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Solicitor's 'styles'

(56 Posts)
LouP19 Sat 17-Nov-12 20:56:51

My H left with no warning on 1st August. Since discovered he'd been having an affair and at that point the OW was 5 months pregnant. Five days after he left I discovered I am too also pregnant. OW does not know I am pregnant and he plans on keeping this a secret as long as he can. His behaviour since he left has been nothing short of cruel and cowardly - no acknowledgement of my pregnancy or the huge amount of distress he has put me under. We had been trying to conceive for 3 years,......

Anyway, his solicitor is sending short, terse letters more or less pressuring me into divorcing him asap on the grounds of his adultery. He wants me to 'go' quietly and quickly. The letters make no reference to my pregnancy or acknowledgement of his abandonment of me.

I'm receiving legal aid. My solicitor's letters are completely different to his. Where his solicitor writes one sided letters, mine will write 3 sides. I feel where one sentence will do, she will write 4. I have subtley changed a couple of her letters and we discussed this with her on Friday. She said she is not prepared to write in the style of his solicitor. As I'm receiving legal aid and she has signed up to some Family Law Ethics (can't remember the specifics) she believes her tone must always be reconcilitary to look like she's trying to resolve the issues rather than create more. She also raised the issue of costs and said it wasn't in my interest to make my situation any more difficult that it is at present.

I'm already in a vulnerable position - low wage earner, pregnant,... my H has shown no compassion, remorse or understanding of what he has done. I feel I need someone who will fight my corner, not someone who's going to write war and peace in response to his solicitor's demands, but who's ultimate aim appears to be to keep costs to a minimum.

Is this common (i.e. a clash in solicitor style?). Shall I trust her that she knows what she's doing?

Thanks

RoseWei Sat 17-Nov-12 22:15:39

Oh, so sorry to hear all this, Lou. What a tough time you're having.

On the face of it, your solicitor's approach is better - I've been at the receiving end of sharp missives from a solicitor in the past and it was awful - made a bad situation considerably worse. She's right in that conciliation is so much better - better law, better behaviour, than aggression.

But, obviously, if there'll be costs for you, long letters are hopeless unless they are actually achieving anything. Try to talk frankly with your solicitor about this. And find out as much as you can about your position re costs.

You should in no way feel under any pressure to do anything you don't want to do or are hesitant about doing - and certainly don't let a solicitor push you. I hope that your solicitor is telling him that plying pressure like this is unethical, to say the very least.

What do you want to do? Do you have other kids? Have you support round about you? Do you think that the OW should know that you - her lover's wife - is pregnant? Has he also kept it secret from his solicitor - no doubt your solicitor does write about it which suggests that OW doesn't know what's going on at all.

If your solicitor is a member of Resolution - the family law organisation -
[www.resolution.org.uk/]] - then they have a code of conduct. If you are worried - and she is a member - you could do worse than speak to them.

Your H is behaving like a complete shit - and it sounds as though his solicitor, instead of getting his client to grow up, is fueling things.

You and your solicitor need a strategy based on what you want - divorce later down the line/possibility of reconciliation/separation for the time being/any other number of possibilities.

Good luck - you're not alone and you and baby will get through this.

RoseWei Sat 17-Nov-12 22:18:02

sorry - link is:

www.resolution.org.uk/

Xenia Sat 17-Nov-12 22:20:16

Your solicitor's approach is much much better than his. It will get you a lot further.
Why not tell the other woman you are pregnant? That might be fun.
Clients often want solicitors to write very forceful nasty letters and often that is not the best way to do it.
Do not be rushed into this. In fact it may be in your interests to delay things so your baby is born whilst you are still married and his is born out of wedlock.

Do you own a house together and have you other children?

MrsMelon Sat 17-Nov-12 22:56:14

Lou, I have read many of your previous posts and was wondering how you were and what you had decided about the baby.

Xenia is right regarding staying married till the baby is born, you won't need him to be present or give permission for his name to be on birth certificate.

STIDW Sun 18-Nov-12 00:05:19

Good solicitors write letters which are reasonable so their client isn't prejudiced later on if the case goes to court. Aggression and hostility in correspondence might affect the outcome, in particular a costs order against you.

Collaborate Sun 18-Nov-12 01:42:35

You really need a settlement that is not only in your best financial interest but also is negotiated in an atmosphere that isn't fuelled by antagonistic correspondence between solicitors. Look on the resolution website - it contains a lot of useful information.

This is the guide to good practice [http://www.resolution.org.uk/site_content_files/files/guides_to_good_practice_2012_lo_res_merged.pdf]]

Look in particular at the section on correspondence. I hope you'll then understand why your solicitor is acting like she is. If after reading it you still don't subscribe to the notion that it is better not to be confrontational in these types of situations, it's a shame, as whenever I encounter inflammatory correspondence it invariably results in it taking longer to reach a settlement, and it also being more expensive.

I have to mention as well legal aid. It pays incredibly poor rates, so you'll appreciate that your solicitor should be doing whatever she can to achieve a particular end point, whatever that might be. She shouldn't be getting involved in personal squabbles, and to act as she is does not mean that she's not giving you best advice and standing up for you when appropriate.

MOSagain Sun 18-Nov-12 07:33:10

I agree with other posters, your solicitors tone is far preferable that than of your H's solicitor. Also, if she is a member of Resolution, she has to write letters in that tone.

