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Getting a Court to react to a D11

(14 Posts)
cannotseeanend Sat 27-Dec-14 08:55:49

Hi there

I am self representing, husband fled to UK leaving me behind in another EU country with 4 kids. I have a maintenance order from the EU country he refuses to comply with and pays 1/3 of the order and has spent last year failing through many appeals to annul the order.

My problem in the UK is that our jointly owned house was rented. He threw the lovely tenant out, without my consent, I couldn't stop, she had months of harassment and decided that was it, she couldn't cope with him any more. The keys are all with husband and his ex-legal rep who he sacked a few weeks ago. Neither the lawyer nor husband will return the keys, so I cannot get access - not so easy living abroad. Locksmiths will only accompany ME and show me how to break in and change locks, Police says it's a civil offence and they do not get involved. I am desperate for the house access and attempt to put adult child in there as he needs somewhere to live or to rent it out!

My other problem is that my husband has a list of 20 items such as payslips, bank statements, credit card statements, all missing from his financial disclosure. He has succeeded in going from initial hearing to final hearing with nothing in between. But he will not finish his financial disclosure, I've waited 6 months for the missing items and got an adjournment (I had to pay for) due to lack of these items.

I filed a D11 in mid November to ask 1) for keys back and 2) for financial disclosure. The court overlooked this application for directions, I phoned again in mid December and assured the D11 would go back in front of the judge. I waited and waited. I was assured I'd at least get a yes/no answer this time. I have again heard nothing. I paid for these directions, I am the respondent and I resent having to do this. I think litigation is detestable.

So now what do I do? The final hearing is 6 weeks away. Still no legal representation, with husband paying a barrister now under direct access. Only partial financial disclosure and no access to my own home.

I have offered my husband 50% settlement, 50% of value of the house we have agreed a value on. He refuses. I have 4 kids. He has no kids. I have all the bills. I thought 50% offer was more than reasonable, 5 people sharing 50%. But no, he's asking for 2/3 of the family assets - he has a house much bigger than ours he wants to buy and 2 times the price and just replies "you are not offering enough for my needs". I cannot believe a barrister is supporting him to take 2/3 of our assets to buy a bigger house. It really hurts. He took already over 35k in cash assets and left me with no liquid funds.

I have finally got a bank loan of a few kks which took me many months to secure, now searching for legal representation. I had PRO BONO association approve my application but then they could find no-one available. I find it very hard. Life has been unlucky for me.

FlowerFairy2014 Sat 27-Dec-14 17:30:28

It's very difficult. I was left with 5 (not even 4) and my ex still got more than I did on the divorce (I earn more).

Do you not have a relative or friend or even the adult child who can get into your house and into occupation? It is your house so if you or someone acting for you smashed a window at the back and got in that way and then your son called a lock smith to come out, repair window and change locks that would probably work for that issue - occupation of the house, your adult child being in there to keep it occupied etc.

Whether it goes to court or not there will be a figure you and he can agree.

2/3rd of the assets is quite a lot although my ex almost got that (I earn a lot more than he does). Is he asking for so much more because you earn more than he does and is he also asking for maintenance from you for himself? Or is he just making a much bigger claim than he should or are you housed with the children okay and his housing needs are not being met?

Are the children his or yours with another partner (you say he has no kids).

cannotseeanend Sat 27-Dec-14 17:41:45

I earn 40% and he earns 60%. He's asking for so much because the house he wants to buy is 200k more expensive and bigger than the own we own. The house he is living in is subject to a Mesher order and the children in that house have 2 fathers and 1 mother and there are 3 of them. None of the kids are my husband's.It's about 50% bigger than the house we own and also detached with garage and conservatory, hence the 200k more price tag.

No I don't have any friends or relatives willing to break in for me. I have no relatives.

We have 4 kids, all same mother (me) and father (husband). He left us all and moved country.

We lived abroad in a rented property where most bills are husband but I pay them out of my 40% income. I pay for the kids to live and get 1/3 of the legal maintenance with arrears of close to 30k.

FlowerFairy2014 Sat 27-Dec-14 22:04:32

It sounds really difficult for you. I'm sorry.In cases where there are big maintenance arrears often it's better to get an even bigger capital share as it is likely he will avoid paying regular maintenance later so the more cash you can get now at the start the better.

You need his financial details before that final hearing in 6 weeks' time I expect. Did you not have access to those documents when married? I did both of our tax returns and we both always had access to each other's P60s, P45s income details pensions. It must be frustrating if he kept that kind of thing secret from you when married.

It sounds like you want to stay abroad and the children do.

