Dear respected Mufti, Assalam-u-alaikum
I would like to seek some advice with regards financial settlement in the event of divorce.
I have been married for almost 30 years and we have 3 children who are now adults, all working and financially indepenedent. One daughter is married and I have a son and daughter who are both unmarried living at home.
Unfortunately, our relationship has broken down and no longer at the stage of being reconciled.
My question is with regards the financial settlement and share of the assets.
Both my wife and I are working. Our first home was in joint names. My wife helped with the deposit to purchase the house of around £1,500 in 1995. The house was bought on a mortgage which I was fully paying off. The total cost of the house would have been around £35,000 when the mortgage was paid off which I fully paid for minus the deposit amount. I pad all the bills and expenses of the house and covered the large majority of household expenses including groceries and children’s costs. Though my wife did contribute towards washing machine and other costs infrequently.
Up until 2003 my wife wasn’t in employment apart from a brief spell of a few months before she became pregnant with the first child.
After my wife started working I continued to pay the majority of the household expenses.
In 2010 we purchased another larger house for which I used savings that I Had, we took out an Amanah HSBC mortgage and family loans. The cost of the house was £185,000. There was approximately £15,000 spent on furnishings and other costs to move into totally £200,000. My wife contributed £30,000 at this point and all the remaining costs and repayments of the family loan as well as the mortgage payments were made by me. I continued to pay all the utility bills and my wife started covering the large bulk of the grocery expenses – though I did on occasions buy stuff.
I worked hard to pay off the family loan and mortgage and Alhumdulillah by around 2021 we paid of the all the debts. My wife contributed £17,000 on the final settlement of the mortgage. The cost of this house would have been around £225,000 after all the repayments were made – my wife paid £47,000 of that which is 21%.
Our old house involved need full refurbishment of around £13,000 which I paid for and then we rented the house out. I used the income from the rent to help settle the loans on the new house.
Although I paid for the bulk of both houses, ownership of both was in joint names.
During these last few years when I was paying off the loan for the second house I encountered some financial challenges but continued paying off the obligations. During this time my wife had built up large savings but this money wasn’t made available to help pay off the loans. My wife also took overseas holidays (3 times in one year) and spent money on meals out, clothing etc. My focus was on paying off loan and I wasn’t able to spend money on myself in the same manner. This included a period of 6 months in 2018 where I didn’t have a job. My wife gave £600 towards household expenses and my oldest daughter gave £400. – my monthly commitments were around £800 a month. But I kept up all the repayments and bills.
Our relationship has particularly deteriorated the last 5 years. Many times my wife has asked me to leave and put emotional pressure on me with threats to kick me out, and that this was her house other threats. I lived with the worry of being kicked out and as all my income was going towards paying off the loans and bills, I hadn’t built up savings an didn’t have the financial stability that my wife maintained. I always thought that divorce was a last resort and for the sake of our relationship, our children, our families and our reputations to try and stay together and make it work. Unfortunately these couldn’t improve and I was living through this emotional stress and pain, not financially being in a position to move out.
This last year I have been getting more pressure from my wife to divorce her and to leave. At this point I came to the realisation that it was over and I needed to leave.
Last year we sold the first house for £150,000 and the lawyer transferred the money 50/50 into each of our accounts. I got valuations of the current home last year and was quoted £300,000.
I had been looking for places to rent or buy and due to my personal mental health and limited availability/suitability of houses on the market I wasn’t able to secure anything.
Pressure has continued and my mental and physical health also has deteriorated. My wife in January proposed that she wanted to end things amicably all that she wanted was 50/50 split on the current house and that she wouldn’t ask for anything else.
Although I feel I have invested a lot more in both houses and household expenses, for the sake of a peaceful closure I agreed and asked her to give me £150,000. She agreed to this and getting me the money within a week and insisted she wanted a timeline when I wpould be out and that I should make sure I take all my belongings. I told her I couldn’t give her a fixed date but it would take me a three or four months to secure a place.
A few days later she changed her mind and said she wanted to try and work things out and didn’t want to throw 30 years of life together away. The toil the last few years has been too great for me to continue and I said I couldn’t continue like this. My wife had money tied up in a fixed term savings account and needed 120 days to release it. I asked her to give notice which she agreed to do.
I have been searching more actively and have recently found a place. Ive recently told her that I need the money to help with the purchase and we could sign a separation agreement that would tie up our financial commitments to each other as splitting the value of the current house (she wanted to stay in the house) and that we would both forgo any financial claims on each other (even though I feel I have more of a claim). Once moved out we could assess during the time away we could reflect and assess whether there could be any reconciliation and if not we would proceed to divorce.
My wife recently discussed with her father and said the maximum that she can give me is
‘In terms of the money, we discussed this at length and due to both Mehmuda and my dad committing alot of their savings to appa for the purchase of their property my final offer to you is £120,000. I absolutely cannot offer you anymore.
I have a house to run, which needs decorating throughout. A garden front and back including shed that needs sorting.
Front door, car and new mobile expenses which I need to account and plan for.
I have 2 children who may want to get married and will require financial assistance.
I will have bills to pay.
Taking on all of this I have to ensure my financial stability and will not look at taking on any form of loan. The money I borrow from my dad will need to be paid back.’
As well as the £75,000 from the sale of the first house, my wife had built up considerable savings over the years along with inheritance money. She also has a property registered in her name which is her fathers.
Please could I ask what the shariah position is for us on a financial settlement and what our obligations and rights are on each other.
Im sorry that my letter is quite long but I wanted to capture everything. If you need any further clarification, please do not hesitate in contacting me.
Thanking you in advance for taking the time to address my question and I look forward t0 hear from you soon Insha Allah.
In the case scenario, the only right the wife has in a divorce settlement is the maintenance given by her husband until the end of her waiting period. Any ownership of assets and properties that you and your wife own are separate. She can’t claim any asset that you own and vice versa, otherwise taking an asset without the owner’s consent, will be Ghasab (usurping) which is Haram.
يَاأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَأْكُلُوا أَمْوَالَكُمْ بَيْنَكُمْ بِالْبَاطِل(سورة النساء)
“O you who believe, do not devour each other‘s property by false means” (Nisaa:29)