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Can I simplify this divorce?(12 Posts)
I will be divorcing my ex on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour - history of DV and violence against the children.
We are still in the midst of a fairly complex process of establishing safe contact for the children but he is an extremely difficult man to deal with.
I have just had HIS latest proposal for financial arrangements and it seems that he's still in the frame of mind that I will get what HE gives me. I am exhausted. My health is suffering, I am struggling financially with the cost of court proceedings so far and I cannot face the thought of another 'battle' through the courts.
We have 2 properties - I live in the FHM with the kids, it's a small property and the mortgage is equitable with rental properties so I would prefer to stay here if possible. We also have an investment property - both of these are in neg equity and are in parts of the country where the house prices are not starting to pick up at all. The investment property has generated a profit of about £3K since the split - he refuses to give me any of it. We also have a holiday home with about £10K equity which he currently uses with OW meaning I can't use it.
Other assets valuing about £8K some of which have already been moved. He has a colourful employment history so has about 8-10 pension funds - have no idea of the value of these but don't think they will be significant. My own pension is worth about £3K pa. He emptied the joint account when we split (I had no access to it), as well as my ISAs. He holds the Childrens trust accounts in his sole name and instead of maintenance, he pays the mortgage (interest only) on the FMH which is significantly less than what he would pay according to CSA.
I desperately want to be free of him but given the housing market feel completely stuck. Mortgage company won't transfer mortgage into my sole name.
I'm not sure what proposals to put forward to my solicitor. (Who is amazing but has lots more energy than me and is ready to do battle!)
My gut feeling is that rather than go down the road of trying to force him to declare his pensions, 'unhide' all the money/cars he's hidden and generally battle with this man, I want to ask for about £15K lump sum to account for 'everything' - I can then invest this for my pension. I want to revert to means tested maintenance for the children as per CSA rates. Then put a 2 /3 year time limit on joint ownership of the properties and put BOTH of them on the market then when the market picks up, with the equity split ?
Does that sound like a reasonable solution. Or am I deluded? I have been financially controlled by this man for so long that the prospect of dealing with finances is so scary.
Your solicitor is the best person to advise you. That said, it's up to you how you act on that advice.
Your solicitor can tell you what you might be awarded by the judge. It's down to you alone what you offer to settle.
Discuss with your solicitor and keep the bill from them gong up or.. just ask him? if he is also paying a sol. then it would save you both money. Tell him you would like to keep contact and the financial side separate. If you can get him to agree the £15k all in and then discuss CSA at a later date.
Thanks all - I suppose what I'm really asking is if there is any point in asking my solicitor to go down the road of asking for a one off lump sum in lieu of everything else, or is that totally unheard of. If so I would need to formulate a plan B, and that would involve a hell of a lot of hassle
Avenueone - talking to him not an option - I have a rack of court orders to keep him under control
OP, I am at a similar point to you in divorce proceedings with violent Ex too. More than one property etc too. The only difference is I've been married a long time and the DC's are mostly grown up. We are awaiting valuation on a business and then my solicitor will talk to me about what we will try and "get".
I just wanted to say you have my total sympathy about this. I guess the solicitor will have various options to suggest (the lawyers may correct me there and say there will be one better one?) but like you my main priority is to get as much distance from Ex as possible and not choose any option that would mean a continued connection. I know this is not necessarily going to be the right thing to do financially but what price freedom?
From what I have gathered judges like a "clean break" so a one off lump sum is definitely a possibility.
Good luck with it.
Thanks Spring - if it's possible, that's the road I would like to go down. Am literally counting the years down in months until I can be free of him in terms of maintenance for the kids. It's frustrating that I put so much in, but my mental and physical health are more important.
Yes I totally agree about emotional and physical health but hopefully our solicitors will be able to secure us something acceptable financially too.
He has to disclose his assets, he cannot just 'hide' them. No one can possibly advise whether a lump sum is fair or reasonable without knowing what the various assets are.
I appreciate that it is difficult, particularly in your circumstances, but he will have to provide that information and if he refuses to do so on a voluntary basis then you will have no option but to issue ancillary relief (financial) proceedings.
You might this useful - not all of it will apply to you but it's helpful background reading. Sadly these things can take time because simplifying the process depends on both parties being willing to be co-operate and agree a reasonable settlement.
It sounds like you are in for a long haul and the only way to "simplify" it is if you settle for less than you're entitled to - which is exactly what he would like!
Relationship Breakdown and Divorce Advice and Links
It is useful if you can get to grips with the language of family law and procedure, and get an understanding of your rights, BEFORE you see a solicitor. If you are well prepared you will save time and money.
If there are children involved, their welfare, needs and interests are paramount. Parents have responsibilities, not rights, in this regard. Shared residence means both parties having an equal interest in the upbringing of the children. It does not mean equal (50/50) parenting time - children are not possessions to be fairly divided between separating parents.