I would question whether your H's solicitor is aware of your pregnancy? Surely your solicitor will have mentioned this?

If you do not feel ready to issue proceedings then do not be bullied into it. Do you have support in RL?

RedHelenB Sun 18-Nov-12 08:22:19

I made sure I delayed my divorce so our planned third baby knew they were wanted, father on birth cert etc. It also gave me leverage in financial negotiations because OW was scared stiff he would have a change of heart & they got married as soon as the ink on our divorce papers was dry!!

As to solicitors, I chose the male down to earth one as opposed to the female more sympathetic one because I felt he would get things done & would tell me things from ex's viewpoint so I had a realistic idea of what I could expect financially.

BTW, your ex's solicitor cannot bully you - you do what you want.

LouP19 Sun 18-Nov-12 09:49:16

Thank you very much, I feel considerably reassured this morning after reading your posts. smile

My husband has never disclosed where he is living. We traced him about 6 weeks ago via a PI, so I know the address, I know the name of the woman, I know their phone number!! It has of course been incredibly tempting to go round there and let her know the full story, but I have been advised to keep quiet, certainly until my baby is born (mid March). She is due mid December. So yes my H stayed at home, carried on living a 'normal' life (trying to conceive with me) when he knew SHE was pregnant. Since he left he has sent me a number of cards and text messages claiming he loves me, wants to be with me and he is so so sorry. So I have large amounts of ammunition that the OW has no idea about at present. These messages and cards clash considerably with the style of his solicitor's letters, which push for a divorce asap.

Anyway, I digress. I have said I will file for divorce in the new year, but am not going to be pressured to do anything on his terms. He told OW we were already separated and already in the process of getting divorce (!!) hence his urgency to get shot of me quickly. He has admitted to me he is only doing it to save his skin.

Horrible, horrible man.

Thank you again. I just hate receiving his solicitor's letters that are so brutal, make no reference to either pregnancy, no reference to what he's done, no reference to the distress it's caused. I would've have thought his solicitor would at least have advised him to acknowledge in some way what he has done,.... even if it only means I comply more readily with his demands for a quick divorce.

Have a lovely Sunday, any further advice welcome!

Xenia Sun 18-Nov-12 09:54:52

Lou, you are well rid of him.
I think his lawyer will just be doing his job. In fact since the 1970s we have had no fault divorce in the UK which is actually a good thing as it means it doesn't really matter who did what that does not affect contact with children and money.

Are we sure his lover is having his baby rather than someone else's?

I don't see why you cannot tell his lover you are pregnant. It will be your child's half sibling and she might then want to throw the father out before the baby is born next month. You may be able to find her on facebook or a work website if you want to email her personally not send a letter to the house which may be intercepted by your husband. He might have told her it isn't his child I suppose. If a baby is born whilst you are still married it is assumed to be the child of the father unless proved otherwise.

Collaborate Sun 18-Nov-12 10:02:27

Unfortunately we only have no fault divorce if you're prepared to wait 2 years and then only if you both agree.

Fortunately judges know that it's abominable to demand that the first a couple do on divorcing is slag each other off in a divorce petition so you can get divorced these days on very mild allegations.

Also, OP will be divorcing on adultery (if she chooses to go down that route) and I couldn't imagine a less contentious basis of a divorce petition in her case.

LouP19 Sun 18-Nov-12 17:01:50

Thanks, I know I am very well rid of him, his level of deceit has been astonishing. We were undergoing treatment at the fertility clinic, so this was a much wanted pregnancy and there can be no denying of his paternity. Why on earth he stayed with me when he knew she was pregnant I have NO idea,....

I feel torn between wanting to progress with my pregnancy without anymore stresses (I am amazed I haven't miscarried), and wanting to divorce him and get a financial settlement under my belt as soon as possible. I know whenever I do it it's going to be very difficult, but I've had so much to contend over the last few months (first discovering he'd moved out whilst I was at work, then discovering I was pregnant, then he confessed he'd had an affair, then he told me OW was pregnant),... that I just feel I need a quiet winter and Christmas.

Thank you again.

struwelpeter Sun 18-Nov-12 18:08:07

In a situation when my ex had obviously not told his solicitor the half of it regarding convictions and fact of ow rather than one relationship after another as well as a miscarriage, my resolution solicitor simply mentioned the pertinent facts in a letter to his sol. He was on legal aid and weirdly went on to self rep afterwards, so not sure what happened. But I guess solicitors hope/expect clients to be honest with them and may take a view if they are not?

Xenia Sun 18-Nov-12 18:54:13

Collaborate as I think you know the only ground for divorce is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down - that is our no fault divorce and who is to blame makes no difference to child arrangements or money (unless someone is a danger to a child). you can prove that break down through unreasonable behaviour but just about anyone in the UK can write how their marriage has that within it - he did not like my mother, he was often rude to me - dead easy. In this case he has got another woman pregnant so you could either say he committed adultery or that he did unreasonable behaviour but the ground is no fault - marriage irretrievably broken down.

