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plclegal
plclegal, Barrister
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Experience:  Barrister at law
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A financial consent order has been agreed between my wife

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A financial consent order has been agreed between my wife and I but has yet to be sealed by a judge (that could happen any day). It was based on a 50/50 split. I was reasonably happy at the time but the more and more I think about Im not. For instance:
JA: What steps have you taken? Have you filed any papers in family court?
Customer: carrying on...
JA: Family Court normally sits in a local County and Magistrates' Court. Do you know the location of the court? If not, what county do you live in?
Customer: 1. my wife has been awarded our joint family business so I am now unemployed with no salary 2. I know she has pad herself £65,000 mostly in dividends since the agreement in court last October 3. miraculously the revenue of the business picked up after court 4. she took half of my pensions. I had one personal and one occupational. the personal one was worth £300,000 the work one £1.2m. she was awarded all of the £300,000 on and 46% of the £1.2 m one. she already has a £150,000 personal pension of her own. I kept asking my solicitors nd barrister to provide me with a detailed breakdown of ho the 50/50 split looked on paper in arms of her assets, my assets, joint assets, then the split but never got a clear answer. I was made to feel said when they told me the paperwork I'd been sent didn't;t work the way I thought it dd and that I didn't understand what was going on (I have a first class degree in engineering). Its a clean break nd so I have no recourse to going back after the order has been sealed. And no hpe t looks of any maintenance. In fairness I ms dit I gamble away £30,000 during our three year separation nd that was looked upon very dimly by my barrister and solicitor even though I added it back in. I think I lost me teams support when I told them this and so they didn't want anything to do with me. I a struggling to survive day to day whilst my wife lives in the family home (which is uo for dale) with my kids and enjoys an average salary income of over £10,000 a month. I'm boring money off people just to survive and am n universal benefits. My question: is there any possibility I an get the judge to review this morefavouraly my way. Please. I'm desperate. In the last few months I've had a cancer operation and my mother committed suicide. My outlook on life at 56 is not good.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Yes. For 20 years I kept the family. My salary was over £200,000 15 years ago. I was made redundant. I became a house husband but still managed to develop a portfolio of properties that created wealthon which we lived through remortgaging. My wife contributed nothing. Now she has taken half the equity in the sale of these properties whilst I ave had to use mine to pay off debts. I was a house husband for 10 years and have become unemployable as a result.
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
I am trying to send you the final order
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
I am sending you the form I repeatedly sent to my solicitors which I asked them to fill out. This form makes sense me. I have run businesses and a simple balance sheet seemed the easiest way to represent the assets and asset split. But my solicitors told me "it doesn't work like that" and refused to fill it out.

Hello, my name is Peter and I’ll do my best to assist you today.

Please bear in mind as this is an email service and not live chat I may not respond immediately.

I'm just reviewing your question.

OK - have we spoken before about your case? There's no previous history under your user name but the case does seem familiar.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Thank you. I am basically skint now and my wife is plundering the family business she was awarded which I set and whch she has repteadly said would exist without me . She also said she would never touch my pensions!
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
to be honest I can’t remmeber who I’ve contacted about this. I have at times represented myself and had to rely on anyone that seemed able and qualified to help
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
It’s been going on three years!

That's fine, I understand.

What is the rationale for the division of assets in the terms suggested, if she has a healthy income and you have none? This is the first point that makes little sense to me given the way you have portrayed the facts. If she has half of all your pension assets yet you have none of hers, and she has both the family home and the business, what are you left with?

How old are the children?

Do they have regular contact with you?

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
The kids are 19 and 17. Birthdays in September. The eldest is at university. The youngest at school. Only the youngest could be considered dependent. I have a great relationship with them and see them and talk to them all the time. a great realWhat''s the rational for 50/50? Fairness I suppose. But when all gets shaken out it doesn't look too fair to me. I repeatedly questioned my barrister and solicitor on the elements of the deal and how it all added up. But as I mentioned before, I had "lost them" due to the gambling which although not great was actually done in a calculated way (I have a First in Engineering) in order to give us a the slimmest of chance to pay off our debts. I had worked out mathematically a way to shift the odds slightly in my favour. All it required was a little bit of luck. Famous last words. I will try to send a copy of the asset schedule my solicitor sent me which they said was the one my barrister used to out his numbers together and on which I was pretty much "forced" to accept.
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
I can't fid a way to send you the asset sheet. If you have an email address then I can send it to you. Thanks
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
I should also add that in the run up to the court case at the end of October last year my wife repeatedly refused (she had 60% equity) to pay dividends to me based on figures from our 2018 financial year. This was reported in court and my deal done upon the basis that no dividends could be paid. And yet I find out that since the court case she has paid herself almost £60,000 in dividends. Surely there must be some recourse to the court on that?

