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familylawexpert, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 311
Experience:  Substantial experience (14yrs +) in divorce, financial cases, cohabitation, pre-nuptial agreements and civil partnerships.
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I have been married for 16 years, we have 2 children 13 & 16

Customer Question

I have been married for 16 years, we have 2 children 13 & 16 in private education. My husband is verbally abusive, neglectful and absent ( he has works away for up to 6 nights a week - no set pattern). I have not worked (originally a joint decision) and have run house, family and been available to support him. He is self employed (controls finances - keeps cash in his company and withdraws as needed to minimise tax implications - he says)but has a high profile job a divorce would not suit his family man profile. There are limited finances - some equity in family home (interest only mortgage for 11 years!!!)and school fees - :
1)would my settlement be reduced if I wait until my son is 17/18 ( and has finished exams)
2)How do I pay for solicitors when he controls finances - can he be made to pay them?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  familylawexpert replied 4 years ago.

My name is Mac. I can help with your questions.

1) Would settlement be reduced...
Your financial entitlement will not be reduced simply by virtue of not getting divorced for another 4 years (or more); neither will it increase as it happens. Your marriage is already a long one (in the court's eyes!) and you have made a full contribution. You will be entitled to half of the assets and, if that is not sufficient to meet your needs (both capital and income), then you will also receive a maintenance order.

Whether your settlement would actually be bigger in 4 years would therefore depend on whether the financial pot that is to be divided will be bigger now, or in four years. Obviously it's not possible to know that for certain, so you could only be certain with hindsight. However, you can be confident that you are not prejudicing your claims simply by virtue of waiting.

2) How do you pay for solicitors?
Once you have initiated divorce proceedings, you are still entitled to be maintained by him, even if you move out etc. So, if he does not provide you with reasonable maintenance, you can ask the court for an interim urgent order for maintenance to cover you through until the end of the proceedings when a more substantial final order would be made. In a similar way, you can also ask for an interim order to help you with your legal fees.

There is also an option for third party funding for legal costs in a divorce - depending on the level of assets in question, some lenders are able to offer loans to meet legal costs. Your solicitor will be able to tell you whether that is realistic in this situation, but the first option of an interim application is always open to you.

I hope that is helpful. If you would like me to clarify anything, please ask. If not, I would be grateful if you could rate my answer.