I think your 50% offer is very reasonable. The court will look at which of you is housed. Do make sure you have sent all relevant information to the court. Assume they may have lost things and have ready on the day or in advance all relevant documents with a copy for the court numbered and easily findable in a folder for the day of the hearing.

If you want orders before and it sounds like you have done this - you issue an application notice and usually that is dealt with at a very short hearing where you'd ask for an order that documents are produced (and indeed one man was jailed last year for not providing the document ordered on finances in a divorce case in the UK ) although that will be hard as you are not in the country.

cannotseeanend Sat 27-Dec-14 22:38:52

His payslips and bank statements are his and his alone. I have tried the FOI act with a large government department, his employer, that was a no go. No matter how many times his ex lawyer asked him, he will not produce the financial documents. It's his case.

I am very frustrated with the courts. I feel huge injustice. I have asked many times for the court to supply the emails that the ex lawyer has written to them about me, I have done it properly, I just get ignored. I am denied masses of paperwork and I have nowhere and no-one to complain to, even harder now he is using direct access and employing a barrister who cannot communicate with me.

The court admitted overlooking my D11, but they have since not reacted and I was assured I wold this time get a yes / no answer to my request for and order to get the Form E and annexes completed - the financial disclosure is now over 6 months late and every month or so I email my new payslips and a complete itemised spreadsheet of everything I spend down to the last penny.

I do not know why he won't accept 50%, I think it's rubbish to have to offer him that. And yet he just insulted me in emails in response. He truly believes he has a right to a bigger house than he's ever had before and his children should lose out and effectively pay for that. I am already overstretched paying his bills here, in the absence of him paying them. I am going to have to borrow substantially to pay him the 50% and yet he wants more.

FlowerFairy2014 Sun 28-Dec-14 09:26:39

When we were married we shared everything so knew exactly what each earned so it was easy to work out finances in the divorce (and he lived here during the 7 months of the divorce) . You are in a different position. I think you might find on Monday some divorce lawyers might be on line here and get better advice.

okay so if I were your lawyer - I believe in other areas of law anyway if the other side send anything to the court it has to be copied to you and vice versa. In fact solicitors will write to the court and copy the other side. There may be a few cases where there are state secrets where that does not happen but not otherwise. If there are emails the exlawyer wrote about you are they relevant to money though and the divorce? If not they may not matter. You need to concentrate on the things that matter. Were they complaints about your conduct - vexatious litigant or something?

If there is a direct access barrister I would have thought your husband was still obliged to copy you with whatever is sent to the court. People don't always however. Even when one side does not have a lawyer at all there is still a duty to copy the other side. I've been advising a client with a trial coming up in the background as he does not have much money and I have made sure he knows that everything he sends to the court he should copy to the other side too. The sooner we move the system to some kind of on line open access to both sides to a website with log in relating to your case the better.

I cannot excuse the system. Most people in divorce in the Uk in issues of money and children tend to do much better with agreement between the two sides. I know that is not possible for some but the best financial and child arrangements are when there is no court involved and couples agree and then have the court seal the consent (agreed) order.

You also need to look at the actual figures - what is the difference between his offer and yours. If he wants 2/3rd of the house value after mortgages deducted and you want him to have half what is the £ amount difference and if you lose will you have to pay his legal fees being more than that amount. He also owed £30k in back maintenance so presumably even ifh e won 2/3rd you want that £30k deducted from his 2/3rds. You might want him to pay for childcare costs too. Our court order says I paid 5 sets of school/university fees and whoever the children live with pays for them. That meant as he chose not to have them with him even a night a year, I was paying a lot - £30k a year full time childcare for the younger children costs so I could work and he got more than half the assets (60%). I am very very unusual earning more than he does so do not take me as typical at all. My lawyers thought if we went to court he might win 60% or perhaps as low as 39% but as the rules are so vague it was just not worth the risk and cost and time and legal costs on both sides to argue over the difference between 39% and 59%. I am still glad i accepted the offer we negotiated. I think your husband is very different, does not pay what is due and you have no choice but to press on with this court stuff.

I am not a family lawyer. I thought if you applied for something like a Form E to be completed nad the other person did not do it then there HAD to be a court hearing in person with you or your lawyer present to force the other person to produce it rather than its being done on paper. That might be why it's been ignored. You can usually find some relatively cheap lawyers who are right by the court who for a few hundred will turn up just to do a short hearing for you.

cannotseeanend Sun 28-Dec-14 14:41:33

The maintenance is in another country which he refuses to accept. Me and kids live in the other country, he doesn't want to pay. The order in the other country is so simple, he pays in relation to his income the family costs and same for the extra-ordinary costs. At the moment, he is paying 1/3 of the order for family costs and ZERO for the extra-ordinary costs such as child care and university. He has appealed 6 times. I have to wait for him to exhaust all appeals before an attachment of earnings can be made through REMO.

