Went through my divorce using collaborative process 12 months ago. But, toward the end of the process my Solicitors Firm was wound-up.
As a result the court issued the Decree Absolute via my ex''s Solicitor and I never received a copy of it and was unaware that I was divorced until my ex sent me a copy via his solicitor 6 months after it had been granted.
On top of this the agreed Consent Order was not issued by the court, yet the court granted the DA irrespectively.
As a result of this my Ex has now stopped paying the agreed maintenance of £400 pm. for me and my three children aged 9,13 and 15. This figure is very low too as I suspect he earns in the region of £120k PA.
Please can someone advise me of the best course of action? Thank you.
I would have thought, and I may be wrong, that if a solicitors'' firm goes out of business it would have some duty to make sure that all their clients with ongoing cases were directed to other sources of help.
Secondly, I would need to know what stage you have reached with the Consent Order. It looks to me as if you have an agreed order, reached with proper legal advice. If so, it should be a matter of you, or your legal representatives, signing the draft order to indicate their consent. If this is all there is I think the wiki legal service may be able to help you to tie up the loose ends without it costing an arm and a leg.
Thirdly, the Consent Order and the Decree Absolute are separate. There is nothing to stop your ex applying for the absolute when there is no financial order in place.
Fourthly, there are steps you could take immediately, and the obvious ploy is to go for a CSA assessment for the children, at any rate. The second is to apply for social security benefits if you are without income. However I''d get legal advice first because (i) there could be some problems of enforcement here and (ii) because a Court order would stop you applying for a CSA assessment for twelve months. Not that this need be a serious problem.
But I would certainly advise that you act quickly ; it is never a good idea to allow arrears to accumulate and it''s difficult to enforce arrears more than 12 months old. So I would see a solicitor right away,but my experience tells me that this should be something which can be sorted out pretty quickly.