You could certainly get your lawyer to mention the baby if they have not already done because that is likely to have an effect on money. Not everyone takes 2 weeks leave from full time work for a baby as I do . Usually having a baby means a loss of some income

avenueone Sun 18-Nov-12 22:52:38

Putting the law to one side for a moment I think you would feel better about things if everything is out in the open i.e. OW knows you are pregnant - I would tell her.
From a legal stance if you are still married your ex will have parental responsibility rights and given how things have been/are do you want this? if you are not married when the child is born he would only go on the birth cert. if he goes with you to register the birth.
I think it would be easier going through divorce proceedings now rather than when you have a young baby to possibly look after alone and legal aid stops for these cases (unless there is DV) in April next year which may or may not make a difference to you?

MOSagain Mon 19-Nov-12 12:52:35

Yes, there is one ground for divorce, that the marriage has irretrivably broken down. However, it has to be backed up by one of five facts, the first two of which one party will be at fault, they will have committed adultery or behaved unreasonably. Even though one party may be at fault it rarely has an effect on the finances or children issues, only in very rare situations.

LouP19 Mon 19-Nov-12 15:29:14

Thank you again for your help.

Everyone I know who hasn't been through a divorce can't believe why I haven't been straight round to their address to let OW know the full story. They've all said she will want to know and I should expose my H for the liar he is.

However, many people who have been through something similar have told me to bide my time. I have no interest in naming her at the co-respondant - she is welcome to him. But I would like some justice in exposing the true situation,... i.e. telling her that I'm pregnant. That myself and my H had been attending fertility clinic appointments and had a 'good' marriage in the latter few months when he was claiming we were separated and filing for divorce. If I were her I would want to know. I am very angry and upset that he is living a lie in order to basically provide a roof over his head.

Do others on here agree it's sensible to keep quiet for now? I keep reminding myself it is in my best interests to do this!

RedHelenB Mon 19-Nov-12 16:01:56

I named the OW despite the solicitor advising me not to.

Waspie Mon 19-Nov-12 16:04:48

I'm not a solicitor so speak with no expertise at all but I think that Xenia makes a good point about loss of income while your baby is small. Do you work LouP19? (you mention getting legal aid)

If you do work and are taking maternity leave what are the terms your employer offers? Does it match your income?

Presumably your solicitor will want to make an application for spousal maintenance, at least while you are not working, as well as child support for the baby.

I can understand that your ex's solicitors letters are upsetting because they are so brusque and unemotional but I think you need to try and ignore the style and concentrate on getting what you want/need from your divorce rather than feel pressured into doing something by your ex purely to be rid of him and his solicitor.

Personally I'd wait until after the decree absolute and the financial settlement has been agreed before you tell the OW anything.

I think I read your thread - is your ex the man who took the chutney and pickles? shock Very best wishes for you and your baby.

Lou, as long as Chunt is living with OW and has a secure roof over his head (and not paying rent) he has no excuse for not providing you with the best possible financial settlement. If OW discovers the full extent of his deceitfulness before the financials are sorted, she might chuck him out and start claiming for maintenance for her own child. This would mean he would have much less left over in the pot for you and your baby.

LouP19 Mon 19-Nov-12 20:35:54

Yes, he is pickle man. The one who moved out all his belongings whilst at I was work, under the pretence of having a day off to 'paint the fence'.

I do work, but only part time. I'm entitled to 6 months on full pay, which is what I will take, then I will return to work. I'm aware I will need to increase my income at some point, but I do not want to be stressing about doing this in the first year or so (clearly got a lot on my plate at the moment and I enjoy my job and have a very good support network there).

I agree about waiting re: OW. It is so tempting, but I also realise it is in my interests for her to continue to provide a roof over his head for the next few months whilst we get divorced.

Xenia Tue 20-Nov-12 07:45:43

Good point from Lapsed, that the OW may find out and then throw the man out and he then has to pay rent somewhere so has very little money left to support both is children...One is assuming he will not be pushing for the babies both to live with him!

olgaga Tue 20-Nov-12 10:12:04

Hello Lou, sorry to hear you are still having doubts about your solicitor. I know you were concerned about the standard of the work and the number of errors in the draft letters in the early days. I think those are more important than her style to be honest. Your solicitor's style is bound to be different to his in the circumstances. His wants a quick fix as cheaply as possible, whereas yours needs a pretty comprehensive agreement given the circumstances you have been left in.

However, if your concerns remain about the standard of your solicitor's work, and not just their style, then yes I would be concerned. There is a lot riding on this from your point of view, and it may be that you would be better off shopping around non-legal aid solicitors if you can afford it, and view it as money well spent - an investment for your future.

I don't think there is any point pushing for a quick settlement, there's no rush from your point of view.

Even if you were to petition on the grounds of adultery now, it still takes months unless your ex is prepared in return to agree to a generous "clean break" financial settlement which would involve you getting a larger share of the assets to deal with your housing needs and reduced mortgage capacity.

Your ex's new partner will find out about the baby soon enough. He'll probably wait to tell her after their baby arrives - but are you sure she doesn't already know?

I would think your solicitor is trying to achieve a financial settlement without resorting to an order, as his circumstances and outgoings in relation to dependent children will be taken into account if that's where it ends up.

Really I suppose the thing that bothers me most of all is that you obviously find it hard to communicate with your solicitor - otherwise you wouldn't be posting here.

That alone would make me want to shop around.

Springhasarrived Sat 24-Nov-12 05:40:15

Hi Lou. I dont think I have ever posted on one of your threads before but I have followed your story. You have been amazing.

