
Take money out to cover regular monthly family bills
Then split the remaining 50% into our individual bank accounts to individually control, spend (or save) as we please.

The bottom line here I guess is, how much can a breadwinner keep of his money each month, to spend as he chooses? (So that there can be no accusations of financial unfairness at a time of separation proceedings)

Very grateful for your insight.
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#7
(06-08-2018, 08:48 PM)pretzelzzz Wrote: I really appreciate that wise advice, and am noting it all carefully in my file. But I should clarify, since we aren't separated yet, in fact we may not separate for possibly up to one or two more years from now so that the baby gets full daily attention from us both - would the best way  to manage our finances at present (that a judge might be happy with)  be:

She makes X (could be nothing)
I make Y
Combine X and Y
Take money out  to cover regular monthly family bills
Then split the remaining 50% into our individual bank accounts to individually control, spend (or save) as we please.

The bottom line here I guess is, how much can a breadwinner keep of his money each month, to spend as he chooses? (So that there can be no accusations of financial unfairness at a time of separation proceedings)

Very grateful for your insight.

The Baby can still get full attention while seperated. Only a Court can require someone to move out, and to do that, there needs to be reason.

Until you seperate, then it does not matter how you do it, as it will be money in your own account on the date you seperate, what will be halved.

Where this is an issue, is in 1 or 2 years time, she could claim her ability to work was affected due to the needs of the family, what might then give her a case for Spoucal Maintance.

Note the keeping money away while your not seperated, might be grounds for her to get a Non Molestation Order for Finantial Abuse, and the knock on effect, and occupation order, requiring you to move out. (while still liable for rent if its in your name).
Posts made by me are my opinion and any factual information should be checked out. If you do not have a Solicitor, often your local CAB can get you some initial advice.
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#8
It’s very difficult to know how to manage things so that it is fair as ideas of fairness can change from one minute to the next depending on what one wants and other changes to household income.

They key I think is do so what ever suits you both as long as you BOTH are in agreement. It all crumbles if there is no agreement between you. You both must have input into these discussions and any eventual agreement.
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#9
Hazy and Mark, thank you both kindly for your insight. Much appreciated.
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