I am presently going through divorce and have reached yet another impass.
My wife petitioned divorce back in March 2010 on the grounds of adultury. I won''t defend my actions, but suffice to say, the marriage was over well before I strayed. I learned that she had strayed well before me. That doesn''t excuse my behaviour, but just adds perspective.
Since then, the following has happened: -
1. She reported me to the Police for assault. I was cautioned.
2. She moved to Scotland with my son (8) last June. My daughter (16) lives with me in the marital home.
3. I have paid in excess of £25k in legal costs; both hers and mine. The irony is that we were supposed to be using collaborative law, which should be cheaper!
4. We had a 4-way meeting last May in order to facilitate a Consent Order. We still only have a DRAFT Consent Order.
5. The marital home has been placed on the market, even though I believe that I am not obliged to sell.
The last 2 years have been very stressful and frustrating. Up until June 2011, my wife and I lived together in the marital home. I was in another relationship and the atmosphere was obviously tense.
The Consent Order is very much in her favour, a short summary follows:
1. She gets the first £100k from the house sale. I will get the next £10k. Based upon the current market value, I''ll be lucky to get £5k.
2. She will get 40% of my pension.
3. She has already taken 60% of the house contents and expects more once the house is sold!
4. I pay all travel costs for the children visiting both parents e.g. flights to and from Scotland.
5. I gave her £2,500 to assist with removals.
6. I pay £500 a month in child maintenance. She pays nothing.
7. I pay £250 a month in spousel maintenance.
I do have a relatively well paid job, but do not live a lavish lifestyle; certainly not with those monthly commitments!
I have spent the bulk of my savings and a loan on legal costs; therefore, feel as though at least some of this should be recouped in the settlement.
In my experience collaborative law is never cheaper and if it fails your back to square one, mediation would have been the better option, if the draft was agreed with legal advice you could make an application to court to have the order sealed in the agreed terms.
In plain English it''s a way of preventing one partie from agreeing and then pulling out.
Not very helpful especially given the amount of money you have spent to make little if any progress, collaborative law should come with a health warning.
Why do you only have a draft Consent Order? Have you or your wife developed cold feet? A consent order made through collaborative law can be fast tracked through the courts. As Dukey says as long as there was full disclosure, legal advice and the agreement complies with the law the court can turn a draft consent order into an order of the court.
Costs are relative. For example, there is one poster and his wife who spent £100k between them fighting over £250k''s worth of assets. In their case £25k for collaborative law would have been money well spent. The disadvantage with mediation is that any legal advice has to be sought separately and it isn''t uncommon for an agreement to unstick at that point so the parties still run up legal bills.