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Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Advice needed

(21 Posts)
stueyg Tue 07-Feb-17 20:56:33

OK - so straight off I am a husband/father not a mum, but I am really looking for some advice/guidance here. Apologies if I'm not welcome.

My wife and I separated amicably last year - we have two grown up children both of whom are balanced and well settled. I continue to provide for her - she stayed in the home, and I make sure she is comfortable and wants for nothing.

I have recently started a relationship with a lovely lady (C) who herself is going through a very messy divorce with an abusive (mentally not physically) husband. She has a 10yo D and a 9yo S, and hubby has decided that he would like majority custody (he is offering her two weekends a month if you can believe that!). This is a man who by all accounts in 20 years has never changed a bed, cleaned a bathroom, ironed, shopped, hoovered....

C is happy with joint access, and wants a fair split (50-50) of the finances, but hubby has told her that he is happy as they are and is prepared to drag it out for years before he gives her a divorce or any financial settlement. He is refusing mediation. He has had her followed and has hacked her phone ( I didn't believe that was possible, but there are facts about us he knows which he couldn't have obtained through any other means). C is in a bit of a state obviously.

So a couple of questions. I really don't know what she can do (and her solicitor seems quite weak). If she left the house, would that weaken her case for children/financial arrangements? Can she force hubby to leave the home? Can she force mediation? If it goes to court and he has persistently refused mediation, does that make her case stronger?

Grateful for any pointers - apologies again if my presence here is unwelcome, but I really do need a mum's perspective here.

Take care all.

TalkingofMichaelAngel0 Tue 07-Feb-17 21:07:56

You dont need a mums perspective. You need a shit hot lawyer. And she shouldnt leave the house before that.

jeaux90 Tue 07-Feb-17 21:22:29

Does she have evidence of the hacking or the following? And yes a change in solicitor perhaps? Doesn't sound like mediation is the way forward, he sounds abusive so it's never recommended.

pocketsaviour Tue 07-Feb-17 21:28:55

I really do need a mum's perspective here.

Ummmwhy?

stueyg Tue 07-Feb-17 21:31:35

I didn't think she should leave the house - I figured that would leave her in a weaker position.

jeaux90 - not the following - but definitely the hacking. There are things he knows which he could not possibly have gathered without hacking her phone.

stueyg Tue 07-Feb-17 21:40:54

pocketsaviour - ok I don't need a mum's perspective but C does. I've not been through a shitty divorce, and neither has she before. But I certainly don't have a clue what the mum's perspective is. I just want to help her.

jeaux90 Tue 07-Feb-17 21:41:31

Right ok then well it's against the law and it a point of negotiation that the solicitor can stick in the back pocket. No she shouldn't leave the home unless she can stay with friends or family. I think the main point here is about demonstrating the means to rent or sustain herself outside of the current arrangement. Anyway, her solicitor should be advising her of that. She doesn't need his permission to divorce him. She doesn't need to have done mediation either if he is abusive but again her solicitor should be advising her. Sounds like she needs a SHL to me!

JK1773 Tue 07-Feb-17 21:41:46

She should leave, it doesn't affect her rights whatsoever.

Whilst they remain married she can only force him out with an occupation order which is for cases of DV/DA. Not sure if it's gone that far though he sounds like a bully.

Mediation should be attempted before court but if she tried and he won't then she can go ahead and apply. It may not be appropriate for mediation if he is a bully. A mediator will assess that at the outset. The fact that mediation hasn't worked in no way affects the strength of anyone's case.

Hope that helps

stueyg Thu 09-Feb-17 08:45:04

Well things have moved on somewhat over the past couple of days. C's hubby has now issued the petition for divorce. At the end of the petition is a section on application for a financial order and he has ticked all the boxes. I assume this means he is going for the jugular?

Having looked up a couple of things, it seems to suggest that he now MUST attend mediation, as you can't apply for a financial order until you've done that. Is there a risk to C if she signs the petition and returns it before mediation, or would you suggest she waits for the mediation first to see where he is coming from? Her only assets are in the property, and she has no means of supporting herself until her share of the equity is released. She is worried that if she signs the petition she will weaken her case.

