Mario and Lydia are both in their late forties and live in a 4 bedroomed
house in Baldock, Hertfordshire with their three daughters, aged 17, 14 and 8 who both attend schools in the town. They have been married since 2000. Their oldest daughter has applied to university and is hoping to go to university in Liverpool in September 2020.
The family homeat 18 Willow Road is worth around £750,000. The house was purchased in 2002 for £200,000 and funded partly with the sum of £100,000 Mario received from the sale of a flat in Italy that had been left to him by his mother. The remainder of the purchase of 18 Willow Road was funded with a mortgage and the profit the couple made on a flat they jointly owned and sold. The couple subsequently re-mortgaged the property at 18 Willow Road when they converted their attic into a bedroom a few years ago and there is a now a mortgage debt outstanding on the property in the sum of £150,000.
Mario works as a fashion buyer for a large London department store and last year earned £90,000 including his annual bonus. He has two private pensions, one of which he has been paying into since he started working 25 years ago. Lydiadoes not know how much the pensions are worth but recalls they were in excess of £150,000 a few years ago.
Lydiacurrently works 2 ½ days a week as a solicitor in the legal department of the local authority in their property department earning £27,000 pa. She worked in the Property department of a large central Londonfirm until their second daughter was born but Mariowas travelling a lot with his job and it was decided that it was unworkable for them both to be working long hours. Accordingly, Lydia gave up her job and became the children's main carer. She startedworking at the local authority about 10 yearsago and managed to fit her working hours around the children. Lydia has a pension worth around £40,000.The couple have joint savings of about £20,000.
The couple's relationship has been in difficulties for a few years and Lydia discovered last month that Mario has been having an affair with someone he met on a business trip. She has told him she wants a divorce and now wants to sort out financial matters. It has been agreed that the children will live with Lydia and see Mario at the weekends.
Lydia has come to you for advice. Mario has told her he wants the house sold and the proceeds split 50/50 after the contribution he made from the sale of the flat in Italy, is taken out. He says that whilst he is prepared to pay for the children, he is not prepared to pay maintenance for Lydia since he believes she could return to work full time now. He also claims that Lydia who is an only child, will inherit her80-year-old mother's house when she dies and will therefore not be short of money. He also wants to retain his own pensions.
Advise Lydia how the Court would resolve the dispute over financial matters if the couple are unable to reach a settlement and give some indication of the likely outcome of any financial proceedings.