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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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The four basic steps to reaching an agreement on divorce finances are: disclosure, getting advice, negotiating and implementing a Consent Order.

What is a Consent Order and why do we need one?

A Consent Order is a legally binding document that finalises a divorcing couple's agreement on property, pensions and other assets.


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As ex not paying SM should I just forget it?

  • jar of hearts
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07 Oct 12 #359664 by jar of hearts
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I have been through 2 and 1/2 years of hell with my divorce, after suffering 25 years of abuse during the marriage and I am reaching my emotional limits. I had a final hearing in March which ex controlled and used the whole two days to give evidence (all lies) so we had to wait til May for the extra day, and the judge made his decision then. Although I fought hard for a Clean Break from ex as I really needed that emotionally as well as knowing that ex would be very difficult over paying maintenance (had already refused to pay the child maintenance agreed at a previous hearing so had to involve CSA and he had tried to avoid payment there until I managed to trace his NI number on some old papers) the DJ in his wisdom included SM in his decision. This was to start on the first month following the sale of FMH so should have commenced on first August. This is further complicated by the fact that ex''s legal team agreed the terms of the order at FH but then after tried to include additional agreements and undertakings which were not acceptable (requiring that I contact him annually with details of my employment and income, when we have tried to move away, start a new life and forget the abuse and living in a refuge etc) So there was a lot of correspondence between barristers and solicitors and a complete lack of it between ex and his solicitors. As a result the order was not sent to court and the DJ called a hearing to find out why and finalise it in August. My sols were not advised of this until two days before hearing and neither barrister or solicitor was available. Other side were not going to attend so it was only me available. So DJ adjourned matter til September and said if no agreement by then he would just draft his own order. We submitted a signed draft which was suggested by his barrister which removed the agreements and some undertakings, but as ex hadn''t signed we also said would prefer the original.
Nothing was heard until the order came from the court on Thursday and I received it in the post yesterday. There are a few errors in the order so my sols will contact the court since these need to be corrected (it didn''t even say what was to happen to proceeds of the house sale, although that is academic since the sale has long passed and the money been split) there was not pensions annex etc etc.

Now to the crux of my question. The court order has been dated 24 Sept and not 25 May (which was FH date) and although it states that SM is to be paid from first of month following completion of house sale (which was first Aug) as order not dated til September does this mean that SM doesn''t start til first Oct? Has ex got away without the need to pay by refusing to co-operate with the process? I haven''t been able to chase the payments as the order wasn''t sealed so will need to start proceedings in magistrates court now to obtain payment. If he doesn''t have to pay the maintenance for Aug and Sept I will then also have to approach him for his contribution to an additional mortgage payment which he didn''t contribute to (he has always paid a fixed amount, roughly 1/3rd of mortgage and I paid the rest through the business I ran at FMH which was reliant on the premises so is now wound up) when the FMH was sold, I had thought I wouldn''t bother because the SM would largely cover it and I haven''t got the strength to start another fight.

Having read the posts from other women on here going through a similar problem with their exes refusing to pay the ordered SM, the course of the issue seems to run along the route that if I apply to the magistrates court he will then apply to CC to have the order amended or reduced to a minimal level so that I end up paying more in costs and still get absolutely nothing from him. Since I am already struggling financially to feed and care for my family in a very sub-standard house which was what I could afford from the settlement, I am now wondering if I should proceed any further with this SM claim. Am I just throwing away money of sol fees and court costs, which I could use to get myself a hygenic working cooker or a shower that works, when I have little or no realistic chance of ever getting a payment of SM anyway? Would I be better to save the few hundred pounds I have left to do one of the thousand jobs that need doing in the house and just chalk it up to experience? Mentally I am exhausted by this whole proceedure having had to fight through the courts for years to get my abusive ex to leave FMH and allow myself and our four children out of a refuge and back into their home, deal with endless episodes of DV with police involvement, fight to get the divorce and the settlement, pay tens of thousands of pounds in fees and I haven''t much left to give. I just want to be left alone to live my life with my lovely children in peace. It is a very different and rather impoverished life, but at least free from fear with finally some moments of pure joy. I didn''t want the SM but as I had a lower settlement as it was awarded I really need it now to allow me to save to do the work on the house which it desperately needs to be habitable.

I am at a loss to know what to do so I am looking for a few opinions, sorry for the length of the post if you have just trawled through it.

  • maisymoos
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07 Oct 12 #359725 by maisymoos
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As far as I can see if the order states Sm to be paid from the first of the month following sale completion that is when it should be paid. So yes arrears are owing. Did he pay on 1st October?

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07 Oct 12 #359736 by jar of hearts
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He hasn''t paid a single penny and the house sold on 6 July so should have paid since 1 Aug. I don''t think he will ever pay a penny and will probably give up his job and stop CSA before he pays, just to spite all of us. It is a matter of working out whether the DJ has messed up even more with this than by awarding SM in the first place. A man who takes and spends all his children''s savings stops a credit card used to pay for his children''s food without notice and without replacing it with monthly payments and the like will not willingly pay SM so think I may be throwing good money after bad in pursuing it?

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07 Oct 12 #359738 by maisymoos
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Jar of hearts I sympathise completely but he is not following the Court Order. Arrears are now over a month old so you could apply for arrears and enforcement and for costs. You feel worn out and want nothing more to do with him, but I wouldn''t give up a court order is just that, don''t let him win.

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08 Oct 12 #359813 by NoWhereToTurnl
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Hi Jar of Hearts,

I might be wrong but from my own experience I see the situation like this;

Your CO was not signed until September 2012 so although your FH was May 2012, any part of the order not complied with is not enforceable before the date signed.

Therefore your ex should have started SM payments on 01/10/12, these payments, though late, only become in arrears on 01/11/12.

Your ex has not paid any of your SM so although he could technically apply for variation of the order, it is unlikely to be successful unless there has been a significant change in his circumstances.

You do not need a solicitor to apply for enforcement and can do this yourself. The forms can be downloaded. The gov web site is moving to www.GOV.UK on 17th Oct ''12. The cost is £90.

When you fill in the form add that you would like to invite the DJ to give Directions on the financial disadvantage you suffered due to the delay caused by ex changing the terms of the order resulting in delay of signing. Apply for full costs. Send the forms and fee to the court where the CO was signed. You need to wait until 01/11/12 before filing at court.

I totally understand why you just want it all to go away but, you need this money to live and a DJ has ordered it. If your ex gives up his job, the DJ will see through his games and he could get sent to jail.

Stay strong, it will be worth it in the end. I will try to help you in any way I can.

Take care,
NWTT.

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