I am in exactly the same situation as you regarding solicitors and their styles. His solicitors letters are unbelievably rude and aggressive and also short! Shockingly he is also a member of Resolution. He also refuses to acknowledge the major issue in my situation of a convicted assault just in the same way your pregnancy is being ignored. He also refuses to use my new name despite my having sent him a copy of my deed poll, and my new name being on all other documents like valuations etc.

At the first financial hearing I saw this nasty little man for the first time. I have now privately named him Peter Petigrew from Harry Potter - you will get the drift if you know the series! He refused to make eye contact with me, which I thought was very telling.

My own solicitor, who is very good and whom I trust has said to me we will not sink to his level with the tone of our letters etc.

To cheer myself up over it, I tell myself I will complain to Resolution when this is all over. I probably wont but it helps!

You have my total sympathy over it all.

olgaga Sat 24-Nov-12 14:01:47

Spring yes, I have to say, my experience of "Resolution" and "Collaborative" lawyers is that they're not all they're cracked up to be. Say one thing and do another just about sums it up.

I suppose at the end of the day, who pays the piper calls the tune - whether the lawyer in question is a member of a fancy-sounding professional organisation or not.

Word of mouth is absolutely the best way to find a good local family lawyer.

LouP19 Sat 24-Nov-12 16:38:20

Thanks for your advice.

His solicitor is continuing to send the most ridiculous letters. I've now had one that claims to declare his finances. Included are 3 bank statements from April, May, and June. My H left on 1st August. I'm staggered that his solicitor thinks this is acceptable (she is the Head of Family Law at a local firm FFS).

We know who he is living with and where. I traced him through a PI recommended via my solicitor. I have no intention of using this information, although I know many would've done in my circumstances (she is also pregnant and has no idea I am!). However, he still has not admitted he is cohabiting with her even though we have proof he is. Surely he needs to do this, and declare jointly with her?

There is still no mention of my pregnancy, despite repeated references from my solicitor. We have asked him twice what his intentions are re: his involvement with the child.

The cherry on the cake is there is also some ridiculous statement about how H plans to collect the TV and the computer from the home in the New Year. Cue big statement about how he bought the television last year and he really needs it,.... blah blah.

How can his solicitor let him get away with sending an inaccurate financial declaration, still not acknowledge the blindingly obvious (i.e. I'm pregnant and his commitment therein) and then go off on one about a 42" Panasonic?!! I cannot believe that a senior solicitor is not pulling him up smart on any of this. sad I feel his solicitor is letting him get away with covering his tracks,...... it's outrageous.

Obviously, I'm going to discuss all this with my solicitor next week. However, I would appreciate some advice from you lovely legal eagles please. Is it a case of 'if a client pays, we'll represent'?

olgaga Sat 24-Nov-12 19:56:44

Is it a case of 'if a client pays, we'll represent'?

Lou, as you know I am not a lawyer. But yes that's the case. Just ignore the stuff about the goods - it's irrelevant. You need to remember, solicitors aren't counsellors, or social workers. They like nothing better than clients who pursue "principles" because that's where the money is.

What's relevant here is that he can't have a divorce without a financial settlement when children are involved. The longer this goes on, and your child has arrived, the better your bargaining position will be.

Your solicitor needs to be saying, to his solicitor, straight and to the point, what are their client's proposals for the division of assets - ie house, pension, savings, and what are the proposals relating to spousal maintenance. This has to be negotiated. Usually a larger share of the assets is achieved on the basis that you will not claim spousal maintenance. Child maintenance is not part of the equation - it's separate, and the calculation, based on his salary, will be governed by regulation.

Until you get answers to those key questions, ignore everything else. The computer and 42" Panasonic are worth less than £500 so won't even figure in the Form E declarations of assets. Ignore it. Instruct your solicitor to do so, and to pursue the relevant issues I have mentioned above. By the sound of it you will need to pursue a Financial Order.

It's not his solicitor's job to "pull him up" on anything. He instructs his solicitor. That's what he's paying for. That's how it works.

You instruct your solicitor to do what you want, which is at this stage to put forward your proposals for a financial settlement and arrangements for your child which you can both agree. That will not include the kind of possessions he's claiming.

His solicitor knows that, but they have to do what their client instructs. Yes it's complete bullshit, but that's how it is.

Did you ever read through the long post I provided on previous threads? Here's the updated version. I know it's hard, but you do need to get a grip on this so that you don't worry about things you have no need to worry about - such as you TV and computer. Frankly that's the least of your worries - or indeed his.

Relationship Breakdown and Divorce – Advice and Links (V4 Nov 2012)

It is useful if you can get to grips with the language of family law and procedure, and get an understanding of your rights, BEFORE you see a solicitor. If you are well prepared you will save time and money.

Children

The welfare, needs and interests of children are paramount. Parents have responsibilities, not rights, in this regard. Shared residence means both parties having an equal interest in the upbringing of the children. It does not mean equal (50/50) parenting time - children are not possessions to be “fairly” divided between separating parents.

A divorce will not be granted where children are involved unless there are agreed arrangements for finance, and care of the children (“Statement of Arrangements for Children”). It is obviously quicker and cheaper if this can be agreed but if there is no agreement, the Court will make an Order - “Residence and Contact” regarding children, “Financial Order” or “Ancillary Relief” in the case of Finance. Information and links to these can be found in the Directgov link below. Residence and Contact Orders are likely to be renamed Child Arrangements Orders in future.

