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FINANCIAL ORDER - I'M SELF REPPING - WILL NEED SOME HELP!!

(59 Posts)
MrsC1969HJ Mon 09-Jun-14 22:39:11

Hello all, I am really hoping for some help with this and would be so grateful for any input. Nasty separation following affair. H moved straight in with OW, wealthy, new widow. Immediately withdrew financial support, sacked me from his company, removed name from utilities and took credit balances, cancelled everything, even burglar alarm contract, house insurance everything. Left me on income support and MIR. I have been a SAHM for 5 years save doing admin for his company which I was paid a monthly salary for. Claimed he was up to neck in debt and couldn't support us. Financial disclosure has revealed a very different story. Living the most ostentatious lifestyle, gifts, holidays and fabulous social life lavished on OW and her child. Platinum credit card and Amex I didn't know about, all on a salary of £7K or so he claims. Has paid himself huge dividends but put them in my name (!), has no debt that has been disclosed. Has twice cancelled car insurance at 8 am in the morning meaning I couldn't take kids to school/nursery. Have a 15 yo DD (his step daughter) and we have a 3 year old DS who is currently undergoing assessment for ASD. Have got decree nisi on grounds of adultery. Oh and he also had a HUGE company turnover last year despite hardly appearing to work (£125K) but won't disclose business statements (only profit and loss account) and has refused to disclose credit cards. 4 months of mediation have failed, he just lies and talks rubbish. Am now applying to court. Have downloaded Form A and informed his solicitor, awaiting contact from her. I can't afford legal rep, family have been great and supported and paid for initial legal advice but can't expect them to fund this. Any advice? Thank you so much!

STIDW Mon 09-Jun-14 23:31:21

Think I answered you somewhere else earlier. As I said self repping in financial proceedings can be a false economy and if you can't raise the funds to pay for a solicitor it is possible to apply to court for a legal services order.

Disclosure is entirely voluntary until the courts become involved and then both parties are required to complete a financial disclosure, Form E. Each party then completes a questionnaire to clarify the issues and asking for further information. The judge then decides which questions must be answered.

MrsC1969HJ Mon 09-Jun-14 23:42:40

STIDW I think you did, thank you, that was on my main thread. This one is going to be just about the legals. I agree with you actually, but I have no choice at all. I will look into legal services order and am also making enquiries about legal aid due to a violent incident at the family home. We have done Form E via mediation, it was an absolute joke. I fully disclosed, he did not and won't, hence this route. I am initially going to attempt to negotiate with his solicitor and will seek full disclosure via her first. It won't get me anywhere but at least I can show I have tried!

voiceofgodot Tue 10-Jun-14 12:18:17

IME mediation is never going to work in this kind of divorce - ie. where one party is behaving in a hostile way. We tried it shortly after separation - it was a complete disaster.

We have been going the court route for over a year and I am still awaiting full disclosure although thankfully exH seems to be wanting to settle so we are now - finally - able to talk without him being angry/lashing out/refusing to cooperate. Luckily for me we are in a position where I can 'ignore' the things he's not disclosing properly because I just want the equity in the house and am prepared to forego other assets, but if I was determined to get full and frank disclosure from him I think it would take a few months yet, even going via the court route!

I think so many people are ill-advised regarding mediation - it is a nightmare if you are high-conflict, and particularly if one person holds all the financial cards and the other has been a SAHM. It's not cheap either, as I'm sure you've found - I must have spent £750 on what were completely wasted sessions.

MrsC1969HJ Tue 10-Jun-14 14:47:14

Voiceofgodot, thank you for posting. There was no way this was going to work, it was clear from the very first meeting. He has also been incredibly rude to the mediator on two occasions, once even screwing up a cheque and throwing it at her. I didn't actually have to do mediation as we had a violent incident at the family home for which he received a caution. I haven't had to pay as I was legally aided, but it's cost him a fortune. After I decided not to go to the last session as it became obvious it was pointless and he was just spouting utter nonsense, he is now saying that the court will be made aware that I "refused mediation"...absolutely ridiculous! I did everything I was supposed to in every way possible. He didn't. I am glad you are getting sorted out now. My solicitor didn't want me to go via court as we are talking about a reasonably small "pot" but it's got past that point now and he is living a lifestyle that doesn't in any way reflect the earnings he is trying to claim are "honest". Hence my decision to go down this route myself. I am going to start by writing directly to his solicitor and asking for disclosure (I have a huge list) and then will take it from there...I want to be seen to have made every effort to keep this out of court.

MrsC1969HJ Mon 16-Jun-14 12:38:26

Right, he's sacked his solicitor (this is solicitor number 5!) so assume that he is now planning to self represent or generally be as difficult as possible. So, it looks like my only option is to proceed with the court application but a legal helpline advised that I write to him directly regarding all the things that were missing from his disclosure so that I at least have that as part of my court bundle. I have done everything possible to sort this out and he has done absolutely nothing. I can't carry on like this, it is taking over my life. If any legal bods have any advice to offer, I would be so grateful!

voiceofgodot Mon 16-Jun-14 13:00:08

He sounds like an absolute car crash.

