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Was IBU to go a see a solicitor without telling X first?

(17 Posts)
dragonstitcher Sun 20-Jul-08 17:56:14

I don't think so. I left X seven weeks ago and have been enjoying the freedom to do what I like when I like (within reason of course).

A couple of weeks ago we sat down and discussed the way forward. He asked if we could leave any divorce proceedings for two years. He also suggested that he carry on living in the house for the next five years, until the mortgage is paid and he retires, then in five years we sell the house and divide the equity 50/50. He also wanted us to go see a solicitor together to have this plan drawn up. I said there and then that I was happy to agree to all except seeing a solicitor together. We had agreed previously to seeing a mediator together.

On Monday, I went to a solicitor, alone. I explained all of the above. I also said that I think I would rather go ahead with divorce now on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour. The solictor was great, he understood everything I'd been through, not at all stuffy, he even made jokes about some of Xs expectations which helped me relax. He said that although I had very good grounds for unreasonable behaviour, in this economic climate I would actually be better off waiting the two years, and hope that the housing market improves.

The letter he sent X basically agreed to everything that he had suggested bar seeing a solicitor together. It said that I was prepared to wait 2 years before divorcing, that I am happy to arrange child contact between ourselves without involving the courts, and that he was referring us to a mediator to settle things amicably. There was nothing in there that went against what we discussed. I don't think that he had reason to be angry or upset over it.

Yesterday morning I got a phone call from X complaining that I had been to a solicitor! He thought that we were going to do everything together without involving solicitors. He did apologise and explained that he was shocked to have got the letter without any warning.

So, was I unreasonable to go to a solicitor without warning him? Because although I'm fairly sure I wasn't, X is very good at getting seeds of my self doubt planted in my head.

MamaG Sun 20-Jul-08 17:59:09


A solicitor wouldn't see both of you together anyway!

Silly arse

(am family lawyer, so know what I'm talking about!)

fuzzywuzzy Sun 20-Jul-08 18:01:19

No I think it's a good idea to have gone to a solicitor, just so everything you have agreed is written down without any rancour involved, I've seen far too many 'amicable' divorces ending up incredibly messy. It's best if both parties have legal representation.

Either way one solicitor cannot represent both of you unless I've got my wires very crossed.

Hecate Sun 20-Jul-08 18:02:24

No you weren't. Why does he want to keep you away from independant legal advice? hmmmmmmm?

MrsTiddles Sun 20-Jul-08 18:05:25


the thing is you will be doing a lot of things separately from now on and that fact is often hard for one or both people in the relationship (or rather coming out of it) to get used to

but its better legally I suspect, that you have separate solicitors anyway.

expatinscotland Sun 20-Jul-08 18:05:43

Where are you supposed to live whilst he's in the house until you sell it?

What about the division of pensions and any other assets that have been accrued or acquired during the years of marriage?

I think you are very wise to see a solicitor on your own and I would be extremely skeptical about why he is so het up about your seeking independent legal advice.


missingtheaction Sun 20-Jul-08 18:21:06

well, the only thing is that he probably thought you had agreed to seeing a solicitor together so this came to him out of the blue. Of course this would be impossible as MamaG points out, and you are well within your rights to have gone to one without telling him, BUT imho it would be better next time to forewarn him that you are doing something that he might not be expecting. If you had agreed not to see a solicitor alone but then got a letter from his in the post wouldn't you be a bit surprised and disconcerted?

It sounds as though you are working towards an amicable breakup, and if you can keep things that way it will save you bucketloads of stress and money so it's worth being triply cautious. Good luck

dragonstitcher Sun 20-Jul-08 18:34:51

Prior to the meeting with X I had told him that I hadn't given much thought to what I would do in the future, I was just living for now. I told him that I wasn't in a hurry to see a solicitor. He said that it was important that meet and discuss financial matters.

When we met and he said that we should see a solicitor together, I said that I thought that was a bad idea. I said that his proposal sounded good to me but that I would be seeking advice. I didn't actually say that I would be seeing a solicitor but I DID say that I would be getting professional advice. I certainly didn't agree to NOT see a solicitor.

He is very controlling and he is trying to keep hold of his control on me.

expatinscotland Sun 20-Jul-08 18:45:31

If he is controlling then I would continue to seek legal advice on your own.

