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The FDR hearing and the First Appointment: what you need to know

Article updated May 2023

If you file for a financial order as part of your divorce or dissolution of your marriage or civil partnership, the court will schedule a financial dispute resolution hearing, commonly known as an FDR hearing.  This is a private court session intended to assist couples in resolving any financial disputes.

The FDR provides the best opportunity for a divorcing couple to try to reach a financial settlement through negotiation.

When a financial application is made to the divorce courts, three court hearings are scheduled to take place: a First Appointment, an FDR hearing, and if necessary, a Final Hearing.

But how do you prepare for an FDR court hearing?

FDR First Appointment

Before the First Appointment, each party will have exchanged a document known as Form E, which contains financial information. At the First Appointment hearing, discussions will take place with the judge as to what, if any, additional information is required before the case is ready to proceed to the next stage.

It is vital to play your part and make sure everything that should be disclosed between the parties, has been disclosed. You also need to confirm that all the valuations that need to be produced and agreed are set in train, ready for the next stage: the Financial Dispute Resolution hearing. At the FDR hearing, negotiations will take place on a Without Prejudice basis and a presiding judge will attempt to bring about a settlement.

Chronology Statement of Issues and Questionnaire

Before the first appointment, each party will also have prepared a chronology statement: a brief history of what they see as the relevant facts. Sometimes these will be contentious, but don’t worry too much, they are merely to assist the court.

A draft questionnaire will also be prepared, for the other party to answer. This questionnaire is based upon a statement of issues, which is another document filed with the court. In a statement of issues document the party explains, as succinctly as possible, what the issues are in the case and what still needs to be answered by means of the questionnaire, before the FDR hearing can proceed.

The questionnaire aims to sweep up all outstanding matters the other party may have “forgotten” to deal with when filling out his or her Form E. It may also require further investigated.

Stowe’s experienced in-house forensic accountants can assist in the preparation of clients’ questionnaires and who help to assess the information subsequently provided.

In straightforward cases, the questionnaire may be surplus to requirements. In complicated cases, it is a valuable source of information. However, the judge has to decide whether each question is necessary.

You will frequently find that valuations are contentious, you may see no need for another valuation, you may believe that a valuation is desperately needed to prove that your spouse has placed an unrealistic value upon a major asset. Or if valuation is agreed, you may want your own valuer. It is up to the judge to act in accordance with the overriding objective to decide what is approportionate to the issues involved. Usually that means jointly instructing just one expert, who will give a valuation of a property or shares or pensions, or other valuable items. If it is a complex case, however, and you feel that a single expert is not appropriate, you can still argue for your own.

When the first appointment is over, and you leave court with directions in place, the judge will also have ordered a new hearing date, and the case moves on. All directions given by the court must be complied with, so that the FDR hearing can go ahead.

The FDR and Final Hearings

The FDR hearing is a private court hearing, which provides an opportunity for the case to settle. However, this is not a certainty.

Settling a case at an FDR hearing is far from easy because clients know they can hold out until a final hearing. In this instance, if there is no possibility of compromise between the parties the case will move to the third and final stage.

Conducting a negotiation between feuding former spouses is arguably a tougher challenge for the judge than arriving at a judgment. If the judge can’t successfully push both sides to compromise and arrive at an agreement, then the dispute is prolonged and will go to a lengthier and more costly, Final Hearing. In the final hearing, control over the outcome of the dispute is surrendered to the judge.

However, even if you don’t reach an agreement during the FDR hearing, it’s a good idea to continue to try to negotiate a resolution before the final hearing. If you can reach an agreement prior to the final hearing, you will limit costs and the strain of an ongoing dispute. It can also save time, as the time between a financial dispute resolution hearing and a final hearing date is usually several months.

Useful links

How does financial disclosure work in divorce?

Hidden financial assets in divorce

Finances and divorce

Get in touch

If you want to learn more about FDRs, or any other family law matters, contact our Client Care Team to speak to one of our specialist family lawyers.

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.

Contact us

As the UK's largest family law firm we understand that every case is personal.


  1. Marion says:

    Excellent website. My son is divorced but a financial settlement has not been reached.
    Short childless marriage of 18 months, 18 months prior co-habitation. House purchased by son prior to marriage. Only ‘asset’ to be divided is equity which is about £20,000. (Valuation provided recently by an estate agent and reference to the Land Registry house price guide for a specific post code) Sons ex wife engaged first solicitor and demanded a refund of money she had paid towards the outgoings of the household including council tax and mortgage. Although she is a high earner, her contributions amounted to less than 15%. She claimed to have paid ‘more than half the mortgage’.This can easily be disproved by way of sons bank statements etc. (She paid a fixed amount of £300 into sons bank every month by standing order and, apart from occasional purchase of food and small item this was her total contribution). After a delay of 2 months during which she was supposed to produce relevant bank statements to prove her contributions, she then stated she would produce ‘redacted’ statements. However after a further delay she ditched her solicitor and engaged a rather aggressive hostile man who is claiming that my son has refused financial disclosure (untrue) and appears to be ignoring my sons’ solicitors letters which are asking for mediation. Ex wife’s solicitor now asking for Form E and threatening she will go to court son he refuses to co-operate. Again, no mention of mediation under the new law of April 6 this year. There is no reason whatsoever from what I have read of the Protocol that ex wife can refuse to attend mediation. In the meantime, my sons costs have racked up to almost £2000 and ex wife’s must be approaching same. This is ridiculous taking into consideration the value of the assets in question.
    My question is: Can ex wife’s solicitor ‘demand’ Form E without making an application to the court for financial orders. My sons solicitor has admitted that he thinks that completion of the form and ‘negotiation’ with this aggressive solicitor will just result in escalating costs and probably result in court action anyway. Ex wife’s costs most likely being funded by another party. This has been going on for 6 months now. Thanks for any information you can provide.

    • Mr brown says:

      Hi Marilyn i file a FDR and I have my first FDR hearing in 3 weeks me and my ex wife are divorced and she remarried in dec 2013 she also gave birth to there son 8 weeks ago she has my 17 year old daughter living with them who has just got a job and isn’t in school or college the house is in my name only and my ex wife and her husband are living in the home for over a year now they pay the mortgage now we have been split up for 3 years now and I payed the mortgage for 2 years after the split I also pay child maintance still my ex wife wants all the £50’000 profit in the house and my penision which is £40’000 she says she will not settle until the 3rd hearing which will cost in fees she has never worked since I met her 25 years ago and not put a penny into the house I live with my mum at moment but want to buy my own house to have my daughter living with me or staying over I’m not getting a solictor till the 2 nd hearing to keep costs down I have been told because she has remarried she has not claim on the house only my penision is this true and does the judge have to keep to that in the 3rd hearing we have done medation I offerd her £15,000 but she wants it all how do you think the judge will rule at the 3rd hearing and can I claim costs from her I have no saving just wages thanks terry

      • Marilyn Stowe says:

        Dear Terry
        It’s very difficult to understand what is happening in your case so could I suggest you download my book from the side bar and read it? It’s very straightforward will cost you 99p and should clarify your situation. I also think you should get legal advice now. It’s frankly unwise to proceed without understanding exactly what your position is in law and what your real risk is and what defences you may have to an application where your ex is now remarried.

  2. Marilyn Stowe says:

    Marion, thank you for your kind comment.
    Forms E cannot be compelled with a court order.
    Am I correct:- After a very short childless marriage to which this wife only contributed towards her maintenance, she is seeking a capital share of the pre-acquired asset which is presumably in your sons’s name? I assume she is arguing the equity increased during their relationship and therefore having she should have a share. She might also be seeking a deposit towards her new home so is arguing about her reasonable needs. As I’m not instructed I can only comment generally, and would add that it seems crazy for both of them to spend more in legal fees arguing than sorting it out.
    If the only asset in contention is £20k then this case really should go to mediation unless there are reasons which I don’t know about (such as violence) as to why not. Alternatively, if she continues to refuse, it seems sensible for your son to simply disclose his financial position as requested, and to make her an offer and sort it out.
    Best wishes

  3. When one party refuses to settle, why not try this? | Marilyn Stowe Family Law and Divorce Blog says:

    […] writing about Financial Dispute Resolution hearings, I described how frustrating it can be when an FDR hearing fails and a case proceeds to a Final […]

  4. Tulsa Divorce Attorneys says:

    I can see the importance of showing up for the FDR hearing fully prepared…

  5. joy says:

    Im about to attend FDR hearing, my husband has lied on his form E which I can prove, yet to resolve this matter the only assets are the equity in the house and our pensions, ive taken every thing into account and offered to let him keep his pension and pay him the difference to make a 50/50 settlement. Even though I was given an inheritance of £20k which he believes should be kept in the pot. He seems to be he his even ignoring his solicitor advise and refusing a reasonable offer.

