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Harris
Harris, Law Specialist
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2317
Experience:  Family Law - Specialist in Divorce, Financial Relief and Children Matters
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I have just written my question which is about divorce in the UK. I

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Hi I have just written my question which is about divorce in the UK. I was wondering if this is your area of expertise and if you would be able to give me specific advise.
I would like to know whether my solicitor has advised me incorrectly. With the benefit of hindsight it appears that this is the case, but the firm is denying any mistake.
In June this year my solicitor advised me that the Court had certified that my husband (the petitioner) was entitled to a decree of divorce and that I should "sign" to agree, regardless if the finances had not been sorted out yet. She also advised me that the decree absolute will be issued 6 weeks and one day after decree nisi, but this would not affect the financial outcome. During our meeting, I asked her specifically about this issue, because I thought that one cannot get a decree absolute until one gets financial settlement. The lawyer replied that the "divorce and the finances are two separate things" and that we should go ahead with the
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.
Hi, thanks for your question - however it seems to have cut off at the end.
I'm relation to the application for decree absolute the petitioner is able to apply for decree absolute six weeks and one day after the date of decree nisi - this is not automatically granted. You did not need to sign to agree to the decree nisi and this would be for the court to decide upon submission of the application for decree nisi.
In relation to finances the application for decree absolute is usually delayed until finances have been settled as upon grant of decree absolute certain rights change such as automatic right to inheritance as a spouse. But there is nothing to stop the financial matter or negotiations to continue if decree absolute is granted.
Please let me know if you have any further questions regarding this.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi, thank you for answering part of my question which but you have not answered my full question as to whether my solicitor has misinformed me or delayed in explaining my financial position implications after decree absolute.
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.
If the solicitor has informed you that the decree absolute is granted automatically 6 weeks and 1 day after the decree nisi is granted and that you need to sign to agree to the decree nisi being made - this is not fully correct.
If the solicitor has also not informed you of the change of certain rights financially upon grant of decree absolute, then you have not been fully advised of the consequences of the decree absolute.
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.
Hi, this question remains open. If you found the information provided helpful please could you rate positively – I will not be credited for answering this question without a positive rating. Thank you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Dear Mr Harris,Thank you for the response to part of my question, however, you have not read through my full question so i am reposting this in order that I may receive a more specific answer from you. I have just called customer services and they advised me to do so. My question includes the possibility that I may have to complain to my solicitor because she advised me that decree absolute is inevitable and if I didn’t sign I would incur court costs. It was June 2015 and the divorce petition was sent to me in October 2013. Have I been fooled? I hear that the divorce should and could have been delayed further.
I would like to know whether my solicitor has advised me incorrectly. With the benefit of hindsight it appears that this is the case, but the firm is denying any mistake.In June this year my solicitor advised me that the Court had certified that my husband (the petitioner) was entitled to a decree of divorce and that I should "sign" to agree, regardless if the finances had not been sorted out yet. She also advised me that the decree absolute will be issued 6 weeks and one day after decree nisi, but this would not affect the financial outcome. During our meeting, I asked her specifically about this issue, because I thought that one cannot get a decree absolute until one gets financial settlement. The lawyer replied that the "divorce and the finances are two separate things" and that we should go ahead with the divorce and try to sort out the finances as soon as possible.I understand that this can be the case, that Ancillary Relief can be negotiated afterwards.However my issue is that i had a restriction on the house i am living in with his daughter. My name is ***** ***** the house and the restriction was placed because of that. I am led to believe now that this right should have been protected before the decree absolute was signed and it wasn’t.She continued to send me a couple of letters stating that my husband was not responding to my lawyers' calls for mediation and financial settlement. My husband did finally respond after decree absolute was pronounced on November 24. I had my first appointment with the mediator and waiting for my ex-husband to attend his.
AFTER DECREE ABSOLUTE was announced last month, my solicitor now says that "As you are now divorced, you can apply under section 33 (5) of the Family Law Act 1996 to the court to make an order to preserve your right to occupy beyond decree absolute having been pronounced" and ... "I must confess that I have never had to make an application under this part of the legislation before but of course if Mr (surname) is going to be difficult then we should do so immediately to preserve your rights under this part of legislation"Before that, the lawyer HAD NOT TOLD ME that, after decree absolute, I could potentially lose the restriction on the house. I called her to ask her to please apply to preserve my right to occupy beyond decree absolute but then she told that "this is not straightforward" we would have to apply to the court. She suggested I should wait to see if he is going to be difficult and that this is unlikely. During our telephone conversation she also said that this should cost more money and I am already up for a quite large sum to pay to her, because, as she said, she had already done a lot of work for me in the last week or so as a result of me calling her regularly and asking her questions. My calls were to clarify things she should have done way back in June, so I am disputing the bill and I feel that I should complain as I am not happy that the decree absolute was pronounced before the financial settlement.Am I in a vulnerable position after decree absolute? Is there a possibility that my lawyer have made a mistake or misinformed me? Should I complain for not informing me of the consequences of decree absolute on marrital home occupation rights? Is it too late to do anything about it? Most importantly how can I PROTECT myself at this point? Thank you.