Always see a specialist family lawyer!

Get word of mouth recommendations for family lawyers in your area if possible. If you have children at school, ask mums you are friendly with if they know of anyone who can make a recommendation in your area. These days there are few people who don’t know of anyone who has been through a divorce or separation – there’s a lot of knowledge and support out there!

Many family lawyers will offer the first half hour consultation free. Make use of this. Don’t just stick with the first lawyer you find – shop around and find someone you feel comfortable with. You may be in for a long haul, so it helps if you can find a solicitor you’re happy with.

If you can’t find any local recommendations, always see a solicitor who specialises in Family Law.
If you take legal action to protect yourself or your family from domestic violence, you may qualify for legal aid without having to meet the normal financial conditions. The income of an abusive partner will not be taken into account when deciding whether you qualify for legal aid.
You can also find out about Legal Aid and get advice on the Community Legal Advice Helpline on 08345 345 4 345
https://www.gov.uk/community-legal-advice
Or search in your area for Community Legal Advisors:
legaladviserfinder.justice.gov.uk/AdviserSearch.do
Here is the Gov.uk guide to divorce which includes a link to CAB advice at the foot of the first page:
https://www.gov.uk/divorce

Rights of Women have a helpline on 020 7251 6577 and helpful advice on their website.
www.rightsofwomen.org.uk/adviceline.php

Co-operative Legal Services offer DIY/Self-Help Divorce packages, as well as a Managed Divorce service. Their fee structure is more transparent and they have a telephone advice line as well as offering really good advice on their website:
www.co-operative.coop/legalservices/family-and-relationships/

You can read advice and search by area for a family lawyer here:
www.resolution.org.uk/

and here:
www.divorceaid.co.uk/

Some family law solicitors publish online feedback from clients – Google solicitors to see if you can find any recommendations or feedback.

Mediation

You will be encouraged to attend mediation. This can help by encouraging discussion about arrangements for children and finance in a structured way in a neutral setting. However, it only works if both parties are willing to reach agreement.

If there has been violence or emotional abuse, discuss this with your solicitor first. Always get legal advice, or at the very least make sure you are aware of your legal rights, before you begin mediation. This is important because while a Mediator should have knowledge of family law, and will often explain family law, they are not there to give tailored legal advice to either party - so it’s important to have that first.

You can find a Mediator here:
www.familymediationhelpline.co.uk/find-service.php

Married or Living Together?

This is a key question, because if you are married, generally speaking you have greater protection when a relationship breaks down.

Legal Issues around marriage/cohabitation and relationship breakdown are explained here:
www.adviceguide.org.uk/england/relationships_e/relationships_living_together_marriage_and_civil_partnership_e/living_together_and_marriage_legal_differences.htm#Ending_a_relationship

www.advicenow.org.uk/living-together/

Gov.uk advice on divorce, separation and relationship breakdown:
https://www.gov.uk/browse/births-deaths-marriages/marriage-divorce

Issues around contact are further explored here:
https://www.gov.uk/parental-rights-responsibilities
www.rightsofwomen.org.uk/legal.php#children_relationship_breakdown
www.maypole.org.uk/
www.cafcass.gov.uk/media/2909/TimeforChildren.pdf

I found these guides from law firms quite informative and easy to read – there are others of course:
www.family-lawfirm.co.uk/uploaded/documents/Surviving-Family-Conflict-and-Divorce---2nd-edition.pdf

www.terry.co.uk/hindex.html

Finance

Before you see a family law solicitor, get hold of every single piece of financial information you have access to, and take copies or make notes. Wage slips, P60s, tax returns, employment contracts, pensions and other statements – savings, current account and mortgages, deeds, rental leases, utility bills, council tax bills, credit statements. Are there joint assets such as a home, pensions, savings, shares?
There is a useful divorce and separation calculator here:
https://www.gov.uk/money-property-when-relationship-ends

If you cannot access financial information, or you are aware that assets are being hidden from you, then obviously you will not be able to reach agreement on finances. Again you will be encouraged to go to mediation (link as above).

If there are children, as you cannot divorce without adequate arrangements being agreed on finance and children, you will have to apply for a financial order anyway.
If there are no children, and you are unable to agree on finances, you will also have to apply for a financial order.
During this process, parties have to declare financial information going back 12 months. So it is in your interests to act quickly once you have made the decision to divorce.

If you are married, the main considerations of the Family Courts where parties are unable to agree a settlement are (in no particular order of priority):

1.The welfare of any minor children from the marriage.
2.The value of jointly and individually owned property and other assets and the financial needs, obligation and responsibilities of each party.
3.Any debts or liabilities of the parties.
4.Pension arrangements for each of the parties, including future pension values and any value to each of the parties of any benefit they may lose as a result of the divorce.
5.The earnings and earning potential of each of the parties.
6.Standard of living enjoyed during the marriage.
7.The age of the parties and duration of the marriage.
8.Any physical or mental disability of either of the parties.
9.Contributions that each party may have made to the marriage, either financially or by looking after the house and/or caring for the family.