A divorce will not be granted where children are involved unless there are agreed arrangements for finance, and care of the children (Statement of Arrangements for Children). It is obviously quicker and cheaper if this can be agreed but if there is no agreement, the Court will make an Order - Residence and Contact regarding children, Financial Order or Ancillary Relief in the case of Finance. Information and links to these can be found in the Directgov link below. Residence and Contact Orders are likely to be renamed Child Arrangements Orders in future.
Always see a specialist family lawyer!
Get word of mouth recommendations for family lawyers in your area if possible. If you have children at school, ask mums you are friendly with if they know of anyone who can make a recommendation in your area. These days there are few people who dont know of anyone who has been through a divorce or separation theres a lot of knowledge and support out there!
Many family lawyers will offer the first half hour consultation free. Make use of this. Dont just stick with the first lawyer you find shop around and find someone you feel comfortable with. You may be in for a long haul, so it helps if you can find a solicitor youre happy with.
If you cant find any local recommendations, always see a solicitor who specialises in Family Law.
You can also find out about Legal Aid and get advice on the Community Legal Advice Helpline on 08345 345 4 345
Or search in your area for Community Legal Advisors:
Co-operative Legal Services offer DIY/Self-Help Divorce packages, as well as a Managed Divorce service. Their fee structure is more transparent and they have a telephone advice line as well as offering really good advice on their website:
You can read advice and search by area for a family lawyer here:
You will also read good advice and find a family lawyer here:
Some family law solicitors publish online feedback from clients Google solicitors to see if you can find any recommendations or feedback.
You will be encouraged to attend mediation. This can help by encouraging discussion about arrangements for children and finance in a structured way in a neutral setting. However, it only works if both parties are willing to reach agreement.
If there has been violence or emotional abuse, discuss this with your solicitor first. Always get legal advice, or at the very least make sure you are aware of your legal rights, before you begin mediation. This is important because while a Mediator should have knowledge of family law, and will often explain family law, they are not there to give tailored legal advice to either party - so its important to have that first.
Married or Living Together?
This is a key question, because if you are married, generally speaking you have greater protection when a relationship breaks down.
Legal Issues around marriage/cohabitation and relationship breakdown are explained here:
DirectGov advice on divorce, separation and relationship breakdown:
Legal Rights and issues around contact are further explained here:
I found these guides from law firms quite informative and easy to read there are others of course:
Before you see a family law solicitor, get hold of every single piece of financial information you have access to, and take copies or make notes. Wage slips, P60s, tax returns, employment contracts, pensions and other statements savings, current account and mortgages, deeds, rental leases, utility bills, council tax bills, credit statements. Are there joint assets such as a home, pensions, savings, shares?
If you have no access to financial information, or you are aware that assets are being hidden from you, then obviously you will not be able to reach agreement on finances. If there are children, as you cannot divorce without adequate arrangements being agreed on finance and children, you will have to apply for a financial order anyway. If there are no children, and you are unable to agree on finances, you will also have to apply for a financial order (follow the Direct.gov links below). This seeks financial information from both parties going back 12 months. So it is in your interests to act quickly once you have made the decision to divorce.
If you are married, the main considerations of the Family Courts where parties are unable to agree a settlement are (in no particular order of priority):
1.The welfare of any minor children from the marriage.
2.The value of jointly and individually owned property and other assets and the financial needs, obligation and responsibilities of each party.
3.Any debts or liabilities of the parties.
4.Pension arrangements for each of the parties, including future pension values and any value to each of the parties of any benefit they may lose as a result of the divorce.
5.The earnings and earning potential of each of the parties.
6.Standard of living enjoyed during the marriage.
7.The age of the parties and duration of the marriage.
8.Any physical or mental disability of either of the parties.
9.Contributions that each party may have made to the marriage, either financially or by looking after the house and/or caring for the family.
CSA maintenance calculator:
Handy tax credits calculator:
Handy 5 Minute benefit check, tax and housing benefit calculators:
Other Support for Women Children, Housing, Domestic Violence
www.womensaid.org.uk/ and refuge.org.uk/ - Helpline 0808 2000 247
www.ncdv.org.uk/ - Helpline 0844 8044 999
www.gingerbread.org.uk/ - Helpline 0808 802 0925
(Note that there is usually an appropriate link on these websites for England, Wales and Scotland where the law, advice and contact information may differ.
Sorry Sassy in that case yes get your sol. to make the offer - it can't do any harm.
Thank you - another crazy proposal from him today regarding me 'forfeiting' the holiday home because I 'refuse' to use it (OWs toothbrush lined up against mine )
Also have a long way to go with regards the children - despite a contact order he is still fighting me and SS every inch of the way.
I think putting the finances on hold for the time being is the only way to keep my sanity!
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