My ex being a former matrimonial solicitor (see thread "feeling shafted") has got me to sign this seperation agreement even though on paper she gets a 70/30 split in her favour I decided to accept it as I just wanted to keep my dignity and walk away knowing I was a better person for not contesting it. I did see a solicitor prior to signing it who assured me my behaviour although commendable was in her opinion not a very just one and that the agreement was abit wishy washy as it did not show the frank undisclosed financial position of both of us, she argues it can be undone or contested and said I could have gone for more money, she said it could still be contested at a later date prior to divorce and that even though we have signed over two properties to each other (previously in joint names) that a court could still argue they were jointly owned by marriage if nothing else? Long story short, I now realise my ex has used her legal knowledge to work me over big time and wondered if it was possible to contest the agreement and issue divorce proceedings and try and get the courts to carve it all up a little fairer?
It is, of course, not possible for me to comment on the fairness of the agreement without knowing your respective financial positions. But I would have thought that your solicitor may well be right ; I certainly don't think that the Separation Agreement would prevent you from applying for further provision from the Court at a later date. The separation agreement can be taken into account but is not in my opinion conclusive. The factors which may be in your favour are :
(a) your ex is a solicitor and the Court may feel that this gives her an advantage unless she has encouraged you to take legal advice on your own account ;
(b) Has there been a full and complete disclosure of the
(c) Did you have adequate time to consider the matter before signing the agreement ?
In the end I think it all boils down to a question of fairness ; the Court will not enforce an unfair agreement at the end of the day.
No, there was not a full disclosure of financial assets and no in my opinion I did not have a lot of time to think it through but she was on my case and assured me that if it were to go to court I would finish up with far less than she was offering! The solicitor I saw to merely check the agreement over said many of the key facts were missing and that as our marriage was a "long one" at 11 years by todays standards that any court would take 50/50 as a starting point. My wife argues that I did not contribute enough financially to our marriage and that she did most of it, even though in the early days of our marriage it was the other way around and also laterly I looked after our child on weekends when she worked and that I did a lot of the household chores. her biggest gripe is that we benefitted from her mothers inheritance which she feels I have no claim to which is why she is living in the matrimonial home with a smallish £50k mortgage and £170,000 equity whilst I have our former house which is rented out with a £110,000 mortgage and about £65k of equity in it, she also offered me a £5000 settlement which she took £400 out of to pay for the equity transfer! She is now also coming after me for maintenance. The terrible thing in all of this is that she decided the marriage should end simply because she said she no longer felt any love for me and that as I've already mentioned I did not earn/contribute enough to the marriage pot! She asked me to leave and was prepared to let me stay in the house until I found suitable rented accomodation but changed her tune when I met somebody else who was prepared to allow me to stay with them until I found somewhere more suitable. To my mind she is feeling bitter about this as she has also since moved all of my belongings into the garage!! As I see it she has now got pretty much everything she wanted and I feel worked over, hence the decision to try and reinstigate full and final divorce proceedings.
Separation Agreements are not sacrasanct -the Court is not obliged to enforce them...
There must be full agreement
The order must be fair
She must not have resiled from the agreement ie changed the goalposts
The Court will expect disclosure and independent legal advice.
The agreement is only persuasive and not enforceable. In other word's it's a gentleman's agreement which the parties would feel morally bound to keep but unfortunately there is no legal penalty for failing to do so.
The inheritance from her late mother was approx £200K and yes it was used in the marriage to purchase another house enabling the former one to be let, this was within the last three years. if it makes a scrap of difference we were actually co-habiting and married in total for 16 years?