  6. Marilyn Stowe says:

    An inheritance will be excluded from division if both parties reasonable needs can be met without taking it into account.
    If your husband is refusing a reasonable offer and forcing you to litigate at extra cost then you can apply for your costs to be paid by him from the date you made the offer.
    Hope this helps
    Best wishes

  7. Marilyn Stowe says:

    I will deal with this in the forum on Wednesday.
    Best wishes

  8. Ashley Clear says:

    A good starting point for setting out procedure. I am three years into litigation with my husband who despite every effort to ensure proceedings are amicable on my part has used the Private Law system. I have only just won jurisdiction proceedings having had Divorce returned from Germany. My husband has assets in the form of businesses held by offshore trusts but nothing tangible in the form or property, with cash in undisclosed foreign accounts. My husbands lawyers have in that three years abused the Child Act Proceedings in an attempt to run up costs which on my part are now somewhere in the region of £200k alone defending applications – successfully – within those Proceedings and funded by loans and selling personal possessions etc. There are no interim orders for periodical payments – monthly cash income is very limited. FDA is set for eight weeks time, and now I have reached the most critical point in proceedings and what I have fought three years to obtain, I am now simply not in a position to fund representation to even prepare Form E or relevant questionnaire or retain adequate Counsel. Whilst there is a set system for Financial Dispute Resolution – what is someone meant to do in my position? Without appropriate representation and without the means to ensure adequate disclosure of offshore assets and business values – the process is surely redundant? What are my options?

  9. Anna says:

    Hi I had a FA/FDR on monday and we came to an agreement, having thought about what was said in court I would like to retract from it – can I do this?

  10. Marilyn Stowe says:

    Dear Anna
    Oh dear. Once you have reached and signed a concluded agreement it is very difficult to resile from it.
    If you have a solicitor ask for advice. If you haven’t consider taking it if you have good reasons to try and get out of it before a court order reflecting the agreement is in place. 
    But this serves as a warning to everyone reading this blog who may be in this position at an FDR. Please do not agree a deal if you are unsure. Ask for time to consider and reflect. Only then should you sign up.
    Best wishes,

  11. Alison says:

    Dear Marilyn , Your column is very helpful and straightforward – I wish that I had come across it before now. My husband was divorced from his ex wife over 14 years ago. At the financial hearing she dismissed her lawyers (the third lot) and barrister because she didn’t want to hear their advice about division of assets. She decided to represent herself. Her Form E was full of inconsistencies and missing documents, none of which were fully accounted for. We know from her immediate family that she concealed up to £40,000. With the agreement of my husband and the direction of the judge she was given the entire matrimonial assets which included the matrimonial home – mortgage free. In return my husband kept his pension although he had lost his job as a result of the break up of the marriage and had to start all over again. His ex wife had a number of extramarital affairs and subsequently lived with one of these individuals for about 7 years. She has also inherited over 53,000 in the last six months. Despite this,and upon my husbands retirement at the age of 65 this year, she has made an application to the court for a ‘variation of maintenance’. Maintenance awarded to her at the time was 5p a year. This has been a complete nightmare for us. We live on very little; have sold ISA’s; cars, furniture and are facing the prospect of taking out a bank loan to pay for legal costs to defend ourselves. We have submitted our Form E and are still waiting for her Form E which is over two weeks late which leaves us very little time to find concealed assets. How IS it that an individual who has had the totality of the marital assets; has managed to earn a living for the past 14 years can completely bankrupt us?

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      I think from what you write the answer to this is very straightforward. Your husband should apply to have her claim struck out and for all claims to be dismissed. His lawyer will advise at what point such an application should be made. I think its important that he obtains a dismissal to protect the estate from a potential Inheritance Act claim if your husband was to predecease her. He should also seek payment of his legal costs on an indemnity basis, which means all of his costs if this claim is dismissed.
      You cant prevent someone from making a claim, particularly someone who may be embittered, but you can make them pay for the consequences of their actions if it was entirely misconceived. The general costs rule is no order, but if someone makes a claim that has no prospect of success then the court can exercise its discretion and make a costs award.
      I suspect what she may possibly be seeking is a lump sum which capitalises her maintenance requirements to be assessed now, rather than as what they used to be.
      Best wishes

  12. Ken says:

    Dear Marilyn, excellent blog certainly gives me a better insight into my forth coming FDR on the 22nd May 2012, i’m now divorced we sold the matrimonial home and shared the proceeds, agreed a joint instructed expert to value our family business and then my ex said the valuation was only a guide, they applied to the court for there own expert which they paid for, I gave the new valuation to an expert who feels it is higher then he would value the business taking into account the economic climate and the present loss of business the family business is facing due to a large contract finishing. Round table meeting last week both with barristers etc I made an offer of settlement which was rejected my ex asked for just over half the value of the family business and said for the first time in almost 2 years she might be interested in the family business which I feel is another delay move, I have now received a letter from her solicitor stating they are considering there options, since our seperation i’ve been careful with the money from the sale of the matrimonial home , my ex has spent almost half of hers, during the round table meeting my barrister told me that the money I have will be part of assets on final settlement. This I find very unfair if we both received say ! £100,000 each from the matrimonial home my ex spends £50,000 of hers then on final settlement she can claim half of my money which does not make it equal, i’m told the judge see’s it as once spent once gone ? I continue to run the family business my ex retired from it 7 years ago and been advised to continue paying her a dividend and salary until final settlement , we both have new homes and new relationships, the family business will have to take on a large mortgage to fund the settlement i’ve offered 40% of her value of the family business which I feel is fair if i’m to be left with a risk and she has cash no risk, all very stressful.

  13. Belinda says:

    Dear Marilyn

    Thank you for the very insightful articles and advice.

    Please could you advise me on the following:

    I now have a decree nisi for unreasonable behaviour. The FDR is set for 2 May. We have two properties, one in joint names one in my husbands name. He has used up all our savings (40k) and accrued 60k worth of debt. He is a qualified accountant who refuses to go out and work, stating he wants to concentrate on his business, which for the last 6 years has made a loss (hence his credit card debts). We have two children aged 4 and 6. Both our properties are rented out. I have requested one property, but, he basically keeps dragging it out, stating I can have the property if I pay him 30k (the deposit for the property, which was paid out of joint funds) and he wont allow me to remortgage the property. I have been trying to get divorced for over a year. My question is, given the tens of thousands of pounds I have spent, can I realistically ask for a share of his property and expect to get it? I am working part time and I have been the main breadwinner since the children were born. I have transferred about £28,000 to him in the last five years to cover bills whilst still paying for nursery bills, food, days out, day to day expenses.

    Thanks in advance.

  14. Tim says:

    My wife lives in Australia and I now live in the UK. I have a daughter I never see. I do provide child support, based on the average Australian workers wage. I would not disclose my income, so CSA calculations are based on the above mentioned formula. My question is I wish to start divorce proceedings but I fail to see why I should fill in a form E or disclose any other financial information. The reason being the family home is in Australia (which I paid the mortgage for whilst living in Australia) and a UK judge has no jurisdiction or power to force a foreign citizen to disclose their earnings or force a foreign citizen to sell soem of their assests as part of a financial settlement. Whatever ruling the judge makes does not have to be honoured because she lives overseas and the judge has no powers to enforce an order, or even have the power to make such an order on a foreign citizen.

    Am I correct in this assumption? If so what is the best way to proceed in divorcing my wife who lives in Australia and is an Australian citizen. I am a UK citizen.

  15. Alison says:

    Dear Marilyn
    As you predicted on April 5th, my husband’s ex wife asked for a capitalisation amounting to £40,000 or maintenance of £400 per month. As I mentioned before, we cannot afford these payments and offered a one off payment in good will of £12,500 which was the limit that we could borrow from the Bank. This she refused. We are now due to appear at a final court hearing in August. The judge told her that ‘she would not get what she wanted and that she was at risk’ Despite this, her lawyers have recently written, upgrading their demand £7,200 per year or £600 per month. We obvously cannot afford to pay this. Could you explain why they would behave in this way? Is it that when we get to the final hearing and they ‘reduce’ their demand to £400 per month they believe that they will get it? How can we be in this position?

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      I’m sorry but I have no idea. You must ask your solicitors because unlike them I haven’t seen any of the papers and don’t wish to speculate on the specifics of the offer.
      But good luck anyhow.

  16. Tanya says:

    Dear Marilyn
    My husband and I were divorced in 1993. The settlement agreement we agreed allocated me a small percentage of my ex-husband’s pension. However, it also stated that this would not be paid in the event of any remarriage or cohabitation. My questions are:
    a) how do I go about claiming the 8% allocated to me in the settlement agreement? I have my ex-husband’s address but I’m not sure he’d be very helpful.
    b) I am cohabiting, but know the law has changed regarding pensions. I was married to my ex-husband for 16 years and have no private pension of my own. Would this proviso still be enforced if I made a claim?

  17. Vikki says:


    Do I need to show up in court for my first hearing? its my ex who is pursuing this and I really don’t want to attend!

  18. Deborah says:

    Hi Marilyn,
    My ex husband & his new partner are wanting to reduce my maintenance by 50% stating that as they have now got a child together they can no longer afford the current payment.
    We have just completed financial statement form e to court & I have asked to also see sight of her finances. My solicitor has stated this is not possible as the matter is between myself & my ex husband. Is this correct please as she has recently given up her job & she also owns property which they rent out & to which my ex benefits financially.
    Thank you

  19. Tim says:

    New wife moved in MY (she had NO assets of her own)house and within a year demanded we move back to her home town of Arundel,for the new purchase we both had to sign the purchase contract (?)so making her an equal partner in my assets,then proceeded to blank me out..
    hence my divorcing her on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour, we agreed verbally at the time to split the assets equally but now I feel angry at her overall behaviour.can I now sue for a more balanced amount??She did not contribute to the property in any way.

