There have been various financial discussions since he left again last August, but no conclusions. He has put in 7 different proposals since August last year but changes it before anything can be developed as he is very impatient. The proposals have varied from various ways of my keeping the house and equestrian facilities to sell forthwith, in quick succession. Now he has offered to reduce his capital demand to 150k as long as I will forgo all pension and income share and give him a clean break. With the house and land as one I am advised this is not viable given the outgoings and my age, so a more detailed look at pensions has been advised re index linking etc. THE FDA required an actuarial report and a new evaluation, both of which I have to pay my share up front, all promoted by his FDA action of 2/14.
There is an outstanding Mortgage Reserve account on the house of £95k. I am jointly liable but did not run this up myself and opposed the spending on it but was overruled. If I get to stay in the house I have to take this on 100% myself and it runs out 1/6/15 and will not be renewable. (Coutts) I have been trying to raise funds to pay it off by planning to sell, Lot 3, part of our 18 acres and have a potential buyer now but I need his permission to change the Land Registration to three lots to do this.
Recent changes 2013/4 in Planning law have then emerged (re change of use and building permission) that mean i could myself potentially build on Lot 2 (the equestrian Lot) and agree to sell the house. This would allow me a better share of his pension and income for life also. My solicitor is not sure I will get permission and there is indeed a risk but for me it is now the optimal solution and whilst I would not agree to sell the house until I had change of use through, I could then take the risk. I could move on.
He has so far not answered this directly and is stalling because he wants me to pay a tax bill 50/50 for 2013/4 on our partnership from the residual joint account, running up the MRA again as there are no funds in the joint account and the MRA fills that automatically. He chose to give me 2k a month on top of my pensions which I am advised by my solicitor is considered enough to meet my needs based on my own Form E return and that though it is not equitable or fair nothing can be done about it therefore, but I am paying all maintenance, repairs, horse and other animals costs etc etc. He has now threatened to take the tax bill out of this amount and I am advised I can take him to court if he does this but I will be right out of funds meanwhile, hence the panic.
His pensions are 42kpa, mine 20k. I no longer earn hardly anything at all, maybe 2-3k pa, he is earning around 4k a month plus expenses accounts and has a full admin team. he lives in a rented Georgian house in Shrewsbury and has managed to get the University of Chester to site an office there also that pays for one floor and his admin team. Shropshire CC have also taken him on at a high level ( he is a professor) and pay him consultancy fees through the university. We have only his own Form E account of this income and have asked for pay 'slips'. He has ignored this so far.
I had a market appraisal done last October as one lot and as three. The One lot was considered to be around 740-760k. The three: Lot 1 the house plus garden, 540k; Lot 2: Equestrian plus a few acres: 120k; Lot 3: 10.95 acres of pasture 79k. To provide access to LOt 3 I will need to take about an acre off Lot 2 which would then also provide a potential building plot for the buyer if planning comes through.
Car: When he left he bought everything new including his car. At that time we were in an amicable enough state and 'cars' came off the joint account, pushing up the MRA. I was slow to catch on to the potential implications of this. He had 6k for the deposit from the joint account (into which at that time our income and pensions were supposedly all going). Thereafter he had 450 per month for the payments. He hit something and had a total respray and had just taken on another floor in his house and insisted on having payments for furnishings etc, so another 5,9k there we he recycled as 'income' into the joint account claiming heroics...
I have an old honda Jazz which cost 4k and was also paid from the joint account when he left as he took my car to leave me with the very ancient 4x4 to pull the horse trailer. Together with the horse trailer they are worth around 4-5k now an very ancient. I have also become very much more disabled and need an electric wheelchair soon (I am a disabled rider). The horses and landscape keep me sane more or less. I have no children and have lost his family and my family life and he has quickly employed my nephew's wife who had been working for me on admin until he left, so i have now also lost my nearest relatives.
I am lucky to have been able to barter daily help to enable me to carry on using the equestrian facilities. I pay weekly maintenance of 100 for heavy land work plus cleaning of 30, then six weekly farrier 253, vets of around 150 (ancient beasts), all feeds and twice a year field maintenance.
