We had a First Appointment hearing called by my wife. Its four years since the nisi was obtained and she has failed to agree a fair financial settlement having run me into debt on credit cards. Late last year I asked her to proceed the case as I am the respondent (because she was previously able to get legal aid). At that time she refused saying she was happy to let it stay as it was. She has been living in the matrimonial home for all this time and refuses to agree to its sale. I have not pushed for a settlement to allow the children to finish formal education.
Because of a casual comment I made on facebook about wanting to work abroad this year she and her solicitor approached the court for an emergency hearing which was granted without any reference to me. This has therefore condensed the time frame and put extreme pressure on me to complete the required paperwork in the time allowed, especially as I am representing myself.
I have to supply a completed form E
A concise statement of the issues between the other party and me, a chronology and a questionnaire of other information and a form G.
This is all for the financial settlement.
We have been married for 30 years. She sought an end to the marriage 5 years ago citing my unreasonable behavior. Most of what she alleges is fabricated. As she had no grounds on which to seek a divorce she had to engineer some and so provoked a physical fight between us. She however had committed adultery and has been co-inhabiting in the former matrimonial home with her new partner for at least the last four years.
She is seeking that I relinquish any claim to the matrimonial home, that she has some portion of my pension and that I retain 100% of the debts that she ran up on my credit card accounts for which she had a spouse card and was therefore jointly responsible for creating.
I have been to three separate programmes of mediation to try and resolve the issue of the credit card debts and find a fair way forward. All have failed because of her refusal to accept responsibility for half the credit card debts.
I believe that it is unfair that she can accelerate the court process now after she has refused to do anything realistic for the last four years.
I hope this further information helps.
I don't know how best to respond to this court sanctioned bullying.
The form E has to be completed in the next few days. The next hearing is set for the 17th February.
We can exchange questionnaires required by the 23rd January.
Its a nightmare!
The court date was the 14th November with the follow up letter setting it out on the 25th November. I was about to move home when the court hearing happened and told the judge that. What with moving, additional work caused by Christmas, I'm a care worker, and the impact this all has on my depression I have not acted on it as quickly as I should have. December has the anniversary of my wedding, my father's death and the end of our marriage and me leaving the family home so it is a difficult month.
Because normally there would be an extended period before the date of the first hearing to prepare things. She has, after all dragged this out for 4 years. The last time I asked her to bring it to court she said that she wouldn't.
Its not really the timescale that is the issue but what needs to be done to try and keep some fairness in this matter. I don't have experience of divorce proceedings which seem very different from what applies in other courts.
What will happen next?
She attended with her solicitor and I represented myself. I had less than a weeks notice.
Yes there was that direction and a direction for the exchange of questionnaires and responses by tomorrow and the next court date by the 17th of this month. As I represented myself in the court the judge also told my wife's solicitor to help with the process, short of advising me of course. Such help would have been to send me their completed form E as early as possible but instead they sent after I had submitted mine. I asked the court office for a few extra days and that was agreed. Once I got the completed form E, I realised that this is too big and too complex a task for me to do and I have therefore been seeking to engage a solicitor. I was due to travel the 80 miles this morning to see a solicitor but she has gone sick today.
Can I ask the court for more time and how would I do so?
Her side has filed the form E and now sent me a Questionnaire.
I submitted an incomplete and unsigned form E as I felt I had to submit something to the court.
Really, my paperwork needs to be done and I have realised that given the difficulty of the task I an going to need a solicitor in court to help me. I was supposed to see one today but she called in sick.
I have seen solicitors in the past and yet the matter has not been resolved. Partly because of my depression and Margot due to my estranged wife's refusal to agree a fair settlement. She ran me £25k into debt and damaged my chances of earning the sort of income I used to. I now have a full time, demanding job which is paid at the minimum wage. I'm reluctant to get any deeper in debt. It will take me the rest of my life to pay off what I already owe.
Sadly, justice is a rich person's privilege in this country.
The form E was just too detailed and demanding. I realise now that I was subjected to emotional and financial abuse in the marriage and that abuse has continued since the seperation.
It has been a challenging 5 years with not just this nasty divorce to deal with. I have also had redundancy and unemployment and now a job well below my capabilities and pay grade. She has loosened the children who are now young adults so that they ignore me. I've lost my home and my identity. In addition to that and the loss of my job I also broke my thigh bone badly, lost my younger brother to suicide brought on by his own divorce and had to relocate and deal with everything basically on my own. I have sought out professional advice and support but its not the same as family support. All in all I have had a fair bit to deal with and depression is not an easy thing for me to address. I regret to say that I also have little faith in the divorce courts treating me, or any other husband fairly and all that is going to happen is I'll be in even more debt for the rest of my life. I have hoped in vain that my wife will just do the decent thing and agree to help pay off the debts she helped run up. Its as simple as that really.