After a 5 year legal / court case to agree divorce, the decree [url=Glossary/General/Absolute.html ]absolute[/url] was signed last summer (2019). At the same time, a heads of agreement was drafted, which included a pension share and childcare arrangements plus divorce costs awarded to me (the applicant). The draft was later sent to me by a solicitor appointed by the respondent and who represented him in court. It was incorrect, however, rather than the solicitor going back and forth to correct it between the respondent and myself, he simply stated that I was to sign and return it, which I have not done as the costs remain outstanding. The respondent is now in breach of the order as far as the childcare element goes and is consistently letting my daughter down when she should be with him. I also do not have the legal costs or the pension share paid to me. If I sign the document, I sign away my rights to any further pay out and we seem to be at stalemate with a very unhelpful solicitor and a respondent who has now remarried and is looking to move out of the country in the next few months, potentially without paying the costs he has been ordered to and leaving me without
child maintenance to support me over the next 10 years of education. The respondent tells me that I am not entitled to any costs as they are covering the legal fees. The solicitor has refused to provide me with any invoice or terms of business to detail the costs. What are my options to obtain my share of the financial settlement, to enforce the childcare element and to avoid non payment of child maintenance once the respondent leaves the country.
Welcome to Wikivorce, I'm sorry you have been having a difficult time.
The heads of agreement isn't legally binding, and therefore isn't enforceable. It sounds as though you don't have either a consent order (for the financial aspect) or a Child Arrangements Order - just an agreement made in good faith.
As there are no existing orders, there hasn't been a breach and there is nothing to enforce.
The pension share - this can not happen until there is the relevant court order or a pension sharing annexe as part of a consent order. Pension companies will not split and share pension without this.
Outstanding costs - are these the costs relating to the divorce application?
If he isn't paying CM, then you could consider making an application to the Child Maintenance
Service. If he does move out of the UK, and then doesn't pay any CM, you can secure CM via REMO application (providing he is in a signatory country or works for a UK company).
You can't force an unwilling parent to spend time with a child - that wouldn't be seen as bing in the child's best interests. I know how frustrating this is, but a court can not force this.
If you wish to seek legal advice on the draft consent order, perhaps give the helpline call and speak to an advisor about the relevant fixed fee service, if you do not wish under any circumstances to sign the oder, then you are probably looking at court for a resolution.
Hi thanks for your response and advice. The heads of agreement were to formalise the consent order in respect of a financial settlement and the judge agreed to include arrangements around childcare at that point as that had a bearing on the finances.