This is my first post - apologies if it appears in more than one place - I''m not sure if I timed out when posting it previously!
I recently had a one-off appointment with a solicitor for a fixed fee to discuss my options regarding separation.
I learnt a lot and it was really helpful, but there was one thing I subsequently need to clarify and I don’t want to have to go back and pay again for one more query, so wondered can anyone here offer some advice?
I was told that if we went to mediation and/or commenced any legal proceedings to divorce or separate, we would be asked to produce all financial information for probably the previous 12 months, eg, bank statements, evidence of income and expenditure etc.
My questions are;
1) is it usually 12 months statements and evidence for an uncomplicated case, or longer?
2) If we had been living apart, informally separated, for some time when we approached a solicitor to commence the legal process towards a legal separation/divorce, would we produce 12 months(?) statements from the time of first separating, or 12 months from the time of initiating the legal process?
Essentially, there are entries on my bank statements which I don''t want my husband to see (nothing terrible and all traceable - just supporting our adult kids financially against his wishes, but from my earnings, which are higher than his) but I know it will antagonise him and make the process much more difficult. I''d rather wait longer to separate if I thought this wouldn''t emerge.
The best solution is to come to an agreement between the 2 of you. If you can do that then mediation and the disclosure process are not required at all. It saves a huge amount of time, money and hassle if you can come to an amicable agreement.
If you can''t, then yes you will probably have to produce bank statements for the last 12 months.
Thank you both for your responses - apologies for delay in thanking you.
Maisymoos - sorry if I''m being dumb, but this language is all new to me. When you say "12 months from the day you disclose", do you mean disclose to my husband that I want a separation, or disclose to a solicitor formally?
Cookie2 - so if we came to a reasoned agreement between us that we were both happy with, would one solicitor draw it up for us? I was under the impression that we would have to both take separate legal advice before a solicitor would do any paperwork?
The 12 months from the date of disclosure is as far as I know the date when you both agree your form Es are going to be submitted.
You don''t need two solicitors to draw up the paper work. There are two ways to do the financial disclosure either a Form E which is TBH a bit of a nightmare and very lengthy, or the shorter D81, assuming that you are both resonably amicable and neither of you suspect that you''ve been building up a pot of gold, then it''ll be fine.
Thanks for your answer - I hadn''t heard of the other D81 form - I''ll look into that one. And that''s also good news that the 12 months starts from the point at which the official form-filling starts, rather than when the informal discussions start.
No, neither of us has a secret pot of gold. He will benefit more financially from the split than I will, as he recently inherited money, which is not usually classified as marital assets. He also has a much bigger pension pot than me. Therefore I am hoping he will feel in a position to be reasonable and allow me to stay in the house with the (adult student) kids - at least for a few years until they are more financially independent, but hopefully more permanently, if in return I don''t challenge his pension pot or his inheritance.
However, he has strong views about the kids supporting themselves at uni,(which I thought were unrealistic) and if he finds out I have spent money on the kids against his wishes,(eg helping my son buy and insure his first car so he could both get to uni and hold down his job, or helping my daughter, who also works and studies, with her rent) he won''t be at all reasonable, hence my need to find out how long I needed to wait before starting the process so that this very contentious issue might not emerge.
I know in the scheme of things it won''t be the end of the world if he finds out, as I feel I have done the right thing for our children, but I know him, and know his triggers, and it will certainly make things more difficult. I just want to make the process as smooth as possible - but I know that is said with the innocence and naivety of one who hasn''t started the process yet!
You can agree between yourselves what you like, but most people require a solicitor to draft a Consent Order. A solicitor is duty bound to advise and may require Form E to be completed to ensure the agreement complies with the law. Failure to do so could leave the solicitor open to negligence claims.