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Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 34263
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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My step daughter has been to a civil court today as a result

Customer Question

My step daughter has been to a civil court today as a result of a claim made by my partners ex wife. This matter was dealt with as part of the divorce settlement But between the solicitors but no writen evidence of that fact seems to be available. My step daughter has now been made the victim of the situation and has three to five weeks to,find £5000 which is impossible as she is signed off long term sick - on- benefits which is the only way she survives and also a victim also of defamation of character of which there is proof along with a string of other offences from th ex wife - no attention has been paid to any of this. Because there was a photo of the building. ( a small extension). None of My stepdaughters evidence was taken into consideration - she cannot find £5000 and shouldn't have to anyway as this means the ex is getting it twice. She won't be eligible for a loan. - how can this be justice and what can she do. She already suffers with depression because of an ongoing irreversible medical condition. So we are at our wits end as to what happens next. Can you offer any advice please
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 2 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.
Could you explain a little more about the background to the case please
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
A small extension was built on to the house lived in by my stepdaughter who is a single mum of one child approx 5 years ago. At the time it was to be a £5000 loan shared between her father and his then wife. My stepdaughter managed to pay £600 of it - but Ill health and other issues meant her ability to pay more at the time wasn't possible - this was never a loan in writing. However when my partner divorced his wife two years ago this money was included as an outstanding debt and included in the divorce settlement and hence it was written off as to any further worry for my stepdaughter. She had her share back
My stepdaughter has today been to a civil court as a result of the ex wife bringing a case of the non payment of the £5000 which in any case should have been £4.400 - She herself has it In writing that £600 was paid - non of the evidence that my stepdaughter had in her bundle of papers was considered which contradicts quite a bit that the ex wife was submitting.
but What can my stepdaughter do please. - she doesn't owe anything. - it has been dealt with and even if the ex wife refuses to accept that is the case how can it be £5000 when £600 has been paid.
As I understand it the case was judged purely on the fact that a photo proved the extension Was built. No one ever denied that - but my stepdaughter has been left totally destroyed. - she is not a well girl and has more than enough medical evidence to prove that so will never be in a position to pay back that kind of money but it's not for her to do so anyway. It's sorted two years ago.
I can't understand how her response to the claim could be totally ignored - there were so many in inconsistencies from the ex - and there was proof. - how could a fair judgement be made. ? But the judgement having been made - how on earth is she expected to find that kind of money in three weeks which she was told is a little longer than she would normally be given because Christmas comes into it. ?
Please can you see if you can help us make any sense of this or what we can advise her to do. she has been given nothing from the Court so what is supposed to happen next. We are not in the country right now hence have gone down this route of seeking legal advice.
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Sorry
This was a separate case taken out against your step daughter by her mother for the alleged debt of £5,000 is that correct?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes the ex wife has now thought fit to make it a civil matter and hence the hearing today.
At the time it was a verbal loan so that a small extension could be built by the then step uncle. But it was a loan shared by my now partner and his ex wife at the time they were married.
It was dealt with in their divorce so that it was no longer something that my step daughter needed to further as we all understood. Unfortunately there is nothing in the divorce papers that clarifies that point as the solicitors agreed it between themselves but it seems to have never been put in black and White . But there is evidence that in the early days £600 was paid off.
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Is there any correspondence dealing with this within the divorce proceedings?
When was the financial settlement concluded?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
There is nothing in Black and white it seems in the paperwork in the divorce proceedings to confirm that this was discussed and agreed between the solicitors to be included in the final settlement - this absence has only come to light because of the circumstances today - so no proof with documentation .
The divorce was in November 2012 and decree absolute December 15th 2012. The final settlement was March 2013.
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Was there any evidence that the loan was a joint one?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No because it was a joint agreement between them - as a then married couple so not officially documented. But she is now saying it was her
money only that was used- this is all word of mouth there is
Nothing from start to finish in writing.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have stated this was not a documented arrangement just a family agreement at the time coming from personal funds shared by husband and wife which is what they were they were five years ago..
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Did she put in a formal defence that listed these points?
Did she ask your partner to provide a Witness Statement?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
She submitted evidence which was contradictory and shown to be so - but nothing was made of it - and at no time was my partner aware he was required in court or that failing that a solicitors letter to corroborate his version of events would be advisable. Those two factors were only learned today at the hearing - a bit late in the day to say the least.
At all times my stepdaughter made it clear that her father is abroad so if he was required it should have been made clear to give him the chance to get a flight back for the hearing. But the judge used that absence as another factor in awarding this case to the ex wife - my partner gave all the information he was able with any supporting dates or references for my stepdaughter to provide in her documentation for the court - but it wasn't taken into consideration . The ex was able to read her evidence but my stepdaughter was not. Therefore much of what would have proved the contradictions and therefore fairly heard - was not heard and a valid counter claim against the ex wife from my stepdaughter also included in this hearing was disregarded and never touched on.
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
I assume that this was a Small Claims Court action?
If so may I ask if the step daughter sought any advice on the matter?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
It was a court that caters for civil matters - and my stepdaughter had no understanding that a solicitors advice was needed. She provided everything the court asked for so wasn't aware she needed to do more. She sent her bundle of papers to the ex as indeed the ex did for her prior to the hearing which was a requirement by the court . So she adhered to everything that was asked for. She was never aware that her father needed to be at the hearing - it was as she understood between her and the ex. Her fathers intervention was only needed in the form of his statement as to his input of events leading up to this claim which was of course included in the papers.
