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History: Home UK Divorce Forum
Topic:
Court has rejected our financial settlement application - solicitor's fault? (6 Posts)
Started By:
Date:
28 February, 2017 09:27PM
Court has rejected our financial settlement application - solicitor's fault?
FlorenceG - 28 February, 2017 09:27PM
My husband had a good pension, which he is already drawing and gets about £11,000 a year index linked (ie it goes up every year). He is only 56. We also have assets of the marital house (no mortgage) , and savings which we split in half when we separated. He made me feel terribly guilty for leaving him and I felt under pressure to give him a "fair" financial settlement. I work, and he doesnt since he retired at age of 51.
He chose not to use a solicitor and kept telling me I didn't need one, to just sort out the finances ourselves. I took advice from my family however and instructed a solicitor. I asked for her advice on the settlement as I really had no idea of what was fair. We had no vauation of my husband's pension, just the knowledge of the amount he drew every year.
The solicitor advised me to apply for a financial settlement of a 60:40 split in my favour of the house value - the house was valued at £200k. So I had to pay him £80k which used up all my savings and meant I had to borrow from my parents and also remortgage. I have taken all the responsibility for earning money since he retired and just assumed that I still would - but I am 50 now and would have to take out a 20 year mortgage. Meanwhile he would have £120k which included his half of the savings, and keep drawing his pension every year so needn't ever work again. He told me the divorce was all my doing and I had to make sure he was secure financially.
His pension valuation came in at the eleventh hour and we sent off the paperwork to the court - the sols advised me really briefly that his val meant that our finances were very unbalanced and really I should go back to him and review our agreement, but I just wamted it done with and I knew he'd refuse a new deal. So it went to court - and was rejected because his assets are £360k and mine would be £160 k after the house division.
The solicitor made me sign an indemnity that said I understood that I should really go back to him and rearrange the finances, but I didnt understand the full implications of the pension valuation - i just thought that as he was only bringing home half what I do a year then he wouldn't have enough to live on. It was her advice I was relying on and she didn't bother to talk me through it when we found out what his pension valuation came to.
He has now VERY reluctantly agreed to review our agreement but keeps saying I'm going back on my word and not keeping to what I promised - it has put me in a horrible situation .
Her advice, now I consider it more, meant that I was borrowing heavily, still maintaining our house for my 16 yr old child with no maintenance, and had no savings or pension provision of my own. It was a rubbish deal. It came at a time when I was emotionally vulnerable and had no real idea of what I was entitled to.
Should my solicitor have ever advised this?



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 28/02/2017 09:47PM by FlorenceG.
Re: Court has rejected our financial settlement application - solicitor's fault?
davidterry - 01 March, 2017 09:19AM
>>Should my solicitor have ever advised this?

Bearing in mind that your solicitor asked you to sign an indemnity it is clear that your solicitor advised you against the terms of settlement. How your solicitor can be held responsible for something she advised against is something hard to see. I think you will also find that your solicitor kept notes of your conversations because when a solicitor asks as client to sign an indemnity because the client does not wish to follow advice the solicitor will always keep detailed notes.
Re: Court has rejected our financial settlement application - solicitor's fault?
FlorenceG - 01 March, 2017 09:27AM
The solicitor wasn't available, her assistant popped down when I brought in the documents, said 'I'm going to get you to sign an indemnity because, really, you should be looking at renegotiating with your husband as these figures aren't very balanced', I said 'But I just want it settled, he'll never agree any less'. She said 'oh OK then!' And I signed and there you go.
I just thought she was meant to be on my side!!
I'm not really arguing about the indemnity bit, to be fair I did sign it, it was more the initial advice of the 60:40 split given that she knew how much pension he drew every month. All our negotiations were based on that. Basically after four years he'd have recouped the imbalance in the house split.
Re: Court has rejected our financial settlement application - solicitor's fault?
Andyk - 01 March, 2017 10:04AM
At the end of the day it is probably a good job the court has rejected this - it could be your ex's wake up call that this is not fair. Now go back and argue for some more as this is your golden opportunity.
Re: Court has rejected our financial settlement application - solicitor's fault?
davidterry - 01 March, 2017 03:39PM
>>I just thought she was meant to be on my side!!

Your solicitor is on your side. That is what you are paying for. Your solicitor told you that the agreement was not fair and asked you to sign an indemnity which indicated that you knew that which you did. A solicitor is not obliged to pin you up against the wall in order to make you follow advice.

As Andyk has said, this agreement has not been approved so it is open to you to renegotiate and/or find a new solicitor if you want.
Re: Court has rejected our financial settlement application - solicitor's fault?
FlorenceG - 01 March, 2017 08:52PM
I'm very grateful the court has insisted that this is an unfair split. I am a bright woman but I was in a right state when we split and I was still following his 'orders' as I did for marriage. David the assistant barely mentioned the unfairness and jusy gave the impression that it was all a formailty. And I still dont see why the solicitor would have originally suggested such a low figure for a deal. I thought she knew what she was doing and this was normal.
I'm not trying to sue the solictor aor anything, I'm just wondering if this is normal advice or I just got a pretty rubbish solictor?
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