Peter and Susan, who are aged 55 and 35 respectively, married 6 years ago. They have two children, Christopher aged 5 and Dylan aged 3. Peter is a plumber, and earns approximately £50,000 a year gross (£2,900 per month net). Susan previously worked as a human resources officer, but on Peter’s suggestion, she gave up work on the birth of their first child.
The family home is a three bedroom semi-detached property worth £350,000. It was already owned by Peter prior to the commencement of their relationship and is in his name. The remaining mortgage on the property is just under £50,000. In the same area, three bedroom
semi-detached houses are on the market for between £300,000-£400,000. Two bedroom terrace properties and flats can be purchased from about £190,000.
The mortgage costs £500 per month. The home is conveniently located for the excellent local state primary school which their eldest child attends and which they intend their youngest child to go. Peter is due to inherit half of his 80 year old mother’s estate when she dies (half of the estate will be approximately £1 million). His mother is currently in excellent health. Peter has a private defined contribution pension with a CEV of £600,000, a large proportion of which was accrued prior to their marriage. Susan has limited pension savings, with two defined contribution pension schemes. These have CEVS of £7,000 and £12,000.
A few months ago, Susan discovered that Peter was having an affair with a trainee nurse, who is now pregnant. Peter recently left Susan and the children, and is living with the trainee nurse in her rented 1 bedroom flat. Susan and Peter have not yet agreed on the amount of any child support that would be payable.
Susan seeks your advice on the following matters: a. She is incredibly angry and wants a divorce from Peter on the basis of his affair
b. What financial settlement it would be realistic to expect.
c. Whether Peter needs to pay child support to Susan for Christopher and Dylan.
PART B’The current law applicable to cohabitants on relationship breakdown can be costly, complicated and unfair.’ (House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee, 2022)