CSA maintenance calculator:
www.csacalculator.dsdni.gov.uk/calc.asp

Handy tax credits calculator:
www.hmrc.gov.uk/taxcredits/payments-entitlement/entitlement/question-how-much.htm#7

Handy 5 Minute benefit check, tax and housing benefit calculators:
www.moneysavingexpert.com/family/

CAB Benefits Check:
www.citizensadvice.co.uk/getadvice/benefit-calculator/A2B-Benefit-Calculator/#730

Parenting issues:
www.familylives.org.uk
www.theparentconnection.org.uk

Other Support – Children, Housing, Domestic Violence
www.womensaid.org.uk/ and refuge.org.uk/ - Helpline 0808 2000 247
www.ncdv.org.uk/ - Helpline 0844 8044 999
www.gingerbread.org.uk/ - Helpline 0808 802 0925
Housing www.england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/families_and_relationships/relationship_breakdown
(Note that on many advice websites there is usually an appropriate link for England, Wales and Scotland where the law, advice and contact information may differ).
Sometimes links change or break – if there is a problem or any of the above needs updating, please let me know.

LouP19 Sun 25-Nov-12 11:14:58

Thanks Olgaga. Thoroughly depressing that his solicitor is only really doing her job,....... really, it is.

On the one hand I'm being threatened by a 'If you don't file for divorce by,.... then my client will'. At the same time as being supplied with completely inaccurate financial details (his pension information is also incorrect), not acknowledging my pregnancy, and not acknowledging his living circumstances. So he's making threats, when in actual fact it is him who, by being completely dishonest, is slowing the process down.

It's abundently transparent.

olgaga Mon 26-Nov-12 10:45:10

Well that's an empty threat if ever I heard one! Pointless and stupid. Your solicitor simply needs to say you will file for divorce as soon as transparency is achieved with regard to finances, and adequate housing and financial provision can be agreed in order to achieve a clean break settlement.

If he wants a quick divorce he needs to pull his finger out and start making reasonable offers. Ignore anything else.

When is your baby due?

olgaga Mon 26-Nov-12 11:09:09

I would add, you have read the "Runaway Husbands" stuff. Unfortunately there are men who would rather pay thousands of pounds to a legal representative rather than give it over to their ex and children. Sad but true.

You are not dealing with the man you loved, the one you were married to and tried for so long to conceive with. You are now dealing with a stranger.

Depressing, yes. My friend is still having to battle through to a final (third) hearing of a financial dispute with an ex who walked out on her and her three children 18 months ago to set up home with a friend of theirs. He has spent about a third of their savings already in the process. Nothing will convince him he is being completely irrational and deeply unfair.

The only thing which can explain this hatred (that's the only word for it) is the refusal to simply roll over and accept being erased from his life.

You refused to have the termination which he wanted. My friend, while she is over the shock and relieved now to have been replaced as a wife, refuses to allow her ex to simply take their children and replace her as their child's mother, and has insisted that she should remain their main carer, as she always was.

So you and my friend have something in common - you have both refused to simply accede to your exH's plans for his new life. Cue displays of selfishness, disrespect and vitriol you never imagined they were capable of.

I only hope your case can be resolved more quickly and civilly than hers.

Hi OP,

Firstly I want to say how sorry I am that you are going through this.

I don't usually post on these type of threads, but as it is to do with a solicitor's style, perhaps I have something to say which is of relevance.

I am an in house solicitor, and always favour the polite, no nonsense approach. I have an eye on costs and don't like longwinded waffle.

I recently went through a dispute with my former employer. Basically my boss was a totally unreasonable bastard, and I walked out. I wanted a modest settlement (I asked for an amount that equated to less than 3 months pay (albeit without tax)). He sent the claim to incredibly expensive London solicitors who sent me letter after letter. I got 4 on one day!!! They were extremely threatening in tone. I knew that I had a strong case, and tried to ignore the more ridiculous aspects of what they were saying.

When I spoke to them on the phone in without prejudice conversations, they were totally normal human beings. One said to me, "You make a very strong case....your the amount you are claiming sounds reasonable". Eventually they settled for about 15% less than I was asking. I was very pleased with the result.

Try and ignore the style and focus on what you want out of this desperate situation. Try and get into the driving seat. And get your solicitor on side. Her style sounds reasonable, but you may need to lay down the law on costs. I was fortunate that I handled my case myself....but I did speak to other lawyers who would have handled things very differently. I suspect I would have won more money, but that it would have been more than cancelled out by the costs I would have incurred. I also needed a quick settlement - which is different from what you need.

Good luck.

Chubfuddler Mon 26-Nov-12 12:34:40

Don't divorce him until the baby is born. If your baby is born while you are still married you can register him as the father. CSA is then a piece of cake. If you're already divorced you will need him to register the birth with you. He may refuse. He may even be cunt enough to demand a DNA test. All this will take time and money and delay your CSA application.

If his agenda is for a quick divorce, why on earth would you play along? Don't be rushed. You need full financial disclosure from him. Just because he wants to spend money on writing solicitors letters it doesn't mean your sol has to answer them. Instruct her not to respond to chasing letters or phone calls. The only thing she is to respond to is a fully documented form E.

Collaborate Mon 26-Nov-12 13:15:00

You should be aware that it is easy for anyone to get a divorce these days based on unreasonable behaviour. You don't need strong allegations of behaviour. It may well be that your H will issue his own divorce petition. Don't construe it as a threat. That's what he's telling them he will do so it's only fair that they pass it on to you. It's what dialogue is about - although unfortunately they don't seem to be entering into dialogue with you over the issues you want to confront.