Why does he want to wait two years to divorce, but he's in a tearing hurry to sort out the financial matters?

dragonstitcher Sun 20-Jul-08 18:51:42

Part of me says that I was wrong to spring the solicitors letter on him out of the blue, but I had said that I would be getting advice.

He wants to wait two years to divorce supposedly because it would be cheaper but I think that the real reason is because it would give him more time to persuade me to go back. I don't know why he is in a hurry to sort out the financial matters. I suppose he wants to make sure that he has somewhere to live and that I'm not going to turn around and want to move back in the house and force him to leave (as his second wife did). I left him covertly after he refused to leave and made it plain that he wouldn't let me leave either. I am renting a flat privately and don't really want to move back in the house (kids rooms are too small and house has bad memories for them).

expatinscotland Sun 20-Jul-08 18:58:26

I think you need to see past the fallout from the end of the relationship and get the best advice FOR YOU and your children financially.

So continue to see a solicitor on your own.

TinkerBellesMum Sun 20-Jul-08 19:10:59

The divorce won't be any cheaper if you wait. What makes it expensive is when it is contested and if you both want to do it, one sends it, the other signs it then you hear from the judge in x months with your Nissi and six weeks later with your Absolute.

The difference with now and two years is that to do it now you would say why the marriage broke up and if you wait you can do it on separation. In two years time he could be difficult and not sign so it would be as expensive as it would be now, waiting 5 years would mean you don't need his signature.

I don't know why anyone would wait for a separation divorce, it's not like what's written on the divorce papers are ever going to be seen by anyone.

jammi Sun 20-Jul-08 21:20:30

Message withdrawn

TinkerBellesMum Sun 20-Jul-08 21:39:00

OK,I should have said unless you show them to someone! My own divorce papers are quite nasty about me, but as I was on legal aid I couldn't do anything about it. My solicitor said "just sign, get him divorced, don't worry about it no one will ever see if you don't want them to". It was the last thing a nasty man could do, but it didn't matter.

Anyway, you can keep the divorce papers nice, they don't have to catalogue all the horrible things that could have happened. It can just say that you have drifted apart, rowing a lot etc.

daffodill6 Sun 20-Jul-08 21:59:14

Erm ... i do side with MTA. Not been in this situation .. but from what you have said there was room for interpretation. I will learn from your experience and in future ensure both parties have a similar understanding.

dragonstitcher Mon 21-Jul-08 10:05:50

I'm still torn on whether I did the right thing. I'm worried about my personality and actions in general lately.

I've been married to a mental/emotional abuser for ten years and have spent ten years walking on egg shells, trying to appease him, not always getting it right, not being sure whether I am right or wrong. I've felt in my heart that I was right about something but told differently. The result is I don't trust my gut feeling anymore. I don't know what is right to think or feel.

I thought that after leaving him this would change, but it seems that I still have to walk on those eggshells, I still have to try to appease him.

How long should this go on for? Until we are divorced? Until the children are grown up? Forever?

Also, I think that maybe deep down, without really thinking about it or planning it, maybe I wanted to hurt him. To make up for ten years of hurt.

Another question; What do MTA and Daffoldil think about an abused woman who had divorce papers arrive in the post for her husband out of the blue, before she even left him? (not me, someone I know.)

And is it wrong for an abused woman to want to punish her abuser?

TinkerBellesMum Mon 21-Jul-08 10:26:39

I can understand wanting to punish him, I was in a similar situation, but we'd only been together 5 years and married 15 months when I saw sense. Fortunately we didn't have children together either, I can't imagine being tied to him forever like that.

Did you post about him before?

I do think you should just go for it, you don't have to be nasty on the divorce papers, holding on to the marriage will be another form of control he has over you (my OH's wife is the same, they've been separated 6 years this year and she's held back on the divorce, refused to sign when he's sent papers. She is pregnant with Number 2 by new man, I'm pregnant with Number 2 by OH there is nothing for her to gain by keeping married to him) and you have no guarantee you will get him to sign in two years. You could spend a lot of money trying to divorce him just to have to wait until 5 years to do it again. Although you don't need a signature at 5 years, it's not as simple as that, you have to send it just like you would any time; if it's not signed, you have to have him served; if he doesn't sign it then you have to ask a judge to do it without his signature. It is a very expensive process (which is why my OH hasn't done it yet). You've been married for 10 years, another 2 years isn't going to change any legal position for you.

I don't blame your friend, BTW, if her husband is abusive then he may have tried to stop her from going.

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