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Nicola-mod
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Category: Family Law
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My ex delayed settlement for two years of a 20% payment on

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My ex delayed settlement for two years of a 20% payment on the marital property's equity, as mandated by a court order. I incurred legal fees, writing letters, pressing for payment which was ignored, I took time of work seeking legal advice & chasing my ex's solicitor to no avail. After serving written notice of my intentions, I recently travelled from London to Milton Keynes to instruct a solicitor (local to the matrimonal property & issuing court) to enforce the court order; seek costs & a penal attachment as legal advise suggested. Before I could lodge the enforcement order my ex's solicitors responded - (4 weeks after the deadline I set) offering to settle - I am still out of pocket to the tune of £750 , including borrowing money from others; how can I negotiate reinbursement of my past legal fees after my ex refused to settle amicably?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  UKfamsol replied 3 years ago.
Hello and thanks for your question.

I gather from what you say that you would accept the offer to settle - if it was increased by a further £750 to cover the legal costs that you have incurred.

The difficulty you have is that an offer to settle is just that - you cannot insist that it is increased. Of course, you can ASK that it is increased - but you then also risk the offer being withdrawn. And you also risk your legal costs going up beyond £750.

If the offer is withdrawn because you ask for it to be increased and that is not accepted by your ex - you may then have no option but to issue your application to enforce, and you could choose to include a claim for costs against your ex in that application to enforce.

Unless your ex's financial situation has changed dramatically since the original order was made, the court is bound to grant your request for original order to be enforced. BUT when the court considers your claim for costs, then your ex can produce a copy of his offer to settle, and inform the court that he was ready to settle, but you insisted taking the matter to court anyway. The court will then be MUCH less sympathetic to your claim for costs. And your legal costs will have gone up significantly.

So - it depends on whether you like to gamble. If you have instructed a local solicitor, he or she may know whether the solicitors for your ex are likely to increase the offer or not. If I were acting for you. I would give the solicitors a ring and have an informal chat over the telephone with then, to get a feel for whether their client might be prepared to go up by £750 - which means that I would get a feel for whether or not they were prepared to put any pressure on their client to be more reasonable. I think that type of approach is often more effective than a formal letter making a counter-offer to settle at £x plus £750.

I hope this helps and I wish you the best of luck.

I hate to specify - but please rate my answer ok, good or excellent - or I get nothing for my time!!! (so the website keeps all).)

Thanks and best wishes....
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 3 years ago.
Hello,

Just a quick reminder, there is an unrated answer waiting for you here from the Professional.

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Thank you,
Nicola

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