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Awarded Costs What Next (7 Posts)
Started By:
04 December, 2017 07:27PM
Awarded Costs What Next
TMD - 04 December, 2017 07:27PM
Follwing our decree nisi the court have said that the "Respondant shall pay costs to the petitioner, to be subject to assessment if not agreed"

I am the petitioner but am unclear on what i do next and the court were not very helpful.

1. Is there a form to fill out or do i simply send an e mail to the respondant to say the cost was £XXX please pay up?

The costs are modest:

£550 divorce fee
£100 or so for the bailiff as my ex refused to reply to the D8 Divorce Petition
£200 or so for solicitors advice

2. Do i claim for all of it or can i only claim for certain elements?

3. If he doesn't pay, as seems likely, what happens next?
Re: Awarded Costs What Next
davidterry - 05 December, 2017 09:29AM
>>Do i claim for all of it or can i only claim for certain elements?

You claim for all of it. None of it is excessive. The court fee was an inevitable expense, your husband brought the cost of bailiff service upon himself and I doubt that anyone would find the legal costs excessive.

3. If he doesn't pay, as seems likely, what happens next?

It is like any other debt. You have to decide how far you are willing to go to recover a debt of £850.
Re: Awarded Costs What Next
TMD - 05 December, 2017 04:55PM
Thanks David that's helpful.

Do i just e mail him then to say this is what it cost or do i have to get the court involved?
Re: Awarded Costs What Next
davidterry - 05 December, 2017 05:45PM
Well, if someone owes you money you first ask them to pay up and give them a breakdown. Unless, of course, you are the EU in which case you write your own rules. He may make a counter proposal such as, 'I am willing to pay £X in full and final settlement'. Only you can decide what you do if he offers nothing or not enough. When pursuing this sort of sum of money what is economic to spend on it becomes very important.
Re: Awarded Costs What Next
TMD - 06 December, 2017 05:40PM
Thank you David
Re: Awarded Costs What Next
Willapp - 08 December, 2017 04:27PM
Could I just ask what happened in order for you to be awarded costs? My understanding in family court was that each party was responsible for their own costs unless it was proven that a party had deliberately frustrated the process?

I only ask because I am soon to go through divorce and although I remain hopeful it will be resolved amicably, I am worried that my ex could attempt to make me pay costs if we were to end up in court.
Re: Awarded Costs What Next
davidterry - 08 December, 2017 05:48PM
In settling the financial issues arising from the marriage the usual order is that each side pays their own costs. In that case you are correct that there has to be some degree of fault for the court to depart from that.

However, the divorce (ie the part of the process that ends the marriage) the rule is rather different and in my view it is anachronistic. It is quite common for a petitioner to claim the divorce costs in the petition. When the judge issues a certificate of satisfaction that the petitioner is entitled to a divorce that certificate also says whether the Respondent should pay costs. If the issue of costs has been agreed between the parties before that point then the certificate will follow whatever that agreement was. However, if there was no agreement (which is probably most cases) then if a petitioner has asked for costs a judge will decide whether to order the respondent to pay them. There is actually provision for either or both parties to be heard on the subject of costs at decree nisi but it is uncommon for anyone to avail themselves of that because attending court just increases the costs.

When nothing has been said about costs and a judge has to decide then the outcome is not entirely predictable. In most cases a judge will order a respondent to pay costs in a petition based on adultery. On the other hand in cases based on five years' separation a judge will typically not make an order for costs. These rules don't make much sense and I think they are anachronistic. For instance, most divorce lawyers know from experience that adultery is more often the symptom a broken marriage than its cause. Very often the adulterer could just as easily have petitioned for divorce on the ground of the other's unreasonable behaviour. Similarly in five year separation cases one is often dealing with a totally unreasonable spouse who refused to 'give' the other a divorce and made him/her wait for five years.

Basically the reasons vary but in the divorce proceedings it is not uncommon. Whether one gets the money is something else. You cannot get money from someone who does not have any and even in the case of someone who does there are relatively few people who think it sensible to incur more legal costs and hassle to pursue an amount which may be less than £1,000.
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