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Had FDR Today - Stick or Twist ?

(8 Posts)
carolinem99 Fri 05-Jun-15 18:05:12

Our FDR hearing took place this morning, no agreement reached, proceeding to Final Hearing and currently feeling very deflated.

Both self-repping, ex is a complete nightmare who has no idea what is going on and refuses to comply with the directions of the court (still don't have full disclosure, he has had penal notices applied but the information is still not forthcoming).

Background details as follows :

Me (Applicant) - age 41
Ex - age 55
One child age 7, lives with me all the time (Ex has chosen not to contact him for 15 months)
Married for 15 years (plus 5 years cohabitation). Separated 15 months ago.

My income - £2,052 pcm (employed)
Ex income - £1,325 pcm (all from benefits - Employment & Support Allowance and various disability benefits).
Ex has a number of serious medical issues (kidney failure, leg amputation) which have led to him giving up work (was previously earning £45k). He claims he is intending to return to work but refuses to provide any medical evidence to support how realistic this is. His life expectancy will be reduced due to his conditions.

FMH worth £180k - outstanding mortgage of £112k, equity of £68k

My pension CETV £78k
Ex's pension CETVs total £236k (includes £110k accrued prior to marriage.

My debts £33k
Ex's debts £23k

Ex receives housing benefit and lives in a bungalow with a secure council tenancy which has been adapted to meet his medical/disability needs.

Mortgage arrears (£4k) and poor credit rating (incurred as a result of Ex upping and leaving and refusing to make any financial contribution to the mortgage or other liabilities) means that I am unable to obtain a mortgage other than with the existing provider.

Existing mortgage provider have indicated they may be prepared to extend mortgage term to 19 years and to capitalise existing arrears.

Ex pays CSA of £5 per week.

Ex's offer was FMH to be sold and proceeds to be split 50/50, each keep own debts and each keep own pensions. Judge told him today this was "wholly unrealistic".

My offer was transfer of equity in FMH to me and ex to provide agreement to extend mortgage term. I would use best endeavours to remove him from the mortgage.

I had asked ex for a lump sum payment of £85k as opposed to pension sharing. This would allow me to repay debts and reduce mortgage to a manageable level. As ex is over 55 he could draw this lump sum from his pension pot.

Each to be responsible for own debts and to keep own remaining pensions.

Judge suggested....

Transfer of equity to me.
Ex's £110k pension accrued before marriage to be excluded from pot.
Either pension sharing order for me of £23.5k or lump sum payment of £15k.

Realistically I didn't expect to get the full £85k lump sum but was surprised it was as low as £15k!

Judge seemed to calculate the lump sum by working out 25% of Ex's pension pot (amount he could draw down tax free, although this is questionable as Ex has previously advised he can take the entire pot tax free due to his medical conditions being classed as terminal) so £59k, which was then discounted by 75% to take into account the fact that is was cash in hand.

I had hoped for more given that I am putting forward a needs ­base­d case and to reflect the fact that I will have full responsibility to financially support our son.

Accepting the £15k lump sum would mean mortgage payments could be reduced to £550 per month which I could just about afford but I would have no way of repaying or servicing my debts.

Ex would be left with a decent disposable income (seeing all his housing needs are met by the state, he has a fully funded motibility car and no child maintenance to pay (other than the £5 per week)).

I would have a pension of £78k and Ex would have a remaining pension pot of £221k which due to his age he could realise at any time.

Judge wasn't interested when I raised (again!) the issue of non-disclosure, just said I've already made orders and if Ex doesn't comply then the reason for that can be inferred at final hearing. It just felt like he wanted us out of his room as quickly as possible.

Grateful for any thoughts on the Judge's steer.

Do I accept it and finalise the whole thing and just try and manage as best I can (possible Debt Management Plan?) or do I go ahead with the Final Hearing and cross my fingers that a different judge would award me more ?

babybarrister Fri 05-Jun-15 18:55:57

Iam sorry but you Sound unrealistic re pension. As the judge indicated, it is likely that most of ex pension will not be split - your pension is virtually equal to his then - you have 78, he has 126 ie a difference of 48. If this is split in half it is 24 - hence why a pension share order was suggested of this size.

Your ex may be entitled to take 85k now from the pension - I know not. BUT if he does, then this represents some of the lump sum from the excluded £110k and will also dramatically reduce his pension income.

You are taking all of the liquid assets ie the equity in the house. Your income is also (I) higher (II) more stable than your ex - he is either going to be dependent on benefits, in which case he is wholly susceptible to political changes - of whic there are many or he is going to work but he is clearly unlikely to find a job due to age, disability and time out of work ....

Your need is for a roof over your head - your income is enough to service the mort,gage. There is so little money around that your debts cannot also be serviced from further capital provided by ex ...

You need to think about things very carefully

carolinem99 Fri 05-Jun-15 19:53:16

No need to apologise babybarrister

I knew the £85k lump sum request was pie in the sky but was hoping for more like £30k as opposed to the £15k suggested by the judge....just that extra £15k would have made a huge difference to my debt position and made life so much easier.

I had come around to the idea of offering to accept the equity and £15k but have just had a text from the Ex saying that he isn't happy with the suggestion made by the judge and is determined to go to final hearing so it looks like the decision may be out of my hands and we will have another torturous court experience to look forward to!

babybarrister Tue 09-Jun-15 18:01:15

good luck in any event - make sure you follow practice direction 27A from the family procedure rules 2010 as to the production of bundles which need to be done in good time

LotusLight Wed 10-Jun-15 22:23:37

Wow his benefits are generous. No wonder tax payers pay so much tax.

Anyway it sounds like you will have to go to the final hearing.

If he takes all his pension as a lump sum at 55 he'd the have nothing but state pension and secondly it would be taxed - a lot of it at 40% (except for the 25% tax free) so I suspect the £15k lump sum from his pension might be the best you can get but see how it goes at the final hearing.

carolinem99 Thu 11-Jun-15 18:41:43

Thanks for the good luck vibes. No date yet for final hearing so looks like I'm going to have to sweat for a while longer.

cannotseeanend Fri 12-Jun-15 21:12:32

You are lucky to get penal order for non compliance with disclosure. I had non disclosure for 8 months, it was truly truly awful, the judge never even commented. I lost faith in the system at that point.

Judge's suggestions sound reasonable.

carolinem99 Mon 15-Jun-15 18:14:35

Completely agree cannotseeanend, it's just so frustrating! The whole process is geared around the idea of full and frank disclosure yet when one party continually refuses to comply no-one seems interested.

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