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Divorcing a bully – and seeking an Indemnity Costs order

Suppose that you are going through a very nasty financial case in the course of your divorce.

Suppose that your former spouse is behaving very badly during this process.

Suppose you both know that the court is likely to make the usual costs order in the case, with each side being asked to pay their own costs.

The party who decides to behave badly decides there is not much to lose. This party takes a gamble and increases their own costs in an effort to minimise the eventual settlement, safe in the knowledge that he or she will not have to pay the costs of the other side.

On the other side the frustration is clear. Costs are going through the roof and a nasty game is being played out. It is extremely difficult to find out what the opposing spouse is worth at all. Smokescreens and mirrors prevent anything other than a lengthy and convoluted legal process. The stronger spouse, confident the weaker one is getting nowhere, makes derisory offers.

It is pretty clear to all concerned that the intention (usually unspoken, but obvious nevertheless) is to rack up costs as much as possible, raise as many obstacles as possible to avoid disclosure, to avoid coming to the table and in general, to make life as hard as possible so that those derisory offers become more “palatable” as an end to this protracted saga.

This type of behaviour is not uncommon, especially when a spouse has much to lose. One of the worst examples I encountered recently was a client who told me her husband had telephoned the solicitor she had previously instructed, and personally threatened him and his firm with ruin if they touched her case. When she instructed another firm, he did exactly the same.

Suppose you are at your wits end, you are approaching court and you believe that you will ultimately succeed. However your costs have cleaned out all your savings. You desperately need to have your legal costs met, or your struggle will have been in vain. What can you do about it? How can you make the court depart from the normal “no order” principle?

Here is my advice:

1.      Your starting point should be a clear understanding as to how a financial case should be conducted.

The relevant pre-action protocol can be found here, at the HMCS website. If you read it carefully you will note that the protocol is designed, in common with other court based protocols, to “build on and increase the benefits of early but well informed settlement which genuinely satisfy both parties to the dispute”.

This intention is also expressly enacted in the Family Proceedings Rules (known as the FPR, they govern the operation of family law cases) and is, importantly, described as “the overriding objective”. Cases should be conducted in accordance with the pre-action protocol and the FPR.

Reading through the pre-action protocol, you will note how the process should ideally be conducted and what is expected of both parties.

I would expect that if you are dealing with a particularly hostile spouse, you will find a breach of practically every paragraph: the wrong tone of the correspondence; failure to make full, frank and clear disclosure of documentation; failure to carry out the procedure with minimum distress to the parties; failure to act in a manner designed to promote as good a continuing relationship between the parties and any children affected as is possible in the circumstances, and so on. You will also note that “trial by correspondence”, the raising of irrelevant issues or causing the other party to adopt a polarised or hostile position should all be avoided if possible.

The overall intent of the pre-action protocol is to establish and narrow the issues so that even if settlement is not ultimately possible, the court should be assisted to do so. Has that happened in your case? I doubt it. So go through all the correspondence carefully, and put your arguments together.

2.      If there is evidence of breaches galore, collect it.

Under Rule 2.71(4) (5) of the FPR, “The court may make such an order at any stage of the proceedings where it considers it appropriate to do so because of the conduct of the party in relation to the proceedings (whether before or during them)”. Under Rule 2.71 (5) the court must take into account the following:

(a)    Any failure by a party to comply with these Rules, any order of the court or any practice direction which the court considers relevant;

(b)   Any open offer to settle made by a party;

(c)    Whether it was reasonable for a party to raise pursue or contest a particular allegation or issue;

(d)   The manner in which a party has pursued or responded to the application or a particular allegation or issue;

(e)    Any other aspect of a party’s conduct in relation to the proceedings which the court considers relevant; and

(f)    The financial effect on the parties of any costs order.

Consider all the breaches in your case and fit them in, one by one, under each of the above sub-headings. In particular, bear in mind (f) and the financial position in which you find yourself, chasing your spouse uphill and down dale.


3.      At the conclusion of the case, ask the Court for your spouse to pay your costs.

4.      You can also go one step further. Ask for an award of ‘Indemnity Costs’.

When there has been what lawyers call litigation misconduct, the court may not only make a costs order against one of the parties to the case. The court may also make an order for Indemnity Costs, if the conduct of the losing party warrants it.