Chubfuddler Mon 26-Nov-12 13:18:44

Would the court grant a divorce if she opposed it on basis that she is pregnant?

Collaborate Mon 26-Nov-12 13:49:04

That's no defence.

olgaga Mon 26-Nov-12 15:32:12

Presumably what's happening here is that your solicitor is trying to drag it out as long as possible so that you have given birth before a decree absolute can be issued. His solicitor is trying to get it done as soon as possible because that would be in your ex's interests.

However, if I remember rightly, from your other threads, your baby is due in mid-February. Even the most straightforward divorce is going to take at least 4 months because of the enforced 6 week wait between the nisi and absolute.

This is a horrible time for you to be enduring this heartless treatment, but unfortunately it's not really up to his solicitor to try to persuade your ex do the decent thing - unless it could harm his case. I'm afraid his conduct needs to be on another level entirely for that to happen. It is a very impersonal process, dealing with a highly personal matter.

Anyway, even if he did Petition for divorce tomorrow on the grounds that you ate all his favourite chutney, and the nisi was miraculously granted in double-quick time, your solicitor could make an application to the court to delay the issue of the decree absolute on the basis that there are are "special circumstances" to delay the issue of the decree absolute before financial matters can be agreed.

Pregnancy is not a "defence", but I would be rather surprised if it did not count as a "special circumstance". Depending where you are in the country, you could delay proceedings by another month simply by making the application.

So I'm sure you won't be disadvantaged even if he does petition for divorce sooner rather than later.

The matter of why he is treating you like this is sadly not something anyone can really do anything about - least of all a solicitor.

Collaborate Mon 26-Nov-12 15:44:18

The only way in which divorce could be delayed in a non-separation petition is if the court is unable to pronounce satisfaction in relation to the arrangements for the children.

olgaga Mon 26-Nov-12 17:51:55

"There is one other matter which needs to be mentioned. Sometimes one of the parties to the divorce asks that the other side does not apply for decree nisi to be made absolute until financial matters have been settled. This is not always appropriate and there have to be particular circumstances present to justify it. All the same, those circumstances are not uncommon and if they exist a court would agree not to entertain an application for decree absolute until financial matters have been settled. Where this applies it can significantly delay the time it takes to obtain decree absolute."

From here.

Heroine Mon 26-Nov-12 18:03:06

1. All the advice about divorce suggests be sensible and split fairly
2. Adversarial divorces rarely (if ever) make any sense.
3. But solicitors will make much more money from adversarial divorces - that is why 1 and 2 apply so acutely.

If his solicitor (or he) is being an arse, that is his lookout. Don;t be drawn in, but do point out that he will be paying you to take on the new child and he is better being sensible and having some money to pay you than giving all the money to his solicitor and then having to pay out of earnings.

Get yours to suggest a fair and equitable settlement based on need and make it very clear that if an adversarial unfair approach is taken you will seek 100% of costs from his half of the deal.

If the style is short, but there are no real threats just assume that his solicitor is unskilled.

The fact is, if it does go to court, they will side with the most reasonable problem solving letters.

Heroine Mon 26-Nov-12 18:06:27

The which guide to divorce is great. Also get a good intelligent friend to read it and help with tactics - you will be emotionally invested to the max, which might allow you to make the wrong decisions (for the right reasons of course) but you need to be helped back from that.

That book suggest s that it doesn't really matter who petitions first.

Chubfuddler Mon 26-Nov-12 18:29:25

None of the family solicitors I know are the driving force behind protracted, bitter and petty child arrangements/ financial matters. Some clients manage to be bitter and petty all by themselves.

Whoever said you must regard your husband as a stranger was speaking the truth op.

LouP19 Mon 26-Nov-12 20:26:21

Thank you all. I have the Which guide to divorce.

My husband has admitted to me that he wants a quick divorce because OW doesn't yet know I'm pregnant. However, I'm due in mid-March, so we will not be divorced by then. I've had health problems associated with this pregnancy ever since my H walked out (on medication for anxiety not surprisingly), so we asked if he would give me until the New Year until I file given the huge shock I had when he moved out. He has agreed to do this, but threatened if I don't file by 31.1.13, he will. This will be when I'm 7/8 months pregnant. He has since, last week, sent me a grovelling email at work saying he's lost his one true love (i.e. me) and that he wants to turn the clock back. I'm afraid I am dealing with a true mental case - saying one thing, doing another, all the bloody time. He has admitted he needs a quick divorce merely to corroborate his bullshit story with the OW and to keep a roof over his head. His quote is 'I have nowhere else to go'. All this at the same time as not wanting to pressure me or put my health or his son's at risk.

It is unbelievable, if I were reading this in some crappy magazine I found in a Doctor's reception I wouldn't believe that people can lead lives like this.

Anyway, I digress, but my case is definitely not straightforward. But thank you all for your comments, I appreciate them. Divorce is going to be bad enough, but it's even harder when you'd doing it with someone who appears to be having some weird mental breakdown at the same point. And amongst all the hard facts and reality of it all, I'm carrying a baby that we tried to conceive for 3 years,............

