Just wanted to share my experience of my final hearing following all the help and support i got here.
Heres a quick back ground to my case.
We had a first hearing in April of this year and had 2 frantic hours of negociations with no outcome.
I was offered £14,000 and our endowment policy from equity worth in excess of £151,000 which i rejected.
I needed at least £20,000 in order to clear my debt and pay my wife the £400 per month (for a year) spousal maintanence she wanted.(she intends to move away with my 2 children)
So this then lead straight to a final hearing.
As i said i represented myself , i had my sister with me in court as my mkenzie freind.
On the other side was my wife , her barrister , her solicitor and solicitors clerk.
The hearing started dead on 12 midday at staines county court.
It was a very daunting place to be , but as things started off i became more familiar with my surroundings and how the court worked.
Firts was our opening satements which i said i was looking to secure 18% from the family homes sale and to retain the endowmrnt to allow me to get a foot on the property ladder , the other side argued that my wife should retain all the equity from the house but were willing to give me the endowment. (how kind i remeber thinking lol)
Next up my wife was put into the witness box to be cross examined by her barrister, the line of questioning he was using was about her moving away to be nearer her mother and seeking local employment and buying a part own part rent property.
I have to say from the questioing my wife had not been prepared at all and didnt understand a lot of the questions that were asked of her.
At one stage the judge asked for the calculation for working tax credits entitlement for my wife once she gets a job which her barrister replied "we have no such calculation of formula your honour"
The judes voice changed and replied "this is your case which you have bought to my court and you have not bought any eveidence to substanciate your arguments , i have a good mind to adjourn this hearing" with that there was a lot of rustling of paperwork and files to which they answered "im sorry your honour but we do not have that information available"
I was put at ease staright away.
We then broke for lunch (1-2pm , the first hour had flown by)
It was my time to cross examine my wife straight after lunch ,I wasnt looking forward to this but knew i had to do it to help my case.
I asked her questions about her job she needs to get , how many hours she will work and generaly how she will fund and be able to live bringing up my 2 children (aged 5 and 9).At the end of the questioning i presented the judge with some calculations i had done in a clear broken down way that she could digest and note down , they were to show my wifes income from benefits , spousal maintence , child support and an income based on 20 hours per week (i used 20 x £5 total £100 p/w) then added about the missing family working tax credit she would be entitled to.
The judge thanked me for the calculation.
Next i was up in the witness box to be cross examined from my wifes barrister , i was dreading this , i thought almost certainly that i was going to get ripped to shreads over finances , but i wasnt , he asked 2 questions !!!!! which i answered truthfully and that was it.
I sat back down and then came the summing up , my wifes barrister started about how my wifes needs all the income to support herself and my children and how i work an earn a decent wage and that it would be unfair to give me a share from the house and an endowment policy which i could sell for far more than the surrender value.
Next it was me , i just reiterated the reason i was there and what i needed to be able to fulfill my wifes requests in the way of spousal maintenence.
I then took a deep breath and said "your honour i have prepared another calculation for you" this calculation showed , that a firm offer was made on our house of £230,000 minus the outstanding mortgage minus the selling fees minus paying me 18% equity then adding on my wifes mortgage offer that she had which gave a final figure inexcess of £140,000 (she was looking to nuy a house upto £137,000 which came out in her cross examination)
The judge turned to me and thanked me for my calculation and also thanked me for making the case an easier 1 to decide.
The judge anounced that she would retire for 30 mins to mkae her decision , so we all trundeled out and sat in the waiting area , me in the public lounge and my wife in a private meeting room with her tea.
45 Mins passed and we were called back in.
The judge then began reading her verdict , starting with the facts of the case and what each other wanted from the case.
The judge turned to me (i grabbed my sisters hand and squeezed tight) and said "i award Mr Young 19% of the equity from the house and not the 18% he asked for and the endowment policy and his wife 81%.