What does that mean? Usually when the losing party is ordered to pay costs, the order would be Party and Party costs so that only costs reasonably incurred in the proceedings are to be paid by the other spouse.

Take for example an application for variation of a periodical payments order. The case is evenly fought between the parties, both having good arguments, but ultimately the order is varied. The court will probably make a costs order against the losing party, but only the costs that are payable on a party and party basis. The court would then have discretion to reduce the charge-out rate of the successful party’s lawyer, and a greater discretion to reduce the overall amount to be paid, to a sum that the court considers reasonable to be paid by the losing spouse to the winning spouse. So if the winning spouse has instructed a lawyer costing say £500 per hour, the court might find that £200 per hour is more reasonable and make an award on that basis. The losing spouse would pay costs but typically, in my experience, up to about two thirds of the winning party’s legal bill.

However if the conduct of the losing party warrants it, and if the court is satisfied it takes the case out of the norm, the court will award Indemnity Costs, and thus the costs of the recipient party will normally be paid in full.

Under the Civil Proceedings Rules 44.4 and in particular, sub-rule (3), “where the amount of costs is to be assessed on an indemnity basis, the court will resolve any doubt which it may have as to whether costs were reasonably incurred or were reasonable in amount in favour of the receiving party”.

This type of costs award can be a massive body blow for a losing party who has been playing games and racking up both sets of costs, instead of following the overall objective of the pre-action protocol and the Family Proceedings Rules. Not only would the losing spouse be paying the settlement, but also their own legal fees – and potentially could end up paying double those legal fees, or more than double, if the recipient party lawyer is even more expensive than their own.

If you are in this situation: play hardball, refuse to despair – and use the law. I wish you the best, and please feel free to leave any questions in the comments section below.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. Emis says:

    I don’t know know whether my problem is a greedy solicitor and a bullying spouse or both.
    My solicitor insists upon emailing and sending hard copies of everything. I have reams of paper. Every update of the eform in the first half dozen occasions resulted in a new copy being sent.
    Recently our bank account was frozen ( by me me as spouse took a large sum out) and spouse refused to unfreeze for 1 month. The negotiations took a month, and I had to calculate my expenses. My solicitor charged £7000 for that month.
    Much of the work could have been done by an accounts clerk.
    I finally got my husband to agree via a phone call.
    I have been severely depressed ,on meds,off work, and caring for my children,to whom husband has been causing much
    hurt. I don’t know whether to change solicitors. I have spent £17000 and we have not yet exchanged E forms .
    Admittedly my husband is aggravating the situation but I feel I am being robbed on all sides!

  2. Tom says:

    My name is Tom 30 year old male recently divorced but finance yet not resolved due to hostile ex-wife. We were less than 6 years married and childless with one property worth £60K and £35K mortgage left. I am workin as postman and she is working as nurse and earing £800 per month.
    It is straightforward case and I am offering to 60% to 70% profit of the house but she is deliberately drag me to court and wasting my money and time. She has sent me many emails stating she knows that she can get 50% but gives me hard time. Due to her allegations I am feeling very depress as well she is bulling by creating problem to resolve the finance and increase my legal fees.
    Please guide me as soon as possilble. Our first hearing in court will be soon but her solicitor has not provided the form E yet.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      I have heavily altered your e mail to protect you. You need to ask your solicitor for advise not me. I can’t possibly advise you from the little information you provide. If you aren’t confident in your solicitor, then you can instruct another in whom you do have confidence.
      Best wishes

  3. Tom says:

    My wife was on legal aid and her soliciotr has been using all the bullying tactics and more described above. Now she has lost her legal aid and has no money anyway – can I still ask for cost against her former solicitor for litigation misconduct ? and if so how can one go about asking for this. I have no legal representation or money either – having wasted £6000 on legal fees mediation etc and still no further forward.

  4. JamesB says:

    It is pretty clear to all concerned that the intention (usually unspoken, but obvious nevertheless) is to rack up costs as much as possible, raise as many obstacles as possible …, to avoid coming to the table and in general, to make life as hard as possible so that those derisory offers become more “palatable” as an end to this protracted saga.

