Two days ago I had my first
mediation proper. For my part I think I managed to remain calm and businesslike although nervous. My wife however seemed unable to control herself and kept raising her voice in anger, and appeared quite unwilling to budge from her proposal, which is that I should move out of the house (which I bought in 2006 with the proceeds from a smaller house which had been owned outright by myself, plus a £60,000 mortgage of which £45,000 is outstanding, but which is in joint names)and leave her and the three children (15, 12, 7) in it - and presumably also, although she did not admit this, she would move her boy-friend into it. My proposal was that SHE should move out, go and live with her boy-friend if that is what she wants, and leave me and the children in it, and I would allow her to come in and see the children, within reason, whenever she wanted to - every day if she liked.She was not interested in this proposal, nor in my other proposal which was that things should continue exactly as at present, i.e. that both of us live in the house, but separately.
Although it is probably early days yet, it looks to me as though the mediation is going to fail because of her attitude. I believe that she and her solicitor will then move towards court action, regardless of the disadvantages of this having been pointed out to her.
So far I have not employed a solicitor. Can I take it that if the mediation does fail, I will be allowed time to consult a solicitor and make full preparation before any court hearing - I mean, there isn''t any danger of my suddenly finding myself faced with an unrepresented court hearing at short notice, is there?
The mediator seemed to be saying that there were potentially three possible outcomes: (1) my wife should move ouit; (2) I should move out, or (3)a court would order a sale so that both parties would have to find other accommodation. Am I therefore to understand that even though I am not and never have been violent or threatening a court could order me out of whatr is in reality my own house - until such time as the youngest child attains 18 (when I, if still alive, would be 77) and thenn enforce a sale?
I have been wondering whether to try proposing a compromise by way of "Equity release". I can not say that I like the idea, and it is likely that the sum obtained would not be all that great - nowehere near half the value of the house - as the first thing that has to be done with cash released in this way is apparently to pay off the mortgage - to try to in effect buy my wife out. I wonder, has any reader of this forum tried that method and is it any sort of possibility, or am I just being naive?
My ex and I didn''t try ''equity release'' but we did attend mediation
where she acted more or less like yours did so the mediator quite openly told us that mediation with her as the mediator wasn''t working so we might care to try with another mediator or just go to court.
I went to court and divorced my ex so I did all the running and had massive (for me) legal costs until I self repped. My ex did not meet court set dates for provision of information , didn''t turn up at court, ever. She sent me death threats and hate mail, all of which meant nothing for the divorce procedure.
The relevant point is that I had voluntarily left the FMH
in an effort to retain my sanity. That left me open to her verbal attacks, written death threats and also punishment from the courts should I had treated her like she treated me. This experience leads me to suggest that you do not leave the FMH
, under any circumstances.
Start a diary and log all malicious behaviour and don''t be put off from going to the doctor should you feel ill. Definitely go the doctor/hospital if you are assaulted, to log the event. Have friends round on a regular basis to have some ''me'' time if you like - it is still your home so treat it as such.
Regarding her solicitor, ignore him/her until you feel like replying and respond regarding one time at a time but do pay maximum attention to the court.
You, your wife and your children all need a place to live but please do not consider that this has to be at your sole expense. Stick you your proposal and if she continues not to like it then let the court decide whether it''s that or a sale of the FMH with a split of the proceeds such that each party has a chance of rehousing.
At your age, you can''t be seriously expected to get a 25 year mortgage and that will affect how much money you can raise so you
should be looking to get a bigger share of the split, therefore it makes sense that the children live with you.
Have you had a chat with the children to see who would like to live with you should the FMH be sold?
It''s going to be tough and you could do with some old friends who you can trust.
It''s worth persevering with mediation
because it isn''t unusual for anger to dissipate after a couple of sessions and then more constructive progress can be made. Even if no agreement is reached you will have a better idea of what can be agreed, what might be agreed and which issues are unresolved. That could save a fortune in exchanging solicitor''s letters.
Modern marriages are considered a relationship of two equals with both the financial and non financial contributions of both parties taken as equal. Where assets originated from is less important with the passing of time. The value of all the assets held in sole and joint names from the matrimonial "pot" which is shared according to a number factors in s25 Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. In many cases "needs" of the parties, in particular for housing, comes at the top or near the top of the list.
Before anything else it needs to be determined with whom the children are to live - you, your wife or if their care is to shared 50:50.