I sent my first post to Wikivorce approximately three months ago and it was regarding a friend of mine whose situation I think is rare. Where most people are fighting over children, assets etc, my friend has only one asset (and I’m not even sure you can call it that) – his secured tenancy flat, the lease of which is solely in his name. His ex wife wants it and is fighting him for it in court.
Both parties are now fully divorced after 8 years of marriage, but just before the Decree Absolute came through, the ex wife filed for ancilliary relief. They both work, earning similar, average wages. They have no children, both parties are in debt and neither party have pensions. They are both still living in the property until the court decides who should live there. The ex has made no contributions towards rent or utility costs since March 2011 and my friend stays with friends of his a few nights a week as the living situation with her is intolerable.
The ex-wife has a mother and a 16 year old son in another country which my friend was supporting when they were married, but he has stopped financing them since the divorce.
My friend got a shock when he received her form E documents as her case for obtaining the flat was built around her son who she hopes will eventually settle in the UK with her. She gained UK citizenship a few years ago, but her son and mother are not UK citizens.
The ex has applied for a visa for her son on a joint sponsorship basis, failing to inform immigration that she is now divorced and doesn’t have a stable home. All the financial documents she sent with the application state that my friend was supporting the child. My friend signed the visa application when they were still married, but didn’t know that she would go ahead with the application regardless of her new circumstances. She is now fighting in court for my friend’s tenancy so she can live in his flat with her son.
My friend has informed immigration of this but has not yet received a response from them. He was hoping for some kind of response from them before his first ancilliary relief hearing in September, but I doubt whether he will hear anything at all from immigration and he will have to rely on a fair judge to make the right decision.
He is representing himself in court as he cannot afford a barrister. A friend of his has advised him to write an addendum and take it with him to court. He has no idea what will be expected of him and what preparations he should make before attending court. Any advice on self representation would be greatly appreciated.
Its only the first hearing so not much happens, in fact its really to look at disclosure and decide if any Directions should be made, there wont be any real discussion, that will come at the second appointment.
Try as I might, I can''t seem to find any information on this site about what goes on once you''re in the court room and what you should think about if you''re representing yourself. My friend divorced without having to attend a court hearing and has never been to court before let alone represent himself so he is panicking. Are there any books or online resources that detail exactly what you should think about when self-respresnting? I know that each ancilliary relief case is different but there must be some constants that occur in every hearing.
Try using the search bar at the top of the page and look for First Appointment amongst wiki posts. Many wikis here have self repped and posted about their experiences. There is also inormation in the library.
Also. I am no expert but I understand that if a house is owned in one party''s name, the matrimonial right of occupation ceases on divorce (Decree Absolute) - I wonder if it is the same for a secured tenancy in a sole name?
It may be worth asking a specific question about this ... and also perhaps checking it out with a housing specialist - perhaps shelter or the local authority housing dept?
I could never understand why she is still in the flat because if she wasn''t claiming for the tenancy, my friend would have given her a month''s notice to leave. I can only assume that she stays on the advice of his current solicitor who is really incompetent. He has finally seen that he may as well represent himself for all the good it is doing him. I''ll make sure he investigates the housing situation further as the living arrangements are really getting him down.The housing association who let the flat have no problem with him kicking her out so there must be some legal reason why she is still there although they are fully divorced.