    Very common saga, happened to me. My advice would be to have final hearing asap with limiting correspondance to get costs right down. Final Hearings are bad but the stories on here (and what happened to me) are really bad. German saying, better an end in terror than a terror without end.

    One thing, I am not sure the other side is really all to blame, their solicitors are at least partly also. If their business is slow they and and do encourage, or at a minimum condone and apologise for such behaviour.

  5. JamesB says:

    they can and do encourage, or at a minimum condone and apologise for such behaviour, that was.

  6. Leela Jinadi says:


    I am currently going through a divorce where the DN was pronounced with a cost order against my ex. He lives abroad in the EU, how can I claim these costs if he refuses to pay?

    Thank you, Lee

  7. Observer says:

    Thanks for highlighting yet another area of family law where gender discrimination runs deep.

    You’ve been practicing family law for a while, I presume, so you’ll agree with me that any father asking for an indemnity costs order is automatically constructed as a bully. Indeed, it is seen as proof that he is a bully.

    Any more advice on how we can all ensure that solicitors get paid?

  8. Name Witheld says:

    Hi, Your site is very helpful and I need every bit of help I can get right now. After 25 years of marriage my ex decided to leave for someone else. There were a lot of debts which are now being split up 50/50 and I understand this side of things. I now have to sell the home as it is still mortgaged due to my ex’s lack of working and the debts and and he wants to get off the deeds to move on. I brought the equity to the marriage and have been paying the mortgage since he left. My ex requires 50% of the equity and for me to sell the property. I have a solicitor offering me £10000 to pay a share of the mortgage (and £10000 I gave in a separation agreement he agreed for me to have the remaining equity) but nothing else, no fees for moving etc. Additionally there is an age difference which means I will have to struggle to make any future purchases whereas he will still be able to have a full term mortgage. At the moment I work very hard but cannot afford solicitors and doing the best I can to respond myself. They have made countless of financial errors and accused me of confusing things but I am an accountant and know they are wrong. They have changed the figures several time with no apology. I have been given 3 weeks until they take up legal proceedings and I have informed them I am not accepting their offer due to inconsistancies in the figures and the above. I will arrange a solicitor for court but would be very interested to hear your opinion on whether you think I have any rights to a settlement from him based on any of this.

    Thank you

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      I’m really sorry but there just isn’t enough info supplied to advise you. Go and see a solicitor now for advise.

  9. NDM says:

    I was married for 13 years when my wife turned her back on our marriage & moved in with her elderly lover, i applied for a divorce & was granted it by the court who also ordered her to pay the costs of the divorce, which became higher than they were supposed to be because of her ignoring the divorce for months on end.
    Now she refuses to pay the costs that were ordered by the court.
    Can you please advise me on my options to retrieving these costs from her, as i do not have the means to retain the services of a lawyer.

    Many thanks in advance.

    regards NDM

  10. NDM says:

    My ex wife refuses to pay the divorce costs that were ordered by the court for her to pay. I can not affored the services of a lawyer, what are my options for retrieving these costs?

    Thanks you.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Ndm
      Couple of thoughts:- You can apply for a bailiff to enforce the order via your local court or apply for an attachment of earnings order?

  11. JamesB says:

    Just leave them accruing interest at 8% p.a. for a few years, then take her for every penny. Or threaten to do that to her.

  12. JamesB says:

    Default judge debtment rate that is.

  13. BF says:

    Hi Marilyn
    I have come across you advice on more than one occasion and have found it clear and informative.
    One point I would like to add is that I hope one day the police will be given greater powers to disable bullying spouses, who know just how far they can tip the scales psychologically and just within the law. The police have attended my particular case no less than 15 times over the last 12 months to deal with appalling circumstances but under the umbrella of Civil matters. It is difficult to take out injunctions as they are so cost prohibitive, have to be policed and knowing the other party will be in and out of court in order to crush financially; is simply not a viable proposition.
    Surely the way to bring to heel bullying is to give the police greater power to say NO to unacceptable behaviour.
    If your spouse locks you out of the house it is breaking the law, yet is a civil matter. If you spouse threatens to pour boiling water over you, defecates in the marital bed to keep you out it is a civil matter.
    If your spouse deliberately racks up debt in your joint account to make you jointly and severely liable
    It is a civil matter.
    Add this to emotional and psychological pressures it is no wonder some people fall into depression and despair. Fortunately I have a great support of friends and family, however I really feel that our Police powers have let me and I am sure many others down.
    The police, because their hands are tied are enabling the bully, giving them greater power to offend again and again. Until our laws change the bully will always flourish.