  20. Anne says:

    Hi, I am waiting to go to court regarding divorcing my abusive husband. We have a house and pension to divide between us but I am very worried after receiving a letter from his solicitor. Whilst we were married he would never do a proper job due to having a drink problem, he some how managed to get over the years a large number of credit cards and owes 85k ( i think he has still got alot of this money hidden away) For a number of years he dabbled in buying and selling second hand cars and has told his solicitor I agreed for him to get into all this credit card debt to finance his car business so thinks i should be liable for half the debt. If I had to pay this that would be my share of the property gone…. I never applied for any of these cards or have ever spent on them.

  21. Marilyn Stowe says:

    Why dont you ask him to obtain all the relevant credit card statements?
    Then you can see how the money has been spent.
    Otherwise its your word against his. If he wont agree to produce them, the court can order their production.

  22. Emis says:

    My legal fees are already £35000 and I do not even have decree nisi. If I try to curb the paperwork my solicitor insists she must have meetings ,phone calls , send emails and hard copies of everything to me. My ex to be is refusing any form of negotiation and I am suffering with severe depression whilst trying to work and care for our children
    I am told I cannot expect much better than a 50:50 split, despite the children being with me.
    I feel the important issues that would help my case are not being emphasised. Such as that he has lied on his E form and about his income, has hidden cash and investments.
    Will we be able to say all this at the FDR in November?
    I cannot understand the long delays between a first appt in July and FDR in Nov!
    Surely a solicitor and barrister can give a client some idea of what the likely outcome of their case is to be with their experience of so many previous cases and the full data of the case in their hands?

  23. Maria says:

    Hi. My husband has had an affair and is living with girlfriend. We have had FDA where he was ordered to supply credit and bank statement for last 2 years. He provided done but no credit card statement which amounted to ave £2k/month spend. He always said he never used his CC. At the FDA the judge said he should supply them but the actual order does not show this. Can I go back and ask for it to be put in. My barrister and I even spoke about how many weeks ex gas to supply them etc. have I been stitched up?

  24. Joanna Harris says:

    I am currently at first appointment stage, where my ex husband alleged that I had remarried, which is untrue, his barrister showed a picture of me in a dress standing with my son as evidence of a wedding. The dj said a marriage certificate was needed, and the respondents solicitor admitted they couldn’t find one but were sure I had remarried! can this subject be bought up at the FDR? Or is it struck off the list?

  25. Marilyn Stowe says:

    There will have to be  proof of remarriage. I’m sure that it’s not true because you won’t be running a case of perjury, because there would be a strong possibility of a jail sentence if you were. On the other hand if this is a deliberately malicious and vindictive campaign by your husband to cast doubt on your claims particularly if it is affecting your health then you are entitled to argue this is litigation misconduct and apply for costs.
    Remarriage affects maintenance but does not affect an entitlement to a capital settlement. 
    Do take legal advice.

  26. Marilyn Stowe says:

    The lack of communication is a big problem sometimes between clients and lawyers. Lawyers think the client understands and as in your case, you don’t.
    I suggest you write a letter to the head of the firm involved and set out your concerns as you have to me. Ask for a written reply. Ask for advice about where you are, the parameters for settlement, how much its going to cost to resolve and what they suggest you need to do. Tell them you want a plan.
    If you are still unhappy you could change your solicitor. But remember, it’s your case, you are running this case and paying for it so take control and make sure it resolves to your satisfaction.
    Best wishes

  27. Marilyn Stowe says:

    If there has been an error with the court order, it can be corrected by your solicitor writing to the court and asking for the order to be urgemtly amended to reflect the entirety of the Judge’s order.

  28. Tanya says:

    I know you must be busy Marilyn, would it be possible to answer my question? There must be a lot of people like me who had a clause in their separation agreement regarding splitting the ex-husband’s pension who have no idea how to go about claiming it when the time comes. I would be quite prepared to take you on as my lawyer if a lawyer is required.

  29. Bronwyn says:

    I completed a E2 form back in May 2012 and exchanged with my ex husband and I thought that was it. However, I have received an updated E2 form from my husband’s solicitor and he has questioned some expediture I have had since August 2012. What does this mean as I have a court date for the FDA hearing in a month? I have also discovered that my husband has had a number of large insurance payouts over the last 5 years which he never told me about. How will ths disclosure affect my overall settlement.

  30. Christine says:

    Hi, My ex husband had put an application into the CSA for our 2 children on the 13th July 2012 and stopped paying me for them upon my marriage in July 2012. He has 3 business, 2 of which he declared, these ones barely cover the accountant fees apparently. The 3rd he hadn’t declared and I couldn’t work out why, I then turned into Miss Marple and found on Director Check that he had resigned from being a director on the 23rd July 2012 and guess what, he’d transfered the directorship to his girlfriends name! I’ve reported this to the CSA and sent in documents as evidence. However, as it stands at the moment they have awarded NIL in child maintainence at the end of August 2012, as he says he is a self employed company director and earns less than £5 per week. I recently went back on Director Check and he’d put the 3rd business back into his name on the 26th September 2012. I issued a financial provision order for the children in October after I found out he is selling land that he has and have been representing myself to try to get something fair for the children to keep them in the school they’ve been in since they were little. He turned up with his solicitor (the man with no money) and it transpires that he has got £200k of debt, this is in the form of loans and credit cards, (he used to be an investment banker and could prove he was credit worthy at the time). At the first directions hearing, his solicitor had said the proceeds of the sale of land was to be used for his living expenses and debt. I received his Form E and 3 months of bank statements 8 days after the deadline given by the court order, he has gone through over £90k and large sums of money, the largest £25k being transfered out to an unknown account? His solicitor is now saying that I will be liable for his costs, unless I withdraw my application as my application is without merit? They sent an invoice to me and it’s £8834.00. I have no money to be able to pay for his costs. I’m pregnant and have used all money I had to keep the children in their school. Shall I retreat or keep going in the vein hope that I can get something fair for the children. I don’t see why his living expenses, solicitors, accountant and financial adviser should come before his children. It’s not their fault he has so much debt!! And why on earth should I be liable for his ridiculous costs?

  31. Carol says:

    Hi, I would appreciate some advice/opinions from someone else who isn’t as close to all this as I am. I divorced my husband in 2001. At the time we parted he had put us into a lot of debt, (which I did not find out about until it was massive) then I ran up my own debts in the last stages of our marriage as I struggled to run the family home and feed/clothe the kids on my meagre income and child benefit. Some of these debts I have never been able to pay off and the bank still gets back to me sporadically to get more payments from me, whilst still adding interest. I do work, but only part-time as my son has a congenital heart condition and needs regular hospital appts and over-night stays. At the time of divorce, we never did anything about the finances, there was nothing to split but debts. It took me 11 months to get the CSA to finally get any maintenance out of him for the children and then he spent years messing around with them, paying what he wanted, when he wanted. He would miss a payment and then send the children postcards from the Great Wall of China, Austria, ski-ing, telling them what a great time he was having and I was unable to pay the rent because he’d spent it elsewhere. He ran up thousands of pounds in arrears that the CSA then wrote off. He refused to contribute anything towards any school trips for the children and he got any money he sent to me to buy presents for the kids at christmas deducted from the maintenance by the CSA as he told them they were additonal payments he had made to me. He had married again, immediately following the absolute, to a woman he had a child with before the divorce and she has money. She paid off his debts for him and moved him into the house she owned. His child by her goes to a private school and has everything my two never had. I tried to get him to have contact with our two children, but he was never interested. A lot of problems stem from the fact that he is a serving member of the armed forces, the CSA are not allowed to ‘harass’ someone in his position. However, because he was serving whilst we were married, I am entitled to a share of his pension, and recently I applied through a solicitor to achieve this, as because I was his wife and followed him around europe I was unable to get a job that paid into a pension fund. I have been told by the solicitor that it will cost up to approx £12, 000 (I earn too much to get this done under legal aid but I am struggling to fund this) to finalize this. I went to mediation in August and he was offered the opportunity to do so too, but he declined. As we approach our first hearing, not only has he not completed his Form E, he has not instructed his own solicitor. He is asking my solicitor for a 4-5 month delay so that he can get his pension forecast together, which he should have done in August when he first realized he wasn’t going to do this via mediation. (It doesn’t actually take this long.) He also has written to me to tell me that ‘going to court is not pleasant nor cheap, could we deal with this outside of the court instead?’. I have talked to my solicitor and she thinks I should write to him and ask what he proposes, which I have done (I am still waiting for his reply). However, on the form she filled in to present to the court, it asks for him to make financial provision for our two children to enable them to go onto further education rather then run up debts as well as the pension sharing for me. But now not only has she declined to give me any advice (I can understand why) but she is talking about my possibly taking a lump sum of approx £15,000 – which is nowhere near what I had expected to put into a pension scheme and certainly not nearly enough to put one child through Uni, never mind two. When I started all this, she gave me hope that I would be able to acquire adequate pension sharing and also provision for the children and now she is making suggestions that I debate finances with him. She has pointed out that I would have to wait until I retire for his pension, (which I was aware of) and I could possibly get the lump sum now if I agreed it with him. I am totally confused, whenever I go to talk to her, I feel buoyed-up that I am going to get something for my kids (which I know he would never give voluntarily) and also something for me to help when I retire. I spent years following him around the world unable and unthinking about a pension and then the last decade and a bit struggling with little or no money, dependant on his whims and my kids have had not a single thing extra from him, not even his attention. At best they see him once a year. I know this is not relevant to the finances, but they are to me and his kids. Yes, if I got a lump sum in the region of £15,000 it would get me out of debt now (I doubt he would pay that much anyway) but it would not help me to live when I retire. Some advice from someone would be helpful.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Carol
      Without full financial details as opposed to details of his misconduct it’s impossible to advise. I suggest you tell your solicitor you are confused and ask her to set out in black and white exactly what she is suggesting. However I suspect as she is in the dark about his finances too, she won’t be able to do that to the extent you would wish.
      What needs to be done is his discolsure obtained and this case speeded up rather than slowed down. The first appointment is the perfect opportunity for the court to get to grips with the case and be robust with him. Court orders should be complied with. Again however, discuss tactics with your solicitor.
      Finally if you dont have sufficient confidence in her you can always instruct someone else.

