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Divorce & Finance - arm & a leg?

(7 Posts)
bobs Sun 01-Sep-13 15:16:09

I've just read another thread there fees appear to costing 12K & 20K for DW & DH - and that is before even going to court - yikes!

I have just had a first meeting with my solicitor - he spent an hour explaining the process of divorce & finance. I tried to say that I had my assets all typed out and gave him a copy in the hope that we could discuss it with a view to taking his recommendations back to DH He wasn't interesed - obviously wanted to keep that for another meeting.

He then emailed me, saying simple "pls find PDF attached" - there was none. I emailed back and his secretary resent it - all there was was a child arrangement form! I realise this is important but DD is 16 (other DD is 19) and it is understood there will be no problems there in that she'll live with me - we didn't even touch on that at our meeting. I also asked twice for his fee list which he said he would send - he didn't.

Not a good start...

I don't know if anyone could advise, and I can't find anything similar on MN, but...

We have been married 20 yrs, own a house as tenants in common (I changed this from joint tenants yrs ago as he wouldn't make a will and he has previous DC) and although still in the same house have been separated for over 3 years.

I have all the "savings" in that I brought the capital from 2 trust funds into the marriage, inherited soon after we were first married, and am to inherit again when my Mum's estate is finalised. I have a small part time job (5K per yr) and have been a stay at home mum for most of our marriage. He has a good job and no savings other that his pension.

I have always kept my savings separate - in fact a lot of them are still in original form. However I paid off the mortgage on 2 houses we have lived in over the years from my inheritance. I can identify that I have paid for over 80% of the house we now live in as I have kept detailed accounts on a finance program on the computer

Even though the income from my savings has always been a lot lower than DH's, I have always paid way more than him on our family and house - he just thinks I should spend my capital rather than him putting his hand in his pocket. In fact I have always paid for absolutely everything for DC over the yrs - baby stuff, play school, swimming lessons etc. I didn't begrudge it then, but the question is, should he have access to my wealth now? I don't really want to touch his pension, but I do want to keep "what's mine"

I get the feeling this is going to cost **loads, so would be grateful for any insight from anyone and any tips

purplewithred Sun 01-Sep-13 15:33:21

I am not an expert and someone may come along with better information but..

1) I would tell solicitor to not consider himself engaged for your divorce until you have seen his fees list and agreed to it.
2) I would also look for another solicitor and take along your marital assets list etc and a specific question to be discussed in a preliminary 'chemistry' (ie do you and the solicitor have good chemistry) meeting
3) talk to family mediators and get their prices and advice too
4) Remember the bit in your vows where you said 'all that I have I share with you' or similar? As far as I understand it that means that the house, your savings, trust funds, who paid for what, debts are all jointly yours and your DHs irrespective of whose names are up front, and the assumption will be a 50:50 split of the marital assets as they currently exist. If you'd only been married for a couple of years and had no kids it might be different, but you have been married for 20 years and have 2 dcs who need to be provided for. Marriage is a communist state.

And finally, yes, if my divorce is anything to go by it will cost a lot anyway, but it will cost an awful lot more if you fight through solicitors for things that just aren't worth it or aren't fair.

bobs Sun 01-Sep-13 15:44:35

I do have another solicitor in mind if this one doesn't work out
Mediators start at 2K and I do know of a firm that offers this
The vows? We did registry office as DH has already been married so I don't think we said that bit smile I know what you mean but the kids will always come first with me - just not with him as demonstrated over the years - I know I will end up funding any weddings on my own for example - and I'll do it gladly!
It's just that I have read of cases where inherited assets/gifts are kept outside the marital pot and my solicitor confirmed this. I was hoping that someone on here might have experience of this

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 01-Sep-13 16:31:09

Hmm my fab solicitor went through in the first 1.5 hours
1. Mechanics of divorce and finances
2. All assets and potential division of these (very complicated 3 regular properties, 1 property held in joint SIPP, 2 business - assets close to 1 million)
3. Some child protection issues that I have had.
We're not done yet, but she expects her end bill to be just shy of £6,000 and ExH has made in drawn out.
This is very experienced family law specialist - I feel that it is often one of the situations where paying a higher hourly rate you get someone more experience who often cuts to the chase and ends up costing less in the long run.

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 01-Sep-13 18:33:52

The inherited assets questions was asked on her not that long ago and seemed to relate to when it was inherited.

bobs Sun 01-Sep-13 18:58:02

Thanks for that Lonecat. 6K sounds quite reasonable - my assets have a similar value. My solicitor is experienced in divorce etc and is the lead in the firm he works for. Re the inherited assets - I'd heard that too about when they were inherited - in my case some at the beginning and some still to come. I believe I will probably get to keep the latter but the least a lot of it is in the original shareholding form. I too believe in you pay for what you get. I also believe that you have to be as informed as possible

bobs Sun 01-Sep-13 19:23:09

ha ha - I mean a similar value to yours, not the 6K solicitor's fees hmm

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