    • LA says:

      Responding to one of the comments im gutted as I was told by a solicitor that an occupation order would be £2000 plus so I didn’t go for this and was intimidated& frightened out of my home upon asking for divorce and am now nearly three years on battling having got the Nisi in Nov 18! I’d had to do all myself as no legal Aid despite DA and submitted D81 with a consent order that wasn’t drawn up properly as pension can’t be split as it stated plus I had no money for actuary so asked for a reasonable per cent Of pension Sharing Order (35) meaning I’d get 45 pc of total marital assets. Court refused this after six months. Now with spiralling debts as it’s being dragged out by spouse and his lawyer having completed form E bit in which he’s lied and supplied out of date pensions statement. It’s agreed there’ll be joint instruction on actuary which they are now dragging out (a month so far) . Been there previously 20 months ago when I was trying to do it myself and so it goes on and on ! Isn’t this financial control? Previously had a lawyer who took six months to get started and £1700! I’ve made numerous offers to renegotiate a consent order but he says I’m not entitled to any of his pension. It’s a 16 year marriage, 2 kids and I worked zero hours around his shifts to accommodate his career and be the main carer. Police not interested – he’s is in the Police! Are lawyers not bound by an ethical code to not make things unnecessarily complicated? I’m being financially crippled and could lose my home (kids involved) . I’ve offered several times to settle out of court and I’ve had 20 per cent of marital assets (equity to buy a home) so far but he won’t share the rest! This could cost me another £11k (already £9k). He’s lied about his health being poor and activities he says he can’t do (alleging he may not be able to work or drive but wants to be main carer against children’s wishes) which is so easy to prove. Can’t someone just tell him the games up or do we really have to go through further hell just to get justice? Grateful for any help. So grateful for your website. Thank you!

  14. bagail says:

    Hi Marilyn, my husband controls all assets owns the house business controls any money im to recieve by him only, he also refuses sex because of marital problems has signed a will over to his family leaving me with nothing, i cant bury the guy should he pass away, he is a bully, prideful and self ish, he is also a control freak, no matter what i do to be a good wife he refuses me romance and intimacy and Love, what am i entitiled to in a divorce in n.y. thanks, bagail,

  15. anon says:

    Hi Marilyn
    I really hope you can help me!
    My ex spouse and I were granted decree absolute about 3 weeks ago after having had our first conference meeting to negotiate a settlement on which we both agreed (can’t believe I was so stupid to do so) a draft consent order was then signed by both of us. Before the conference meeting to negotiate a settlement I had no inclination that my ex had used a forensic accountant to determine the value of his shares which turn out to be £1.1million had I known this I would not have agreed to sign the drafted consent order. I have signed to walk away with a tiny amount compared to his earnings. I have since found out he has been having an affair since 2011 with a girl who is now 19 years old (he is now 41) which I didnt know about before now. Would I be able to cancel my agreement of the consent order? We have 2 young children together and I would hate to think my children are going to be living a lesser lifestyle than they are used to. I really regret signing the draft consent order I really need it cancelling. 🙁 I am so hurt over the finding out of this 19 year old girl he has been having an affair with and our daughter who is 9years old does not want to see her father now as he has taken his 19 year old girlfriend on holiday paying £7000 just for 1st class flights for them both in place of my children.
    Please help. .can I back track on the written drafted consent order?! 🙁

