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Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33953
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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I signed a Heads of Agreement that set out the split of my

Customer Question

I signed a Heads of Agreement that set out the split of my assets for divorce. I now believe I was misled into signing this agreement. Can I challenge this agreement in court?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
When was it signed and what makes you think that you have been misled?
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.



I seek advice and the way forward with the resolution of my divorce settlement.


Initially, both parties filled in and exchanged our respective Form Es. However, my solicitor did not start the Financial Dispute Resolution process, instead, after a 12month delay, he asked me to submit a second Form E. There was a substantial six figure sum increase in my declared assets between the two FORM Es.


I can only surmise that my solicitor was professionally negligent in not applying to the court to resolve the financial settlement after the first FORM Es were submitted. Please note his fee had increased from an estimate total of £1,800, at time of engagement in October 2010 to over £12,400 by the time I dismissed him from acting on my behalf in July 2013.


We had a court hearing in September 2012 at the end of which I signed a Heads of Agreement (HOA) based on splitting assets recorded in the Second Form E.


Please can you advise me on the following :


1 Can I insist on a settlement based on information provided in my first FORM E? I believe I was misled into submitting a Form E for the second time.


2. If I cannot (due to the HOA), do I have claim of negligence against my ex solicitor?


I am now acting on my own behalf and would be grateful to receive you advice on these matters before engaging your services to conclude the case on my behalf.


Please let me know if you require any further information to assess the case.


Yours sincerely,



M.D. de Souza

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Clare,


 


I was advised to fill in the Second Form E by my solicitor. It was a very stressful time and I did not fully appreciate the financial impact of situation. I also feel the solicitor did this for his own financial gain.


 


Regards


 


Maurino

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Clare


 


Have you advice to offer


 


Maurino

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
My apologies for the delay
When was the Financial Application actually put before the court and who made the application
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The application was made when the HOA was signed. I thnk my solicitor made the application after much delay,

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Had you given any specific instructions to issue a Financial application - if so when?
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Clare,


 


No; I did not give any specific instruction to my solicitor as I knew nothing of the court process. My solicitor was in charge of such matters.


 


Maurino


 


 

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for that.
I am afraid that having signed the heads of Agreement then you are bound by them - however they are in fact correct as any court case is dealt with on the finances as they are at the time of the hearing - not at the time of Separation - so using the figures on the first Form E would not have been possible.
In terms of negligence the only fault of the solicitors was not warning you that you should settle as soon as possible because of this risk - and even then much depends on how the negotiations actually progressed and who delayed them.
I am sorry to give bad news - please ask if you need further details
Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33953
Experience: I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for you advice. Please do not publish this on you website

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

please can you provide further details.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
What else would you like to know?
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Clare


 


I thought a heads of agreement document was a non-binding document outlining the main issues relevant to the final settlement of the divorce?


 


The final settlement has yet to be agreed.


 


Thank you for you your responses


 


 

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Could you explain exactly what you are calling a "Heads of agreement" - usually it means that the overall terms of the financial settlement are agreed with just the details to be confirmed
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The HOA was a hand written agreement arrived at a court hearing to resolve the financial matters. I was not given time to consider the agreement and I signed it without releasing its impact.


 


It did not refer to all assets to be shared and therefore the HAO was not complete. Can I challenge the contents of the HOA as it was not complete?


 


 

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
No I am afraid what you signed was indeed a binding document in terms of the overall settlement - there is case law on this point here
http://www.familylawhub.co.uk/default.aspx?i=ce964
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

thank you


 


 

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
You are welcome
Clare

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