  32. Louise says:

    Hi, I’m going through divorce at present after my husband committed adultery . We split 6 months ago and he now lives with his girlfriend in a rented house. Their combined income is around £55,000 and I am a final year uni student. We have 3 children who live with me in our marital home, this was my home when we got together, which has around £50,000 in equity, I have paid mortgage since we split. I have debts of around £25,000 plus student loans and get no help other than tax credits because I’m a full time student. My husband wants his name taking off mortgage and will hand house over to me, however I cannot get a mortgage as I earn no money at present. He has pension and no debts as credit cards, loans etc were taken in my name but when together, I gave up career to have children, which at time was a better job than his and have no savings or pension. I’m struggling financially am I best going for a financial disclosure court procedure or will this make matters worse, thanks

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Hi Louise
      I think you need to try and settle your case.
      A court would want to ensure your reasonable needs were met such that you and the children have adequate income, a home to live in and your debts are discharged as far as possible.
      You might be able to negotiate a reduction in the debts given your overall position and then you will know exactly what you have to pay back. It might be worth taking advice from the CAB on this.
      You are entitled to 25% of his net income as child support for the three children, check the CSA website for the calculation. Then you are entitled to maintenance for yourself. The total will altogether be such as to meet your total income needs.
      As to the house,if the BS wont agree to remove him from the mortgage, then you need him to confirm that at such point as the house is sold,the entirety of the net proceeds of sale will be paid to you.
      He may say that if he is going to continue to pay you (not the children) maintenance he wants some of the equity in the house when it is sold. However this is where his pension comes in.
      How much is it worth? Get a CETV to find out. Then negotiate from there.
      Hope this helps, but there is no substitute to taking your own personal legal advice, I can only provide a rough guide, without liability, because I dont know all the facts.
      Best wishes

  33. mike says:

    my daughter and her husband are divorsing the husband wont
    hand over a compleated e form what can she do it is costing her a lot of money that she cannot aford

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      She needs to take it back to the Judge and he will make the necessary order to compel him to file.

  34. Rebecca Lewis says:

    Dear Marilyn,
    I hope you can help, to cut a long story short my partner went for his first appointment with his ex in mid November, questionnaires were not answered prior to this date due to his solicitors letting him down. He is now representing himself and has just had the answers to his ex’s questionnaire which are unsatisfactory to say the least. Can he write to the court prior to the FDR hearing to express concern about the answers? Many thanks

  35. Marilyn Stowe says:

    Hi Rebecca,
    Did they? Questionnaires need not be answered prior to the First Appointment. It’s up to the Judge to decide first of all which questions should be answered if at all.
    You don’t say why he’s not happy with the replies. If more documentation is required he can apply to the court. If he simply takes issue with the replies them he can say so at the FDR.

  36. Rebecca Lewis says:

    Hi Marilyn, the questionnaires were not ready at first appointment as the form E’s were not exchanged until 4 days before – partners solicitor had notice of first appointment in August but didn’t do anything until October, he is not happy with the replies because her whole basis for wanting £60k and for him to have £30 and keep £26k worth of marial debts is that she wants to buy a house on her own even though she is seeing someone and has been for over a year who owns his own house where she says frequently. The judge at the first appointment told her to go away and obtain mortgage in principle offers and provide a full breakdown of the sustainability of the mortgage, what we have received back says “mortgage offers to follow” and two links to Rightmove that don’t work in terms of the property she intends to buy as well as a comment saying she will reduce her spending so she can afford a mortgage (she is £2300 in rent arrears to her patents and overdrawn every month). I just wanted to know if it was acceptable to write to the court in advance of the second appointment stating the issues he has with the answers to the questions ? Didn’t know if this was the “done thing” or if it should just wait until the day? Many thanks

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Hi Rebecca
      The judge doesn’t receive a running commentary. In good time before the hearing your partner should lodge a ‘skeleton argument’ settng out his case, his view of his wife’s case and what he is seeking together with copies of all offers to date.
      If he needs documentation/valuations before the FDR and there is a delay by the wife producing them then he can certainly apply to the Judge for an order.
      Have a good read of Section 25 Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 because they are the factors that will be applied by the court.
      How much income and capital is there? What are the parties reasonable income and housing needs? How will the debts be discharged?
      It’s all about doing the maths in the context of the case.
      You don’t mention children. Their needs will be a first consideration.

  37. Tanya says:

    Well okay, I can only think it was a silly question, either that or perhaps you’ve never had to deal with anything arising from a divorce in retrospect. Thanks anyway.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      We did reply to you at your e mail address but didn’t receive a reply. I have written to it again just now. Please let me see a copy of the original order and I can advise you if there is anything you can do. It was made before pension sharing became the law and I suspect it was a pension attachment order. There will be no charge for advising you.

  38. Allan says:

    I am going through a divorce, degree of niece is pronounced, it was under unreasonable behaviour. Financial dispute is for the property which is owned by both of us. but my husband is refusing to give me 50% of the equity in the property. He is accusing me that my family took money from him which is not true. We have first appointment in the court in Jan. Now what to expect , we have been married for 7yrs with no kids. What does the law say’s at the end ? How can he claim money from my family when he hasn’t even paid any and he has no proof ?

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Allan
      The financial contributions of both of you are relevant but so are a lot of other factors in particular your respective needs.

  39. Allan says:

    So the court/judge is only interested in financial contribution b/w us ? Of which I contributed 50% deposit towards the property when we bought it anyways.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      I repeat the court will take into account a number of factors and applying them will come to a decision. I thnk your respective needs will probably come first. The relevant factors are set out in Section 25 Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.

  40. Chris Hilton says:

    Thank you for the information you’ve given.One of the most frustrating things about the whole divorce process is the lack of information about what’s likely to happen at each stage from my own solicitor.I realise they have other cases but until I read your webpage I wasn’t sure about whether the Judge would actually see the questionairre.So thank you for that.
    My case is a little complicated as I have proof that a bank account has been deliberately hidden ,I have debit card details,all sorts of proof.I am concerned that this information will be hidden from the judge in the part you describe as the two lawyers sidle away etc.I also have proof that my wife’s new partner lied in his own court proceedings and had this hidden joint bank account.It should be interesting,I’m looking forward to it more than her but I don’t want to be complacent and miss the moment

  41. Anne says:

    Dear Marilyn
    I am due in court next week for a first appointment. My ex has still not disclosed his form E and has had many letters from my lawyers asking for this. I filed mine in December with the court as instructed, he has not done this either. Will the first appointment be cancelled or can I proceed and file for costs and a penal notice to be served against him.

  42. April says:

    Dear Marilyn, i need advice, i am 2 yearsn devorsed now, my ex dosnt want me to get anything from matramonal home, he has ignored letters from his solicitors. My solicitor advised me that the only way to get things moving is to take him to court. We have filed the papers to court and are due to go 25th feb, my E forms are filled , these should have been to court last week. My solicitor has been in contact with his, he hasnt had any contact with them and appears to be ignoring the court order. What will happen next, this has been going on too long, i have had my parents paying for my court bills, would i be able to have these bills payed by my ex, as he is the one not following procedures? what will be the next steps? This is making me ill, im on medication due to all the stress and not being able to pay bills. Thanks

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear April
      I dont understand why it has taken two years to start financial proceedings. Generally I advise making an application for a client right at the beginning because I know how much of a trap it is, for the poorer party to be made to wait and suffer as you are doing.
      Your solicitor could apply for a penal notice on the order requiring him to lodge a form E which could result in his commital to prison for disobeying a court order and certainly you should be applying for costs if there has been “litigation misconduct”.
      These proceedings are not a joke and contempt of court is a serious matter.

  43. Philip says:

    Marilyn, Great advice and maybe you can help me with a 33 month marriage ending due to irretrievable differences (no kids). I see the divorce agreement to be rather clean and simple accept the money part since she is under a very different opinion to what she is entitled too.
    1. I found a link to where they have a divorce-and-separation-calculator as guide for financial settlements. Can I use it as a guide given the fact that I have disclosed all the assets and liabilities as accurately and current?
    2. What are the costs (excluding legal representation) associated with FDR and FDA’s once I have filed for Financial Order with the court (£240) and let’s assume ex cooperates and submits / appears as scheduled?