  16. Gabriella says:

    Hi Marilyn

    I have had the first appointment in court some weeks ago – ex and his solicitor still has not replied and missed all deadlines for replies to questionnaries and documentation- ours have been filed at court on time by the date. The Judge at the FA was fair and ordered an Actuaries Report on ex Police Pension – CETV £600k. The FDR in London is the end of July – his retirement date after 30 years is before this. He has refused 3 times to sign an irrevocable undertaking not to touch the 25% lump sum entitled to take, he is refusing to say whether he will retire and his solicitor has written to say he won’t sign but he will not touch it until after the proceedings, and to take his word on it, and an undertaking is not necessary. I do not trust my ex – he is a bully and I unfortunately can’t believe a word he says. My solicitor has written 3 times and had the same 3 replies – apparently to go to the court and ask the Judge for directions is really expensive – is there any other way we can let the Judge know what is happening?? his solicitor is also wanting to instruct an IFA and not an actuary (as the Judge ordered) we have had 2 Actuary quotes and would like to appoint one of these – sure this is normal but how do we quickly ride this and get a sensible decision please?

    Any help gratefully received.

    Kind regards


    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Gabriella
      Why doesnt your solicitor draft up an undertaking in the agreed terms, but he gives it to the court? If he wont sign that you could potentially apply for an injunction.

      • Gabriella says:

        Hi Marilyn

        Thank you for quick reply – sorry don’t quite understand the terminology – sorry!
        Do you mean my solicitor can send the draft undertaking letter to the Judge and ask he to order it signed??

        Many thanks

        Kind regards


        • Marilyn Stowe says:

          Dear Gabriella
          Your ex should be asked to sign it, in a document addressed to the court and lodged with the court, rather than informally through solicitors.

  17. Gabriella says:

    Thank you Marilyn

    Will let you know how we go on, fingers crossed it works. Just really worried as the FDR is after the retirement date.

    Kind regards

  18. Andrew says:

    What shines out of threads like this and so many others is that Calderbank offers should never have been abolished (I suppose that it seemed like a good idea at the time . . . ) and should be brought back now. If immediate enforcement would mean making the children homeless then sale might have to wait until one or more of them is independent (18, and not a day later) with penal interest rates in the meantime. Compound interest.

  19. Dave says:

    The court has ordered that I pay half of my ex FDR cost which is about 5K. I don’t have this money as I am paying maintenance and having to rent my own place. Her Solicitor has sent me cost details and I have 14 days to make payment. Please help on what I can do legally to pay by instalments without incurring court interest

  20. Gabriella says:

    Hi Marilyn

    Thank you for help re the undertaking advice – we applied to court for the injunction and had a court date fixed – the day before my husband signed the undertaking (that we had been asking him to sign for 4 months) 1 week before he could have spent the lump sum element on the date of his proposed retirement – the threat of a court injunction seemed to focus their minds and at least we may move a little forward now – it is very difficult when both my ex and his solicitor just seem to want to bully me and my solicitor throughout – delaying tactics particularly on every single issue. Apparently both him and his solicitor were furious we had applied to court for the injunction and instead we apparently should have taken his word that he was not intending touching the pension, before the proceedings are concluded.

    How do you deal with a solicitor and ex who are both aggressive and just seem to want to escalate hostility?

    Many thanks

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Gabriella
      Don’t worry about it. The Judge will decide if you can’t sort it earlier. Keep on being firm, you have the protection you need now so why not make a sensible offer if you’re at that stage and say if it’s refused you will refer to it at the end when it comes to deciding the question of costs? You may get your costs awarded from the date you give them to accept? The usual order is no order for costs, but it’s always worth a try if costs have unnecessarily been built up.

      • Gabriella says:

        Hi Marilyn

        Many thanks again for advice – always good I must say! It’s because of your advice that we went down the route of injunction and it was good advice. FDR coming up but will be delayed because of non-agreement over who the Actuary will be (ex and Solicitor still insisting on an IFA) But it will take some time to get the Report done once agreement on who the Actuary will be, and like you say we just have to do things in a timely manner and stick to the process professionally. Will obviously try and settle if we can but think it will go to the Final Hearing the way it is going and we may have to put our faith in the legal system and the Judge for a fair outcome.

