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Final Hearing - Self Rep - Advice Please.

  • fairdad
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10 Mar 08 #16393 by fairdad
Topic started by fairdad
Long story coming up but I would really appreciate any thoughts/advice.

Divorced for 2 years or so, I have a court order from Nov 05 outlining SM and CM. Basically SM worked out to 22% of net salary. CM was 20% of net salary + 30% of net bonus.

I was the applicant in the original financial hearings during the divorce as well as the current case. She ended up settling for less than my original offer from when we were trying to settle amicably. But we spent around 15k each on legal fees to get to that point. I was still generous in my settlement because I could just about afford to be at that time.

In October 2006 I lost my job and was unemployed until March 2007, I kept paying the SM and CM at the original level for all this time and up until June 2007 when I reduced it. The CM was expressed as a % anyway so I was well within my rights to reduce it , but the SM was a fixed amount that I could no longer afford. As of April 2007 I have been back in employment but on a salary of 15k less. I could no longer afford legal representation so I just applied the same % that the court had used to arrive at the original set amount, 22%, and applied it to my new salary. Technically I still couldn't afford this but hoped that she would agree to it without going back to court. She then involved her solicitor who's negotiating tactic seems to say no to everything and never make a counter offer.

By December 2007 it was clear that her sol had no interest in negotiating so I was left with no choice but to go back to the courts again.

I've now taken the CM aspect away from the court by applying to the CSA. This was after a lot of research and extensive talks with a NACSA advisor. I had offered not to involve the CSA if she let me reduce the bonus % down to 20 from 30 and I wanted to then save half of that figure into my 2 daughters accounts that I control. In this way at least I knew they would see some money.(this point is largely academic as I haven't received a bonus for 2 1/2 years!) She refused this and I then involved the CSA. The monthly CM will now drop from 500 to 290. I thought I'd offered a pretty good deal!!

So basically we're now going to court over me reducing her monthly SM from 680 to 550 when my salary has dropped by 15k pa. There is also a clause that gives her an RPI rise every year. Fair enough. I just want an addendum added to this to state that I only have to pass this on if I receive at leats that amount myself in the form of a payrise. Not unfair I think. Also my pay date has changed so I want to pass this on as well.

So, we've had the directions hearing and I'm now waiting to hear a date for the final hearing.

I'm now concerned about which way the hearing could go. If I was presenting the above facts to a random cross section of the general public, I'm confident that the majority opinion would side with me. However, throwing the above facts into the legal system doesn't inspire me with the same confidence.

Can they increase the SM?
Can they award her a % of any future bonus? (whilst this is currently academic, I have subsidised my salary with many 1000s whilst unemployed and since I have been in a lower paid job and i would like to recoup these savings)
Can they award her costs against me?
Who pays for the court's time?
Can I cancel the case If I want and what could happen if then continue to pay the SM but at the lower rate that I have calculated?

I hope that someone has managed to get as far as this and still be awake. I apologise for the rambling facts but my thoughts are all over the place at the moment. Please help me to sleep again.

Thanks in advance.

  • jenny101
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11 Mar 08 #16481 by jenny101
Reply from jenny101
Hi,
Although totally unable to offer any legal advice, after reading your post, as a normal, intelligent woman, i can't see anything unfair in your proposal. I have spent the day researching divorce in all it's depressing glory for a relative who is going through a hellish time too. Have you checked out the web sites devoted to mens rights? There are all sorts of articles and forums where you might get some really useful advice. The bottom line is you are doing your best by your kids, you are earning less so surely the SM goes down! I wish you the very best of luck and a good nights sleep soon. All the best. Bos.

  • DownButNotOut
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11 Mar 08 #16494 by DownButNotOut
Reply from DownButNotOut

Can they increase the SM?

Yes they could, they have that power. But based on your circumstances I very much doubt that they would - unless her circumstances have worsened since the original agreement.

Can they award her a % of any future bonus? (whilst this is currently academic, I have subsidised my salary with many 1000s whilst unemployed and since I have been in a lower paid job and i would like to recoup these savings)

Yes they could. I guess the median outcome is that they award the same percentage (30%) of whatever your expected bonus is in your new job.

Can they award her costs against me?

Cost rules changed in 2006 for ancillary relief. I assume (but am not sure) that these rules hold true for variations as well as the original ancillary relief process. In which case essentially each party is liable for their own costs.

Who pays for the court's time?

The court fees applicable for making the application cover the courts costs. It is having barristers and solicitors that gets expensive - actual court fees are pretty reasonable. I would assume that as application for the variation you will pay the fee.

Can I cancel the case If I want and what could happen if then continue to pay the SM but at the lower rate that I have calculated?

I believe you could withdraw your application.

If you do this the old order will still be in effect and you should pay the amounts stated in the old order (you say SM was a fixed amount). If you dont she will probably eventually apply to the court for enforcment action to be taken against you.

The only way to legitimately reduce the SM is to press on with the variation application.

  • fairdad
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17 Mar 08 #17010 by fairdad
Reply from fairdad
Thanks DBNO, very useful advice. I've decided I'm going to pay for a few hours of a solicitor's time. I don't mind taking a calculated risk in life but I'm learning that when dealing with the law there are just too many variables/uncertainties to account for. Still also trying to reach an agreement outside of court.

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