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Is an unsigned, draft divorce financial agreement binding?

(10 Posts)
Twitterqueen Sun 23-Sep-12 17:18:27

I have initiated ancillary relief proceedings against STBX because he refused to produce copies of his pension statements or to progress the financial agreement when his solicitor moved on.

The draft agreement was agreed verbally, under extreme duress - I was in a loaded removal van, with our three children and had just been told I couldn't complete on my proposed purchase because STBX wouldn't agreee the settlement. So I agreed to everything he wanted because we were homeless (albeit for a very short period of time). He hadn't paid child maintenance for 6 months, nor anything towards either of our two mortgages. I was stressed to hell and back....

But because of his refusal to progress matters, neither of us signed the agreement. It was very biased in his favour - which is why I'm now taking legal action. He has, however, initiated cross-proceedings to make the draft legal binding, and the hearing is before the one I had asked for.

Is the agreement binding?

I would be very grateful for any advice. I am going to appoint a solicitor tomorrow, but would be interested in views / opinions here.

bamboobutton Sun 23-Sep-12 17:21:07

i'm no leagal beagle but i am pretty sure an unsigned document isn't legal.

if it were then whats to stop me writing out a receipt for my neighbours car and claiming it as mine, or someones house, their boat etc etc.

HondaJizz Sun 23-Sep-12 18:15:35

No, not binding until signed by yourselves, your solicitors and rubber stamped by court. Please correct me if I am wrong though, you lovely MN lawyers smile

I am in similar position. I have paid ExH tens of thousands of pounds for the right to stay in the marital home, this was a year ago. He is still dragging his feet and saying he'll sign the consent order soon.

It is frustrating. Don't worry. Go and get legal advice.

babybarrister Sun 23-Sep-12 18:28:49

Hondajizz - that is not correct. There are various circumstances where an agreement not signed by the parties or approved by the court could effectively be binding - see the case of Xydias.

However, given you had no legal advice before saying OK and the circumstances you were in at the time, I would have thought it unlikely. You need to make sure you have a good solicitor - are they a member of resolution?

Twitterqueen Mon 24-Sep-12 08:23:58

Thanks all.
Bamboo yes I take your point! Very reassuring thank you.

Baby My previous solicitor was a member of resolution, but she was so bloody determined to be accommodating and non-confrontational that I ended up with much less than I should have done. She took STBX figure on the mortgage redemption instead of mine, which immedatiately gave him an additional £11k...

The time for mediation has long gone. He is deeply unpleasant person, full of hate and spite, and he is determined not to compromise or negotiate.

STIDW Mon 24-Sep-12 09:18:41

There are few certainties in family law, just probabilities. The only opinion that is binding is that of a judge at a final hearing. Estate agents typically over estimate valuations by 10% and it's difficult to predict a settlement within £11k. Sometime a judgment has to be made as to how much improved settlement can be achieved, over what period of time and at what cost. The costs of going to a final hearing would easily cost £11k or more. See;

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/9552787/Judge-criticises-warring-couple-for-squandering-1.7-million-on-bitter-divorce-battle.html

Twitterqueen Mon 24-Sep-12 11:12:20

I take your point STIDW, and having also wasted many thousands of pounds on a neighbour dispute - that ex also started and refused to settle, it's not something I want to do.

I started proceedings not just to up the settlement though. Mainly it's because he has consistently refused to honour anything we agreed verbally. He wouldn't pay child support - until the CSA made him. He refused to pay anything towards either of our 2 mortgages too.

If he'd supplied his pension statements a year ago, and honoured the draft pension order then, I would have gone ahead. But I've had 15 months of him refusing to do anything, and that's really why I've done this - to get 'closure'.

MOSagain Mon 24-Sep-12 14:15:46

ah, good old xydias, there was an accord, not had to quote that one for a while.
Totally agree with babybarrister

TheFamilyLawyer Mon 24-Sep-12 17:25:41

Dear twitterqueen

generally it is correct to say that no agreement is binding until it has been approved by the court. However, i could not agree more with babybarrister in that there are various circumstances where an agreement not signed by the parties or approved by the court could effectively be binding.

However, given your circumstances, ie no legal advice before saying yes, I would have thought it unlikely. it is important that you obtain good advice from a solicitor asap.

Twitterqueen Mon 24-Sep-12 18:00:54

Thanks all. I am fixing an appt very soon. I just want him out of my life asap.

If he had only paid what he said he would when we split up, he would be so much better off now. He would paying less, I wouldn't hate him, DCs would think better of him, we would still be in touch with his relatives, etc etc.

Hate and spite are very destructive emotions.

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