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Hi Philip
      I think you need to refer to Section 25 Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 which details all the factors the court will take into account in determining a financial settlement.
      I have no idea about your finances. So all I can do is give a few pointers:-
      This is a short childless marriage. You could start on the basis you each walk away with what you brought into the marriage and each of you dismisses the claims you have against the other .
      However, was any money made during the marriage and should it be divided equally?
      Is there any reason to depart from this? What are your respective needs within the context of a short childless marriage? Are there health/reestablishment issues?
      I have no idea what the calculator says:- it isnt applied by any court.
      As to costs if it is all agreed it shouldnt cost much more than the court fees if you do it yourself. A solicitor will give you a written estimate.

  44. Philip says:

    Thanks very much and the basis for settlement you suggest we follow is pretty much my approach with assets and liabilities accumulated during marriage to be split on a 50/50 basis.
    It appears the only gray area is what she will claim for reestablishment with no health issues to be considered hence me asking the court to determine that on our behalf.
    Not to get into any trivial detail but both have full time jobs and the finances are rather one sided = I pay for all the monthly expenses associated with the marriage including her mobile phone etc etc and the only contribution she makes/made was to provide food for the house and upkeep of her car. The balance of her income was considered disposable income which she seldom shared or contributed towards big ticket items for the house or even help pay for vacations. Your help is much appreciated.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      If you are both relatively young independent earners who can both rehouse and move on then does maintenance come into it? It’s a needs based award.
      Take some advice for a detailed opinion. I can’t give you that without much more info.

  45. Heidi says:


    Self rep as bankrupt, and can’t afford legal help, married 24 cohabiting 2 years before. Debts about same but stbx, solicitor says he will have to take on debt of house, so that needs to be taken into consideration. He earns 2 x as much as me, I have realised now I have made costly mistake to me on e form as I didn’t know any different. Makes it look like I have money however if I filled it in like his solicitor would have showed I had a huge minus. His solicitor gives me paperwork literally just before we go through to see judge but may have been speaking to me 1/2 hour before. His E form seems to be missing latest months paperwork, yet gives a month earlier in the year no credit card statements, etc etc.
    Gives me paperwork, but not up to date stuff.
    Front page names him as applicant and me as respondant, but it is vice versa.
    Feel his solicitor is using the fact I am having to self rep and knowing I don’t know the legal system against me.
    Is there anything I can do about any of these mistakes, mine and his ?

  46. James says:

    Dear Marilyn

    I am due in court in a few weeks for my FDR hearing. The only asset involved is the matrimonial home which has about 130K of equity in it. I am simly seeking a 50/50% split and do not begrudge my wife anything that she is entitled to. We have a daughter who is an adult now but still living at the matrimonial home with my wife, I am obviously not.

    However, throughout the whole process and various court hearings my wife is claiming for a complete transfer of equity over to her. She claims that as the household has a poor credit rating she cannot raise finance to buy my share in the property and claims she will have no where to live. In actual fact she can live with her parents who incidentely have a mortgage free property worth 300k which she will inherit 1/3rd of.

    Can she claim a 100% transfer of equity on the matrimonial home?

  47. Zoe says:

    Hi Marilyn
    I am fast approaching my FDR and would love your advice.
    My husband and I divided the equity of our home 50/50 at the time of our amicable split over two years ago. I remained in the home and transferred the equity into my name. We both at that time considered the agreement to be finalised and agreed to do a straight forward divorce after 2 years separation. Unfortunately, I found a new partner relatively soon after the split and things turned sour between my husband and I. I had always been the main earner and my husband is now claiming that he should be financially recompensed as I have a greater earning potential than him. We do not have a child together although I have a son from a previous relationship and we are in our 30s so are still relatively young. To my mind, the only asset we did not split is my pension so I have now offerred to split this 50/50 however he is asking for a significant sum which he says he requires to pay off the finance on a vehicle which he purchased only recently and monies to pay for the deposit, stamp duty and legal fees for a new home! The sum amounts to approximately 130% of the original marital assets. He has not given any principles on which he is making this claim and I am wondering how it is likely to be viewed by the judge. Surely he can only ask for a greater percentage of the marital assets than 50% not more than the total of the assets? I simply do not have any money to give him. I am working on a temporary contract myself so have uncertainty around my employment and yet his settlement ‘offer’ has increased by £10k since the first hearing. Please help

  48. Tracey Jones says:

    Hi there, i,ve been struggling for 3 years now . I had to walk out of a 13 year violent marriage, i havnt any children with my x. I left all my personal belongings in there . my solicitor sent a letter asking him to let me pick my things up but had no reply. He ended up rentin the house out without my consent, as cheltenham and gloucester allowed him without my signature. I got intouch with the morgage dealers and they revoked the tenancy, but he had already let them move in with all my things still in the house, A year on he put the house up for sale and told the estate agents i had gone AWOL, the house was sold last august with all my things gone. My solicitor has written to him and all he has said that all my items was broken and only has 2 items. Questions have been asked but hes not replying. I have filled an E form out with disclosure of my bank statements, he has filled his out but hasnt disclosed his bank statements. My solicitor wants to no about the rent he got as i,m entitled to half. there is 22,0000 sitting in a property solicitors waiting to be split which he agreed to that, but i,m not agreeing and my solicitors advised me not too either as he is,nt discloseing. I,m really frustrated with all this . Can,t he be forced to disclose within a certain time , I filled mine out in december last year and were in march now , i thought it was six weeks that he has to fill his out , then court action has to be considered. Its seems like i,m not getting anywhere as i want to move on with my life as he has and got engaged, sorry for the long message but i need positive answer,s .

  49. Kate Scollen says:

    I am due at the first appointment next week but despite filing all the forms requested by the court, the applicant’s solicitor has now requested some quite in depth paperwork. Some of which I don’t feel is applicable, however, I will provide it should the court see it as relevant. They have listed all this in the questionnaire. Am I right to wait for the court to instruct me on which papers to provide? Surely I am not answerable to their solicitor, only the court. I am representing myself.
    Many thanks in advance!

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Kate
      Sorry for the late reply, if you arent happy with the requests, explain your concerns to the Judge and let the Judge decide what still needs to be produced.

  50. cat whitehouse says:

    even though i have a very good solicitor I still feel the need to have some kind of advise given to me for peace of mind.
    I have been married 15 years and have 5 children.
    Me and the ex split up last May after years of arguments and drink issues on his behalf.
    He has been om incapacity benefit for the past 12 years and I have been the main earner and supporter in the family.
    I brought my house on a right to buy from the council 3 years ago with just my name on the morgage.
    He has never contributted to any bills, family holidays, up keep of the house, or childres clothing basicall nothing!!!!
    I filled for divorce and have had my absolute 3/1/13
    but I have been fighting a loosing battle to gain a clean break agreement
    He has told his solicitor the house is worth 120k
    where I have had 5 valuations of 80-85k
    he also says I only owe 40k morgage which I have proved I dont
    Basicall I have complied all the way and it has cost me 5k up to now with letters emails between solicitors ect ect…

    My question is He must still be on his benefit to be able to get Legal aid?

    However in september 2012 he registered himself as a director of a company and has got a commercial property with his new partner which has not actually opened as yet to date..
    however when it was put in a letter to his solicitor what buisness or commercial property interests does he have , he has denied all of it
    However yesterday he was seen again in the commercial property placing settes and 4v tv screens on the walls. surely he should not be getting legal aid.

    I have filled an application for finacial order to courts and have had my timetable… If when he supplies his finacial information this property, buisness, directorship is not put down, what will happen….

    Also I have had not one penny for the 5 children who are all his since he left in may 2012
    not that I want any

    I just want a clean break and hope the judge see that I am a hard working mother supporting and giving her kids the best I can

    Regards C.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      I cant advise you because I dont have all the information. You must ask your solicitor if you dont understand and you can ask your solicitor to write to the LSC to object if you dont think he qualifies for Legal Aid. He may do even if he isnt on benefits.
      He also has a duty to make full frank honest and continuing disclosure and if he doesnt it is potentially very serious if he is proved to be dishonest. Your solicitor will prepare a questionnaire asking about the deficiencies in his Form E and the court should then order him to make that disclosure. Do remember that the Form E must be honestly completed and failure to do so may result in a criminal prosecution.
      Best wishes

  51. beverly tahor says:


    I have recently filed for divorce, and the FDR hearing will probably be in the summer. I was married for 30 years and I paid the vast majority of the bills , whilst my husband saved in an ISA- which was worth approx £45k. My question is, what happens if he spends all his savings before our divorce is finalised.

    Looking forward to receiving some feedback on my question.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Beverley
      The simple answer is protect the assets! You may need an injunction to stop him. Alternatively if he does spend his savings, if you have a house together you could ask for the amount to be added back in and deducted from his share.

  52. Philip says:

    Hi Marilyn
    I am in the process of entering Mediation for final divorse settlement and discovered that Ex removed valuable items from our residence. We currently share the house till agreement is reached and items are of such value that it will influence of settlement agreement.
    Besides a letter to her solicitor, what other legal options exist to sees such efforts/actions by her?


    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Philip
      Items are usually valued at their second hand value not their insurance or replacement value so may not be as valuable as you think. You could itemise the items she has removed and if they are of sufficient value to be worth it, apply for an injunction that she doesnt dispose of the items until the final court hearing if mediation doesnt work. Alternatively you could seek the value of replacement items from her if she wont return them or allow you to have any of them.

