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Harris, Law Specialist
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2851
Experience:  Family Law - Specialist in Divorce, Financial Relief and Children Matters
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My husband and I have decided to divorce after 10 years

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Hello, my husband and I have decided to divorce after 10 years marriage and 15 years together. The reason for this was his behaviour which I tried to address. He is always out with friends, drinking etc and sometimes sick. He has never prioritised me and I asked him to put our marriage first but he said would prefer his friends, his free life and the money as he feels I am a financial burden as I am self employed. We have a house together for which I am on both the mortgage and Land Registry. The house has been valued at £425,000. My husband wants to give me a lump sum of £100,000 and for me to leave and find somewhere else to live. I have spoken to a Barrister (who is not registered) recently. The Bar have said they have no problem with her not being registered. I am worried about who to go to and also would like your opinion of my rights and if it is ok to instruct the Barrister? Even with half the share of the house or 60% I will struggle to afford another property of my own. Thank you, Claire

Hi, thank you for your question. Just a bit more information required to fully assist you:
-How old are you both?
-How long have you been married?
-Do you have any children together, if so their ages and proposed arrangements?
-What is the outstanding mortgage on the home?
-Who is now living in the property?
-Whose name is ***** ***** in?
-What other assets and pensions do you both have (both sole and joint), together with values?
-What are your respective incomes?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello,I am 49 and my husband is 50 years old.
We have been married for 10 years.
We have no children.
We have just under £90,000 left to pay on the mortgage.
The property has been valued at £425,000.
We are both still living in the property.
The property is in both our joint names by mortgage and Land Registry.
I have a small, frozen NHS pension of 10 years. I left the NHS approximately 4 years ago. My husband has a pension with BT he has been with them since he left school. He has never told me his exact salary but I believe it is around £30,000 pa. He has savings but he does not divulge these to me. I am self employed and I am not in profit as my business is new, I sometimes have had to have loans to help me pay the bills and some months I have been fine. My income is approximately £12,000 pa.I would also like to ask if it is safe for me to instruct an unregistered Barrister who works individually although The Bar say they have no problem with this (although didnt ask her name).Thanks for your help.

In relation to the barrister, I am not sure whether this would be in your interest given that she is not regulated by a professional body. If you want a barrister to deal with this instead of a solicitor you should consider finding a barrister who accepts "direct access" work.

In relation to the finances specifically, the amount he is offering you is not an equitable settlement. There is £335,000 equity in the property. He is offering your £100,000 which is less than a third of this. There is no disclosure of other assets, savings or investments and the total asset pot could be higher than this. It also appears that you are not sure of what his pension value is - and this will be relevant given your long marriage and both your ages as you would be entitled to claim from this.

Furthermore, given your disparity in income, you would be entitled to either pursue spousal maintenance to meet the shortfall between your reasonable needs and your income, or to claim a greater share of the assets by way of capitalising maintenance as a lump sum. I would therefore suggest you seriously consider his offer as it does not appear to be in your interest.

As part of negotiations or mediation 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

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Harris,Thank you for your advice.May I just ask the Barrister advised me she does accept Direct Access and is insured by a company. Would this be acceptable and safe for me to continue with her?

Given the legal complications of this matter it would be recommended to have a solicitor or barrister that is regulated by the SRA or the Bar to represent you. Your barrister will be unregulated and therefore may not be able to personally represent you in court if the matter proceeded.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello HarrisThank you for the further advice regarding the Barrister. Its disappointing as I am encouraged by her passion but I did suspect this and that is why I asked this question as the next step is for me to give her £2,000 to start the proceedings, she suggests I present my husband with a divorce first to sign and then she will arrange the financial settlement side of things.This is her website and below is part of the Terms she forwarded to me:I have copied part of the Terms & Conditions that she sent to me. Does this mean that she is basically guiding me to support myself legally through a divorce?Client Care Letter incorporating Terms and Conditions of TWL Legal Consultancy
These terms set out the conditions upon which TWL will be able to assist you in respect of the matter for
which you are seeking legal advice: All work is undertaken as a Legal Consultant only. The Women’s Lawyer
do not hold themselves out as Barristers in connection with the provision of a “Reserved Legal Activity” and
or “Legal Activity” as defined under Section 12 and Schedule 2 of the Legal Services Act 2007 and are not
fully regulated by the Bar Standards Board thus providing for an absence of available compensatory powers
for any inadequate professional services rendered. Camilla Choudhury – Khawaja was called to the Bar of
England and Wales in 1998, however she does not hold a current practising certificate under the Bar
Standards Board Code of Conduct, all advice is given as a legal consultancy, and TWL is insured for
professional indemnity insurance as such. TWL is a private limited liability company, based in the United
Kingdom, with registration number: 08367587. Registered address: Phoenix Business Centre Rosslyn
Crescent Harrow HA1 2SP England.The Bar said it is not a problem when we called to find out more but I dont know if they even asked her name. Thanks again for your advice before I can conclude then whether to stop my liaison with her.Kind regardsClaire

It appears that she is only a consultant who will provide you with advice and assistance through the process and on court record you will be representing yourself - again she cannot undertake reserved legal activities such as represent you and therefore you may wish to approach a barrister or solicitor who can do this.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you Harris, much appreicated. I will go through a traditional solicitor.

No worries, I hope it goes well. If you have any questions in the future you can ask for me directly by starting your question For Harris

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Dear Harris,May I just ask are you a solicitor that is able to take cases such as mine or does it need to be someone local to me?Thank you

I would highly suggest you approach a local solicitor as that is more appropriate and easier to deal with for you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you