Any help would be highly appreciated!
My FH is few days and after being let down by an incompetent solicitor I am dealing on my own.
I’m the applicant and I’m aware that I’ll be the first to talk……any idea……how to start. Do I just briefly explain what the case is about or do I go into all details. The bundle is prepared by the respondent’s solicitor and I was asked to pay £150 if I want a copy so I said”No”. I have all documents but won’t be able to clarify the exact page in the bundle. Could I still prepare copies and give them out to the Judge and the other side when I do my talk.
One cannot teach advocacy in a post like this. However, my advice, for what it is worth, is
1. Dress smartly but not ostentatiously.
2. Address the judge as Sir or Ma''am.
3. Be very clear in your mind what you want, what is important to you and where you might make concessions if concessions have to be made.
4. Read section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. You should find this in the wiki library. This sets out the considerations to which the Court must have regard. Read these, and see if you can work out how they apply to your case and don''t be afraid to say so.
5. The most important factor is need and particularly the needs of your children if there are any.
6. Don''t restrict yourself to the Absolute minimum. Always build in an allowance in your budget for contingencies.
7. It helps, as you say, if you highlight points of difference and give the judge your view on them.
8. Make advance notes of what you want to say and the points you want to make. This will help keep you focussed in the heat of battle !
9. Your suggestion about photocopying receipts seems to me a good one.
10. Let your figures do the talking.
11. Don''t lose your temper. If you do you may lose the case as well.
12. If there is anything the other side says you disagree with, then say so and give your reasons.
Your acting alone so the judge may give you the choice of when you speak, its often best to go second while you find your feet.
Speak when spoken to or invited but don`t interrupt, its very easy to correct or get angry if lies are told, just take notes and correct when it your turn.
What you need to focus on is what you think is the best way to settle, its all about what you have in terms of assets and income and how best to use it to meet your respective needs, don`t get sucked into lesser arguments, same if the other side use case law, don`t get involved, if you don`t understand what they are saying just say you don`t, if you need help ask the judge to help, if the other side play the lets use words you wont understand game throw it back, ask them to explain, in my experience judges don`t tolerate it for long, s/he will tell them to speak plain English.
So think about what you both have, and what you both need and why you need what your asking for, with luck the judge will help guide you, try and stay calm and stick to facts, this is all about money, so avoid the blame game, it does not matter if your ex is pond life just stick to the money aspect of it all.