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What are we each entitled to in our divorce settlement?

What does the law say about how to split the house, how to share pensions and other assets, and how much maintenance is payable.

What steps can we take to reach a fair agreement?

The four basic steps to reaching an agreement on divorce finances are: disclosure, getting advice, negotiating and implementing a Consent Order.

What is a Consent Order and why do we need one?

A Consent Order is a legally binding document that finalises a divorcing couple's agreement on property, pensions and other assets.


Applicant withdrawn application

  • Sophie J
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13 Mar 21 #516072 by Sophie J
Topic started by Sophie J
Hi - I've no idea in which section to file this, so please feel free to move to a more appropriate area of the forum.

I have come here to see if anyone else has ever come across this circus I'm experiencing & what I can do (if anything).

The Applicant in this instance is a very volatile, high conflict person (arent they all). The road to divorce was a very nasty, long bumpy one with lots of game playing, that cost me a fortune.

So out of the blue, I get a court order for a financial hearing. The ex filed it in Jan following another drama, but then thanks to COVID, it was months before the court processed it & I knew anything about it.

The ex kept asking to meet up in person to discuss matters prior to going to court. Then it was under the pretence of needing to exchange the docs & discuss the relationship. I refused.
The ex failed to provide their documents to my solicitor & on the day of the first hearing I find it's not going ahead as the ex now claims they wish to withdraw the application.

I got a letter from the court a few days later giving me 6 months in which to respond otherwise the case would be dismissed.

My solicitor responded straight away, but so far all emails to the court have gone either ignored or one the one occasion my solicitor did get a response, it didn't actually address the request to reschedule the hearing.

However, only a month later my solicitor gets an Order through from the court which implies the case has been dismissed.

After more ignored emails & a fast approaching cut off date (if it's even still relevant at this point), I tried ringing the courts. Needless to say, I struggled to get through due to everyone being disrupted by COVID. The person I spoke to told me they can't put me through to anyone, but to try Support Through Court.

STC told me to file a complaint as they HAVE to respond to that, which I did the same day.

After a month of no response to that either (despite the Court Complaint Policy stating they will respond within 10 working days), I tried the phone again. Spoke to the same person as last time, who now tells me to email in again & mark it urgent, put COMPLAINT in the subject title & copy in the Court Manager - which I did.

Oh, that got a response - but not one that benefitted me in any way. It told me not to copy in all the depts & most certainly NOT to contact their manager & that they would respond to me within 10 working days (despite it already being well past 10 working days at this point since the complaint was filed).

The 6 month date has now come & gone. I'm still waiting for my response to the email telling me they would be in touch within 10 days, which is now 2 months ago. I emailed again asking for my update & politely explaining it had now been several weeks beyond the 10 days I was given. No response.

I literally have no idea what to do at this point.

I'm concerned that by keep fighting this it will mean they will side with the ex, thinking I'm the villain as I'm literally being forced into complaining just to try & get any response at all.

Does anyone have any advice as to what I can do?

  • hadenoughnow
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13 Mar 21 #516073 by hadenoughnow
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If you want a legally binding financial settlement and the application before the courts has been dismissed, you can just make your own application for financial remedy. It is open to you to do that regardless of whether you were petitioner or respondent in the divorce.

If you want to reduce costs, you can always self represent.

Once you are in the court process as applicant, your ex will be answerable to the court if they fail to engage.

Hadenoughnow

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15 Mar 21 #516101 by Sophie J
Reply from Sophie J
Hi, thanks. I was hopeful that I wouldn't have to do that as now I will also need to come up with another £250 just to get it back in front of a judge whereas I've already paid the solicitor 1k to get this far - trust me, self representation is not an option as the ex has already run rings around everyone up to now & managed to push a set fee divorce from 2k to 8k, so to go in at this stage without legal representation would be suicide. I may was well just sign everything over now & save myself the headache & stress.

But what's to stop the ex from refusing to engage again since they got away with it the first time?

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23 Mar 21 #516169 by .Charles
Reply from .Charles
If a party makes an application, it will proceed in the usual way and drag the other party along too.

If the applicant then decides to withdraw their application the process stops. It is their application and the respondent can't continue as the application has ceased to exist.

So, you need to make your own application and go through the same process. The only difference is that you are in control inasmuch as your ex will be compelled to engage with the court process. If he doesn't, the court can make orders for compliance which can be escalated up to and including imprisonment if required.

Charles

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26 Mar 21 #516249 by Sophie J
Reply from Sophie J
Many thanks both

So, it's looking like the only way to get this to go anywhere is to restart so I have control & the other party can't pull out

  • wikivorce team
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26 Mar 21 - 26 Mar 21 #516251 by wikivorce team
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trust me, self representation is not an option as the ex has already run rings around everyone up to now & managed to push a set fee divorce from 2k to 8k

He would not have been able to push up your fees by several thousand pounds if you were representing yourself.
Your divorce would have cost you £593 court fee plus perhaps a couple hundred pounds of advice from a consultant if you really needed some expert support.

The fact he is managing to run rings round the solicitors is not what I would call a plus point in their favour. In cases where the other party is taking a very difficult stance then the solution lies with using the power of the court and the Financial Remedy process. He can run rings around the solicitors - he cannot do the same with the court.

Solicitors can add value in some cases and at some stages - but they are not always the best solution.

A very good example is the next 3 months in your case.

You need to apply for a Financial Remedy on Form A and then go through all the same steps that you have already been through, namely form E disclosure, Questionnaires, Chronology, Statement Of Issues etc

Just to get back to the first appointment.

Your aim should be to minimise costs to get back to the point of the FDA.

Too little consideration is often given to the proportionality of the legal costs verses the amount at stake in the case.

If you have a bill of £8K at this stage then you look on track to have a final bill of perhaps £25k to £30K if the case goes to Final Hearing.

For example: In a case where there is a dispute over £1 million plus then costs of £25k may be proportionate, if the dispute is over £200k of assets and the gap between the two parties is arguing over 50:50 vs 55:45 then it makes no sense to spend £25k each on solicitors to fight over a £20k difference.

In many cases it makes sense to take a balanced approach between using a solicitor for some aspects and doing some things yourself.

I get the sense that this is what you are doing - it certainly seems that you have been interacting with the court and not leaving everything to your solicitor.

I guess one major tip is to plan your case based on the budget that you have for legal support. i,e, if you have £10k to spend you should be careful how you use a solicitor so that you don't blow it all in the first half of the case and end up representing yourself at the final hearing. Better to control costs during the early administrative stages of the case (divorce and Form A up to FDA) so that you still have money for legal advice at the crucial times (FDR and Final Hearing).
Last edit: 26 Mar 21 by wikivorce team.

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26 Mar 21 #516252 by Sophie J
Reply from Sophie J
Thank you.

The good news is that now I've done that bit once already, I know what to do to get back to that stage again & at the point I can actually get a hearing date, I can re-engage the solicitor.

And yes - my previous solicitor that allowed that to happen is the reason they are no longer representing me.
Their level of incompetence was beyond astounding & once this is all over I'm considering seeing if I can claim anything back as I don't see why I had to pay them to re-do paperwork they incorrectly completed in the first place amongst the many ways they screwed me over - but that's a whole other story.

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