He has threatened to resign from his civil service job, to avoid paying child maintenance.

I can give him 50% of the value of the house through endowments and money he took already (substantial) and money I have got in cash from borrowing from the children!!!). Also I have offered to reduced 20k of arrears to 10k in the 50% offer, saving him 10k, plus I have offered to take on the 10k left in arrears as my burden, it's 10k owed in extra-ordinary costs, as per the overseas maintenance order that he rejects.
He just will not negotiate. He has kept to his demand for 2/3 since the beginning, it is obviously the sum he needs for his big new house. I have bent over backwards to find more money, I only wanted to give him 40% as I have full responsibility for 4 kids.

I have asked several times to the judge for him to recognize the residency of the children overseas and me overseas and honour Brussels 2 and Hague convention which places child maintenance with the family regime of the country in which the children and mother live, not the country where the father fled to. I get ZERO response from the court. I am so so frustrated. I know that the court have received emails about this from the ex-awyer, as she told me, but refused to copy me in, I asked the court to send the to me, again ZERO response. It is so hard to do this with no legal advice .I cannot get anyone in the UK to offer me regular low cost advice, other than the Bar pro bono association who then couldn't help me after saying they could. I have tried over 30 lawyers in the area, none will take me on except one and she is just AWFUL, she threw my bundle all over the table, nicely sorted, then laughed at me and said how disordered it was. It was my only consultation in person I had with a UK lawyer, I was appalled by her conduct. I felt like she must have a long history of bullying and something wrong with her to do that to a complete stranger.

I do have a Form E which is one year out of date from my husband and empty of much contents, things missing are payslips, bank statements, credit card statements, insurance schedules, I have had to guess the gaps. I have asked over and over for these directly to my husband, through his ex-lawyer, I even asked his direct access barrister and gave the direct access barrister copies of my bundle, as I knew my husband would have been selective. My husband will not tell me what is in his bundle, I DO have directions from the judge that I must make up my own bundles, because my husband is refusing to. But I asked this time for the missing financial dislosure AND also the door keys, on from D11, cost is £150. I got ZERO response and I am so so frustrated. It is not of my making. I do not want to be in court. It is so damaging to the kids. I work so many hours trying to defend myself and trying to find a means of getting my husband to talk. He only has one agenda, 2/3 of family assets to buy a bigger double value house and we 5 can go to hell.

I have tried so hard, he is litigating, not me, he refuses to mediate, he has sacked his lawyer.

He is copied to everything the court gets. I know he has not done the same for me.

I cannot see why I as a respondent would have to pay hIS fees? He has been vexatious in all respects.

I have complied with court orders. He has not complied with ANY of the court orders, he has been either late with everything, he refused to complete 2/3 of his quetionnaire responses. I have no legal representation. No spare money. That is why the Bar Prono association accepted me then said unfortunately no-one is free.

FlowerFairy2014 Sun 28-Dec-14 16:20:26

It sounds dreadful for you. I am not a divorce lawyer and even in my area of law I just don't do work for nothing (because I have to feed my children so I am not surprised if other lawyers cannot either, You probably don't work for nothing yourself eithr but it certainly). Many family law cases now have neither side with lawyers and just the individual in the court room.

it sounds like he is holding out for 2/3rd of the house not for good legal reasons but just because he wants to be difficult.

I don't think I know the answers to your questions - which are basically how can you force the court to make him do the things he's failed to do, the ones that really matter to make the next hearing fair.

It sounds like the court has ordered you do your own bundle. In most other types of case the person suing produces 4 or 5 copies of the bundle for themselves, other sides, witnesses, court, lawyer etc which are identical and agrees an index in advance with the other party. Where that cannot be agreed you produce your own as here and make sure the court is sent a copy ideally by a recorded delivery method in advance for a bit of time to read it in advance and you have a copy and a spare in court. If there were barrister on both sides they usually send the judge and each other a short "skeleton argument" summary of their arguments before the hearing - not with the fact but just a few points about the legal issues being argued over.

Lots of people do not comply with orders and i think the judge just has to deal with on the day with some kind of compromise based on whether or not that particular document matters, if the guess made at the figure works etc. your ex sounds terrible to deal with.

