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Self representation for the final hearing :(

  • Rob74
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25 Apr 12 #326527 by Rob74
Topic started by Rob74
My situation.

I am a serviceman who has completed 19 years of my 22 years service. I have been married to my ex for 12 years. I earn £2750 pm net and since last Aug 2011 have been paying my ex £1700 interim maintanence.
I am currently living in the mess in camp (very depressing) and my ex lives in the matromonial home valued at £285,000 with £50,000 positive equity. We have 2 girls 6 and 10 who live with mum.

My ex works between 16 and 38 hours a week and with benefits recieves approx £3250 pm net. note..she still struggles.

The FDR was only a few weeks ago and what a total waste of time. Her proposal was she wanted the matromonial home in her name, half of my pension the time she spent with me and on top of that the next 3 years up to my 22 point... She also wants £1200 spousal maintanence until she is 65 and £550 CSA. I also take on the £12,000 matrimonial debt and there is more...greed.

Due to my legal fees so far and my other daily expenses, car, phone etc I have decided not to pay her any more interim maintanence as i am spiraling into more debt. I have taken on the matrimonial debt therefore my total sole debt is £38,000 :(i expect to be dragged into court for this.

My ex has good financial back up from her family, good solicitor and lawyer. This has become a game to take me to the cleaners.

I have many concerns, the main two are:

1. Is her proposal realistic? if so it leaves me with lots of debt and no option to re-house to have my 2 children. Spousal maintainance seems very high.

2. What consequences will it have on me representing myself?

Any advice or previous experiences appreciated.

Thanks Rob.

  • hadenoughnow
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25 Apr 12 #326541 by hadenoughnow
Reply from hadenoughnow

Welcome to wiki.

On the face of it her proposal is far from realistic.

Can we just break it down a bit?

First - how big is the FMH? With 2 girls her strict need (as yours) is for a 2 bed house. How much would that cost to buy?

You say she is struggling - can she afford to remain in the FMH?

Income: How does her income break down? How much is earned, how much is benefits? Does it include the maintenance you are currently paying? Is she able to increase her earnings now or in the future?

Do you know if she would be able to get a mortgage?

It may be that she could have use of all of the equity - at least until the youngest child is 18 and then you would get your share.

Pension: As far as I know there is a rule for dividing Services pensions - she would get 50% of the pension for the duration of marriage .. so 12/19ths divided by 2. If you google MOD pensions divorce you should find out more - or use the search bar to find wiki posts on the subject.
She cannot claim future pension.
If she got all the equity and no charge on the property then it may be reasonable to negotiate a smaller pension share.

Other issues: Presumably you will get a gratuity at some point? Do you know how much? Will that help you to buy a property?

Maintenance: 1200 a month is almost 44% of your take home pay.

CM would be 550 (CSA). Add the two together and you would be paying almost two thirds of your income to her ... errrr.

Debt. It is a joint debt. If you get lumbered with it, you would expect some quid pro quo - ie perhaps keeping more of the pension.

It may be though that the answer is to sell the FMH, downsize (or rent) and pay off debt.

What did the judge suggest at FDR?


  • Rob74
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25 Apr 12 #326566 by Rob74
Reply from Rob74
Fistly thankyou for the prompt reply.

Firstly on the FDR

Very sketchy with no fact or detail covered. The judge just summarised and said that the priority was for the children to have a stable home and he saw some spousal maintainance been awarded, he ruled out renting. As mentioned she is in a £285,000 property with a £225,000 mortgage. I have researched propertys and a 3 bed semi/terresed starts at £150,000, she refuses to even consider this.

She earns approx between £400-£750 pm depending on overtime. She recieves approx £1100 in benefits then on top of that she gets my £1700. This i no longer can afford so i have stopped it end of the month. She is 46 and has already displayed that she can work upto 39hrs a week.

At the FDR her barrister said that she was able to get a borrowing capacity of £77,000.

Nice to hear that she cannot clain future pension, the judge at the FDR was not sure on this.

I would quite happy give her all the £40,000 equity and i take on the £12,000 matrimonial debt, she wants spousal maintainance to give her the ability to get a solo mortgage in her name, i cant afford £1200 pm.

