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Questions to ask a lawyer?(5 Posts)
I haven’t been on mumsnet for a long time so apologies if don’t know all the lingo!!
I’m 4 months into a separation, and i instigated the split which has left my husband angry and tending towards spiteful- and me defensive and guilt ridden, so communication has become difficult. We have 3 gorgeous children we both love to bits.
My husband is a successful lawyer earning 6 figures, and has a clear advantage in terms of contacts/legal understanding. All of our finances were shared from a joint account but a week after moving out he demanded my card to the joint account and left me in a vulnerable position financially. He has given money but I always have to ask and he’s made it difficult. I work a low income job that fits in with childcare/holidays. When I had our dd1 we agreed that I would care for the children and not work as his job was very demanding - so 11 years later, although I have worked for the last 6 years my salary is small and I will be surviving off tax credits.
I have stayed in the family home and he averages about 6 hours a week with dc, i do everything else. He currently is paying the mortgage and utilities but pressurising me to take these on once I have tax credit through - which just came in last week. I have had to pay all childcare, swimming lessons, groceries, car bills in this time.
He is angry about not being in the home and has made comments about me not being entitled to half the house as I haven’t paid for it, and his family gifted us a deposit. I want to keep the house for at least a year to provide the children with stability. I can’t afford to buy him out, I’m not even sure I’ll be able to get a mortgage at all! He has said the government online calculator says he will have to give £1200 maintenance once I take over the mortgage and utilities until we sell the house.
I feel vulnerable as I’ve invested my prime career years since we married in my early 20s 13 years ago to raising his children and supporting him in his career, and made myself very financially dependent on him. I want to remain amicable but don’t want to be pushed into poverty.
SO on Tuesday I’m seeing a lawyer who comes recommended for my free consultation. Can anyone recommend key questions to ask to get the most out of my time, or recommend how to prepare?
Thanks so much, sorry for the long post!
Just listen to what the lawyer asks and answer carefully and fully. Do you have a sensible trustworthy friend or relative who could come? Often helpful to keep you focussed and help you remember or understand what is said. I always welcome clients with helpers, especially in the early stages.
Ask about interim maintenance. And make sure the lawyer you choose is no pushover, he is so far behaving very poorly, and if he has had competent advice he is ignoring it.
First, be confident that you have 'rights' to a sensible proportion of the assets (perhaps >50%), maybe even ongoing support above standard child maintenance, and that your decisions about who worked and who cared for children are part of the mix. Do think about pensions, savings and debts, as well as the house -- hopefully a good lawyer will ask about those things, too.
Second, there may be practical issues about paying lawyers - few people get legal aid these days (mostly cases of domestic violence) - so you could discuss that and getting interim support from him.
Third - in my experience some lawyers in other areas (corporate, international) are fairly ignorant about family law, so don't get too concerned by his claims (!).
PS. If the CMS calculator says £1,200 a month (and assuming you have the 3 children all the time and they are not staying overnight with the husband, and he has no other children) then he's entered an annual income of around £84,000 rather than a 'six figure' salary.
You can check, here: www.gov.uk/calculate-your-child-maintenance
Thanks so much for your advice. I think we have both assumed once he is in suitable accommodation they will spend 1 or 2 nights a week and so that is where the figure came from, but at the moment it is not the case.
That’s a good idea about taking someone along as I’m bad enough when it comes to remembering a medical consultation!! I will have a think if I have anyone suitable.
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