Q: I am in my late 50's and have discovered that my husband has been cheating on me for years. The relationship is over, but I am terrified to divorce him in case I can't manage financially. I gave up my own career to bring up the children and look after my husband's needs and now I would not have the confidence to work. In fact I have no confidence to do anything anymore and I am on medication for stress. What can I do?
A: The first thing you ought to do is make an appointment to see reputable matrimonial solicitor who will assess and consider your position. When an older couple get divorced and one of the parties had given up work to look after the children or support their partner in a career, this ought to be raised by your legal representative and will be taken into consideration when finalising financial matters.
Generally, for marriages of five years or more (including taking into account periods of cohabitation before the marriage) the starting point is a 50/50 split of the value of all of the assets of the marriage including any property, savings and of course the pensions.
Maintenance awards take into account the resources and needs of each party. Spousal maintenance can be awarded for life, or it may cease if the former spouse remarries. If after the divorce your former husband died, you could consider lodging a claim against his estate for maintenance payments you would have received if he remained alive. The Courts strive however, to achieve a ‘clean break'. In such cases a capital sum may be paid, or assets transferred to off-set against the highest earner's maintenance liability.