Yes when i leave the forces i will get a lump sum, unsure how much though; however that will presumaly be reduced due to a pension sharing order.

2/3rds of my income, that would surely kill me off.

She is commited to remain in the FMH, i need to get her out into a smaller property, shall i find the solution for her?

With my £1700 she is barely managing (so i believe) she recently took £165 from my daughters savings to pay a bill.

Already feel slightly reassured reading your message. What are your thoughts on me stopping interim maintainance? With me in debt £38,000 i have no choice.

Really value your advice, any tips on the final hearing?


  • hadenoughnow
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25 Apr 12 #326611 by hadenoughnow
Reply from hadenoughnow
If you can find suitable alternative properties, you need to make sure they are included in your evidence. Look at 2 as well as 3 beds. You may be able to find a nicer 2 bed for a reasonable price ... and it would meet her strict needs.

It is going to be the price of housing that is the key here. Was the 77k mortgage what she could get with 1200 a month maintenance - or without? If she is going to be in a place that is owned, she will need at least 150k from what you say ... so with the 60k equity (285 - 225) she would need at least 90k mortgage. A 90k mortgage at 5% over 25 years (repayment) would cost about £530 a month. With her earnings (lowest level), benefits and CM she is clearing som 2k a month. This brings the mortgage to well within the 1/3 of income rule of thumb for affordability.
Make sure you are offering places that are reasonable. My ex would have had us living on a sink estate judging by some of the places he suggested.

TBH if she does need to buy a more pricey place and genuinely does need some SM to do it (but NOT 1200 a month) you would probably have a good argument for a charhe on the property (Mesher Order) to be triggered when the youngest is 18 or if she remarries or cohabits for more than 6 months.

I am not sure a judge would expect her to work full time with a six year old but she could do that once the child is at secondary school. If there is any SM then I would suggest it is time limited say for 5 years.

Remember you too need somewhere to live. The children cannot come and stay with you in the mess.

Have you had sight of her outgoings? Do you know why she appears to be so short of cash? How much (monthly) is the current mortgage? Is that the amount you are paying? Could you change it to interest only just for now?

You need to be able to show you have done your homework and have come up with a seriously workable solution - that will give the best result for the children. Provide evidence of everything you say - and ask for evidence for her claims or provide evidence to challenge them. Stick to hard financial facts, don''t bring blame into it, don''t play the poor me card and stay polite but firm. Above all keep in mind that the children are the priority and make sure hat is clear.

I am sure others here will be able to give you more help re the Final Hearing. There have been many threads in the past about what to expect ... you can find them using the search bar.


  • Rob74
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26 Apr 12 #326723 by Rob74
Reply from Rob74
I have looked at alternative properties 2 and 3 bed and for something reasonable approx £150,000, close to ex''s work, girls school and friends. She will not be happy by this.

The 77k mortgage is alone without my help. Equity on the MH will be approx £40,000 once all fees are paid so still £37,000 short!!! I like your rule of thumb.

The current mortgage is £1200 which out of the £1700 interim maint i pay is automatically covered. The other £500 covers matrimonial debt, something i have personally taken on as she was neglegent of payment. She has approx £1500 pm to cover all utility bills, food, clothes etc. She has expensive habbits, clothes, nails, hair etc..

I understand your idea of evidence, staying to fact and putting the children first. I intend to have a workable plan for all that gives the children a stable home and the opportunity for me to get my life back on track.

I spoke with my barrister today who agreed for a very good fee would represent me at the final hearing despite the fact that i no longer have representation from my solicitor, due to cost. He knows my case very well and has very similar thoughts to you.

I no longer can afford to pay her £1700 and have decided to pay the £500 matrimonial debt and £500 towards to the mortgage and thats a squeeze. Im expecting a backlash from this!!! Got dates today for FH, 1st June.

Welcome your advice and thoughts?


  • happyagain
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26 Apr 12 #326725 by happyagain
Reply from happyagain
Hi rob, I do think you are paying far too much interim maintenance as well. Was this court ordered maintenance? If so, she may try to claim back payments off you so do be careful. If it was just an agreement between you then you are right to reduce it now, otherwise you have shown evidence of being able to afford it.

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