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Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33818
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 met with my now-estranged-wife 3.5 years ago and got married

Customer Question

I met with my now-estranged-wife 3.5 years ago and got married 2 years ago. I found out that she is cheating on me 6 months ago. She confessed and two of her friends who also knew about the cheating have confessed to me after I found out. I immediately filed a divorce application on the basis of adultery, and she left the house (which I bought a year ago while we are married) and moved to somewhere else. She was living in UK on a spouse visa. Being her sponsor, it was my duty to inform the Home Office that we are not living together anymore. I did that some months after our separation and received a letter from Home Office saying that her visa is cancelled now.
Everything started immediately after the visa cancellation; one night police was on my door, arresting me with an allegation of Domestic Violence. I guess, in order to stay in this country, she applied to police and made up lies that on her last night at the house, I insulted her and pushed her towards the wall. I spent the night at the cell, and released the next day on a bail condition of “Not contacting her directly or indirectly”. I told the detective that I never did any such thing in my life (I am a Software Engineer with a nice career), and also that there was a tenant at the house which I provided the details. Detective called the tenant and the tenant told them that he was indeed at the house that night but not heard any such noise.
Next month I went to police station on the bail date, but arrested again with two fresh allegations: calling and harassing her once via her mobile phone, and also destroying her clothes and belongings that are left at the house. The date that she was claiming the phone call was made, I was on a holiday abroad and I told this to the detective. They bailed me again with the same bail condition and kept my phone as evidence (even though I asked them to investigate her phone records from her mobile operator, they didn’t). My bail was extended twice more since that time, so I am still on bail since couple of months.
While these are going on, her solicitor send me a later saying that she wants to divorce but denies the adultery. The solicitor is asking me to change the reason of divorce application to “unreasonable behaviour” so that they may consider accepting. I didn’t reply to this first mail. About two months later, I got another such “without prejudice” letter saying the same things, but also mentioning that their client further demands a financial agreement to be reached outside the court. She asks for £14,000 settlement which is apparently clearly shown on her bank statements (they claimed she transferred that money to me as a contribution towards the purchase of the house). The solicitor is kindly reminding me that their client is now “legally aided” and if I don’t accept this agreement now, they will go to court which would be an expensive process , and also they will seek to pay their costs settling at this early stage. They put me on notice .
They are clearly using these criminal allegations and my bail situation as a pressure point towards me (even her divorce solicitor is kindly reminding me about the bail). I am clearly trapped into a bad situation. All of their allegations are “her words against mine”, so I am sure that there is no evidence or witness (since I haven’t done any such claimed things). In fact, I have some of her “best friends” ready to testify kind character and also adultery. I gave those people’s name to the detective so that they can properly investigate, but they never contacted them yet (many months already passed).
My questions are as follows:
- If I agree to such a settlement amount now, can it ever be made legally binding such that I will keep my house (which is solely mine anyway, even on the mortgage just ) ? Or are they using this to test my acceptance limits, and then if I accept they will possibly find other excuses to ask money? Can there be any “final” agreement between the parties before the divorce process finishes?
- If they go to court, can they actually make me pay solicitor costs since I didn’t settle at an early stage?
- On my bail condition, it is specified that I am not allowed to contact her, even indirectly. If I respond to her solicitor now, wouldn’t I be breaching that condition? Myself and my solicitor asked that same question to the detective via email, but the detective has not responded yet after 2 weeks.
- Will there be any negative consequence of myself changing the Divorce application to Unreasonable Behaviour rather than Adultery? Why are they insisting on that so much? Why aren’t they filing a new divorce application (by themselves) with that reason instead? I guess that she is trying to get a Domestic Violence visa and thus doing all these mavericks.
- Shall I hire a family solicitor case or just agree their proposal?
Thanks
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.

Thank you question.

I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
How long were you actually living together?
What capital did she bring to the marriage?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

,

1- We lived together about 3 years, of which 1.5 years as married.

2- She worked part-time a year between 2013-2014 (even though in the solicitor's letter, they claim that she worked "full time" in that period). Before that she only did one or two short-term work. Some of the money that she was earning, she transferred it to my account because I had some savings accounts. However, some of these money, she just put into my account and asked me to transfer to her family members. Therefore, looking back at my past bank statements is quite complicated. In reality, I know that she has contributed less than what she is requesting now.

3- During the 3 years, I was paying our accommodation, food and travel costs, including her family travel costs etc.

Regards

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.

How much is the property worth and how much is outstanding on the mortgage?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

,

I bought the property for £360,000 last year, and currently 300,000 is the outstanding balance on the mortgage. The current value of the house should be something around 380,000-400,000 .

Regards

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.

Just to check - are you willing to amend the Petition to one base don her Unreasonable Behaviour?
How much has she in fact given you over the few years you were together - best guess will do fine
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

,

Getting divorced is my higher priority, so if it is very difficult to win the case at court with the adultery route (i have witnesses that can testify that they were aware of the adultery), i might be willing to go Behaviour.