The big downside to all of this is the lack of documentary evidence re the agreement between the solicitors when financial matters were dealt with for the divorce . The loan was included because it was classed as a joint outstanding debt though there was never paper evidence that the loan existed but of course it was declared as all matters should be for a divorce. So my partner was clear that all finances were dealt with when the settlement was arrived at for the now ex. But now she is claiming that wasn't the case and she alone is owed the money Without anything written specifying the agreement as he understood it what can he do. He's been in Touch with his Solicitor who of course says he can't remember without bringing up the divorce file at a cost. But the fact remains the loan isn't shown in The divorce papers which is what the ex is using as her back up.
So my step daughter who is the innocent victim in all of this is now the scapegoat and at her wits end.
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
On the divorce paperwork - the Forms E - was it down as a JOINT debt?
Did your partner make a formal witness statement?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Clare
My partner is currently sifting through a very large pile of divorce papers and has so far found his ex wife's Form E . In section 2.6 which is. Brief description of money owed and by whom she has put
Stepdaughter for house extension. £3800
that means that actually £1200 had been repaid from the £5000 she was claiming yesterday. That document was filed in the County Court on 10th April 2012. As yet we havent found my partners Form E although we have a letter to say it's been submitted but In any case for the moment we have a clear discrepancy in the ex wife's claim
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
We haven't found a copy of the Form E and with hindsight my partner is unsure if the section 2.6 was completed on his because a deal was allegedly done between the solicitors re the financial outcome and it included his share of the outstanding loan. So as already seems to be the case - he didn't realise at the time just how much he was being let down on the documentation side of his case.
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Did he make a formal Witness Statement?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
What would that have been. - I think the answer will be no - because of discussions and agreement between the solicitors my partner was under the impression that everything needing to be covered - had been. But like I have said it now appears that was not the case in terms if what needed to be written down etc. but he didn't realise that nor would he have done if this case hadn't emerged.
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Sorry - i am still dealing with the case against your step daughter.
How did she approach the evidence gathering?
Did she get a formal witness statement from her father?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
My stepdaughter asked for a statement from her father which he gave - but it wasn't witnessed by a solicitor- there was no indication that it should be. My stepdaughter of course also included her own statement but she had nothing much else she could include in evidence - as all receipts were held at her fathers then address - where building work was also going on - all payments to the uncle for his labour for the building work were in cash so no payment evidence either for that. So she had very little documentation to offer as it was never made Her responsibility. In any case a lot of building material delivered to my partners address was for his building work as well as my stepdaughter and very few receipts for materials actually showed her address.
In the final analysis Clare the judgement yesterday was made because there was a photo of the building so it proved it had been built - never ever denied - and the fact my partner was not at the hearing or a solicitors letter to corroborate his statement. But how can you act upon something you aren't aware of through lack of information.
You asked the various questions Clare as to what was provided re evidence etc but All the relevance and what was submitted as evidence was worthless in the judges eyes because of the situation described above.
On top of all this even though I'm not asking you to consider it - my stepdaughter had put in a counter claim at the same time and despite the fact it was agreed by the ex that she had benefitted from the circumstance - that too was disregarded. But it was a financial gain for her at the time and my stepdaughter was owed money ..the judge did nothing about it.
.
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
It is clear that the issue of this "debt" was not in fact dealt with within the divorce proceedings - no doubt because it was too minor to be covered!
However I am afraid that it was up to your step daughter to seek advice on the best way to conduct her court case.
Your partner should have given a Witness Statement AND attended the court to be cross-examined.
Indeed from what you have said so should her Uncle.
However from what you have said it is appealable as your step daughter did not get a chance to present her case fully - however she must seek legal advice before she does so.
At the same time your partner could separately sue his ex for half of the £5,000 since it was a joint loan.
Please ask if you need further details
Clare
Clare and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Clare
My partner says that his ex wife States that the £5000 used for the extension for his daughter came from the sale of a dog grooming business she had. and that was in her name only. So in view of everything that we have discussed so far - he doesn't feel he would be able to sue for half. The evidence we needed was the fact that the solicitors took that money into account in the financial settlement - There is now the issue that it is documented in her Form E that it is £3800 owed NOT £5000. You also mentioned that the counter claim my step daughter had documented for that same hearing but which the judge disregarded despite the ex admitting she had benefitted from the circumstances could be appealed against as not being dealt with fully is that possible if the judge actually says that the hearing cannot be appealed against.?
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Your step daughter can apply for permission to file an appeal if she was not given an opportunity to properly argue her counterclaim.
If your partner knows that this is where the money actually came from then it is unlikely that it was dealt with within the financial settlement at all I am afraid
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Clare
Because of the Christmas break etc my stepdaughter has yet to receive any paperwork relatng to the court hearing. All she knows at present is that she was given three weeks to find the money - so in the circumstances how does she go about filing permission for an appeal to properly argue her counterclaim. Is there a time limit ?
Patricia
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
The appeal process is set out here
http://www.insidetime.org/resources/WSDocDownload/I_want_to_appeal_What_do_I_do_EX340_CourtService.pdf
Clare