Hello I hope somebody can help. My ex-wife and I have been attending mediation sessions with a view to coming to a financial settlement. The Mediator had full access to our form Es.
After the last session we decided to use the proposals that the Mediator had sent us as a basis for a settlement. Following further personal negotiation outside of mediation we came to an agreed settlement. My ex-wife asked her solicitor to draft a Consent Order based on a written proposal that was agreed via her solicitor. I have not got a solicitor.
I agreed to pay 50% of her solicitor''s fees for drafting the order and 50% of the court fee.
My ex-wife''s solicitor sent me the Consent Order to sign and after she had signed, it was submitted to court.
I have now learnt from my ex-wife that the Judge has sent the order back to her solicitor querying the settlement. Upon contacting her solicitor, he would not tell me the contents of the letter and said that he would have to refer to his senior before meeting with my ex-wife.
I''m quite frustrated about all this because we have been through mediation and have come to an amicable agreement. This was stated on the documents sent to court.
The settlement was as follows after a 7.5 year marriage:
A split of 60/40 of house equity in my favour - Ex-wife agreed to this because I had purchased house prior to marriage. Mortgage is in my sole name and I agreed to continue to make the payments.
25% of difference in pension during marriage to ex-wife as a lump sum - this was agreed by both of us as ex-wife is 14 years younger than me. We are both in the same pension scheme so CETV values were calculated in the same way. We did not want a pension sharing order.
30% of my savings to ex-wife - we both agreed this as the savings were always in my sole name with no contribution from my ex-wife.
When we separated, my ex-wife co-habited immediately with a new partner and was working full-time. They subsequently had a child and she went part-time. During mediation it was established that my monthly outgoings equal my monthly salary. Although my ex-wife is now part-time she has the benefit of a partner to share the household expenses with.
We agreed at mediation that we would have no interest in each others current accounts (which were always in sole names) and be responsible for debt in our own names. There was no joint debt.
Where do I go from here? What''s the point in mediation if Judges are going to query agreed settlements?
A judge is duty bound to ensure a Consent Order is "fair" ie complies with the Matrimonial Causes Act 9173 and other law. When there is a query it is usual for there to be a short hearing so the judge can clarify something and/or ensure that both parties understand the implications of the order.
It would be different if the Consent Order was rejected. Then it would be back to the drawing board.
My ex-wife''s solicitor will not tell me exactly what is in the letter from the court despite me having paid him 50% of his fees for dealing with the order. He has advised that he will be speaking with his senior then arranging a meeting with my ex-wife.
I don`t know why the solicitor refuses to disclose what the judge had to say, chances are this is more a clarification rather than a rejection of the order, if i were you i would contact court and ask if they will give you a copy of the letter, only once you know what the judge has asked can it be resolved.
Thanks for the reply. I have contacted the court and they have said they cannot tell me what is in the letter as it has been addressed to my ex-wife''s solicitor.
Sorry for my ignorance but what do you mean by "singed to resolution".
I was going to send a letter to the court explaining to the Judge how we arrived at the settlement. However, the court has said that the letter will be put on file and the Judge will not look at it until my ex-wife''s solicitors have answered the questions in their letter and re-filed a Consent Order.
It was worth a try, some courts are more helpful than others, if you write to the judge they tend to not read it, or if they do provide a copy to the other side.
Resolution is an agreement some solicitors sign to say they will do all they can to keep matters amicable, if her solicitor is signed they should really provide you with a copy of the judges letter.
When a judge is unsure about an agreement they tend to either write asking clarification or they list a short hearing in court, the latter seems to be happening less and less probably due to the we must save money mantra we now all follow.
Write a polite letter to her solicitor asking for a copy of the letter so you can do all you can do to assist in the judges enquirery, send it recorded and if they refuse copy the letter to court, well the judge in fact.