Heroine Mon 26-Nov-12 20:34:10

I am proud! smile you already are hardening up a bit and trying to see through things. Irespective of his genuineness you have to view his emails about 'turning back the clock' as possible tactics to soften you up to not be so harsh as to make divorce difficult.

I learnt this from my parents - my dad was very tactical - pulling the emotional strings but in the background signing leases on new properties, moving funds away into other accounts, and having serious 'meetings' with relative of OW etc to discuss how to 'manage' my mum.

BTW you are not in a vulnerable position at all. In divorce, being low wage-earner, pregnant, female etc puts you in a very strong position. You will need maintainence, child costs, appropriate housing etc.

Undoubtedly that is why he is wanting to make the emotional appeals and sympathy so you don't tear his balls off financially as the cards seem to be pointing towards.

Having said that , if you are unahppy with your solicitor. Change them, don't agonise.

MerryChristMoose Mon 26-Nov-12 20:43:29

Can I just add, as a family law Solicitor, that we do get nightmare clients! Some clearly don't read what we've written and despite asking for full disclosure (12 months bank statements etc) we sometimes struggle to get it. His Solicitor might think he's an arse too smile

cumfy Tue 27-Nov-12 00:31:45

grovelling email at work saying he's lost his one true love (i.e. me) and that he wants to turn the clock back

So has OW given him the elbow ?

LouP19 Tue 27-Nov-12 08:49:41

No, other woman hasn't,.... yet. But from everything he has said and indicated the relationship isn't going to last. He told her we were living separate lives (that old chestnut) and were merely waiting for the right time 'financially' to move on with our lives. She is 39, divorced 2 years ago, with no children, and clearly felt her biological clock ticking very loudly and got pregnant 'accidently'. My H has also said to me, in writing (!!), that he doesn't believe her pregnancy is accidental. He has also confirmed that at the moment she is merely providing a roof over his head and he's 'completely trapped'.

The whole thing is a fucking mess. He really needs to go somewhere on his own for a few months, get counselling and sort his life out. Although I appreciate this isn't my problem. However, it is not going to be easy negotiating a divorce with someone who is doing it all through fear of dealing with the truth.

olgaga Tue 27-Nov-12 09:43:28

Oh dear Lou, I do feel for you. This should be a happy, stress-free time. The emails you are receiving show little regard for your well-being, but as we have explored on another thread it is par for the course for men who walk out like this. What a terrible business.

I wouldn't expect you to have any sympathy for the OW but I don't envy her either. She will soon give birth and then make the awful discovery that his situation is rather more complicated than she has been led to believe. I would hazard a guess that this is the reason why he now appears to be making some attempt to explore his options.

Heroine's advice, to choose a good, wise friend to help you talk through the process, is excellent. Someone who will provide tea and sympathy, but who can also be knowledgeable, objective, and strategic. It'll help to reduce your stress and maintain your confidence.

RedHelenB Tue 27-Nov-12 09:48:21

Lou - it is classic bull sh*t from a coward - he will be telling you one thing & her another. Personally I would start the divorce as you are more in control as you have said it won't be completed before baby is born. (This is what I did)

olgaga Tue 27-Nov-12 09:56:07

Yes I think I'd be inclined to start the process by January at the latest anyway, however you're feeling. The sooner the fundamentals (ie the finances) are sorted out, the better.

There's no good time to deal with a divorce, but I think it would probably be better to get most of the paperwork sorted before you have a newborn demanding your attention 24/7, and the sleep deprivation that goes with that.

LouP19 Tue 27-Nov-12 16:12:46

Thank you for your posts and advice. smile

I fully intend to file in the NY (bar any complications with the pregnancy), so at least I get the process well started before my due date. I also want to feel it was ME who divorced him. Having said that, I just don't want to be doing it in the run up to Christmas,.....just feel the last few months have been very difficult and I desperately want a quiet restful holiday period before I have to deal with it all.

As for OW, well, I'm torn between feeling sorry for her and hating her. I suppose that's normal. She clearly didn't get pregnant accidently, but on what information my H was telling her,....... well who knows. And she is going to have to find out the truth sooner rather than later.

olgaga Tue 27-Nov-12 16:30:02

the last few months have been very difficult and I desperately want a quiet restful holiday period before I have to deal with it all

Not much to ask really! Your priority has to be you and your baby.

LouP19 Fri 30-Nov-12 15:07:58

I've now had another 'draft' letter from my solicitor that makes several important omissions and misses some key points that were raised in my email to her (and also in his latest solicitor's letter to me).

My Mum and I are spending hours amending facts in each of these letters from her,........ angry She is not properly reading anything.

Time to start looking around for other solicitors, I am getting so annoyed by all this, it's the last thing I need.

alli1968 Fri 30-Nov-12 15:17:53

Lou
Is there a Head of Practice that you could speak to at the same firm. Its always awkward to go over someones head but maybe worth a thought?

am a from the beginning lurker with oodles of respect xx

LouP19 Fri 30-Nov-12 17:07:34

Can I get a free 30 mins elsewhere without my current solicitor being aware of this?

olgaga Fri 30-Nov-12 17:49:17

Yes you can Lou, you can go anywhere you like.

Have you asked around in case any of your friends know of a good family lawyer? If not, you might want to start your search on the Resolution website. There are plenty listed in your locality there who do LA too.

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