  53. Caroline says:

    Hi Marilyn my situation is Ex bought properties instead of a pension for our future but he had an affair and moved in with his new gf leaving me and our 2 children aged 11 and 5 and has now had a child with her, they rent a large property for £1,350 per month.
    We were together 15 years, married 8 years. I do not work and have no income. We have FDR in May and at the moment are at loggerheads over property.
    He is a company director but business not doing to well at moment.
    He has now stopped paying mortgage on Marital Home and I am being threatened with repossession.
    He is taking all profits from rented out property, (1 being in our joints names) .
    (1 being in his name only deposit used to buy was from our 11 year old daughters savings).
    3 properties he has with friends 2 with 1/3 share.
    1 with 1/2 share . All these properties are rented out.

    Do I have any entitlement from any of these properties.
    Thank you

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Caroline
      All the assets of both parties are available for sharing and the court can require him to sell his shares in the properties to meet his obligations. All property which is owned with others is subject to a trust for sale which means if one party has to sell, then so must the others.

  54. Donald Plunkett says:

    Hi Marilyn

    I have read your blog and seen where you have been very helpful. I am in the process of having the first hearing tomorrow but am not prepared with all the details required for form ‘E’. Can I ask the judge in writing for more time, say a month, to get a proper evaluation, bank statements etc. I understand I can submit this letter to the clerk of the courts immediately before the hearing.Awaiting your reply.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Donald
      You have had 6 weeks to prepare the Form E so a court isn’t going to be happy that it is not lodged and the procedure has been put back:- questionnaires, statement of issues directions for what should be the next hesring, the FDR. It will be even worse if you don’t turn up. At the end of the day you want the court onside with you. The hearing tomorrow will be in chambers not open court. Dress conservatively, your aim is damage limitation.
      You must turn up to face the music, and apologize profusely to the court and the other side explain your situation and what time you still need to complete your Form E. If you haven’t been able to cope with it all, say so. I would however be prepared in the absence of good reasons for a costs order to be made against you of the costs thrown away. They could be assessed by the Judge tomorrow but its not an insoluble situation for you.
      You must start to cooperate with the process. I know it isn’t easy acting on your own. I hope you have taken legal advice. If you can agree tomorrow on say valuers if they are needed to value a house or other directions to move forward the you can advise the court that progress is being made and perhaps save yourself a costs order.
      Hope this helps.
      Best wishes,

  55. Stefania says:

    Marilyn, In August last year my husband started behaving very cruelly towards me after he purchased a property from my brother and the deal went sour. He banned my brother from coming to my house and later also my sister who was visiting from South Africa. Baring in mind that he lives in South Africa most of the time. in early September he started making violent threats against me over the phone and when I started standing up for myself he told me I had disrespected him and sent me and email asking me to leave “his” house and the furniture the one car, which was in my name and that he wanted a divorce. I sought legal advice and filed for a divorce. I also filed for a freezing injunction on his assets and was able to get and occupation order and FLA and section 37 injunction in place. Once he was he was served with the divorce documents he came back fully contesting it as he had then discovered that due to an admin error by the South African Home Affairs our marriage was never registered and he wanted file for an annulment. £12K in legal fees later and two directions hearings later I was able to prove that the marriage was legal and Home Affairs their mistake. His lawyers are now claiming that we had and exceptionally short marriage and as we did not live together for the most part of our marriage that I was not entitled to anything. We got married in Aug 2009. At this stage we had two children aged 2 and 11 months. They are now 5 and 4 years old. I continued to live in the UK where I was already residing since 2007 and he continued to live in South Africa where he owns a house and a business and needed time to wrap things up so that he could eventually come and live with us in the UK. We were living in a 1 bedroom rental flat at the time and in Nov 2011 he bought a house in which we are no living.

    In statements he made he claimed that the house was bought with 50% of his mother’s money. He also claimed that he was working for her when actually the business is his but she is the member on the Close corporation as he changed it to reflect that way in 2005 when he divorced his 2nd wife. He is also claiming that he only earns £1400 per month. Yet he owns 3 mortgage free properties, 2 in the Uk and 1 in SA, and 7 cars and a motor cycle that are all fully paid. He receives cash rental income from his tenants on his business property.

    I know for a fact that he is not going to declare everything on his Form E and I have sent a proposal to his lawyers to consider. They have now come stating that they want to use the First Appointment hearing as and FDR hearing and I am not sure what the best way forward would be. I can no longer afford a lawyer so I am representing myself and feel like I will be walking straight into the lion’s den. I just want what it best for my two boys as it was unsettling enough when we moved into the house and now that they are settled in childcare and schools he wants us to move into the flat he is buying from my brother and live there only until the children reach 18 or if I should remarry or die. He makes no mention of any child support payments in this offer. He has never made any such contributions in the past except for paying the rent for the flat we lived in.

    I would just like your opinion on whether or not to go through to and FDR hearing or if I should try and get them to settle this matter outside of court and how you would suggest I go about doing this without me looking like I have something to hide. I think he is just wasting time and money and avoiding to have to give me anything in terms of a fair settlement.


    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Stefania
      You say you can’t afford a lawyer. Frankly I would have thought that’s what you need most right now if you are going to avoid meltdown in the way you suggest. There are a number of ways of meeting legal costs which you can discuss with your chosen solicitor.

  56. Kevin Hillyer says:

    Dear Marilyn

    Thank you for the time you take to help advise others, it must be very much appreciated by so many out there.

    I have a question to ask about how and when a Court will effectively enforce disclosure.

    I am supporting my girlfriend who cannot afford a solicitor, has a decree nisi, two children, and a troublesome solicitor as an ex husband. Each month there is a struggle for her to get any money for rent, and he has applied to Companies House to wind up his Solicitors practice, presumably in an attempt to keep money from her or maybe because the divorce has uncovered his dodgy dealings as it is clear from the documents he has supplied that he has told the Tax office he earns around £25,000 but has spent in the last year over £110,000.

    He kept promising financial disclosure, but even at the First Appointment his Form E was still very incomplete, lacking business accounts etc. The Judge ordered him to complete the disclosure and answer all of her questionnaire within 14 days.

    That deadline has passed, and she went to the Court to be told she has to write to them and they will write to him.

    What we want to know is what sanctions and powers the Court has to enforce this process. At every step he seems defiant and clearly he believes that he can play the system to his advantage.

    Any hope you can give would be appreciated !

    Thank you

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Kevin
      The court can attach a penal notice to the order, breach of which can lead to imprisonment. If your partner writes to the court explaining the situation the Judge may do it without a hearing being necessary.

  57. Rob H says:

    Hi Marilyn, I am due to attend a FDR hearing in May. I have completed my form E as has my wife but I have yet to get a copy.
    In a nutshell, We bought our first house together in 2002 and my wife’s father gave her her 50% in cash and I mortgaged my half. We moved 4 years later and ourchased another house which my wife’s father gave her a top up to pay her 50%. I paid all bills and mortgage for the next 7/8 years when we decided that I had paid my half and for fairness the balance owing should be split equally going forward.

    We married in 2005 and have no children. Now my ex wants to take out the 50% from the equity and split the remaining. She has also accumilated £20-25k cash savings as I paid for everything. My assets are less than £1000 and libilities aroung £15-20k.

    I can’t afford a lawyer, can’t get legal aid as I work and earn too much so any advise would be fantastic…

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Rob
      Have a read of Sections 22-25 Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 to check the law as to what the court can do and why.
      Then consider your respective needs and your contributions into the marriage. Do you have capital needs such as to enable rehousing?
      The argument about non matrimonial assets being excluded is more likely to apply once the court is satisfied both parties reasonable needs have been met.
      Finally you say you cant afford a lawyer. Dont be short sighted. There is quite a lot of money involved here and plenty of ways of making payment of your legal bills, eg out of a capital receipt at the end of the case on a Sears Tooth basis.

  58. Rob Hiscoe says:

    Many thanks for the assistance Marilyn, I will read the above. I did try to obtain the help of a solicitor down here (London) but all wanted the money up front… In this economic climate, I can’t say I blame them. So glad there are good people like yourself providing a service for us less fortunate…:-)

    By the way I received the form E today from my wife’s solicitor. She is asking for £250k for a house and £100k pension… that is more than the assets we have combined! I have less than 50k in equity of the house….

  59. RosemaryD says:

    Your blog is fantastic Marilyn.

    I am just about to have my First Appointment. I have spent all my savings on solicitors and feel that I haven’t got anywhere with them. Now I’ve been made redundant but I am not eligable for legal aid.

    I have filled in my Form E. I am being as honest as I can be.

    I am so scared about the next few months. My ex-husband is in the marital home which he made me leave. We have the children 50% of the time each, so he won’t have to pay maintenance. He has made me offers of about 40% of everything (30% of the pensions) but I don’t think this is reasonable. I have given up full time work for 15 years to bring up the children, one of whom is still young.

    I am so ground down from all of this and solicitors don’t want to help without a big deposit, which I don’t have.

    Do you have any advice for someone like me self-representing? Will it be ok?