Logic is to sell the house but then I will lose the rest of my life, both horses, landscape and the daily team I have coming in who have become my family. I have been on and off severely depressed and decided that I could not cope with any more loss as i have lost my life ands family as i knew it already. The new possibility of dividing and building has opened up a good compromise a but I think he will oppose it to avoid the pension share and income share.
If I accepted the house and MRA with no pensions or income share, I am advised i could not survive financially though I could then divide the land myself but still not meet the MRA deadline next year which would unfairly ave become my total liability.
The severance and FDA and the complexity with his frequent changes have pushed up my legal fees and kept me on the back foot but I do not think my bills have been fairly presented or explained or itemised. I owe nothing at present but have to pay up front for any reports now and have a bill of 6k forthcoming for the barrister and pre court conference which produced a sharp financial appraisal re the pension issues but the court was called off. he has paid legal fees of 5k in total knowing he never intended to go to court with the FDA, only to pressure me. Until February this year legal fees also came from the joint account but then that was frozen so I pay all my own now. I have about 5k remaining on my credit card and am unable to pay it therefore with the report fees also.
My legal fees have been presented with no itemisation, not showing any payments from myself at all, even though I have regularly paid them off as i could, yet show a string of months of fees as lump sums outstanding Jan to June. I complained to the accounts man who said they had done it like that for the last 20 years so I said it was time for a change and I had never seen a professional account presented in that one-sided non transparent manner. After the second complaint, as there was no change the first time, it is now being put right but I want a full list of start to finish items and fees and payments to be able to see what on earth had been going on.
MY fees have been very high indeed for the two items: the Severance/Will/LPA work plus the matrimonial work with barrister for the FDA but I am now told to approach Coutts for a bank loan which they will not give. We have no other property, stocks or shares only the house and land. I only have my pension and his 2k a month which he is now threatening to cut to pay the tax bill, though i know we can take him to court if he does so, it is just more and more.
Thank you for responding to my query. it has been very helpful indeed to have a second opinion possibility.
I am a psychotherapist by profession with a Masters degree in literature as well, but have been emotionally overwhelmed by this totally unexpected late life trauma, following closely on my two unexpected coronaries. I never thought my husband would routinely deceive me in the way he has done. He is a brilliant politician, a financial wheeler dealer (eg the academic dept in his own home!) and chess and bridge player who sees life as a series of games that he must always win. I never play that kind of game, dislike them, and am therefore always routed. In the past I have given way every time for an easier ride but feel it must stop here.
The legal bills and financial crisis have been the final straw. I am not a 'rich' person. I just share this lovely property with him and hoped to be here for the rest of my life.
Thank you for listening.
My latest account from my solicitor has just arrived for 2/5/14 to 25/6/14 only and reads as follows: Our professional fees £5,570 Vat £1,114.00
Deduction of £200 (for an error about which I complained) of sending a letter to me about another client.
Disbursements for a pension CETV to Capita £ 234 VAT £46.80
Court fee £50.00
Search fee £3.00 (presumably pensions)
Total £7,017.80 Due £6,737..
I know this includes the barrister, briefing and a 3 way meeting and emails but have no idea of the brekadown of the main amount. This is supposedly an itemised bill as the others did not show anything other than a string of amounts with no reference to any items at all or to my payments. it feels rather like printing money by this stage.
Yes, and will be given one for this latest account only but intend to ask for a retrospective on that also shows my payments none of which have ever been listed or even acknowledged.
I intend to ask fro a complete chronological account of all accounts itemised and showing my own payments. It is outrageous the way the accounts are presented and I am treated as If i am a bad payer. A recent pensions report was refused unless I piad up front as I had an outstanidng bill of 4k at that time. I paid it in full b credit card that day and it figures on this most recent account. the problem is my divorce is at a very critical stage and my husband is cornering me and the focus is on this account stuff which adds to my stress whilst interruoting the flow of work.
I have just noted that a statement from 'each individual fee earner is tofollow as I requested.
October 13 fda. Hope to settle out of court before then due to lack of funds.
Solicitor has just rung to say she is asking husband's solicitor for help from him with my fees. She says I need to pay £500 a month to keep her firm happy.
I have told her I have no funds at all at present and that my issues with accounts are not issues with her but that i will not be paying any more until I have funds and a full itemised statement from start to finish and that i know this is correct modern legal practice.
Thanks to your 'help' I feel strong enough to do all of this instead of collapsing into a black hole!