It may be you can have a good guess at what he earns in which case missing P60s etc may not really matter. The main things you want from this hearing is 50% (or even 60%+) of equity in the house to you, perhaps an order for sale of the house with you being in sole charge of that with agents instructed immediately perhaps with sale at auction if not sold within a month, order that the £30k outstanding maintenance be paid out of the sale proceeds if not paid before and presumably that this is some kind of clean break so neither of you can claim further capital from the other later. If you think he is going to be very slow with paying maintenance in future or not at all you might want to try to get as much of the equity as possible instead of all or some of the maintenance. If you got all the equity in the house and held half of it against the £30k and any future maintenance due or found someone neutral to do so that might work well but I bet the court will not be as keen to order that.

May be you and his barrister can draw up in writing by email a list of things that ARE agreed in a draft order before the hearing with gaps for the issues not agreed (eg "50% or 66.6% of equity") which might save time in court but it sounds like his barrister will not communicate directly with you. It was certainly a good move to send his barrister your bundle direct as likely your ex would remove anything relevant he chose to if it went through him.

cannotseeanend Sun 28-Dec-14 17:05:11

Thanks for the advice.

I do NOT want to sell the house, it would be nice to actually live in it. I have offered 50% of the value to buy him out. So I basically would like to own the house. I suggested the kids get to own it and to that he said NEVER, he will not have his kids own anything and wants them to hand over their savings too, that is what is in his narrative statement unfortunately. He needs all the money he can get to better his lifestyle.

I have asked for directions that the court 1) recognises the foreign court order and enforces it too, but zero response.

Yes I've tried getting to talk to his barrister, but the clerks say I am not allowed direct contact or indirect contact through the clerks either!!!! Rules are rules, cannot be bent. I must send everything through my husband. I have done my own draft consent order but my husband has rejected it. Same message comes back "you are not giving me enough to buy my new house, give me more to make up to 2/3 and I will agree.

I haven't sent the barrister the incriminating emails yet. He claimed he'd left me a year earlier than he did. I have emails proving he didn't, plus witness statements too.

I have even conceded on the value of car he took from the family - I wanted the value to be that when he took it, not Now. I have conceded on that, just to try and appease him. I've had to live 2 years now with no car and 4 kids and him with 2 cars and NO kids (of his own). I do find it really cruel what he did to us. I even have proof I paid 2/3 of the cost of the car, no matter, he took it and he even then tried to sell it back to me. I hate that car and I am reminded he took it, every time I go to the supermarket on the bus and come back with shopping for 5 people with a bag on wheels.

You know I don't want free legal help, just a lawyer who is willing to give on the hour advice, I cannot get it, I have tried so hard, no-one wants to touch the case - the lawyer I did see in the UK who emptied my bundle on her table and laughed at me, she told me off the record that his lawyer was so fed up with him she "asked" to be sacked and suggested he stop paying her. She knew how much it was hurting me and the kids that the money he took out of the family bank accounts, my life savings for the kids, had gone mainly to her. He took her advice and sacked her and now I have the barrister left.

Is it really the rules that I cannot communicate even by phone off the record with my husband's barrister?

It does make it so difficult not being in the UK and getting to the UK requires mega organising of child care and mega cost when living on such a low income.

FlowerFairy2014 Sun 28-Dec-14 19:03:08

I am probably not the best person to respond. May be there will be divorce lawyers around tomorrow.

You could try when you send your husband anything also copying the barrister in by email. he is probably more likely than not to read the email just because lawyers tend to want information rather than not have it. You can probably work out his direct email address rather than the clerks by on line searching. Also it may depend on the barrister. Some are happy to talk to a litigant in person direct on the other side but I suppose professionally your ex is the equivalent of the solicitor with whom the contact should be. Also contact mean cost so it may be unfair on his client if you contact him as you bump up his cost.

I think you should work out what matters in terms of finances and children - concentrate on a very very few but very major valuable point. When your ex left may be utterly irrelevant as we have no fault divorce in the UK and who did what when has no impact on who pays what. Value of car does not matter too much although it looks like you have been really sensible in compromising and offering reasonable amount so I think you are already doing what most reasonable people are doing.

What most litigants in person get wrong is giving far too much detail and background when the court has a very short time to decide a few important issues. Even someone not obeying a court order may not matter too much if you already know roughly what he earns. SO I would hope you had a list of a few important issues perhaps on a piece of paper that can go to the other side and judge of what you are after eg house to be transferred into your sole name as soon as you pay out your ex half the equity in it. Does it have a mortgage? Often the lender will not let one person come off the mortgage. I would try to get an order that you are allowed back into immediate occupation of the house. your adult child can then do that even if you cannot move in but at least you will have possession. YOu might a time period by which you will have paid out his half and perhaps he gets les than half if he has not paid £30k owed in maintenance.

