I got an email on 22 June 2017 from my ex-wife's solicitors stating that they are applying for legal aid, the email states \"we have now made an application for full Legal Aid in order to make an application to the Court regarding financial matters. As soon as Legal Aid is granted to our client for this purpose, we will make the application to the Court.\"
In previous emails I recently sent to the Legal Aid Representations department regarding enquiries about her legal aid, I made several points:
1. That her benefits were sanctioned by the DWP (I'm sure there is a government record of this), also that she was doing benefit fraud as she was claiming benefits while out of the country (in Pakistan).
2. That she had taken holidays out of the country recently in March/April 2017 (to Pakistan) and therefore that she has additional sources of funding that she hasn't disclosed.
3. That her allegations of domestic violence were false and I was not charged. (She called the police on me in 2012, charges were dropped and police let me go, no conviction)
4. That our child is in full-time education and that she is able to work but is not currently working.
I got some advice from a solicitor a while ago who told me something along the lines of bringing in the fact that I have been of good character since the allegations of domestic violence and the fact that charges were dropped and that her claim was spurious. How could I elaborate on that?
Can you let me know any other points (on top of what I have stated) that would help get her legal aid refused?
If you need any further information from me then please let me know.
Whilst I understand your concern and agree that people who abuse the legal aid system should be punished and reported. I'm not sure I agree with your motives. Obviously the solicitor is satisfied that she meets the very strict criteria of getting legal aid. What do you stand to gain from obstructing this?
If she has to pay her own legal costs, won't that cost just come out of the marital pot anyway? From what I can tell it's not easy to satisfy the legal aid criteria and even then the amount of help you get can be rather limited. So if she is not entitled to legal aid the chances are that her application will fail anyway.
If she is refused, then the likelihood of her getting a favourable outcome for herself is reduced, which is my gain ultimately.
I'm not sure if it does come out of a \"marital pot\" if she doesn't get legal aid.
I should mention that the value of my property isn't high (roughly £200k but in need of serious repair), the marriage was short (2 years), she is young and therefore able to work and the amount she stands to be granted may not warrant receiving legal aid anyway. So there is that.
Also her solicitor has been threatening me with applying for legal aid and demanding to see my financial breakdown for months now and has only applied after I refused to give a full breakdown as they were being threatening and I do not like being threatened. Would the solicitor threaten for months if they were confident about their chances? I don't know if all solicitors really would always only apply if they had a good chance of getting the legal aid granted, I'm sure many of them don't anticipate that people like myself will contest it.
I was in a similar situation to you are now. Don't get caught up on her legal aid, it's really not going to affect the outcome and actually will make things easier because you won't have to talk directly to your ex about the case and also because lawyers are firstly officers of the court so they will do the work like preparing the bundle which basically is the paperwork side of the court process for you.
It's increbibly common for women in the UK to make up domestic violence allegations on divorce in order to try to gain legal aid and gain a better financial outcome. She has obviously achieved her first goal but to gain an official advantage in the court hearing you would have to have been convicted of something that gave you a prison sentence of some kind.
The length of your marriage is not going to affect this situation in the short term as you are going to have to work out where the child and the child's primary carer presumably your ex-wife is going to be living for the next maybe 18 years. If you have a mortgage free property that is where they will be looking at. In the long term you may look at getting some kind of \"mesher\" order that means when it is sold in the future you would be given some percentage back.
I thought legal aid was only available in *Domestic Abuse cases in divorce.
*definition as on www.gov.uk
\"The cross-government definition of domestic violence and abuse is:
any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:
It would be down to her to show that she has suffered DA and the bar for evidence is quite high.
Personally, I would stop interfering with her application and let the Legal Aid Agency decide. If it's granted and it's on the basis of false allegations, then write to them.
I'm not sure if I was clear enough about the reasons to make a representation. It's to remove her capability of funding and fighting a long and drawn out financial case against me.
The reason for this thread wasn't to ask whether or not I should make a representation or not against her getting it, I have actually already got that ball rolling by asking Representations if I can appeal at this stage and they want to know my reasons, it's to formulate an argument I can make against her getting it. (And I'm sure this would come in useful to others in my position in future, as there continue to be false allegations of DV made in order to get the upper hand in divorce cases as one person has mentioned)
Something else the solicitor mentioned to me was that I could make an argument regarding the possible amount to be recovered even if she did manage to be granted it. In other words, considering the fact that she wouldn't be able to obtain more than £20-25K out of me and that the legal aid costs would probably reach this much anyway, I think it could be argued that giving her legal aid would be a zero sum game, i.e. neither side would stand to come away with much.
@Bubblegum11 I would rather nip it in the bud now. I'm not sure if it would work out better to wait and see, that feels like taking a risk in unnecessarily delaying my appeal.
Well she already isn't talking to me about this so I don't see how it would change anything for the better for me if I didn't take this action. Lawyers may be officers of the court in a technical sense, but her lawyers have behaved more like sharks, and removing their food source (her legal aid) would remove their incentive in helping her attack me, you state yourself how common false DV allegation is so maybe remove the incentive in making it so easy and you get less false allegations? The reason many people make these allegations is precisely because they are totally aware it opens the door to free legal help to crush their partners in divorce court. Just a thought.
It wouldn't be 18 years, my child is 6 now. Also they have living in council funded accomodation (a 2 bed house in a nice area) which I doubt she would give up unless she had to. If she had to move out and fund her own living arrangements she almost certainly would not get somewhere as comfortable. I'm not sure if this can be factored into my appeal but it would be good to know if anyone had ideas.
One thing you said definitely did get my attention, my house isn't mortgage free by any means, there is approximately £60K left to pay (on a house that is only worth about £180k.)
Her visa situation is that she is a Pakistani national with some kind of leave to remain.
I can't say if her claim is valid or not.
But I do think you can afford legal representation. She is in a weaker position with limited funds. You are seeking to cut off her access to legal help so that she does not have the means to get a fair settlement.
Lawyers are a great help but ultimately the needs would decide who gets what.
I certainly do not condone the making of false allegations. I have been a victim of DA and despite having solid evidence from various sources and the police, I was not entitled to legal aid because I did not meet the time limit criteria. So knowing that others are getting it by lying does not sit well with me. What I don't agree with is your reason for wanting to prevent her access to legal access. It's not the false allegations that seem to bother you but more the fact that you seek to weaken her position for making a financial claim. It just seems very tactical and controlling. What's the worst that can happen if she gets legal aid? - justice might be done!