His are around 42k pa (gross) and mine 21k gross and 16k net. The CETVs on his are however awaited still. Barrister stated that the index linking of some and not others was an issue and advised an expert opinion which is to be sought but not yet a full actuarial report as mine as the court would require. My CETVs are already known.
He cleverly averted it by paying me by his arbitrary amount of 2k per month since March 2014 but has now raised the issue again as he has threatened in writing to deduct the tax bill from that this month, leaving me with insufficient funds for next month.
I have agreed to pay my share of the tax bill but have asked to defer it as I have just paid my very high legal bill and had to do so on my credit card and have no funds this month at all (the legal bill is the key issue here really).
I have refused to pay it from the joint account ( has been past practice) as that will now automatically push up the mortgage reserve account for which I am currently destined to be 100% liable at settlement according to his current settlement proposals. It now stands at 95k but was 67k when he left. I have accepted joint liability for that 67k but not more. It has risen by 30k since he left due to his arbitrary and insufficient payments into the joint account. The agreement was that both of our incomes and pensions would go into that account. Mine have. His have not and he earns a lot. I was slow to stop the leakage and its knock on effect on the MRA partly as he was pursuing supposedly a reconciliation. IN fact, that was in bad faith. I have been slow and naive on that front and hence on th finances but have now caught up.
I have therefore now effectively frozen the joint account which requires joint signatures and is 'fed' as needed by the mortgage reserve account, which now also has to be jointly managed.
My husband unilaterally stopped all income and pension payments into the joint account in February this year. Slow again, I did so two months later. That is when he started the 2k. All direct debits etc for house and horse and cars and utilities and land were previously paid from the joint account and he stopped all of these at the same time.
This means I am now running the whole place and all horse and car costs myself on my pensions and the 2k. I can just do it if there are no exceptional extras like a heavy vet bill, car repair or legal fees. The latter are what has brought this to a head.
I do think my legal fees are out of order. I have just received the first of the itemised accounts with an apology for the delay. I have asked for one set out in that way that goes back retrospectively to day one and shows my payments as well. I have also told my solicitor I will have to represent myself if it goes to court in October 10 as I have insufficient funds to pay barrister and legal fees again after the last one for June 12 was prepared for but then cancelled. I have also insisted that an out of court settlement is sought and that my viws are expressed rather than the crude blunt instrument of what the court will accpet which rules out 'added back' monies like the 30k and non payment of income and pensions into the joint account.
These settlement issues are very significant and seem only to be manageable between solicitors as opposed to via the FDR court but the key issue I am concerned about is whether my legal fees are excessive as they seem to me to be.
At last my solicitor has represented my views rather than what the court would accept and has started 'soft' negotiation but this is only since I said I had no further funds at all.
No, because I was advised that pensions (9 in all), 4 bank accounts and financial history is too complex legally and would require frequent contact/advice from solicitors as mediators are not legally trained.
Also, ex husband usually wins/charms/manipulates/bullies/lies and gets his own way and it was felt I would be routed as I usually am by him.
He wanted mediation.
My main query is about my legal fees although any other comments on the divorce or settlement itself as I have described it would be very very welcome too. I am in a mire at present.
I have so far, since August last year, paid around 9k (very approx) and still have 7k outstanding. Accounts have not been itemised at all until I have now insisted and refused to pay any more until they are.
I have now asked for a retrospective statement also, showing all of my payments which have never shown on any account nor been acknowledged/receipted. I therefore have no clear record other than my cheque books of what I have paid due to how the accounts are laid out.
The FDR is now scheduled for October but I have made it clear I cannot afford to pay legal fees for the same round again. I will have to represent myself somehow if it goes ahead. The last hearing was cancelled at the last minute in June but I still had to pay barrister's conference and other legal preparation fees inevitably.
What happens when a woman cannot afford to complete her divorce? My ex husband is refusing to share my legal fees and opposed costs at the nisi hearing when I was told not to go. The decision was held over to the FDR.
Thank you for being there.
10k and that was if it became financially complex which it has.
Told I was 'on track' several times during first four months but FDR and Severance of Joint Tenancy in February has blown it out of the water.