Each side I think has to set out what they want from the court in writing in advance btu I might be wrong about family cases. We had no hearings at all and just negotiated the sums through our solicitors.

cannotseeanend Sun 28-Dec-14 20:13:07

You're right, but my husband has lied so many times. He has 2 times claimed to the UK court he is paying amounts of maintenance he has NOT paid me, he has lied about assets, so many things on the documents he has produced which means I have to search for proof that he does NOT pay me what he claims, it took a year for him to admit to his ex lawyer it was actually the truth he had spent thousands of money for the kids and he still lies about his residence. It is so time consuming.

Good idea about searching for an email, though I suspect the barrister is under instruction not to talk to me, as I have asked so many times for mediation, for talking, for anything to get the process going.

I have the redemption figure and papers to redeem the mortgage and also the forms to transfer the endowments and have sent them on. Tomorrow I have to order another redemption figure as only valid for one month. I keep offering to redeem the mortgage (in practice there's an offsetting account with same value as mortgage), all it takes is one signature and 10 minutes. For endowments, almost the same. I;ve offered to do this IN ADVANCE so that by the time we get to court he will already have 50% of the assets. I suspect again he's been advised NOT to accept to settle the mortgage or endowments.

I really cannot offer more. I don't have it. I don't have the ability to raise more through mortgaging the family home again as no lender will touch me, whilst I don't live there and cannot gain access.

I have sent a simple draft consent order to court, I have sent a revised one too, given passage of time. It was part of the last court order, but only I did it.

I have tried so hard to offer so much and I cannot get anywhere, but you've offered me some good tips and insights into the fact that frankly the court system seems to allow liars and vexatious litigants to walk all over respondents like me with no protection, when the respondent has no money or physical means to respond.

Cabrinha Sun 28-Dec-14 21:16:22

This all sounds horrendous sad
My situation wasn't complicated at all in comparison and I know how demented I have been driven at times by lies / stalling / stealing.

I just wanted to add one bit of advice really, but note I'm not a lawyer! It's this:

You have bent over backwards and he hasn't appreciated that one bit. He will not be reasonable. You don't have to worry about access threats presumably as you're not in UK and he's busy with new partner's kids. So... You are going to have this horrible fight whatever you do. So - if you're going through the pain, why on earth do so for a penny less than you could? The £30K arrears - don't reduce it for him! The 50/50 house? Nuh-uh.
He wants 2/3? Fuck him, frankly. Go after 2/3 yourself.
He is going to be a shit whatever you do. So hit him where it hurts.

FlowerFairy2014 Mon 29-Dec-14 15:33:15

I certainly agree you need to negotiate down. I don't think family law is now the same as other areas of law but in those other areas you make off the record offers which are only looked at once the judge takes a decision and if in court you beat your own offer you get more costs back etc. I think that is not the case in family law and may be all offers are open and on the record but the most important thing will be to ensure on the day in one place everything is easy to find. Assume the judge has not been given any time to look at anything before the hearing. Distill your points down to a few. Make sure you have as much time to address the court as his barrister does.

Have your list of main points in front of you in writing and what you are asking for and what offers have been made so it is easy to hand over. Even I a lawyer find it hard in court to find things in the heat of the moment. It must be even harder if you're not a lawyer. There is very very little time in court and a lot of points never have time to be argued over so having a very few points which you repeat again and again and the judge understands quickly such as - this is a dispute over whether my ex gets 2/3rd or 50% of the house equity. Those are our offers. The reason 50% is fair to me is XYZ. Also he owed £30k in maintenance and this has been proven by ABC documents so any order regarding the house needs to take the outstanding maintenance from whatever share he is awarded. In addition we need a court order that he will sign the following papers to transfer the property into my sold name within XYZ days. We need part of the order to say the court can sign on his behalf if he dose not do so as he has ignored 3 past orders to do XYZ.

Family proceedings do not really belong in courts at all. it is just about the worst place for them which is why most cases are settled between the couple and if that fails by agreement between them at a mediation. Only if all that fails are you left with the court which is a very blunt instrument.

Good luck with it all.

FlowerFairy2014 Mon 29-Dec-14 15:34:34

Also sometimes they are just bluffing. My ex and I reached agreement. Then he wanted an extra £200k which I reluctantly agreed to help him continue to take the children on expensive holidays (he's not taken them away even for a night in 10 y ears in fact - so much for that). He then wanted even more and then I said enough - let us deal with this in court then so he backed down probably because he thought 59% was pretty good and he would be pushing his luck to go to court.

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