Marriage of 32 years. Divorce papers received 14 months ago. I am 59 I have 4 DB pensions one of which is my teachers and is at 60. Acrimonious divorce and nit picking over my form E has left me with not a lot of money to survive on as the lawyer fees have been over 35k so far. So I am representing myself and now she wants me to go to court and I will not be able to afford a lawyer unless I either get a loan or claim a pension early and use the cash lump sum.
my question is, is this ok for me to do? is it illegal or would it go against me in court? I need the money to live off and to pay legal fees.
The short answer is yes. You can use an early lump sum from your pension to pay for legal fees.
You are not supposed to dissipate (waste or excessively spend) your assets during divorce financial proceedings - but money for legal fees and to live off would count as a valid uses.
However - the question is whether it is necessary to spend tens of thousands on going to court.
To have spent £35K before even going to court is utter madness.
The process of disclosing your finances to each other through form E is a fairly mundane administrative stage of the proceedings and one in which you need not have spent more than a few hundreds of pounds.
The full jouirney through court would typically cost 2 or 3 times more than pre court negotiations - so you are on track to spend £70K to £100K in legal fees going to court.
Your asset pot would have to be at least several million pounds for that kind of legal spend to make any sense.
I would recommend that you consider our
Divorce Consultant service
as it would provide you with an expert to guide you with the strategic side of your case - including how to manage your overall spend and how to engage sollictors and barristers effectively.