I have my first collaborative law meeting this coming Wednesday and to say that I''m scared is to understate it. I''ve spoken to my lawyer about what to expect but if there is anyone out there who has experienced it, from a client''s perspective, I''d be very grateful to chat with you about it. Thanks.
Is your X totally amicable? My Solicitor tried to sell me to sign up to collaborative law, even though my X was totally not amicable and unapproachable. according to her it involved having 3 meetings with him and his solicitors, thrash it all out in the 3 meetings, and then it was all done, for a cost of £1500, However, if you didnt manage to agree everything in those 3 meetings, it meant i lost my £1500 and i would have to find another solicitor and start all over again, and would of lost the money id paid her. so collaborative law wasnt for me, you both need to have a good relationship and are happy with the agreement, for it to work.
Amicable, hmmmm. Well he''s not cheated on me but he has broken my heart. But we are both determined to start this new phase of our lifelong relationship (we have three small children, so neither of us are going to disappear) right for the kids, So they are as least freaked out as possible. In my CL situation there is no maximum number of meetings, no financial cap and the pace is as slow as the slowest party. So our first meeting is this Wednesday and the next, if my stbx intends to do as he says, after the kids are back at school at the end of August.
I don''t know about a cheap easy divorce but when ex & I separated almost 4 years ago we were very amicable...
We tried for 2 years after her indiscretions to make it work for the sake of our 2 kids, but eventually realised that the trust was gone and decided to go our separate ways. As we''d always operated on shared looking after of the kids, we agreed on the first day to shared custody of them - week about. She managed to get a cracking housing association place no more than 2 minutes walk away, & I helped her decorate & get furniture to make it into a 2nd home for them. We also came to a financial agreement which would see her getting a lump sum to help get her going, as well as a guaranteed monthly payment until our youngest turned 18.
As custody was shared she also agreed, admittedly grudgingly, that I should claim CB & TC for one child and she for the other, although that had been all her income during our marriage. My self-employed income had always been used to pay the mortgage & household bills.
Things went downhill very quickly. First I was accused of having forced her into these arrangements which saw her worse off, then accusations that I wasn''t looking after the children properly followed. She tried going for sole custody of the kids - much to their dismay - and with the backing of her partner, friends & large family I really had to fight their corner. I rebuffed all her ''reasons'' as she constantly battered my fathering abilities, & refused to sink to her depths with cheap jibes & petty name-calling - my pride just wouldn''t let me.
After a couple of years of that she realised that the kids were of an age where their opinion counted - they were very vocal in telling her they wanted to keep the status quo. So she capitulated on getting custody, and instead set her sights on screwing every penny out of me she could.
She quickly discovered that my original offer (which amounted to just under £39k) which she had rejected very early on as ''me trying to do her'' was actually very generous. However that deal was no longer on the table and she found herself looking at a more realistic share amounting to about £25k. Further accusations of ''cooking the books'' and ''it''ll only hurt the kids'' then started flying, but as the figures were all vouched for she couldn''t really dispute them.
So, almost 4 years on, she''s on her 2nd Legal Aid sol, and I''m over £3k poorer in solicitors fees. To keep my costs down I''ve done the bulk of the work myself - typing up most documents, with my sol just making slight alterations before signing & sending. I''m hoping things will be sorted this year as it''s only the dregs of the finances left to agree on...however I''m not holding my breath...
The point of this mini tome...don''t expect things to stay amicable, quick or easy. If it turns out you get all 3 then that''s a bonus, but if you hope for the best but expect the worst, then you''ll be less likely to have the emotional roller coaster ride many here have experienced.
Tank you for taking e time to type all that up. To be frank I''m sitting here on my sofa, feeling sick, having read it.
I''ve not worked since we married and in that time he''s build up his business, amassed investments and, I have discovered, funded a pension to the tune of £30k. Do I have a pension? Er, no. I do have assets and I am not going to try to hide anything. But what scares me most is that he, like you, wants to have the kids 50% of the time. They are 7,6 and 4 and I can''t bear the thought of not being their mother, in attendance, and just waiting about for my turn to come up. In our marriage (and, to my knowledge, no one has misbehaved, just fallen out of love. Him, not me, but never mind.) he''s left the house at 7:30 and returned at 6:30. He''s suggested he can finishe work at 3 every other week....but where the heck am I going to find a job that lets me do that, AND take the holidays off?! My lawyer assures me that he can''t have the kids and put them with childminders, not if I''m available, but I am shitting myself. I''ve dedicated the past 8 years to raising my family, giving up my business to do so.
Deep breath. Best sign off before I freak myself out and stop myself from being able to sleep.....
I''m sorry if that''s sent the heebie-jeebies down you but it had to be said!
TBH I very much doubt that, as you''ve always been the main carer, he''ll have much luck getting a 50/50 shared arrangement - at least not until he''s proved himself capable of looking after them on his own. Our situation was that I worked from a converted garage next to the house so was able to come in and do my share of nappy changing, feeds, etc, and as my ex was a heavy sleeper I did all the night feeds/changes - including lying the kids next to her to latch on while she slept on (I meant a very heavy sleeper! lol)
After separation I changed my working hours too - starting work after putting the kids to school, and finishing just before they get home, but I make up these hours (aye, and the rest!) during the week they''re not with me.
My sol reminded me very early on it''s not about what I do & don''t like, it''s about what''s best for the kids...something that has to be understood from the start.
Any pension & assets accrued during the marriage are half yours, although so are half the debts! My ex naively thought she''d get fully half the market value of the house, not taking into account the outstanding mortgage, the loan secured on it, or the fairly thumping credit card debt we''d accrued. Hence why she''s rather bitter at the finances not working out as well as she''d expected...
In addition, as the kids'' main carer & having given up your own career, he will almost certainly be required to make payments to you to ensure you have reasonable income, and there will probably child maintenance payments as well until more equal shared custody arrangements are possible.
I will say that having shared custody works well for both my ex and I. She got herself a job driving taxis which gives her the flexibility she needs. I arrange regular nights out with friends for the weeks I don''t have the kids. Also, whoever doesn''t have the kids still gets to see them for an hour each day as they live close enough to walk between houses. To be honest, that hour is probably more time than the resident parent gets in the way of quality time, as they''re too busy helping with homework, cooking, playing taxi to all the kids'' clubs & social engagements, etc. Many of my married friends (mostly the mums!) say they''d kill to get their OH to run the house for a week so they could play at being ''single'' & ''kid free'' again! So don''t rule out shared care in the long term...it might give you a new lease of life.
As for what job you can do that works for shared custody, the obvious one would be to become self-employed too - do something you enjoy, but that you can have the flexible home life you need.
Hopefully that''s put your mind more at ease - I did warn you about the emotional roller-coaster lol!!
Amicable is a misnomer. An amicable divorce refers to a divorce that settles out of court. It''s much easier, cheaper and does less damage to long term family relationships when separating spouses remain civil and reach a settlement without court proceedings.
Collaborative law is a way of achieving an amicable divorce and seems to be really taking off in Scotland.