Main question at the bottom if you want to avoid the details!
My FDR is days away. I'm the applicant as my abusive ex would not engage in mediation or any negotiation without getting verbally aggressive (to the point mediation was halted by the mediation service). I have hired a budget, set price solicitor and my ex was LIP until this week, and now has a solicitor. They offered a very low amount of money. I haven't pushed for sale of the house as we share children 50:50, and he remains in marital home. I want the children to have a secure home, and not to be affected by our divorce. I am in rented. Meshar Order was my preference but apparently that is old hat and not used anymore, and fraught with difficulties. My solicitor is saying I should accept low offer as if it goes to final hearing, the need to hire barrister may offset any gain on the offer. My ex is saying I never contributed (BS of course), I took the £4000 savings (actually £3000 which I obviously needed to go towards cost of deposit, agency fees and furnishing a 3 bed property), and the family car (worth £900- he declinedit, he had a van). We also split up for 4 years, were together for 3 of them but I lived in rented accomadation. In that time he sold the house we had in anothe rpart of the country and bought the current house. Altogether in 12 years of marriage we lived together for 7 years.
My question is, do I need a barrister at the Final hearing?
I work in the law and I honestly wouldn't recommend that anybody go to a final hearing without a barrister.
It is possible to instruct a barrister through direct access (without using a solicitor) but it does rather depend upon how much is at stake as your solicitor has inndicated.
Mesher orders are still made but they were always considered a half-way house which doesn't really benefit either party. However, if your ex wants to stay in the property rather than sell, a Mesher is a solution rather than you take it on the chin with a low pay out.
Normally with a mesher the resident party would discharge the mortgage but you would remain on the mortgage as the Court cannot interfere with the mortgage terms.
You have to be aware that if the mortgage is interest only, this benefits your ex and if it is interest and capital repayment this will benefit you. If you reach an agreement based upon the latter you need to ensure that this is recorded in any subsequent order as your ex could switch to interest only. Also, mortgage holidays will only benefit your ex.
I was speaking to a colleague about direct access barristers and the charges were pretty good. Depending upon the issues and the seniority of the barrister you could be looking at £1750-£3000 + VAT based on a one-day hearing.