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costs in a divorce - judge has ordered h pays them but I don't understand

(14 Posts)
Unlikelyamazonian Sun 13-Sep-09 13:29:30

Can anyone help with this? My h disappeared abroad over a year ago, leaving me with baby son.

The decree Nisi is to be announced at the end of this month (h acknowledged the petition but has not responded in any way) and the court has given me three documents - one saying that 'the District Judge, on making the decree Nisi, ordered that the Respondent pay the costs incurred on behalf of the Petitioner in this cause.'

I know I could ask my sol to explain but he is atrociously expensive so can anyone on here tell me.. Does this order mean H has to pay all my solicitor fees as well as court fees? Or is it just court fees?

Secondly, I know that he just won't pay anything - he'll take no notice. He is living in Thailand and has never given me any money for anything since running away. So, what happens??? Will I have to pay the solicitor in the end (if it means solicitor fees too) or if it's just court fees, will I get that money back (about 400 pounds so far)?

Can i write to the court before the Nisi is announced and ask them to somehow defer paying money or pay in installments or something? i have no clue what my sol fees will be in the end but perhaps around 5k??

Thanks if you can shed some light on this for me. smile

mumblechum Sun 13-Sep-09 13:55:11

He's been ordered to pay all of your costs of the divorce itself. Your sol. will have sent you a client care letter at the beginning of the case estimating what the costs of the divorce ("main suit") were going to be. I usually charge £600 plus VAT plus court fees, which comes to a little over a thousand.

Your h is supposed to pay the costs within 14 days of the decree nisi. If he doesn't then in theory your sol. could apply to enforce the costs order but in practice it will be better to take it out of his share of the assets (I'm assuming that you're selling the house, shares, endowments etc & splitting them?)

Unfortunately you are liable for your costs, inc. court fees, in the first instance so if you don't end up getting anything out of your ex then you do pay themself. You should be paying your costs on a monthly basis, not running up a huge bill you can't pay in the end.

Unlikelyamazonian Sun 13-Sep-09 16:08:17

Thanks mumble.To explain a bit further though, he has just walked away from everything. He took 20 thousand pounds when he went and hasn't paid or given me anything in the 15 months since he went. I never speak to him and he has barely contacted me. He is earning good money in thailand and started living with a woman last augist 2 months after he went. they are still together. But never mind all that. My sol has advised not to apply for the absolute as it could 'rattle his cage' and says i should just wait for as long as possible - him not paying anything for our son etc - and see what he does. If he does nothing, go for absolute in a few years.

It's not the average 'divorce' really. I mean, he has two daughters by a former partner too and has stopped all her maintenace. i have changed my will making our son the sole inheritor of everything we own. he did put about 100k into property but I had a house and good credit record and earned more than him for the time we were married and therefore paid out for most costs.

I hate this

mumblechum Sun 13-Sep-09 16:46:49

So are there any joint assets left now?

If so, is your solicitor applying to have them sold/transferred? He or she can do that whether the h is cooperating or not, and given the circs the court is likely to agree, otherwise you have joint assets locked up potentially for years.

I agree about the absolute btw to protect you in the event of him dying (you'd usually get his widows benefit if he has a pension etc), but if you own a house jointly, you should at least think about whether to change that from joint tenants to tenants in common.

Unlikelyamazonian Sun 13-Sep-09 17:15:41

The house ds and i live in is in my name only (H had a shit credit record and couldn't have an overdraft or cheque book let alone a mortgage. It took 7 tears of helping him to build his credit record back up. Sucker me. Because then he stole our money and pissed off)

The rented property is in my name too for the same reasons above, though he has a financial interest in both houses (but hasn't registered one i don 't think): as in, he put 30k of an inheritance into the mortgage on the main house reducing it to 70k and he put the 70k deposit down on the rented house which is now selling.

I am going to pay off most of the mortgage on the house ds and I live in with the money from the sale of the rented house.

I earn 500 quid a month as a cleaner now. I get 550 a month tax credits. Ds is 22 months. I have never heard from h in any real way since he ran away. I don't want anything from him (he has a pension, endowment and good earnings in thailand etc) as I want zero to do with him and there could never be a maintenance agreement as he has shown he is not reliable.

So I just want him to self-combust really and never speak to me again and never try for access. He is shagging whores and has lied about his whole teaching career out there. But that probably makes no difference to anything.

I want to apply for the absolute as soon as possibloe ideall, but given these weird circs, it seems best to just sweat it out???

