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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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Awarding of costs

  • motherof2
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25 Jul 12 #345419 by motherof2
Topic started by motherof2
Please can I get some general advice. I am due in court in two weeks as my ex-husband has applied for a variation of our spousal maintenance agreement. He has just put in an unreasonable first offer on the proviso that if I don''t accept it and pursue but fail to gain a better settlement in court his solicitor will seek an order for me to pay his costs.

I strongly suspect this is just a bullying tactic to try to get me to accept a poor offer, however this concerns me greatly as my own legal bill has drained my small amount of savings considerably and I know he is using a very expensive solicitor. Also seems unfair since he brought the case in the first place. Can anybody therefore give me any advice on how often costs are awarded in disputes over ancilliary relief? I thought each party was generally expected to bear their own costs no matter the outcome, this was certainly the case during our initial divorce proceedings.

Thanks in advance

  • LittleMrMike
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26 Jul 12 #345435 by LittleMrMike
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I''ve never been too sure about this issue of costs.

It is certainly possible for a party to a successful variation application to be awarded costs. To some extent this could be reasonable, if a variation which had been applied for had no realistic chance of success, or if it was clear to anyone that the application should succeed, but the other side was not willing to concede it.

I note you have a solicitor, and although I understand your reluctance to pay more costs, it could also cost you quite a lot if your maintenance falls, unless the shortfall could be made good by benefits.

LMM

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26 Jul 12 #345452 by motherof2
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Thanks LMM, sounds like its a ''how long is a piece of string'' question then! I just wish there were some more solid parameters to work with. I am defending myself with a solicitors help as I can''t afford to lose the spousal maintenance but at the moment I feel like I may as well be putting all my savings on a Roulette wheel since I can gain no clear idea of what the outcome will be.

  • .Charles
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26 Jul 12 #345495 by .Charles
Reply from .Charles
It depends upon the amounts at stake, the duration of the current order, the variation sought and the amount of evidence offered to support the downwards variation.

The general rule is that each party should bear their own costs unless a party is deemed to have acted unreasonably. If your maintenance was £1000 per month and you ex sought to reduce this to £900 as his wages had decreased by 20%, it might be considered unreasonable for you not to accept the new amount.

However, if your ex purchased a new house with a larger mortgage which decreased spare cash, he is likely to crash and burn as his existing liabilities cannot be pushed aside in favour of his own personal pursuits.

Charles

  • maggie
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26 Jul 12 #345506 by maggie
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Has he provided any documentary evidence of his current financial situation/the reason for his application to reduce payments?
Will his solicitor have checked his claims to reduced circumstances before agreeing to act for him?

Should people in these circumstances accept Form D81 which specifically allows variation applicants to state only income?
"If the application is made only for an order for interim periodical payments or for variation of an order for periodical payments, you need only give details of ‘net income’."
My ex''s legal exec has suggested using only D81.

Most people on the receiving end of a threat to vary or terminate periodical payments are primed for bullying by the system - for fear of devestating costs.

By the way - has anyone suggested you will have to produce a certificate from a mediator to certify his application to vary is unsuitable for mediation?

  • motherof2
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26 Jul 12 #345512 by motherof2
Reply from motherof2
Thanks for your input Maggie & Charles. Spookily enough Charles the spousal maintenance order was for £1000 pcm to last until 2015 when my youngest turns 15. He ha applied to have it dismissed on the basis that I am cohabiting, however my new partner is not in a position to maintain me financially while I am only able to work part-time to support the children. I have had to seek a CSA assessment for the child maintenance as a result and this has come in only just short of the current order for child and spousal combined. Therefore if the spousal is reduced rather than dismissed I may end up back where I started, however having accrued legal costs along the way.

For the record my ex has submitted form E and it shows that his income has risen considerably since the divorce, he has remarried and that his lifestyle is extravagent. He also has a surplus of cash even after his extravagent lifestyle and paying maintenance at the current level.

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26 Jul 12 #345516 by dukey
Reply from dukey
What is most important is the wording of the actual order and the triggers it contains, have a close read of it, is the SM and CM combined.

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