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What are we each entitled to in our divorce settlement?

What does the law say about how to split the house, how to share pensions and other assets, and how much maintenance is payable.

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  • climcc
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03 Jul 12 #340936 by climcc
Topic started by climcc
Can I get some advice on FDR pls? Is it advisable not to use a barrister to represent me but to ask my solicitor who''s handling my case to do so? I am lead to believe it''s a norm for a barrister to represent in court but can my own solicitor not do so.
Both my husband and I are age 46 & 41 years of age and have been married for 9 years. We have a 4 years old child.
My husband abandoned us 21/2 years ago without my knowledge and were left all by myself to care for my child. He went back to his home country.
We have a joint property which I''m currently living with our child and I have been paying the full mortgage on my own since he left 21/2 years ago. We bought the matrimonial home 5 years ago. I contributed much more deposits than him.
In addition to that I''ve another property in my sole name which is currently been rented out. I purchased it on my own and have been contributing the mortgage on my own since. It was purchased after we got married. He was not able to afford and hence didn''t want to purchased it in joint names.
He has intermittently pay for child maintenance but not consistent. He only started to do so a year after he left.
Now he''s living with his mom alone mortgage free and has the use of a car from his brother in law. His income is about £5000 less than me per year.
He now wants to demand 1/2 of my assets including both my properties and hard earned savings of £52,000. The reason for his claim is he needs financial equality to own a property and car.
Obviously we have not come to an agreement hence the FDR, can anyone advice what is my chance or what will the judge''s verdict?
I do understand it''s not Absolute but just an advice as my solicitor''s fee is rising rapidly around £7000, and I was recommended a barrister which is going to cost me around £2500 - 3000. Is it norm to spend 20% on legal fees in relation to the total sum £50k demand?
Greatly appreciate any advice given.


  • sexysadie
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03 Jul 12 #340939 by sexysadie
Reply from sexysadie
Better to have a barrister. They really know what they are doing in court, whereas solicitors don''t, really. A properly briefed barrister can be really excellent. Also they can actually work out cheaper as they charge by the day whereas solicitors charge by the hour - a long day in court with a barrister will cost the same as a short one (though some charge less if you finish by lunchtime) while a solicitor will charge per hour including travel time.

An FDR won''t be more than a day; my London barrister cost £1200 for that. But if you are only fighting over £50000 you need to be careful that costs don''t mount up.

Best wishes,

  • Fiona
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03 Jul 12 #340940 by Fiona
Reply from Fiona
Some solicitors are experienced in advocacy and happy to represent clients in court. Others aren''t and prefer to instruct a barrister on behalf of their client, particularly if there are issues requiring specialist knowledge. The costs of a barrister may not be much different than that of a solicitor.

The value of any asset (including pensions) forms the matrimonial property which is shared according to a checklist of factors in s25 Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. Usually the needs of the parties comes at the top of the list or near the top. Where assets originate from becomes less important with the passing of time and only if there are enough resources to meet the needs of both parties would an exceptional contribution from one party be taken into account.

Equality in divorce settlements isn''t necessarily a mathematical 50:50 division. The aim is to leave both parties on a similar footing and living a similar lifestyle to start independent living.

You will need a home adequate to house your child most of the time which may justify a larger share in your favour, but that should be balanced against your husband''s need for his own property and car. It isn''t in either parties'' interest to run up legal bills and it sounds as though a compromise between the two positions is likely. What was the opinion of the judge at the FDR?

  • climcc
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04 Jul 12 #341070 by climcc
Reply from climcc
Hi thanks for the reply. The FDR is in 3 months time. I am hoping for obvious reason to try to reach an agreement but unfortunately my husband insists on demanding £52,000 despite living free mortgage and use of a car and earning slightly less than me.
If I get a barrister do I still need my solicitor to councel me on that day? Is it not enough cost to just have a barrister?I was told a barrister will cost about £1000 but mine is asking for £3000 incl VAT. Can anyone recommend any good barrister in Manchester?

  • dizzybee
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04 Jul 12 #341074 by dizzybee
Reply from dizzybee
Hi you have raised something that I had a huge issue with during court proceedings.
I would be there with my solicitor and the instructed barrister whilst my ex would turn up with his solicitor who would do all the advocacy. I had to pay double the fees my ex did I found this to be totally unfair.
In my experience the solicitors who do their own advocacy seemed to be the more tennacious.
A barrister is only as good as his instructing solicitor it was once explained to me the solicitor is the chef that does all the preparation and the barrister is waiter, he serves it up to the judge!

I hope you sort something out prior to court hearings other wise you are going to have disproportionate costs.
Good Luck

  • .Charles
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05 Jul 12 #341342 by .Charles
Reply from .Charles
There are merits to using a barrister and to using your solicitor but the decision rests on your case.

A senior colleague of mine usually prefers to deal with the FDR herself as she has an almost photographic memory and is able to recall the facts of each case immediately. This allows her to keep track of the facts and figures when negotiating with her counterpart.

In other cases, my colleague may choose to instruct a barrister for specific reasons such as when there is a litigant in person. Solicitors are meant to be dispassionate but it is difficult to be attached from your own proceedings and this can cause a certain amount of dislike between a litigant in person and the solicitor on the other side that may stymie settlement negotiations.

In other cases where the matter is complex, the negotiations can move up a notch and may require a barrister to enter into intense negotiations which involve complex legal arguments. This is a barrister''s bread and butter and in such cases a specialist will be deployed to pick up where the solicitor leaves off.

There is another situation where a client insists that a barrister is instructed. It is a kudos thing. An experienced solicitor will not be phased by being against a barrister as they are equals in such circumstances.

In kudos based instructions, people can find themselves at a disadvantage as any barrister who is available will be instructed and they might not have the right profile for the job.

At my local court (Birmingham) it is common for another party to instruct "London Counsel" which is meant to send shivers down spines but in reality someone is paying a junior barrister to travel for 3 hours to deal with a case that they are ill-equipped to conduct. £1500 + VAT lighter and a mediocre result and no-one is any the wiser.

If you have faith in your solicitor and they suggest using a barrister, you should give this consideration.


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