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Is there ever a clean break?

(12 Posts)
BetsOriginal Sat 16-Jul-16 20:14:15

DH and I married last summer after living together for 3 years.

We shouldn't have married really - I made a fatal mistake of falling for someone else last year and whilst I wasn't unfaithful in the physical sense, the emotional attachment was still there. We married despite this but it was a non-starter. I so wanted things to work out - my DH is a wonderful man, but they didn't and I left last Christmas.

I've carried so much guilt around with me - despite not having an affair with this man, I recognise that an EA is a
betrayal none the less. DH's hurt has turned to hatred and I've tried to make things simple by leaving and making no claim for anything. I just left with my clothes and personal belongings.

Fast forward to now and DH's solicitor has instructed me to pay half DH's fees and If I contest things, then he'll land me with the full amount.

I'm a bit hmm because I could have taken my furniture, kitchen appliances not to mention 3 and a half years of paying half the mortgage.

Was I naive in thinking that I could simply walk away? Should I be held accountable for these fees even though I've taken nothing from my marital home?

Could someone advise me please? Should I fork out the cash or should I get myself a solicitor?

Mumblechum0 Sat 16-Jul-16 20:20:04

It's quite normal for the petitioner (your dh in this case) to claim back at least half of the fees. This is because his costs will be a lot higher than yours; all you have to do is sign and return an acknowledgement of service, which you can do without a solicitor (although be careful to check whether he's trying to make any financial claims against you first).

His fees will be a minimum of £1,000 plus VAT inc the court fees, so it's only fair really that you pay half.

The above only refers to the divorce part - financial matters are treated separately and you may well need legal advice yourself so far as that's concerned as you mention that you paid half of the mortgage; are you planning on transferring the property to him for nothing? Usually the equity would be divided equally where there are no children and similar earnings.

BetsOriginal Sat 16-Jul-16 20:54:17

Thanks for that - I didn't realise.

The house was his when I moved in. I paid half of everything once I loved in.

Do I have any claim over that?

Mumblechum0 Sat 16-Jul-16 20:55:50

To be honest, probably not, as you would have been paying rent somewhere anyway.

Did you pay for any improvements which would increase the value significantly?

BetsOriginal Sat 16-Jul-16 21:00:44

Not really.

Paid for furniture which I didn't take, small kitchen goods.

MrsBertBibby Sat 16-Jul-16 22:58:58

You need proper advice, but I wouldn't assume no claim after 4 years (pre-marital cohab is generally taken into account).

See a solicitor to go over the whole thing, before you commit yourself.

Collaborate Sun 17-Jul-16 10:43:03

After such a short marriage, and one in which you had an EA just prior to the ceremony, all you'd get back money-wise would be your furniture. The circumstances of the marital breakdown would, I think, be taken in to account in your case. The request for half the divorce costs is very reasonable. The court would more than likely order you to pay all his costs, given that the decision is based on fault.

MrsBertBibby Sun 17-Jul-16 15:39:48

Collaborate, I strongly disagree with your view about the Court taking into account the circumstances of the breakdown, in terms of the financial provision, and for good reason. If Courts started doing that, they'd swiftly disappear under a raft of people litigating who did what in their breakup. It's either conduct sufficient for s25g (which this clearly is not) or it isn't.

You can't possibly advise on outcome without knowing more. Whilst I agree that a costs order on the divorce seems fair, I don't think you should discourage the OP from seeking proper advice about her financial claims.

Collaborate Sun 17-Jul-16 19:13:44

MrsBertBibby An EA with someone pre-marriage may well be, in my opinion, gross and obvious conduct in a marriage that lasted less than a year because of it. Even if it isn't, it would be taken in to account by a DJ when exercising their discretion. OP should of course see a solicitor and get some proper legal advice, but it appears she doesn't want to make a financial claim and personally and professionally I would very much hesitate to advise someone in her position to make a claim unless there was much more to it.

BetsOriginal Sun 17-Jul-16 19:47:05

Thanks everyone - I very much appreciate everyone's advice on this and will proceed with caution.

This thread has enabled me to think without emotion and with clarity. I've caused my husband hurt and despair and for him to be suspicious and not trust. The very least I can do is to pay-up, whereas before when this letter came through, all I could do was complain about the lost £££'s that I'd paid in mortgage etc.

I'll pay up ASAP and hopefully we can start re-building our lives. Not dragging my feet is the least I can do.

MrsBertBibby Sun 17-Jul-16 20:03:46

Collaborate, why not take a refreshing look at paras 59 to 65 of Lord Nicholls in Miller & McFarlane.

Then remind yourself of what conduct actually means within the Act. Soliciting the husband's murder, sexual abuse of children, domestic violence : but only if it impacts the victi's earning capacity. You really think someone getting infatuated with a third party belongs in there? If you do, then most divorcing couples would be raising conduct. Conduct is for exceptional cases, really heinous misconduct, not the accidental vagaries of romantic inclination.

I'm sorry to derail your thread, OP. But really, Collaborate's remarks are really dangerously incorrect. See a solicitor, with whom you can share all the facts, and then decide whether you think it's something you want to pursue.

Collaborate Mon 18-Jul-16 09:14:56

There are a number of cases that suggest otherwise:

West v West (1978) Fam 1
Failure to affirm the marriage, W refused to move into FMH, stayed with her mother;
Bateman v Bateman (1979) Fam 25
In ability to rise to demands of H’s career abroad;
Robinson v Robinson (No2) (1986) 1FLR
Inability to give H respect and affection, award discounted;
J (HD) v J (AM) (1980) 1 WLR 124
Continued harassment of H’s new wife, relevant conduct on maintenance;
Whiston v Whiston (1995) Fam 198, CA
Philippine W failed to tell H already married – no relief

J (HD) v J (AM) (1980) 1All ER 156, Sheldon J stated:
“Furthermore, any conduct during those periods which interfered with the other party’s life or standard of living (whether or not it affected the other party’s finances) and which was so gross and obvious that to order the other party to support the party who’s conduct was in question would be repugnant to justice was relevant in considering the application to vary an order”.

There is no need for there to be a financial consequence of the misconduct: Al Khatib v Masry (2002) EWHC 108 (Fam) Munby J as he then was, stated at Para 103:
“Referring to Rayden v Jackson Divorce and Family Matters...Mr Mostyn asserts and Mr Deacon does not dispute that conduct under 25(2) (g) of the 1973 Act does not have to have financial consequences for it to be taken into account. He submits that the husband’s conduct in abducting the children and depriving them and the wife of the most basic human right, their mutual society, falls squarely within the class of case contemplated by Parliament when enacting the section”.

In OP's case it would be argued that she procured the marriage by deception - had she told her husband of the EA prior to marriage then the ceremony would never have taken place.

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