I feel i need to say to people who are just embarking on this horrible path of ancillary relief.....
The first thing that will happen to most people (mainly men) is....
you will receive a letter from a solicitor that will say....
We act for the above-named client, our client wishes to pursue a financial settlement and we would be grateful if you could provide us with the following disclosure.
2) Last 3 pay slips
3) Details of any life assurance policies
4) Details of any pensions whether frozen or otherwise
5) 12 months worth of bank statements
6) Details of any properties in which you have an interest.
It is our clients intention to settle matters on an amicable basis. However, if we do not receive a response from you within the next 14 days then it will be our intention to issue an application on behalf of our client for financial relief. (this letter is the standard letter usually sent to men! (This letter my husband received two years after absolute, when he had remarried)
Now you can imagine having this letter pop on your doormat out of the blue, it causes feelings of anger, disbelief and sadness along with a lot of other emotions.
Would it not have been better for a solicitor to write words to the effect....?
We act for the above named client who wishes to seek financial relief, it is our intention to invite you to exchange voluntary disclosure along with our client so we can reach an agreement that will be speedy and not so costly for all involved. We invite you to call us within the next fourteen days, either by telephone or letter so we can discuss matters. If we don’t hear from you then we will have no choice but to transfer the matter to court and issue an application for ancillary relief. (Or words to this effect)
The trouble with the letter you will receive is....there is no mention of EXCHANGING information between parties, its seen as a threat to the person receiving it and some people feel scared at the prospect of court litigation. Or feel scared because sometimes its the first time in their lives they have heard from a solicitor, or even heard the word "court" mentioned!
The thing to remember here is this is not an order from the courts, its a request from the other party, if you wish to go "the voluntary route" then by all means do. But you need to be simultaneously exchanging information. (Try not to panic and rush off to see a solicitor)
My thoughts on voluntary disclosure are……………………it takes a lot of tooing and frowing between parties, all at a cost per letter of anywhere between £15/£25 per letter plus VAT. Now that can lead to costs of anywhere, what 4 letters, 10 letters? plus don’t forget your paying solicitor costs for time spent on writing them and preparing them. The trouble with voluntary disclosure is…. people think people are hiding things, which is probably true, but every letter you send trying to get what is called disclosure costs a lot of money .
My advice for what its worth is…………..write back and say words to the effect, whilst I would like to settle on an amicable basis, I feel to prevent time delays and costs I would rather we go through the court procedure, that way we can both adhere to any orders and we will have to stick to all time limits of the court.
Issuing form A should NOT been seen as an aggressive stance, quite the opposite in fact, issuing Form A should be the start of the process and it should be done and dusted within 6 months. It can take 6 months just fighting for the “voluntary disclosure” . Look at the start of court procedure as a step in the right direction to your new life.
Hopefully if you both stick to the rules that are in place and your upfront and honest in all your dealings then things can and will run smoothly and you wont be one of us on here who have our own horror stories to tell. (even though we had to go the form E
route, my partners former wife refused to divulge information, I.E… CETV
value of her pension, she has denied this for 2 and half years, in every court appearance she lied and said she hadn’t got a pension we have FIVE letters that cost her in the region of £150 denying she had one, at the FDR she finally admitted she had but said “its not worth much” and still wouldn’t disclose it, now at the FH the judge said she adjourning till she gives the CETV value! Was it worth her hiding this all this time? Letters and now the FH hearing adjourned, it all cost her money £2000 for the FH and now she has to pay it again for the next one! Probably cost her more than the pension is worth! MADNESS!
Anyway I hope this post will give you all some food for thought, try not to lie and cheat, be honest up front and hopefully things will progress forward and you can start your new lives without the bitterness after all you did love this person enough once to marry them!