        Thank you again

  21. Melanie says:

    Hi Marylin,

    Thank you for your help previously, you had directed me to your Leeds office which took my case on. The lady looking after my case really was a cut above my previous solicitor, I only wished I had found her sooner, really fantastic. Having now used up my funds though, I am self representing which the solicitor from your office advised I was more than capable of. They have most definitely put me on track as to what I should be expecting for settlement. However, I have so far spent 6k in total and I am on a very limited budget with pretty much no savings and only part disclosure even though they have been asked on countless occasions, also I have messages claiming I make him sick, I am disgusting and also entitled to nothing, probably what you would normally expect! Soooo..I was looking to see if at my first hearing in 2 weeks if I could have my costs awarded due to non disclosure…general dragging of the heels etc and have looked at your advice for reference. I am trying to find the pre action protocol that you have noted on this page but it doesn’t seem to take me to the desired page. There seem to be quite a few protocols listed and I was therefore unsure which one was for this particular matter. Would you mind giving me some guidance on where to look for these rules. Really do appreciate any help available

  22. David says:

    Hi Marilyn

    Congratulations on such a helpful website.

    My case is quite simple compared to a lot on here, but I am becoming increasingly frustrated by a complete lack of communication from my wife’s solicitor. We separated a year ago after 13 years of marriage with no children. She filed for divorce and the decree nisi goes through tomorrow.

    Back in June, I sent a full disclosure to my wife’s solicitor and (I thought!) to speed things up I also offered the full lump sum amount that my wife had asked me for informally before proceedings started, and asked for either a draft consent order or full disclosure from my wife. This was done through a solicitor I used in order to get the correct advice, but I am now representing myself to save on costs. I have since re-iterated this offer directly to my wife and also again to her solicitor. My wife told me (via a text) that she responded to her solicitor on 7th August, although she didn’t give any detail as to the content of her response, but a month has passed with zero reply from the solicitor. Prior to this I sent two chase-up letters to her solicitor and received no reply.

    So, I still have no idea if my wife accepts the offer and just has a very slow solicitor, or whether or not they are drawing up a battle plan. I think it unreasonable that they have not responded to my offer after such a long time. My problem is worse because I am 62 and have no work and I’m living off savings (my wife is 52 and has a good job) so I can’t make any sort of plans for the future because I don’t know how this will end up financially. I was ironically refused Pension Credit because I have too much in the bank, although a significant part of this is money I have earmarked for my wife! (I mentioned this to her solicitor in one of my chase-up letters, but they ignored it). People have told me that I should be asking my wife for income support, or that I should carry on spending money regardless and when they finally respond the cupboard might be bare!

    What I’d like to know if there is anything I can do to force their hand and get a response so I know where I stand, even if I have to threaten them with something! I feel that my life is completely on hold now and I am at their mercy, and I don’t really think it’s fair that it should be like this. Or am I being unreasonable in my expectations of the timescale?

    One ancillary question please: even if they have advised my wife that she might be able to get more than the figure she requested, presumably they still have to send me a full disclosure and start negotiating? They can’t just apply for a Financial Order without my knowledge or agreement, can they? (There was no domestic violence and I informally suggested mediation to my wife, but she refused). As I understand it, if there is no consent form drawn up, there has to be clear evidence that mediation has failed, but it hasn’t even been formally discussed.



  23. Liz says:

    Your article exemplifies what has happened in my case. The whole turn of events happened as you have described although there was earlier bullying, pushing me into mediation via threats of financial orders. I refused and eventually took out the financial order in time to discover disposal of assets. His solicitor has persecuted my elderly and frail parents (80 and 85) to the extent that my mother, who is severely disabled, ended up in resus and spent 12 weeks in hospital. She also contacted my parent’s solicitor demanding information.

    Both my own solicitor’s and my parents solicitors considered that the course on which she was proceeding was very expensive and leading nowhere.
    So to whom do I complain? This is clearly an issue but there is no comeback on solicitors who ply the bullying game. She will simply say “I acted on my clients instructions” and he will say “I acted on my solicitors instructions.”
    This has cost me and my husband a lot of money. Who has gained? His solicitor.
    Who has lost? well both of us. But I have no comeback.

    My solicitor has gained too obviously but they have worked within the family law code of conduct and have advised me in a reasonable way.

    Quite clearly from your article this scenario is not uncommon. Perhaps solicitors should be made answerable to the other party in divorce cases?