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Rosemary
      You refer to child support but not spousal support. Are you sure you arent entitled yourself?
      As for a settlement I would look at your reasonable needs which may require more than 50% of the capital when you factor in reasonable housing needs. I dont see why he should be offering you less that 50% but perhaps you know.
      Im worried that without representation you could come away with less than your fair entitlement. It can happen.
      Its up to you whether to pay a solicitor and thats your call. I really cant say one way or the other what will happen.

  60. laura says:

    Hi Marilyn,
    I’ve found lots of useful information on here, thanks very much but I do have a couple of questions I hope you could help me with? My ex has refused to answer any correspondence from my solicitor so far (I started divorce proceedings 17 months ago) and we do not have an address for him as he keeps moving and changing jobs (he is currently unemployed).
    I am now at the application for financial remedy proceedings point and it is very unlikely that he will respond to it. My solicitor has explained that if he fails to comply with the court process my legal funding would not cover the extra processes needed but I could seek an order that he pays my legal costs.
    I am going through the financial dispute resolution because he has a military pension of which I am entitled to a proportion on retirement, and he has an income from rent on a house he owns with his first wife. I am quite sure that he will not disclose said income, but have no proof of it myself so is there any point in me doing this?
    And if he just continues to ignore correspondence from solicitor and court, what will happen?
    And will we both need to be present for the first appointment? He lives in Scotland, I live in North Yorkshire so I can see that presenting a problem for him.
    Any advice would be great.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Laura
      Is it worth it? Thats the question you have to answer as one the face of it there isnt much in assets he lives in a different jurisdiction and the assets arent being disclosed.
      Some thoughts:-
      With a court order it is possible to obtain information about undisclosed assets such as the value of the pension.
      As for the property and rental income the court can order a Land Registry search against a named person rather than the property if you dont have the address. If you find it, get a local estate agent to say how much the house is worth and how much rental income it would produce.
      Finally ignoring the process wont stop the court from making a final order.
      Enforcing the order may be tricky so thats another judgement call to make.

  61. Rick Todd says:

    I would like to know as to whether my wife is entitled to demand from me the past 3 years bank records.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Rick
      Yes she is and its up to the court to decide whether or not to allow them at the First Appointment.

  62. ewen says:

    i have had my Divorce made absolute earlier this month, my ex has filed a form e and i have been sent a first meeting notice.
    i had a short marriage, no children, no property , no assets and i live abroad. i dont owe my ex any money or did i abuse her in any way, can you advise me if i can refuse to turn up or write to the judge explaining i wont attend as theres nothing to settle? help and advise would be great. thanks.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Ewen
      Its odd that your ex would be applying to the court if there was no reason. Her Form E should give you more information about her financial position and what she is looking for.
      You have been ordered to complete a Form E and I think you should complete and file the Form E and if what you say is correct then ask the court to make an order dismissing both parties financial claims against the other.

  63. Mandy Baker says:


    I am due my first financial hearing next friday. Married for 14 years with a 13 year old son, who lives with me. I went into the marriage with £600k from first divorce, which financed the marital home as well as a number of business purchases and ventures. I worked full time until my son was born, then part time earning £40k until 8 years ago, since when I have worked about 30 hours/week as office manager for the various businesses. We sold the marital home over 18 months ago,with not much equity. My pension is worth almost £300k (although most of it before I met my 2nd husband). My ex husband is attempting to minimise the value of the companies to a ridiculous extent and is going to instruct the court that there is little point in getting valuations done because of this despite the businesses (internet based businesses) giving him and his business partner a healthy income, and health turnover. How will this be viewed by the judge in terms of my contribution? am thinking the worst that I will come away with nothing but a huge legal bill.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Mandy
      Sincere apologies for the delay in responding. I hope all went well and the court made the necessary valuation/ disclosure orders.

  64. Tim says:

    I have a final hearing coming up with regard to maintenance for my daughter. My circumstances have changed dramatically and I am now unable to pay the maintenance that was agreed as I received constructive dismissal from my employer. My daughter is now 18 and wants to go to university. My ex has applied for an extension to maintenance for my daughter but will not allow me to speak to my daughter about it. I would like to apply to the court so that my daughter can attend the final hearing. What process do I need to follow in order to be able to do so?

  65. Philip says:

    Hi Marilyn
    We briefly communicated some time back but seek your advise with regards to the fact that I have a Decree Nici in place after 33 months of marriage due to irretrievable differences (no kids) and started with financial settlement discussions via Mediation but my Ex has now refused to proceed further after rejecting the Basis of settlement endorsed by the Mediator.
    Quick background. I paid the 20% deposit for the purchase of the house 27 months ago. House value at that time £410K. Current value circa £450K and my offer was to settle for 50/50 of the accrued house value excluding the deposit. Both of us work fulltime and aged 46 & 45 respectively with no other major investments accrued during the marriage and therefor a clean break settlement is obvious. This appears to be the only financial matter in dispute and I feel that my basis for only splitting the £40K in equity in very fare given 1. The length of the marriage 2. she did not contribute to the deposit 3. She did pay any share of the mortgage or monthly bills on the house during the past 27 months and counting ………..
    Issue nos 2 is the fact that we both still occupy the same residence and no contributions from her side towards any bills. Needless to say that the atmosphere in the house is very very difficult not to mention the domestic issues re-occurring that caused the marriage to end.
    I seek guidance on my options for a reasonable settlement given the fact that she is now expecting 50 % of the profits and is not willing to pay any of the liabilities on the investment past and present.
    In the likely hood we will continue to share the house for some time to come, what options do I have to recover her share of the monthly costs?
    PS, We joint owners of the house in dispute.
    Many thanks for your good advice.

  66. Jane says:

    I am in a position of coming up to an FDR next month, I was married for 12 years and have 2 children aged 8 and 6 yrs,
    I have always worked as an illustrator and broke my wrist in 2011, which affected my earnings and last tax return my net earnings were down to £11,000.
    My partner works as a manager for GSK and is on a salary on £85,000.
    When we were married his father gave us £250,000 to buy a house, it was loaned from a FURBS pension fund he had set up before tighter regulations came in, but my husband was never an employee or a trustee, the ‘loan’ was never secured on our property, and no mention of ever repaying it was bought up in course of marriage, it was referred to as an inheritence.
    When I left him for unreasonable behavior he produced a ‘loan’ document that only he had signed, and 6% compound intrest, saying we owed the furbs £499,000, payable in 30 days, he has insisted on selling family home and taking all equity and leaving me and our children with nothing.
    I have fought it to first hearing, (costing £3,500) I have no funds at all as I work freelance, I have recently qualified for tax credits but I am still overdrawn when all outgoings are paid. my husband froze the account when I insisted he left the house for sake of children as he had income to rent, all his legal costs (12,500) have been paid by his parents to date. I am now solely responsible for mortgage, which I have negotiated to intrest only for a short period.
    He is refusing any negotiation, I have been told that preparation for FDR will cost me up tp £10,000 -I simply don’t have it, and am afraid to represent myself in court as I don’t know what to do.
    I suppose my question is, If I cannot afford to attend FDR – what happens? my soliciter isn’t very helpful.
    Surely he cannot win all equity because I cannot afford to fight him? I have letter from Furbs stating that they did not secure the ‘loan’, so surely its mismanagement – I am in shock from the supposed debt, but even more from consequences. any answer most gratefully received.

  67. Amanda says:

    Dear Marilyn,
    My partner is divorced but the ex-wife does not want to agree to the financial settlement. They have two children for which he pays CSA every month. The children spend every other weekend and all school breaks with him. The reason of divorce was adultery by the ex-wife. During their marriage (lasted 10 years) my partner was the only supporter of the family and she only started to work two years before the divorce. They bought 4 real estate properties overseas in the country of her origin, and a house near London. During the marriage my partner was paying the mortgage for the overseas properties and for the house in London. After she moved out he paid mortgage for the house in London as he kept living in it whereas she moved into a bigger house with her new partner. Despite the fact that it is now 3 years after their divorce and one year after the decree absolute she doesn’t want to agree to the financial settlement. She demands to retain all overseas properties (to what my partner consented) and she demands also 75% of the money from the sale of the house in London (the equity after sale and paying of the mortgage is only £36k). My partner thinks such disproportionate split is unfair especially that he covered all the expenses connected to the purchase and maintenance of these properties during their marriage and he still has some debts incurred due to this which need to be paid (she never contributed). For the past 3 years she’s been declining to provide any information about the overseas properties and their valuation to my partner and his lawyer. She also claims that there is only one property overseas which was bought on their both names; in regard to the other three which were purchased only on her name she claims they do not exist. We have no possibility to verify if she sold these three properties what would be in discord with the UK Divorce Act. We cannot afford to go to the court. By offering her to retain all the overseas properties my partner hoped to get 50% of the London property what would help him to pay old debts and move on with his life. At the moment we live in one-bedroom flat which I rent and we really have to squeeze in when children visit every other weekend or during school breaks. She lives in a 5-bedroom house with her new partner which they bought together last year. My partner’s lawyer advised him to give to the ex-wife all overseas properties and 80% of the proceeds from the sale of the London house, saying that this is what she would receive in the court. Being a foreigner, it is difficult for me to believe that the court and the law could be so unfair. We could borrow the money and go to the court but if it is true what his lawyer says we would be left with even bigger debt to pay. Despite all the odds we are very happy together and we want to go ahead. My question is: how the lack of financial settlement impacts what my partner and I can do? We would like to launch our business and buy a bigger flat but we worry that she might demand a share in those. I would also want to plan to have children but I fear it might have impact on the financial settlement and my partner position in the financial divorce or before the CSA could be compromised. I would appreciate your advice. Kind regards, Amanda

  68. Terri Adams says:

    Hi Marlyn,
    Your website has been so useful and kept me sane while going through a financial resolution with my ex.
    keeping the story short, we both submitted form Es and now while I have submitted the the consise statement et al , he only submitted the form G saying he would attend the FDR.
    I know he was probably waiting for my questions then copy from them (force of habit from him).
    What can I do? The deadline is past, I have submitted my papers to court but not all to him.
    Am I heading for trouble? Should I send the rest of the papers and give him an unfair advantage?
    PS: we have 3 kids, live yards apart but he refuses to see them and wants everything split 50/50.

