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Dear Ministry of Justice

  • LittleMrMike
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05 Dec 11 #300836 by LittleMrMike
Topic started by LittleMrMike
Dear Wikivorcers

I know this is going to start some hares running, but there are problems on the horizon and they can only get worse.

As I see it, the virtual elimination of legal aid is almost inevitably going to mean the Courts will be clogged up with self reppers. Almost everyone at the Cambridge wikimeet expressed considerable concern about this.

Perhaps part of the answer is not to bewail this inevitability, but to simply the procedures to the point where the average, literate, adult is able to cope with it, with limited or much reduced legal assistance ?

Secondly, we seem to be entering a period where incomes will be stagnant and yet maintenance payments increase merrily each year in line with RPI. That cannot be right. Sacrifices may well be needed ; but they should be shared, not fall on one party, be it payer or recipient.

Thirdly, I believe we need a much simplified procedure for variation applications where the issues involved are relatively simple. I'm not talking about capitalisation or pension splits or re-allocation of assets. I don't see why, in a simple case, you have to have three hearings where one will do just as well. Why not a simplified form of legally binding arbitration and a form E which most people can handle ?

We won't get a change in the law. But procedure - well, just possibly.

What do you good people out there think ? Should we, as wikivorce, be pro-active and make our concerns known to the Ministry of Justice ?

Mike

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05 Dec 11 #300840 by jonathancj
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I simply couldn't agree more on the subject of variation. All the specialists I know who deal with this sort of thing are hugely frustrated about it. We all know that the system is hopeless for variations. It seems that it's just an afterthought for those who design the system.

If the forms were adequately designed, the first hearing should be the FDR and the second one the final hearing. In fact, if variation is because the payer has lost income, perhaps it should be done on paper once he has proved the reduction in income between the date of the original order and his application?

The payee could be given the right to request a hearing but at the risk of costs if it were found not to be justified.

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05 Dec 11 #300846 by spooky
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I agree as well. I sought a variation a few years ago and although I self repped it involved a lot of time and effort, it also caused acrimony between my ex and I again.

I extended the girl's maintenance to include Uni education, which for 4 is a big financial burden for him.

I am now unwilling to go back to Court even if I did feel that a variation was required as it is just such a difficult and time consuming process.

The process was "fast tracked" but still took almost a year.

There must be a better way - I would like the whole process taken out of the Court system and there be some kind of arbitration/mediation system in place. The Court decisions differ so much from case to case and although there is "no one size fits all" surely there could be some kind of formula applied.

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06 Dec 11 #300958 by dukey
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There are some rumors that the Norgrove report will be rejected, wait and see i suppose.

Wiki is working on guides for self repers either way and also a guide on how to complete form E, others to follow, they are time consuming though due to the change in the forms in April, adopting new terms dropping old ones.

I wont even to begin talking about variations, the process is hopeless toothless and far to easy to ignore or drag out.

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