Her solicitor has stated that she finds the forms "all in order". I'm suspicious of his actions though - he is a manipulative bully and has hinted that he has something up his sleeve.

Any ideas?

Thx
S

ShatnersWig Thu 09-Feb-17 09:05:40

We know neither C nor her husband. We can't know if he has something up his sleeve or what that might be. We really can't help you.

However, if you still feel this solicitor is weak, then get another one and see if they say anything different. If they say the same, then you just have to go with it and if something happens there was probably nothing you could do about it. If the new solicitor feels something is not quite right, then you can go with their advice. But they can only advise on the legality - they won't know what this husband has up his sleeve either.

TempusEedjit Thu 09-Feb-17 09:14:03

The ticking all boxes on the form is always advised because it enables you to go for those options if you want to - it doesn't mean that you actually will. If you don't tick them, you close those options off entirely. So nothing amiss there.

What grounds has the H used for the divorce?

If your partner isn't happy with the legal advice she's getting she needs a new solicitor.

stueyg Thu 09-Feb-17 09:25:20

Hi thanks.

He is going for adultery which C isn't contesting. Her solicitor has assured her that this will have no bearing on anything to do with the children or the finances, and everything I have read seems to support that.

She has another appt with her solicitor tomorrow, so she'll make a decision on whether to stay with her after that. She chose her initially as she was a divorced mum of two young children, so was expecting a bit more empathy!

Appreciate your help
S

unfortunateevents Thu 09-Feb-17 09:28:38

Seriously, neither you nor C need the perspective of mums here. This site is great for offering emotional and practical support in getting out of bad relationships but you are asking questions which should be answered by a legal advisor. As others said, you need a strong lawyer and if you are not happy with the one you have, get another one. Is the existing lawyer a recommendation or from the Yellow Pages?

ShatnersWig Thu 09-Feb-17 09:28:40

Not sure solicitors are there to empathise, stuey, they are there to ensure legal formalities are adhered to and to get the best outcome for their clients where possible. After all, those who defend murderers and rapists don't empathise with their clients.

stueyg Thu 09-Feb-17 09:34:31

All good points, well made.

Many thanks
S

TempusEedjit Thu 09-Feb-17 09:41:55

If he's gone for adultery then no it won't affect the financial settlement as such but there might be something on the form to say he's going for costs. By costs it'll just be the costs for the divorce paperwork etc i.e. a few hundred, but not legal fees which could be thousands if it gets messy.

Agree with others, emotions need to be left out of this. There's a saying along the lines of solicitors love clients who stick to their principles i.e those who rack up £££'s in legal costs fighting for a couple of extra % because it's "fair" but in doing so decimate their assets way beyond what they would have gained.

Ellisandra Thu 09-Feb-17 14:16:04

Empathy? confused

You can get empathy from friends, family, a forum like this - all for free.

Don't pay solicitor rates for empathy!
My own divorce solicitor told me she frequently spent half a meeting trying to stop clients unburdening themselves on her in a manner that was costly for them but not legally productive!

She needs to choose a solicitor who inspires confidence, has a lot of experience, and doesn't take shit.

stueyg Thu 09-Feb-17 14:35:58

Thanks - I hadn't looked at it from that perspective! She certainly seems very experienced, but is clearly not inspiring confidence. We'll see where it goes tomorrow and decide if we need a new approach.
Thanks
S

JK1773 Thu 09-Feb-17 18:23:46

As a solicitor with empathy (we do actually have it in spades), the advice she is receiving is entirely correct. Try not to worry. Those boxes are always ticked on a petition. If she wants to be divorced just get on with it, the sooner the better 😊

Ellisandra Thu 09-Feb-17 19:04:02

JK - I hope my post didn't suggested I thought otherwise sad
It was my own divorce solicitor who thought her empathy was better applied to bettering her client's outcome, than charging them in 6 minute blocks for having a cry!

JK1773 Thu 09-Feb-17 19:16:32

Yes that's true and I do sometimes say that myself but it doesn't mean we don't care 😀

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