I couldnt believe it , but there was more to come , "Mr young is to pay his wife spousal maintenence of £400 a month for a year reverting back to a nominal until the children raech the age of 18" , i turned and looked at my sister with a worried look on my face , she could see i was worring how much the nominal amount was going to be?
I then politely asked the judge how much a nominal amount was going to be (secretley dreading it to be £100 or £200 per month) she looked at me with a smile and said "i think 5 pence a year should cover it" i couldnt believe it !
We then moved on to costs , this is where my bubble will burst i thought.
The judge said "with carefull consideration i have ordered that each party should keep their own costs to date" i couldnt believe it , it was like i had won the lottery !.
There were sharp intakes of breath from the other side i hate to think wht my wifes legal bill was to date.
The barrister sheepishly said to the judge that it had been agreed that i would pay the costs upuntil the Decree Nisi , to which i strongly denied and that was corresondence to suggest otherwise which the barrister reluctantly agreed to.
The judge asked what the costs of the divorce were to that stage to which came the answer £3,500 to which the judge shouted obsurd , Mr young will not be paying that riduclous amount of money , she then glanced down at her notes and said , " I order Mr Young to pay the minimum costs + VAT totaling £1280 and to be paid from his 19% share in the equity" she then turned to me and said "i think you will find the extra 1% i awarded you will take care of this"
Oh my god i thought to myself , i couldnt believe it , i got everything i asked for there was a huge weight that dissapeared from me and was replaced by a huge smile that i still have now 3 days on.
One final thing the judge asked if there was anything else anybody wanted to add or ask to which we both replied no.
The judge then looked at me and said "Thank you Mr Young for being very profesional with your presentation and putting together such a clear and understanding argument"
I was over the moon , as the judge got up and left my wife stormed from the court room the door banging on its hinges , i turned and hugged my sister and thanked her then left the court room and returned to my family who were waiting outside for me.
I cant tell you the feeling when i was awarded what i asked for the stress and grief were worth it for the end result, it now means i can clear my debt and now have a life and hopefully buy somewhere to live.
Thanks again for everyones help and supportt, with you all i wouldnt of been able to get through it.
Now i just need to get my contact sorted out with my children , im back in court in October for the first hearing.
Take care every one im still going to be around.
If any one wants to talk or ask me questions feel free to mail me or send me a message and i will do my best to answer or help you based on my experience.
Btw sorry if i waffled but i just wanted to tell you all.
Witness box!!!! I didnt know I was going to be on trial!! Flaming eck. It sounds like a kangeroo court. I am not looking forward to this. I thought I was getting divorced not hung at dawn. This aint what I expected. Worried. Chris.
I suspect I may be facing this one soon, as I am paying £600 a month by virtue of a Consent Order made in 1997.
I've never defaulted on this, and consider men who default on child support, to be candidates for justice.
My kids are now aged 18 & 20, and by virtue of their both continuing in further education, probably eligibile for child support. Even that is not an issue for me - the £600 a month out of a total income of £1400 monthly is. It leaves me with a little of £800 a month to pay everything, and my bills are at least £230. Courts can order in excess of CSA guidlines, but 42& of total income is steep.
I am a retired police officer, with a net pension of £1130 a month, at 57 with no qualifications, I can only find part time work that pays another £300 net, having also, significant health problems. I have no guarantee of work, and only £530 left of my monthly pension after child support.
The marital home was signed over to my ex wife on the same Consent Order, with the proviso she should release me from any charge on the joint mortgage. She never did so. I have a 1 bedroomed flat with a small mortgage. she has a 4 bed detached with a £65,000 mortgage. It's worth more than twice what we paid for it.
The kids are now adults, and in university will get student loans, and won't be living at home. What does anyone think of this ? I accepted this struggle for 10 years, have no wish not to pay, but 42% of my income is frankly, financial rape.
Heaven forbid she should get it increased, courts can be crazy, the pension would just become a liability.