I think your best bet is to crack on with the court stuff whilst trying as hard as you can to insulate you from this on a day to day basis. I know it's hard, I had over a year of it. But slowly the divorce went from being a non-stop storm that felt like it was buffeting me around non-stop, to just being something that popped up needing to be dealt with every few weeks.

As he is the type to constantly sack solicitors, I really think you need to engage with him as little as possible. Don't expect anything more from him other than a completely chaotic response, and then you won't spend your days being shocked every time he lands another bombshell in your lap. If he's five solicitors down, he's clearly got some kind of problem. The best thing you can do is to disengage and get judicial input ASAP.

MrsC1969HJ Mon 16-Jun-14 13:28:11

Voiceofgodot...you're not kidding. He actually e mailed me the other day to say that he is purposely not working and will move out of OW's house rather than have her income taken into account. He is trying to say that his migraines are stopping him working, but he's had them forever, I lived with that for 14 years, never stopped him working before. It's the fact he writes everything down, it's just astonishing. I can see this being a complete and utter nightmare but have absolutely no idea what else I can do. I need to get the finances sorted for mine and the kids' sakes and get my bloody divorce! All this is about is covering up how long they were having an affair, it's pathetic, it really is. Totally avoidable and easily sorted but when you are dealing with somebody like this, it's so bloody difficult!

voiceofgodot Mon 16-Jun-14 14:36:23

I know it's difficult, I've been through it all myself. It all becomes a lot easier when you accept you're dealing with a lunatic. Expect nothing from him but the worst, and prepare yourself for it too. Have as little to do with him as possible.

millymollymoomoo Mon 16-Jun-14 15:32:11

I'm not legal but why would OW income/assets be disclosed. Surely the divorce settlement should be based on what assets you have as a family at the point of separation, i.e. your family home, any pensions, earnings of both etc. Not sure I understand why she should need to disclose hers?

Hopefully a legal person will be able to advise you more shortly.

Spero Mon 16-Jun-14 15:37:53

You might find something helpful in this post - it was written for people in care proceedings but its got general info about litigants in person.

www.childprotectionresource.org.uk/what-if-i-dont-have-a-lawyer/

I think you should give some careful thought to seeing if you could afford some help - possibly a direct access barrister? You can save money by collecting all the information yourself but pay someone a fixed fee to come and help you at court.

I am not suggesting you couldn't cope with a court hearing on an intellectual level, but the problem will be these hearings are so very difficult when you are dealing with an ex, particularly when there are small children involved and he is behaving so appallingly. Do you think you would be able to cross examine him if it came to that?

The bottom line is he needs to disclose his assets and the court needs to decide what is a fair distribution of those assets, bearing in mind you have a very small child who will be the court's primary concern.

But that process can be very difficult and drawn out, particularly when someone is determined to behave like an ass hat.

Don't discount the emotional damage these kind of hearings can do. If you can scrape together a few hundred to get help at the court hearings, I think it would be money very well spent, if only to have a buffer between you and him.

voiceofgodot Mon 16-Jun-14 15:38:28

AFAIK it's only relevant insomuch as he will have a reduced need for money to support himself and eg. equity to rehouse if he is living in a house provided already. Obviously these things are less important if there's bags of money involved, but when - as in most cases - there's a paucity of funds to set up what will be two separate homes, it becomes more relevant.

Spero Mon 16-Jun-14 15:42:04

RE OW assets - the court has a very wide discretion about what it has to consider when dividing up marital assets and it is usually considered relevant if someone is cohabiting with another person as that is part of the overall 'financial circumstances'.

voiceofgodot Mon 16-Jun-14 15:42:52

MrsC - I used a McKenzie Friend at my last two hearings. I know that they can be a mixed bag and lawyers are often dismissive, but I found it helpful. I would look into the costs of a DA barrister as well, possibly by asking a solicitor if they have a recommendation. My solicitor does not attend court because I am trying to save money - I used an MF for the children matter hearings, who also liaised with my solicitor briefly beforehand to get up to speed on the case. However I will be taking a direct access barrister with me to the FDR (if necessary; hoping to settle beforehand...) as the finances are more complicated.

Spero Mon 16-Jun-14 15:45:41

I wouldn't be dismissive of a good McKenzie Friend - they can be very good.

BUT a dodgy McKenzie friend will do so much damage so if you are going down that route, try to get a recommendation from someone who has used them before.

voiceofgodot Mon 16-Jun-14 15:55:45

I agree Spero. Mine has been great and very respectful in court but I have heard/read some terrible stories.

