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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.


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Ex is asking for Consent Order to be set aside

  • gravitino
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22 Mar 12 #319635 by gravitino
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Help! Last year my ex-wife and I signed a Consent Order. The main financial element was that when the marital home was sold, she would get £100k more from the net proceeds than me.

Now that a buyer has been found, she has suddenly decided she made a mistake and meant £200k more than me. Her solicitor is asking for the Consent Order to be set aside on the grounds of her mistake.

Furthermore, he says that if I challenge this request, she will ask in the courts for me to pay her legal costs.

But I signed the Application for the Consent Order in good faith. I did not believe at the time she had made a mistake, and I thought £100k was a fair difference. I would not have signed if the gap had been the £200k she now claims she intended.

What should I do? I got divorced without a solicitor, whereas she had one (clearly not a particularly competent one). This solicitor is now demanding that I make my case in full direct to him, but I sense that I perhaps should keep some of my powder dry in case it really does go to court. I don''t want to have to pay for a solicitor when the issue is what she now claims was her mistake.

I made a private offer to my wife last weekend, which we were very close to agreement on, but now her solicitor has persuaded her to seek the full amount in the courts. I have now sent her an email stating my view that squandering money on lawyers for this is madness, and all it will do is reduce our children''s eventual inheritance. How expensive could this rectification process become, if the loser decides to appeal the verdict?

  • Fiona
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23 Mar 12 #319636 by Fiona
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Consent Order are intended to be final and aren'' that easy to set aside. However, the unsuccessful party pays the successful party''s costs in these case so it''s worth paying for a legal opinion from a lawyer who has sight of the documention.

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23 Mar 12 #319637 by epitome title
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Hi

I agree with Fiona, definitely get some solid advice from a solicitor - some will give you a free first appointment - maybe go and see a couple of solicitors - the difference between £100k and £200k is obviously £100k - it would be worth spending a few hundred on Counsel''s Advice to see what your chances are through the courts and I think you are absolutely right not to give your ex''s solicitor your case as he puts it.

Hope it all goes well for you

  • Young again
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23 Mar 12 #319646 by Young again
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Hi Gravitino,

You both agreed to the wording. Whether it is fair or not is not the point. Did you and your ex state that you had the benefit of legal advice?

For the Consent Order to be set aside on the grounds of a typo is a very risky argument. If the courts were to accept this, they''d be full of cases where people are changing their minds every other day for years after!

The Family Law courts do not have the resources to entertain frivolous litigation so your exes sol has his/her work cut out.

As for you making your case to your exes sol, I wonder what planet this person comes from? I think you can help your ex mitigate her costs by ignoring the sol and communicating directky with her - it is then up to her to use a sol or not.

Bear in mind that having the Consent Order set aside means that the entirety of the order goes if the application is successful. You could in your counter-argument (if your ex takes it to court) ask for a completely different set of orders and costs, because you had wanted to settle the matter at a certain level amicably last w/e. If any such final order is in the order of your offer, you could very well be awarded costs.

Good Luck!

YA

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23 Mar 12 #319654 by Fiona
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Under certain circumstances a mistake can be a reason for revisting a Consent Order. For example if there is a joint mistake or bad advice was jointly shared. However the order won''t be set aside when the person wishing to set aside was to blame

When there is bad or negligent legal advice there are no grounds for setting aside but it may be a case that a court won''t enforce the order. These cases require a lot of research.

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23 Mar 12 #319725 by gravitino
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Young Again

Thanks for the advice. I will be wary of setting the entire Consent Order aside as my circumstances are now a little different. My income is lower and my capital depleting, but I am now engaged and living with my fiancee. The last thing we would want is for her assets and income to be considered.

That is another aspect of the Consent Order, which was sealed last November. It was one of the base assumptions that I have based my future life on, and I have since signed a Cohab Agreement, relying on the certainty I thought the Consent Order provided. We have just started work on a PreNup Agreement, and this threat will also affect that.

Will the court take into account the fact that I have relied upon the Consent Order to plan subsequent transactions, investments and agreements?

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23 Mar 12 #319768 by Young again
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Hi Gravitino,

I am not a lawyer but I cannot for the life of me see the grounds upon which your ex can successfully have the Consent Order set aside. You have relied upon it, of course you have! That''s the whole point of the damned things, not for people to change their minds or not read them properly.

I don''t think your wife making a mistake was an unforeseeable event. Nobody is perfect (one unfunny reason why we have divorce courts) and therefore her making a mistake is not a spervening event - ie tough.

Fiona is right in that every fact needs to be known before a picture can be formed of how this may proceed but from the little I know of the law and the bare bones you have mentioned I''d say your ex and her sol are trying to pull a fast one on you and need your help in having any chance whatsoever in overturning the order.

By all means give her more money of you feel generous, but don''t turn it into a legal document - I mean that most sincerely.

Good luck!

YA

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