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Any Solicitors out there? Advice needed!

(5 Posts)
newstarts Thu 17-Jul-08 10:52:09

I have been going through a divorce for the past year and a half. Long story but I have now moved away and he is in the FMH. He has not replied to any solicitors letters since last Dec. but is obviously in contact with his solicitor as in May I got the decree nisi and yesterday received the decree absolute.

Basically after spending in region of £3000 on solicitors fees (yes when I moved I changed soliciors and she could not believe how much I had spent and got nowhere) I am now pretty skint. I finally started getting maintenance for our 2 children last month. The FMH is in both names and I want it to be sold or for him to buy me out. I cannot afford to keep getting my solicitor to send letters trying to get a response to my offer. I basically want to know if I can contact his solicitor direct even though i am instructing my own solicitor because I really can't afford another £200 that she has asked for on account before trying again and if so is there anything I should say in the letter or should I simply leave it until he decides he wants to contact me? Although I am renting a house now so myself and the children are rehoused I have run up some debts getting to this point and hate being in debt. I want to pay it off ASAP so could do with some of the proceeds from the sale and generally want to move on with our lives.

Any advice gratefully received.

mumblechum Thu 17-Jul-08 11:00:37

You can contact his solicitor but first you need to tell your solicitor that you're doing so, and ask her to write to his solicitor tosay that it's ok for them to contact you direct.

I occasionally get mail from the opposing partner when they have a solicitor on record as acting for them and am obliged by the rules to tell his solicitor and copy them in on the correspondence. You can avoid incurring these extra costs by doing what I suggest above.

Is your solicitor advising that a sale of the fmh is in your best interests? It may be better to get your ex to buy you out, if he can afford to do so. Remember that you may be entitled to more than half of the equity if you have the kids living with you and if you earn less than him.

When you do contact the solicitor for your ex, make sure your letter is headed "without prejudice" so you're not binding yourself to anything. Ask your own solicitor to give you a guideline of what you should be asking for (eg, 70% of equity, plus nominal spousal maintenance, child maintenance, pension sharing order) and put that forward in your without prejudice offer.

Say that unless they respond positively within 21 days you'll issue proceedings for ancillary relief (for the court to decide).

If you hear nothing in those 21 days, file Form A at court with the issue fee of £240. The court will then impose a timetable for things to happen, in particular for you both to file Forms E, statement of issues, chronologies etc. It will then hold a brief informal hearing and in many cases the case can be settled at that point, but if not, at the next stage.

As an alternative to going it alone, you could get your solicitor to ask if your husband will give you an interim lump sum of £10k or so to pay your costs. That lump sum will then be deducted at the end of the day from whatever your final settlement is.

mumblechum Thu 17-Jul-08 11:02:40

Sorry, if he ignores your request for £10k in advance, your solicitor should make an application for an interim lump sum order at court.

newstarts Thu 17-Jul-08 11:27:30

Thank you for your reply. The children live with me and my ex sees them one weekend a month (his choice, I am more than happy for them to see him more often). Last August I put forward the offer of a 70/30 split in my favour because my solicitor at the time said if we did this it was likely that I would get 60/40 which was about normal apparently. We did get a reply to this which was that he would consider a 50/50 split or would consider buying me out and if so how much would I ask for. We replied to this that I was happy for him to buy me out but at 60/40. We have never had a reply since then and that letter was written at the start of Sept. We sent numerous chasing letters after that and in one sent in Dec. we said if we did not receive a reply within 21 days we would have no option but to go down the route you have suggested in your reply. We received no reply and my solicitor at the time said we will give them a bit longer to reply, and then lets just give them another couple of weeks etc. Since moving my new solicitor couldn't believe how little progess had been made and suggested we write to him once more. I asked for her to wait because after paying the final bill for my previous solicitor and moving etc. money is really tight. Do you know if she will require £200 in advance still to write the one letter you suggest or will she simply charge me the amount for a letter as stated in the terms of business? Because I couldn't afford that plus £240 for the issue fee of form A.
Thanks again

mumblechum Thu 17-Jul-08 11:32:28

The £200 she's asking for probably equates to about an hour's work, and will probably need that much to have a brief refresher meeting with you, draft the offer letter to the other side, amend as necessary, send it then respond to you and them as appropriate.

If you're that hard up, maybe you're entitled to public funding. You can check this yourself online on the legal services commission website (Eligibility Calculator).

Even if you're not entitled to public funding, there's a mechanism for you to apply to have the court fee waived. I can never remember the name of it but it's EX something and your solicitor will have it on her forms system.

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