OK, thanks. I'll submit an email offer for you to send directly to me.

plclegal and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 11 days ago.
So, in summary these are my issues:
1. I'm not happy with the advice I got from my barrister or solicitor. In the barrister’s own words “we just need to get this over the line".
2. The deal in outline was done BEFORE we had the pensions report. I presumed that when the report came through, I would be able to keep most of my pensions. That appeared to be the only way the maths would add up so that we had 50/50. When I saw that the report recommending that my wife kept her pension circa £150k, took my personal pension circa £300k, and then got 46% of my occupational DB pension circa £1.2m at the time, I was in a state of shock. It seemed to skew things massively in her favour. However, I was advised to just take the deal, so I did.
3. I can only presume that I lost my barrister and solicitors confidence due to the gambling. But when I told them the barrister said "don't worry I've seen a lot worse". But the solicitor who managed to fire me for non-payment of invoices two days after my mother committed suicide and allowed me to walk into a pre-hearing meeting un-represented moved away from me. The reason I had not paid their invoices was a. I had questions about the invoices which were inaccurate and b I couldn’t afford to pay at the time. Previously the solicitor had made some bad mistakes with their advice once at least telling me I could pursue a costs order against my wife only to then later apologize by telling me they'd meant to type "you have no case for a costs order" rather than the "you have a case for a costs order". As a result of this I negotiated more favorable payment terms. But they later ignored this.
4. My cashflow going forward is now heavily dependent on the sale of the family home as well as my mother’s home. But in this current climate there will be at least a 9 to 12-month delay. And my money reserves have now run out.
5. My wife repeatedly disagreed to pay me dividends to me from the family company (she has 60% equity to my 40%) and so this also impacted on my ability to pay solicitors bills. She repeated this in the run up to the court case and a deal was done on the basis that dividend from F'18 calendar could not be paid. But no sooner had the judge taken the company away from me, given it to her, then she paid herself £65,000 in dividend between November 2019 and March 2020.
Given that I am newly self-employed, and the measures announced by the government yesterday to hep self-employed and not applicable to me I am faced with a few hundred pounds a week to live on if my claim form UB's is even agreed. Meanwhile MY wife is paying herself the equivalent of £165,000 a year gross when her basic salary and dividends are extrapolated form November to March to a full calendar year. So, she has approximately £1m in pensions to my £672,000. She has a yearly income in the region of £165,000 and half the equity increase in our property portfolio which has been sold which she did nothing to contribute towards. She has approx., £80,000 cash reserves in the company and access to rich parents. On the other hand, I have approximately £5,000 and debts in the region of £75,000. And no job. And as I was a house husband for ten years whilst her career flourished, I am now pretty much unemployable. And I thought the law in this instance was to ensure we both had the same standard of living and that our children wouldn't be able to notice any difference between the two of us. But she will likely end up buying a three-bedroom house whereas if I'm lucky I'll be a one bedroom flat.
I will not be able to survive based on the deal now. It was bad before ie after the pension report. But now given Coronavirus it is catastrophic. There surely must be a way to go back to the courts to ask them to reconsider the order in the light of current events. Had I not had to wait ten months between one court hearing in February 2019 and October 2019 we could have easily sold the family home before the effects of coronavirus set in. I will be representing myself from now on as my solicitors are gearing up to fire me again so any help you can provide will be life-saving. Thank you.
Customer: replied 10 days ago.
She has just now paid herself another £30,000 in dividends this week. That takes her total income up to approximately £100,000 since the court case on 232-25 October 2019.
Customer: replied 10 days ago.
I am emailing the asset sheet now that I was sent by my solicitors when i asked for the final asset sheet upon which the barrister based my deal (he had prepared the asset sheet). You'll see my comments on it, Incidentally, my Barrister has written a book which has in it the words "never do a deal at FDR without the pension report). But he did exactly the opposite in my case.

Thanks for the email - I'll review and come back to you at some point today.

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Good morning,

My instinct is to write to the Judge stating that recent events have distorted the fairness of my deal away from me due to coronavirus and pension sharing order to the extent that the the principles of fairness under section 25 no longer hold. As the court order has yet to be sealed I am presuming that it can be changed to reflect a different environment and context that we face today. My basis for re-evaluation is:

1. The pensions report has been implemented in a way that skews the originally intended 50/50 split more in favour of my wife

2. My wife has misled the court as to the information relating to payment of a dividend from the family company. In short, she said the company had not got enough money to sustain paying a dividend to her and me based on F’18 success and the cash in the business so far this year. However, she has paid herself £100,000 since the end of the court case. On the other hand I’ll be lucky if I get £200 a week in universal credit.

4. My whole basis for agreeing a new deal was that the family home would sell and the proceeds meant I could afford to live. But the government is insistent that there are no new viewings in the property sales market effective destroys the premise upon which I did the deal. So I have very little money to buy a sandwhich. I presume my wife is getting take outs from le gavroche based in how much she's taking out of the comany

Views?

I agree that this is a sensible route and my view is that you essentially have nothing to lose by doing this.

I would hope that the judge is sympathetic given the circumstances.

It will most likely require a further court hearing though, to thrash out further agreement.

Can I assist further today?

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
This is the key issue: I thought the law in this instance was to ensure we both had the same standard of living and that our children wouldn't be able to notice any difference between the two of us. But she will likely end up buying a three-bedroom house whereas if I'm lucky I'll be a one bedroom flat. And I will not be able to survive based on the deal now. It was bad before ie after the pension report. But now given Coronavirus it is catastrophic.

Yes I agree that the order is not fair. So I think your suggested approach is sensible in the circumstances.

I hope that assists.

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
Thank you. How much would you charge to draft a letter to the judge for me to that effect?

I can't write to the judge directly for you afraid as I'm a barrister and don't have the authority to conduct litigation on your behalf.

My view is that this is better coming directly from you in any event.

 

Customer: replied 7 days ago.
I understand. Would you be prepared to just quickly cast an eye over it if I draft it tonight before I send it? Thank you. I would just be looking for a gross negatives check.

Yes of course.

Customer: replied 7 days ago.
Sorry. Quick question. When I send the letter to the Judge should I do it "with notice" ie should I copy my wife's solicitors?

Yes this communication should be with notice as you are withdrawing your support for the consent order.