If anybody out there has some advice regarding appealing a divorce judgement or can point me in the right direction for information I'd be very grateful.
I'm representing myself, as the ancillary relief case cost £80K and I have no money left. The situation is complex but essentially I need to prove the judgement was wrong in order to stand any chance of winning a home for me and the kids. In the eyes of the law justice and truth seem to be 2 different things!My ex has spent all the money that's passed through his hands and claims he can't afford to live, let alone support the family as I have requested, and the courts have taken his side. Does anyone have experience of the appeal process or know where I could find legal advice/precedent?
Just because you're representing yourself, doesn't mean you can't pay for legal 'advice'. Have the paperwork looked over by a Solicitor, who could advise if you over-looked something? You could still represent yourself at an Appeal. (You do have the right to appeal) BUT; another judge could order it differently, and still not a successful outcome for you. You also may be liable to ex's costs for the appeal. (Not sure if that still stands?)
You will have to weigh up the odds as to what it will cost, and for what gain??
The court can only divide what is there.
Your story sounds intriuging, can we have more facts and figures???
People will advise further with more detail.
I agree with Sera. If the situation is complex the only people having the knowledge and experience to advise on points of law are lawyers. It's difficult to comment, the issues need to be known in order to find a precedent. The thing to bear in mind is that an appeal is a review of the evidence available at the time the original judgment was made.
I think a clue here is the cost of the proceedings so far. I'm a High Street family solicitor and have never seen costs go above about £25k. This case cost £80k, so there is either something very wrong about the costs, or the matters raised were difficult and complex. Or both!
So yes, I think you do need legal advice on whether to appeal or not. Bear in mind, the necessary ingredients for a successful appeal: you need to be able to show that either
(a) New, important and relevant evidence has come to light which wasn't known of before and which would change the ruling or;
(b) The judge has made an error of law or;
(c) The judge has exercised his discretion unreasonably or otherwise given a "perverse" judgement (i.e. it flies in the face of what you would expect given the evidence).
You definitely need to review this with a lawyer whose advice you feel you can trust.
Thanks for your comments so far. I have actually already started the appeal process and attended court yesterday for a directions appointment.
The costs so far have been so high partly because my husband procrastinated at every turn, didn't supply salary details and statements when ordered by the court, failed to attend, etc., and because it went to trial and the hearing lasted 3 days.
I also believe that my solicitor was used to dealing with people who are better off then I was (!) and felt that if you throw sufficient money at the problem it'll come right in the end.
My task now is to put together a case which gives evidence that the judge was wrong. What I don't yet understand is what a court will accept as evidence. It's clear that the judgement is unfair but of course that doesn't mean it's wrong or illegal. I can demonstrate that she got some financial calculations wrong, to my disadvantage(e.g.the equity in the small house we own, which he lives in. We sold marital home 2 years ago).She didn't pick up on the points made under cross examination that my husband was spending over £700 per month in supermarkets on a Maestro card for personal maintenance and other strange payments (all relatively small but lots of them) and therefore didn't accept that he might be hiding money. Is that evidence or not?
She's accepted his monthly maintenance estimates as true and they are very exaggerated and has therefore stated that he shouldn't pay a lot of maintenance. These figures include payments on a £250,000 mortgage. He was given a small house and also enough capital to put down a deposit, whilst the family received none of these.Her logic was that the remaining capital should be ringfenced to pay the children's school fees until they complete their GCSEs,that being the priority in her mind, which means that I must rent a property, (assuming I can earn a minimum of £500 per month net, and unfortunately I was made redundant before the case came to court).
The point you make Will, about exercising discretion unreasonably, seems to fit here but I need to check the legalities, and whether or not she's made an error of law. I would like to know what the rules are so I can formulate a case and present it to a solicitor for comment. Hope this ramble clarifies the situation a little.