MrsC1969HJ Mon 16-Jun-14 16:04:29

Hi all, thank you so much for contributions. Firstly, as far as OW's assets and income are concerned, that question is indeed posed of Form E, they declined which is their right. However, my husband has disposed of assets, ie : the van he needed for work, she has provided him with a car. In mediation he stated that she gives him an allowance so he doesn't have to work (I wish I was joking!) and states that he is currently only doing a one day a week maintenance contract which is the line he span me all last year which was blown out of the water with a turnover of £125K noted in his profit and loss account (but won't disclose bank statements to show how this came about!). He lives rent free in a large detached house with all his needs catered for, but left me on income support and any money he has had he has spent on holidays, gifts and entertainment for her (£12,500 between November last year and April this year). So indeed I do think her assets need to be taken into account as they clearly have a significant joint income (she is wealthy, got a huge settlement from her husband's death last year and owns two successful businesses). I am looking into a PA barrister at the moment, my McKenzie Friend will be my cousin, who is a corporate lawyer. Thank you so much for that link Spero, I will read it later. Today I had a phone consultation with a Wikivorce advisor who was very helpful. I am just slowly getting organised with it all. I am going to have to correspond with him directly in the immediate term, expect nothing of any use back, but I can at least show that I have done everything possible to resolve and court is a last resort. Total bloody nightmare!

Spero Tue 17-Jun-14 15:55:31

Just been emailed about this book which sounds exactly the kind of thing you need!
www.jordanpublishing.co.uk/practice-areas/family/publications/how-to-divorce-and-Separate-like-a-lawyer-a-guide-to-Surviving-the-family-Court

If my link is dodgy its by Simon Sugar and published by Jordans for £25

MrsC1969HJ Tue 17-Jun-14 16:06:43

Oh wow thank you Spero! That's brilliant. I will buy it right now, I've got an Amazon voucher to use up. Bless you, thanks so much.

Husband appears to have gone to ground having sacked solicitor. Maybe he thinks this is all going to go away? I am going to press on anyway and will just send everything recorded. I can't do anything else.

I had a very good conversation last night with a fellow Mumsnetter who has been/is currently going through this. She was full of good advice and we are going to meet soon. That really does help a lot.

So, as things stand, I am firstly applying for fee exemption, in the meantime I will get my Form A ready to go and finally invite husband to disclose on the basis of the list of stuff that is missing. That will go ignored of course but will just add to bundle.

Thanks Spero, so much :-) x

Spero Tue 17-Jun-14 17:01:57

Good idea. just press on. Keep careful records. Its a common tactic for other side to attempt to delay and to fail to disclose. If he refuses to disclose just tell him you will assume he is not disclosing because he is trying to hide large sums of money and you will ask the Judge to award everything to you.

Be prepared for a long hard struggle but hopefully it won't be as bad as you anticipate.

Good luck!

MrsC1969HJ Tue 17-Jun-14 17:40:17

I think the truth is, he is failing to disclose because he is trying to cover up the length of the affair (due to dead husband I suspect) and also because he doesn't want me to know how he managed to turn over £125k last year from the comfort of the sofa (!!). He will be a total pain in the arse with this, he really will. OW has a lot to lose if the "truth" comes out. I am just so annoyed that what should be a very simple and easy settlement is being drawn out to this degree, it's just ludicrous. You'd think he'd just want his divorce and out, especially as he tried to petition on the grounds of my unreasonable behaviour 3 days after leaving the marital home last year! I guess as I managed to get mine in for adultery first, he has no urgency anymore. It's all very odd.

Spero, I really appreciate your support and advice and will of course keep the thread updated with developments :-) x

Spero Tue 17-Jun-14 17:41:39

Let us know how it goes.

Sadly, in the months to come I bet there will be lots of people searching for threads just like this, desperate to get some advice.

Twitterqueen Tue 17-Jun-14 17:43:24

You must must must must get legal representation.

I self-repped and got completely blindsided by exH's solicitor plus horrible judge who clearly didn't like having to deal with a real person - and a woman at that.

Whatever you beg steal or borrow you MUST have a solicitor - you really will reap the benefits

MrsC1969HJ Tue 17-Jun-14 17:47:42

Twitterqueen..thank you for posting. I hear you but the money simply isn't there, I am on income support and simply do not have it, that's the end of it, I have no choice unfortunately. The solicitor I did have briefly (paid for by my brother to the tune of several thousand pounds) would not entertain court at all, but I couldn't continue to sit in week after week of mediation sessions with somebody who refused to mediate. I just want to get on with my life, get my divorce and move on. On the plus side, my thick as two short planks husband is also self-repping it seems. It's should be a simple enough case...*famous last words*....!

MrsC1969HJ Tue 17-Jun-14 17:48:40

It....embarrassing typo after slagging off husband's intelligence!!! :-O

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