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Ask Harris Your Own Question

Harris, Law Specialist
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 1606
Experience:  Family Law - Specialist in Divorce, Financial Relief and Children Matters
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I got married 22nd December 2000. Pretty immediately after,

Customer Question

I got married 22nd December 2000. Pretty immediately after, 3 months on, I realised this marriage was not going to work out. I consulted Solicitors 3 times in 2001 and was told a judicial separation was the only way out of the marriage for a year until a divorce could be petitioned for. The truth is that no one in my family or immediate family had ever been divorced, it was taboo and not considered an option. I therefore decided we would just live our separate lives being married to one another in name only. Some 15 years on I could not maintain this because my partners behaviour has become intolerably unreasonable. Let me just emphasis we have been living separate lives for pretty much the whole duration of the marriage. The extent of our separation is evidenced through the fact we do not sleep in the same room, do not wash our clothes together, or cook together. We have our own kitchen utensils and crockery and even have different sections of the fridge, stranger still we have separate dustbins in the kitchen. This is a very separate and abnormal co-existence and really is just a marriage in name. No socialising together or even going shopping together. The divorce proceeding are now in their 13 month and we are 'miles apart' to resolving matters - the judges words. Our first hearing involved not only solicitors present but also barristers. There will now be a second hearing on 29th September 2016, the so called FDR but I really cannot see myself the applicant and wife the respondent coming to any resolve because I strongly dispute the property valuation carried out. The reason why is because I had 9 valuations and the average of these came out to 939,250.00 however the valuation carried out for the courts suggests a property valuation of 1,300,000.00 this is a huge discrepancy of some half a million to 300,000.00 from the lowest and highest figures of the estate agents I consulted with, some nine of them.
2 Question:
Important point to note, there are NO children involved.
1. How far will the courts take into consideration our separation in determining financial matters, I really cannot believe it will be a 50/50 split?
2. Where will the courts go in realising the valuation figure is NOT fit for purpose in my opinion, I have 9 valuation of my own no where near £1.3M.
I should also add, we signed a pre-nuptial agreement but have been told this will not carry any weight.
One last important point since 2001 I have consulted solicitors some 6 times over the course of 12 years but always backed off from seeing it through. I am now trying to finish this time. I new it was going to be hard but really did not think it was going to be this difficult - It some 13 months now and one of the first solicitor I consulted said it would take about 6 months.
Yours Sincerely
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Harris replied 1 month ago.

Hi, thank you for yoir question. Was the £1.3million valuation carried out further to the court order and was the agent agreed between you? When was this undertaken and when were the others undertaken?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
it was. I had a choice of 3 the respondent selected. I had the other 2 agents value for me prior to the one I selected. Both the other two were far less. one said approaching 1M and the other suggested around 950k.
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
There were 4 valuations carried out by me about 2 weeks before I choose from the one out of 3 of them listed as a choice by the respondent and her solicitor. The other 5 valuations were carried out when I completed form e back in November 2015. 2 agents said 925k another 2 said 950k and 1 other agent said 800k.
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
The most recent valuations, 4 in total were carried out end of July 2016.
Expert:  Harris replied 1 month ago.

Thanks for confirming. Unfortunately, as you have agreed on this agent to value the property the court will use their valuation as a basis but you have an opportunity to contest the valuation through the proceedings and if necessary the expert can attend court to give evidence regarding the valuation.

Given that the marriage is long all assets will be taken into consideration and the court can also consider the pre-nuptial agreement to see how fair it is and if there are any superseding facts that override the terms.

You will both need to provide each other with full and frank financial and income disclosure, as well as disclosure of your reasonable needs. The Court's starting point is a 50-50 split of all matrimonial assets and ensuring that both your needs are met in relation to both assets and income. For your information the criteria considered by the court in these matters is:

1. The income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future, including in the case of earning capacity any increase in that capacity which it would in the opinion of the court be reasonable to expect a party to the marriage to take steps to acquire;
2. The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
3. The standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage;
4. The age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage;
5. Any physical or mental disability of either of the parties to the marriage;
6. The contributions which each of the parties has made or is likely in the foreseeable future to make to the welfare of the family, including any contribution by looking after the home or caring for the family;
7. The conduct of each of the parties, if that conduct is such that it would in the opinion of the court be inequitable to disregard it;
8. In the case of proceedings for divorce or nullity of marriage, the value to each of the parties to the marriage of any benefit which, by reason of the dissolution or annulment of the marriage, that party will lose the chance of acquiring.

If you have any further questions regarding this please let me know. In the meantime if you found this information helpful please provide a positive rating using the stars at the top of this page. I will not be credited for answering your question without a positive rating. Thank you

Expert:  Harris replied 1 month ago.

Hi, this question remains open. If you found my information provided helpful please could you rate my response positively using the stars at the top of this page as I will not be credited for my response without a positive rating.

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