However, if changing the petition from Adultery to Unreasonable Behaviour will later on impact me negatively somehow (on my domestic violence case, or on the financial dispute etc.), then I might not accept that route. In fact, I would like to know why they badly want me to change it? Do you think it is going to help her with the Domestic Violence visa application?

Finally, I roughly think that she has given me around 10k during the few years, but that money will effectively be zero if you consider the money I spent on rent/travel etc.

Regards

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.

Without wishing to be crude unless your witnesses were actually present when the sexual act took place it will be impossible to obtain a divorce based on adultery without the co-operation of your ex.
On that basis usually I would suggest an amendment to allow the divorce to progress however in this case I suggest instead that you write and say that you will withdraw your claim provided that she admits the adultery.
This is based on the fact that Legal Aid will not finance a defence of a divorce petition - so it is worth a try.
If they will not agree then you can amend the Petition to one base don her Unreasonable Behaviour - it does not effect the financial outcome.
With regard to that despite the fact that you brought all the capital to the marriage - and the majority of the income too your ex is going to be entitled to a small percentage of the Matrimonial home.
On that basis I suggest that you take advantage of the fact that Legal Aid is a loan and not a gift and thus would have to be paid back - you offer her £7,500 in full and final settlement with a view to paying £10,000 if you HAVE to
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks a lot answer.

I have few earlier questions if you don't mind:

If I agree to such a settlement amount now, can it ever be made legally binding such that I will keep my house meaning she won't be able to claim any further money in the future? Or are they using this to test my acceptance limits, and then if I accept they will possibly find other excuses to ask money? Technically, can there ever be any “final” (set in stones) agreement between the parties before the divorce process finishes?

- If they go to court, can they actually make me pay solicitor costs since I didn’t settle at an early stage?

- On my bail condition, it is specified that I am not allowed to contact her, even indirectly. If I respond to her solicitor now, wouldn’t I be breaching that condition? Myself and my solicitor asked that same question to the detective via email, but the detective has not responded yet after 2 weeks.

Thanks

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.

You will only pay the money to your ex if and when there is a Consent Order sealed by the court dismissing all further claims.
In fact it is unlikely that any costs order would be made against you unless you behave unreasonable in terms of the conduct of the case
Since her solicitors have written to you it is not a breach of your bail to reply
Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33818
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 2 years ago.

Sorry further request. I am trying to understand her possible motivations in insisting me to change the petition type to Unreasonable Behaviour rather than Adultery. Leaving the pride possibility aside, can there be any other solid benefit why they asked me twice to change the petition type (especially when legal aid is not paying defence of a divorce petition as you mentioned)?

If I write and say that I will change my petition type provided that she admits the adultery, do you think there is any chance they might accept? Also, what is the possible benefit in getting such a written admission?

Thanks in advance

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.

There is no point in doing that.
If you change the ground in the Petition then you do not need her to admit the Adultery - and there is no other benefit to having the admission.
The only reason I can see request is her pride in terms of dealing with her family and friends
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you very much fast and accurate answer.

Can you please confirm the reasonable steps I need to take as follows:

1- I negotiate with her solicitor on the final settlement amount.

2- Meantime I also agree with them on what new reasons to state on the updated Divorce Petition form ( Behaviour). This is beneficial to avoid updating the Divorce Petition too much which might complicate the case ??

3- Apply the court to change the petition type from Adultery to Unreasonable Behaviour

4- After they respond to petition, apply Nisi.

5- Then get a solicitor to draft the Consent Order and get it agreed with their solicitor.

6- Apply to court Order approval

7- Apply to court Absolute

Finally, can you mention some commonly used reasons Unreasonable Behaviour? Considering I will change my petition from Adultery to Unreasonable Behaviour, I don't want to put some reasons that will be questionable by the judge.

Best Regards

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.

Your steps are indeed correct.
I am working off an iPad at the moment but will be back to my proper computer this evening and will help you with the allegations then!
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks. I would appreciate if you can provide some allegations based on my case.

I read your previous responses once more and could not exactly understand the following sentence:

"On that basis usually I would suggest an amendment to allow the divorce to progress however in this case I suggest instead that you write and say that you will withdraw your claim provided that she admits the adultery.
This is based on the fact that Legal Aid will not finance a defence of a divorce petition - so it is worth a try."

Can you please clarify that sentence? which claims should I offer to withdraw?

In order to be able to pay some extra fee, I will now raise another question in another thread to you. I could not find any other ways to pay additional answers :)

Regards

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.

Before agreeing to amend the petition you should first write to her solicitors and say that if your ex admits the adultery then you will not claim the divorce costs from her!
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks response.

I will respond them as per your suggestion (ask her to admit in return ). Her solicitor sent me both an email and a posted letter in the past. Shall I respond back via email or letter? Also, they had a "Without Prejudice" remark on their letter. Shall I do the same?

I have filed another question to you in another thread, so that I can ask further questions and pay further accordingly. I would appreciate if you can pick that question as well.

Regards

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.

You can do- there is no reason not to!
Clare

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