    The bullying in my case could so easily have ended in the death of my mother. Would I have been able to pursue manslaughter charges? This is not a game and solicitors of this nature need to know this and be brought to book.

  24. D195 says:

    I don’t see my children already 3 years (they are teanagers) since X brainwashed them against me. I live in uk and on ESA. Today was final hearing and the order was that anyway my children don’t want to see me and I am causing an unnecessary expenses to the court, to him for his solicitor and interpreter etc. therefore I should pay him half of his costs which are £3,115. How can they request me to pay that? I told them I don’t have money for my bread and hardly pay the utility bills. I am really disappointed. What can they do if I don’t pay it?

  25. cs says:

    I blame my wife for our divorce, she is insisting I reimburse her the court fees, is this right? Can I refuse? Small sums maybe, but the principle is there.

  26. Wendy says:

    The court ordered I pay the divorce as my ex petitioned(even though she was cheating). The decree absolute came through beginning of August as of yet I have not heard from her solicitor. Is there a timescale on how long they have before billing me or can they send the bill anytime?

  27. K says:

    Another carbon copy case to the one outlined.
    Result- husband found guilty of misleading the court, non disclosure of true income, arrogance, stubbornness, refusing to adhere to Court Order over legal payments resulting in me acting as litigant in person, refusing mediation 4 times, refusing to negotiated( that’s how much I think you should get so that is final)
    Consequences- absolutely none.

    He is now late paying my settlement, has ample money to do so but is pleading poverty.
    Consequences – absolutely none except I will have to now instigate enforcement proceedings, again and at my cost.
    This is a cheat’s charter

  28. Sarah says:

    I am going through a really difficult divorce. With my ex for 20 years, married since 2009. We have 3 children and a business partnership, and 3 rental properties. Because I cited his unreasonable behaviour on my petition I have been persecuted relentlessly by him and his solicitor ever since. They threatened to counter petition me if I did not comply with his wishes for what I petitioned to start with. The mortgage payments have stopped, the business is being dissolved leaving me with no income, he has reduced his working capital so he only has to pay me minimum child maintenance. He wants me to have no split of assets and has text me to tell me he will write letter after letter to defend himself against me walking away with anything from the marriage. He has spent the last year being as bitter as he possibly can be and my legal fees have escalated uncontrollably, I have spent £20,000 so far and it is rising every day with his countless nasty letters. Once business is dissolved I will lose my income, he has run up debts and isnt paying them, froze the bank account, opened a new one which I have no access to and making all the profits for himself. He has stopped me from working in the business and then tells his solicitor I do nothing to contribute to it even though I cant do anything to help as he wont let me. I offered him mediation to settle, he refused and wanted to go through court. His form E is full of lies, he hasn’t disclosed information, sold assets for way less than their value (if he has even sold assets at all), and has lied on every single question that was put to him and is intending for me to spend every penny I had saved on legal fees so I can’t defend myself against him. He is extremely controlling and seems to be getting away with every tactic he can while myself and our girls are struggling to meet the mortgage and living needs. He has even voided all property valuations I arranged so I have had to start again costing so much more. I would like to find out if he can be ordered to pay back my costs as he has purposely caused so much suffering and avoidance – my solicitor seems to think it is not usual to have costs paid back. Thank you – at my wits end!

  29. M says:

    I am dealing now with my ex who is a narcicist… just divorced in October finally received my decree absolute and at court we agreed 2 plans
    1- I pay out the mortgage and he signs the house to me or 2- that I will leave in the house and it was going to be sold until I am living with someone or remarried. I have asked some friends for a loan who were happy to lend me The money and now he is saying he doesn’t want to agree with option one because he is concern of money laundering and he is now
    Asking for my lenders proof of income And assets to prove that are not laundering money. He wants to know the identity of the lenders etc. At court we didn’t agreed this and he is going on and on and I have no much money left to pay my lawyers. They are not being a great help even that I have paid them more than 80K in 2 years!!! My marriage settlement wasn’t the best as we have a company together the accountant had to make a company valuation and he decreased the profits for more than 100K not to pay me My right share of 50% I have a job which is ok but not able To live how we were before, he lower his income too to pay lower child maintenance. Also he lie to the CMS about his income for the first year until I had to contact them again and did nothing to him… how can someone get away with lying to the government about their income, he is deceiving the system and have done nothing to him…

    Now I have to take Him to court again as disclosing mynlenders details weren’t part of the court agreement neither showing their finances!
    I’m desperate would love to change lawyers but I don’t want to go worst!
    I really need help… and unfortunately I have loose faith in lawyers after spending 80k and not having a great result.