Sorry to ask these questions. I just want nothing to do with him and to raise my boy as best I can with nothing from him. I supported him for 7 years really as he never had any money and his two daughters were expensive.

This is going to make me cry in a minute.

My sol says he can walk back into our lives at anytime and make a claim for money and access. I know this is right but really I hope he never darkens my door again and I can just get an absolute in a few years of lying low and without ever hearing from him again in the meantime. sad sad sad

Sad for ds not myself. But ds is a very happy lovely boy so far.

fuzzywuzzy Sun 13-Sep-09 17:32:02

Hang on, if everything is in your name anyway, if you get the decree absolute, doesn't that mean he can't walk into your life and demand marital assets?

Also what would happen if you lodged a claim with the CSA?
The CSA tend to claim from when you've filed a claim, so if he's not around now but turns up ten years down the line wanting access and your money, the CSA can politely ask for back payment in child maintenance on your behalf. Couldn't they?

mumoverseas Mon 14-Sep-09 12:36:02

Agree with Mumblechum (as usual) wink
only thing is, not sure its a good idea to not apply for DA indefinitely. If I remember rightly (its been a while!) I think if you don't apply within 12 months of DN being pronounced then its not quite as simple as just filing in a one page form, you would need to file an affidavit (statement) setting out that you hadn't previously applied for DA and confirming that you and your H have not lived together etc since DN was pronounced, you haven't had anymore children etc. Think this is the case but perhaps someone else can confirm that?

Ref claims, yes, technically he could suddenly return and seek contact (formerly access) with your DS but very unlikely he'd get it just like that. If you were not to agree to him having contact he would need to make a formal application and half the time the thought of that (and the costs) tends to put them off.

Ref the finances, yes, technically he could make a claim but if you have documentary evidence of you providing all the matrimonial assets then he would be hard pushed to be successful in any of his claims.

Good luck x

mumblechum Mon 14-Sep-09 13:05:25

MOS grin

Yes, you're right about the appln for DA after a year, the procedure hasn't changed.

mumoverseas Mon 14-Sep-09 13:30:21

blimmey, I actually remembered something correctly. Baby brain hasn't quite set in yet then grin

Think I've just taken the decision not to renew my practicing certificate. Think I'm going to follow my dream and teach deaf children instead. Will make a change from clients with selective hearing wink

mumoverseas Mon 14-Sep-09 13:30:58

sorry for mini hijack blush

mumblechum Mon 14-Sep-09 14:22:55

Oooh how exciting!

I'm at a crossroads myself, getting pig sick of family law and all the aggravation but not sure what to do next.

The problem is not being qualified to do anything else. I do vol. work for Barnardos and would quite like to work with children but the drop in income at the moment would be unaffordable.

<<sorry for continuing the hijack!>>

Good luck MOS

ClaraDeLaNoche Mon 14-Sep-09 14:38:48

Unlikelyamazonian - what a little effer he was. Hope things work out ok.

Another hijack - MOS and Mumble - I too left law, was sick of it. Difficult to find work after - have set up on my own.

mumoverseas Mon 14-Sep-09 15:17:49

shall we start our own thread ladies? Fed up family lawyers? wink

mumblechum, I couldn't afford to give up law either but am currently living in Saudi Arabia due to DH's work and not much call for divorce lawyers here, they just get another wife (they can have up to 7) or say 'I divorce thee' three times grin

Since I've been on my career break I also did a family mediation course (ADR in London) so that is something else worth thinking about mumblechum.

Clara, what do you do now then? (searching for nosy cow smiley)

Unlikelyamazonian Mon 14-Sep-09 18:12:05

Its just incredible that advice can vary so widely. My sol has n't suggested any of those problems - in fact his letter to me along with the decree nisi court thing was total;y indecipherable and I had to ring a friend who has been through the divorce process - but she too said different things - she said that the sol would have to give me the money it has cost me back, and chase exH for it instead and if he didn't pay (which he woulnd't) register a county court jundgement against him.

That sounds like it's wrong - I WILL have to pay it all if he doesn 't. Which he won't.

I want the divocr to be absolute really, asap, so that I can try to get the marriage annilled through the catholic church. It would mean quite a lot to me. The bastard stole my money, my marriage, my chance of having a second child, my religion and nearly my mind.

if he ever tried to get access in the future I would disappear. Just like he has. I would write him a sob note and get on a plane to somewhereabroad. bastard.

It's still so bloody surreal.

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