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UKfamsol, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 560
Experience:  Very experienced specialist family law solicitor, qualifed in 1994
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My partner has been divorced 2 years. Their were no

Customer Question

My partner has been divorced for over 2 years. Their were no finances to settle as they rented and all family debt £25k was in his name. They lived together for 10 years and were married for less. They have 2 daughters 7 and 5. My partner earns approx £45k and his ex wife does not work. My partners ex wife wants spousal maintenance but no legal agreement has been made. They have been to mediation and have been through 2 rounds with solicitors. On the last round she wanted £1100 per month until the youngest is 18. my partner responded with an offer To accept liability for a £12k loan they were given by his parents and to pay her £650 a month for 5 years (this would be spousal and child combined). This was over 12 months ago and we had no response even upon chasing. My partner has recently resent this offer and we want this closed off. She has responded that she wants a new full financial disclosure and that she still wants more than the £650. We are going around in circles and cannot afford more than is being offered. We have been through a solicitor and a baristor and are getting no where and it's costing a fortune that we don't have. What can we do to finally close this off and stop going around in circles? His ex wife does not work, rents has full benefits and legal aid. She also made herself bankrupt.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  UKfamsol replied 2 years ago.
Hello and thanks for your question.

The only way to get closure if your partner & his ex cannot agree is for either one of them to apply to court.

Where a couple reach agreement either via discussion between themselves or via solicitors' correspondence or via mediation, that agreement can be turned into a legally binding agreement buy a solicitor drawing up the agreement into a draft consent order that both sign, and which is then sent to court for the court to approve. Once approved, it is as binding as a court order made following contested proceedings.

However, if the couple cannot reach agreement - as for your partner & his ex - the only way is for either one of them to make a formal applictaion to court to ask the court to decide what should happen.

The application is made on Form A, here:

It is a condition of the court that the parties must have attempted mediation in the 4 months before the application to court is made, so unfortunately, if the mediation took place more than 4 months ago, your partner will have to attend a least one more session to satisfy this court requirement. However, the benefit of making a formal application to court now is that the court will set a timetable which will include set dates for filing at court various documents such as a detailed financial statement, a chronology of key events, a statement of the issues - and will book a first hearing. The procedure concludes with a final contested hearing - if agreement has not been reached by then.

At the final hearing, the court will consider all the documents and hear evidence from both parties, and the court will then order what is to happen.

The court is keen for a settlement to be reached at any stage up to and even including the day of the final hearing. But I think that given what has gone on so far, without a formal application to court - which will end either with an order by consent of both parties, or an order without the consent of both parties, but either way, a legally binding court order - there will be no conclusion.

As to what the court will order, it's diffilcut for me to say as I don't have all the information - but the court will take into account the ex's earning capacity, as well as her needs, and your partner's ability to pay, when the spousal maintenance is calculated. That will of course be in addition to child maintenance.

Here's a useful site with regard to child maintenance:

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

Thanks and best wishes...
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi, do you roughly know how much this process could cost?
Expert:  UKfamsol replied 2 years ago.
Hello again & thanks so much for your prompt payment!

The court fee is £255 from memory - but check with your local family court. After that, the cost depends on whether your partner decides to represent himself or has a solicitor or barrister to represent him. Then he would need to get quotes from them - it's expensive. But the sooner a settlement is reached, the quicker the case will end, and so the lower his legal costs will be.

best wishes & thanks...