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for the further clarification. Your initial information had not stated that you had a home rights notice registered on the property.
It would have been for your husband to apply for decree absolute six weeks and one day after the grant of decree nisi. The decree absolute is not automatically granted six weeks and one day after this time and he would have to make an application, which you do not need to sign and he submits this to court without the need for your agreement. Your solicitor should have identified that there should have been agreement to delay the application for decree absolute given the financial issues, and should have sought an undertaking from your husband not to apply until the financial matter was settled.
As stated previously, it is usual to agree between parties that decree absolute is not applied for until the financial matters have settled and finalised by the court. There is not penalty towards you or your husband for delaying applying for decree absolute for this reason.
In relation to the matrimonial home rights registered on the property, it is correct that this ends upon grant of decree absolute and to prevent him removing you from the property you would need to make an application for an occupation order to your local family court.
You should check the advice given by your solicitor to ensure that there was no mention of your home rights notice expiring upon grant of decree absolute which should have continuously been identified if your solicitor was aware that such a notice was registered on the property.
Therefore the urgent issue is for you to make an application for an occupation order to prevent him removing you from the property - this can be done under form FL401 to your local family court
You will also need to pursue an application for financial relief in order to reach a financial settlement if mediation is not progressing - the mediator will provide you with a signed Form A which you will need to complete and countersign to pursue this.
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.
Hi, this question remains open. If you found my information provided helpful please could you rate my response positively as I will not be credited for my response without a positive rating.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply. I have put a complaint through to the law firm that they did not inform me of the consequences of decree absolute or tried to delay it. However, correct me if I am wrong, there is no way of going back now. The main point is that now my ex husband has the freedom to remortgage our home. Occupation order is not really the option as he will not throw me out due to his daughter living here. The main problem is the financial split, as he is self-employed and I feel in a vulnerable position because he is free to do what he pleases and to delay mediation to suit his needs. If you have an idea of what I can do, I would appreciate it. I am feeling vey isolated and obviously, I cannot contact my lawyer.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I wouldn’t like to pay any more at the moment, sorry. I hope that my above points are connected to my initial question. hank you.
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for the further information. If you are certain that he will be remortgaging the property, you will be able to apply for a freezing injunction to prevent this from happening.
You do not need to attend mediation and can submit a Form A (to initiate financial relief proceedings), Form D11 (for a freezing injunction) and a statement as to why a freezing injunction is necessary and what evidence you have to support your suspicion that he will remortgage the property. This application can be done on an urgent basis without notice to your husband but the court will need to see strict proof regarding the need to issue such an injunction.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your further answer to my question. As I explained I have not got a lawyer to act on my behalf now and I am not sure where to find these forms (I appreciate you being specific – thank you), how much money they cost and what are the implications of such moves. Does it mean that I am going to apply to the court finally for financial relief and bypass mediation due to him delaying to do his intake appointment? My ex is very secretive about all his moves and my experience is that he knows about business – and he is very lucky, and self-assured that I have no power and am inexperienced (also greek in the UK so english is not my first language); he has two properties excluding the matrimonial home both mortgaged but rented to people; he is professional with a 15-20 year old business which he closed down last year, (pretending to be broke, although cash involved big time in his typo of business), but he seems to work 24/7 and getting excellent feedback from friends and colleague seeing from his flashy website. I am afraid of him but not sure what an injunction means and how do I support myself and make confident moves that I don’t regret. Thank you
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.
To be honest, applying for a freezing injunction is best done with legal representation as it can be fairly complicated. If the injunction is granted, this is registered on the title of the property and will prevent him from remortgaging.
The Form A will enable you to proceed with the financial relief proceedings and given the urgency mediation will be bypassed.
It may therefore be prudent to sit down with your solicitors and possibly request a transfer of solicitor within the firm to someone who is experienced in dealing with such matters.
Harris, Law Specialist
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2317
Experience: Family Law - Specialist in Divorce, Financial Relief and Children Matters
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