Suddenly I was told a barrister had been appointed, court details were sent and so on. Understood this was all automatic/mandatory in circumstances. Then a conference of 3 hours pre court with barrister was held. Then court was cancelled at last minute and has been rescheduled for October.
Severance oF Joint Tenancy made it necessary to do will, lpas, etc in parallel as had no next of kin or future security after that. I do realise this is ring-fenced and additional work. The billing has been clearer too. No issues though expensive again.
My issues are with the matrimonial accounts: non itemised; none of my payments are shown or acknowledged; tailback bills to January and for each month are sent after I think I have paid up to a certain date but I have nothing to check them against nor any idea of what they are for nor of what impact my payments have had at any point on the total bill. Hopelessly non-transparent.
I have now received next one for almost 7k which includes court preparation and have not yet had time to go through it but itemised list was again omitted until my solicitor chased it up. I have said I will not pay any more until I have the retrospective itemised account for total period showing my payments also.
None of it was helped by departure of familiar solicitor one month ago to another firm. One week before court date and with no warning at all. Received notice from her senior partner just after returning home from 3 hour court preparation meeting with her and barrister. She had been forbidden to tell me and I was forbidden to follow her. I complained very strongly and clearly and eventually she stayed on an extra week to see me through court.
The Senior partner offered a read of the file and one meeting free with new solicitor to compensate. There were teething problems as one would expect but new one has managed it very well and I am now settling down with her and trying to do more of work myself now I have run out of funds. However, my wish for softer level out of court negotiation according to my own preferred direction rather than 'what a court would accept' was not taken up until I said I was out of funds. Suddenly I am being listened to seriously rather than coasting toward court and taking only that view. Was advised mediation was inappropriate due to complexity of case.
But what happens if bills are very high and woman runs out of money and husband refuses to share legal fees? How do women do this?
He advised I did not have enough income in the proposed settlement in which husband was giving me house and taking some equity 150k, requiring I raise money therefore (at 70yo) and take on mortgage of 95k as well in exchange for clean break and no pension or income share. Barrister therefore wanted to get one pension for me. he wanted a better assessment of what the pensions brought in over time re index linking and an actuarial report was discussed but we are short cutting due to finance with an advisor and now waiting for husband's CETVs.
I have now told my solicitor that i have no money to go to court or for a barrister now and have to settle out of court asap.
Have just received the full itemised accounts but will take me while to go through it.
Will I have to pay again then? How does this work? It has been helpful so far in having someone listen and think and prod.
Total bills with solicitors so far are 15,900. 7k of it still to pay.
Can you just clarify how women do this crazily expensive stuff if they have no funds?
If I paid an extra amount to this site would you be able to review my account for me as I am not very good at figures and do not know what is correct anyway? I am not therefore a good judge, just use my gut and brain as I can.
I find I have after all had a summary showing my payments and so start with sending you that. It shows the credit card payment of over £4k which is the last I made. The sudden £10k leap in my bill at that time was not signalled to me and was way beyond my regular cash flow means. These amounts all relate to the point at which my original solicitor was suddenly leaving the firm (without warning) on June 12th.
Just wondering how you are getting on with my legal bills now subject of complaint with my solicitor. Really need second opinion from you.
I have complained about the lack of transparency and mystifying presentation of bills Had visit and head solicitor stated that deductions of what had bern paid by me were to be 'inferred' by chnages in amounts, thus 1362 became 362 on same date next time bill presented.
No acknowledgements of payments were ever sent... he agreed this needed improvement.
He explained that the account is sent at the end of the month and the statement in the middle. I had not noticed this and he agreed it was confusing to receive them separately.
He said they are trying to improve their billing system.
I had actually received a per hour tarif system for each individual which I had indeed overlooked but then throughout had received letters from someone administrative not on the list, including an error at the beginning when a confidential letter was sent to me referring to another client.
What I was not told was what a 'unit' is which is how their tarif system works.
They maintain that the hold up on the specialist letter costing £280 was because my account stood at £4,6k and that my payment pattern had changed but i pointed out that it had not in fact as I had that month paid my will and LPAs in full. No connection had been made as my inward payments on the two separate strands of business were not linked on their computers. They must operate a 'cost centre' system but I was not to know that.
The head of department is planning to vosot me agian shortly and I would welcome your feedback before then please. Happy to pay an extra month if needed.