  30. GF says:

    I have been to court seven times times as my husband is making everything so difficult , we have a business together been together 24 years my husband has managed to get away with what he says he earns , he stopped taking dividends for three years hid assets several , has basically robbed me along with this he was having affairs through our marriage , we split three years ago a year letter we were both dating however him and his partner hired private detectives and put trackers on my car and partners car , I was so scared what he was gonna do next , I went to the police he was arrested, he sold his story to the papers making out I was having a affair but he just couldn’t let me move on , he was at court pleaded guilty and not allowed near me for four years it has ruined my life I was trying to bring my two beautiful children up I’m not living with anyone else he was out to destroy me in court and boy he did , I had to change my solicitor as he has best of barrister and solicitor, but still wasn’t on his level , his fees were double mine he ran up credit card bills that were in his name but the judge still put all the debt together , he had money to burn I had no access to money only small amount what he would give enough to pay bills and eat, I had to borrow all my fees money which came to a one hundred thousand lost the house we lived in and will have to find a house worth half the value , I can’t pay the debt until he finally pays out this money to me , his managed to get my shares of business bk although a get to have a charge on them until in four years time he starts to pay bits off over four years , I got no compensation for him having my shares only what he declared business is worth now , can I get any help from government I’m not working thank you

  31. Patricia Antwis says:

    Help needed
    18 months no nearer a settlement I have had no income for 12 months in December lived off savings
    He has been earning o£150 k after tax
    He has now applied to court for me to pay his £77k legal costs court order
    My soliciters have sent me anouther £5k bill and I am not sure they have even sent a letter to court in my defence
    I am sick with worry
    I have a dependant child , no income , Morgage and little savings left I am 58 stay at home mum since I was 32
    He is with a 31 year old girl renting a large 5 bed house , has set up a new business racked up debts earned 150 k April 17 to April 18 , I filed for divorce in April 17!.
    My divorce lawyers are saying I will have to pay his debts it is a mess I need help

  32. Nida says:

    My ex husband and I have a financial consent order in place where he pays £1500 per month.
    He sent me an email a month a ago saying his work has ended and there might be issue in paying after 24 Dec 18.
    But he is not paying me regularly and pay half or more money on when I chase him
    Doesn’t reply to my emails
    I chase my payments
    What shall I do ?

  33. BP says:

    The whole issue of costs is a smokescreen against the divisive “punitive and formulaic” anciliary costs made against the interests of one side (most often the expected non-resident father) , endorsed by punitive mandatory jail sentences for failure to comply – compared to the extremely forgiving attitude and presumed goodwill to the mainly resident mother (who has to pass no mark of expected responsibility with no punititive consequences ) – irrespective of her behaviour. This allows mothers to be as maligned as they wish with relative protection under the law. And all private Family Law Firms know this to be the case.

  34. Nancy says:


    I need some advice and hopefully you can help me with the process

    The divorce in question, (more specifically the financial agreement,) is being dragged out by my husband who keeps on adding unreasonable demands on other issues, agreeing then disagreeing, thus making it impossible for me to have legal representation, as the rising cost is making it untenable financially to carry on with my current solicitor.

    One of the main contentions is that we both own land which we both jointly own; it was agreed upon that I would maintain the field and only use it for my business, (which I use to support my family.)

    They are now trying to add clauses which would give them the power to close me down which would as forementioned affect my income supporting my family which I cannot agree to.

    My worry is the cost for solicitors fees moving forward and the cost of court representation plus fees.

    I am at an impasse, concerned that they are trying to drag this on to a point where myself and my family will lose financial security.

    So my question is this; if this does go to court could I represent myself and with his behaviour would the courts take this into account?

    • Sally Shakespeare says:

      Hi. Thank you for your question which I have passed to our Client Care Team who will be in touch. Best wishes.

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