I think the courts should take into consideration, disability issues, when awarding level of aliment (E and W) or proportion of asset split. Surely the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 applies when solicitors/courts are 'providing a service' ie. a decision or agreement between two parties? It is unreasonable to expect a disabled spouse just to pick up employment from losing a career due to illness, permanent loss of function that has arisen during course of marriage, or been worsened by raising a family, stress of trying to cope etc. etc. I cannot reliably discuss money and legal terms over the phone - needing emails or face to face contact with ex (hell!) and my solicitor -£££££ when for others, phone calls can suffice.
Can I ask somewhere for help with legal fees? Bearing in mind our combined assets were in excess of 2M in 2008..... I have not pushed this issue, since I think we have too much. What I wish for is equality from the legal profession in Disability Issues.
I have struggled to raise 2 kids, hold down professional career. going increasingly more and more part time in order to raise my kids, and my stbx has watched his career escalate, stash money away into pension funds. I am left with the threat of my incapacity benefit being withdrawn in 2010. I dearly want to work, but the way things are, I am struggling just to be a mother to my kids. I will not get legal aid due to our assets/lack of debt. Where is the fairness in it all? I am still in long term paid employment by my employer, because of the DDAM. Why should my employer be instructed to treat me better in the long term than my spouse? It is because of my spouse that I have struggled to keep going in a very public and demanding role - I have stood back to let him further his career, at the expense of my own health. In theory, had I never married nor had kids I would have fared better. Instead, as I struggled to cope, he went off with a previous girlfriend. I probably would still be in a bloody good job had I had the emotional and loving support of my spouse and he spent more time actively managing our 2 kids. I personally think it very difficult for me to share future costs over and above CSA maintenance, eg. school fees 50:50. His net income is some 10 times greater than mine now.......
I am acutely aware that there are far worse off people than ourselves - but for a financier (stbx)to bemoan current financial climate to myself, who has struggled with a disability all our married life and now faces a very, very uncertain future - is pretty painful to think about. I have even been advised (legally and by my GP - until divorce is complete)not to get a job now, as that may affect any asset split!!!!! Help!!!!
Any ideas from you all would be loved. Especially those in Scotland.
If your disability is stopping you from having phone conversations with your solicitor then have you thought about getting an advocate from a charity that may deal with your disability?
I would have thought that emails from solicitors are along the same lines in cost as a phone call is.
Is there nothing in the Disability Discrimination Act that says about being able to receive the same level of service from a solicitor appropriate to your disability? Have you spoken with your solicitor regarding these costs?
Courts in England & Wales and Scotland do take disabilities into account when awarding aliment/periodic payments and dividing assets. In E&W s25(e) Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 directs courts to give regard to physical or mental disabilities.
Under the Family Law (Scotland) 1985 the court has to give regard to all the circumstances of the case when awarding aliment and specifically "the age, health and earning capacity of the party who is claiming the financial provision" when dividing assets and ordering periodic payments. In fact I posted about a recent case when periodic payments were ordered beyond the usual three years for a wife in ill health under s9(1)(e) of the Act - "a party who at the time of the divorce seems likely to suffer serious financial hardship as a result of the divorce should be awarded such financial provision as is reasonable to relieve him of hardship over a reasonable period."
As far as solicitors are concerned they are duty bound to make"reasonable adjustments" to accommodate the disabled where it is impossible or unreasonably difficult for a disabled person to access services.
There are various ways of covering legal fees worth investigating - an advance from our share of the assets, a charge against property, bank loans and specialised schemes.