  69. Chris says:


    is there any way to appeal or have set-aside an agreement made at and FDR hearing, as the values used to assertain the assets were materially incorrect. The pressure put on at the FDR to sign was un-acceptable and it was signed whilst not of sound mind for any normal person.

  70. Andy says:

    Hi, I was in court yesterday for an FDR hearing after a divorce from my EX who filed against me for unreasonable behaviour, but was actually cheating on me with a work colleague. She has turned my children against me and milked me for all of the cash she could through the CSA and occupation orders. My ex turned up at the court without any legal representation with her boyfriend in tow. The only item in question regarding the FDR is 16,000 equity and the furniture. My first offer was 50/50 split of all and my Ex’s counter offer was 1000. I changed my offer to a final 60/40 split in her favour with her keeping all of the furniture, as she has both of my children living with her. The judge gave a shocking indication of 90/10 in her favour. I am currently living in a bedsit and cannot offer anywhere for my children to stay. I have none of my own furniture and will need funding to move somewhere more suitable. The decission seemed totally focussed on my son being under 16. I am already in a new relationship and my new partner is expecting……..does this change anything, as I need to be able to provide for another child under the age of 16?


  71. Susan says:

    Dear Marilyn,

    At my Directions hearing the judge ordered my ex to disclose bank statements/or the whereabouts of several large money withdrawals from his bank account. His failure to comply with the deadline of a month ago meant that were unable to file at the correct time in court.

    My FDR is in less than a week and ex has now answered that he has no other bank account and the money that was withdrawn £9000 has been sent to his daughter overseas (my step daughter). We had been married almost 30 years.

    Is he allowed to dispose of his assets this way before financials have been agreed? He is not providing any proof of where this money has gone. How will the judge look upon this? many thanks

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Susan
      You can ask the court to “add back” the money he has transferred away and take it off his side of the balance sheet. Much easier.

  72. Samantha says:

    I have just been to the first hearing and understand the FDR will be next. My husband of 25 years left me for another partner, he could not have children. There were several years where he gave up a very good job to earn very little and caused severe financial hardship to our income due to working in the building trade. Income and debts were covered by the equity in the house. I originally owned the property which had full equity and over the years although equity has grown it has been wittled away to what I started with. I agreed to pay the final debts and gave him ten thousand pounds in a separation agreement that allowed me the equity in the house, but he has come back asking for 50%. I am bringing the debts into the hearing and including the mortgage I have been paying over the past few years, plus the money I have given him, Also there is seven years between us and as I am older my mortgage capacity and earning potential is lower. My ex has sold the house and requires me to move out and pay all the costs and removals, while he is living in a 3 bed property and requires afurther property for himself. Stating the shared property is mortgaged by the partner and daughter and they are separate financially. The judge was fantastic and told his solictor to go away and work out mortgage capacity for the next hearing. The equity is only 90k which leaves little to fight about except this is a future to me as I am now 55 and hardly able to get a mortgage. At the moment I have nowhere to live and I am scared that I will end up in a caravan as this is all I can afford, I am being forced out of my home prior to the case. I could not afford representation and have been defending myself. Do you think I should just leave or is there anything ele I can do at the moment?

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Samantha
      Your information is difficult to understand. I am sorry but I cant advise on that basis. I strongly urge you to take legal advice.

  73. Susan says:

    Dear Marilyn,

    In reference to my question on the 19th July which you kindly answered on the 22nd July.

    The judge added back this missing money into the ‘pot’ making a total of savings from Ex’s side of £30,000. I have no savings.

    Judge ordered that the equity from the property (£128,000) be added to this £30,000 making a total ‘pot’ of £158,000 and suggested it be split 50/50 with a slight ajustment in my favour (£80,000/£78,000) which I am happy with and always was. I have been trying to negotiate this settlement for over a year, ex refused mediation.

    I have maintained the family home for the past two years – ex refusing to pay mortgage, repairs, joint debts etc.

    Ex is insisting that it be listed for a final hearing as he is adamant that he wants a 50/50 split of the marital home and to keep all his £30,000 savings.

    We are both on state benefits (retired) and ex claims that he saved this money over the past two years since we separated and consequenly divorced, out of his benefits. Judge said ‘rubbish’, how can you save out of state benefits.

    Anyway, it has been listed for a final hearing. Is it at all likely that Ex will get what he is asking for, 1/2 the house and to keep his savings? Or should I just give in now to save the expense and stress of a trial?

    How will judge view his reluctance to settle at this roughly 50/50 split and all the costs that this has racked up. It is just a simple case.

    I am on a legal help certificate (as is Ex) which I will have to pay back, which has now been used up, and barrister has told me that this final hearing will cost about another £4000. Ex thinks legal aid is going to pay his bill and there is no getting through to him.

    I don’t feel that I can afford to pay this much out of my eventual settlment and my only option is to represent myself at this final hearing.

    How difficult would this be as there is no other assets other than the house and ex’s savings?

    I have a buyer for the house ( I voluntarily offered to sell pending settlement, so not ordered by Court) but now cannot complete on the sale as I would be homeless pending this final hearing as I need the money from the settlment plus small morgage (which I have in place) to be able to move out. Extremely upset and worried.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Susan
      It seems like you should stick to your guns but as always there can be no guarantee. However a lot of money is at stake. Your barrister also seems to want a lot of money for the hearing, why not see if you can get him down and instruct him on direct access rather than through a solicitor? I’d have thought if this is a straightforward case it could be done for less.
      Can you also approach a local barristers chambers directly get someone good and do a deal on fees? Or is there a pro bono unit nearby where a barrister might do it FOC?
      You could also write to your husband and tell him that given the Judges Indication at the FDR if the court makes that order you will ask the court to order him to pay the costs of the hearing. You might not get them but its worth a try.

  74. Steve says:

    The barrister fee sounds about right, I got charged similiar for an FDR meeting.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Steve
      I still think £4k is high if its straightforward and worth some enquiries. But it’s important not to end up with someone who is a novice.

  75. steve says:

    Hi Marilyn

    I agree, maybe i should question it.



    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Steve
      It depends who you instruct. A junior Counsel will be cheaper than someone far more senior, but a bog standard straightforward case doesn’t require The Good Wife!
      I think £4k is high and could be negotiated downwards but equally don’t go for someone who is a novice. That’s certainly false economy. Also think about who you are against. You want to make sure there is “equality of arms”.

  76. Emily says:

    Dear Marilyn,
    I am about to petition divorce proceeding and now strongly suspect my husband has jointly purchased (either by title deeds and/or mortgage) with his girlfriend.
    We are still living under the same roof.
    How will this effect our division of assets? I think she put in a large deposit and think he was used for mortgage boosting potential.
    What would happen if this wasn’t declared on ‘Form E’?

    Thank you for support to others, and myself, in advance.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Emily
      You can search the Land Registry against the address of the property to check who owns it and the charges registered against it, and in addition your ex must disclose his ownership in his financial disclosure. You can also ask about the purchase in your Questionnaire which is prepared after exchange of Forms E and in advance of the First Appointment.
      The court will take into account the entire financial position of both parties.

  77. Will says:

    Dear Marilyn,

    Theinformation you provide here is great so a massive thankyou!

    i wonder if you could give your opinion on my situation and 2 points in particular?

    i split with spouse after 22 years and our 2 children under 16 remain in the former marital home with her.

    I live in a rented property with girlfriend. We have decree nisi in place (she is the petitioner) In a nutshell She wants all of the equity in property (approx £80k) and 1/2 of my final salary pension amongst other things. Not content with this, She is also asking for details of my new girlfriends income in her form E questionnaire. Can she do this?!

    She has lied on form E & grossly overstated her ‘needs’ and I have proof of this. I made her a generous offer 8 months ago which included offsetting the equity in the house against my pension to ensure stability for the children. she is sadly using this process as revenge and its costing a fortune.

    Since I made her an generous offer am I able to make a claim to recover my costs?

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Will
      It depends. The usual order is each side pays their own costs. The court does have a discretion but in most cases the costs come off the top slice of the assets and the rest is shared.
      What you need to do is consider this case within the context of both your respective needs rather than a straight split. I can’t do that on the limited information provided. Your new girlfriends income is only relevant if you are living together and she can contribute towards the outgoings.
      You don’t mention if you have a solicitor, if you do get some good detailed advice quickly to try and avoid an outcome you won’t be happy with if your approach isn’t quite right.

  78. Louise says:

    Dear Marilyn. I hope you can advise me. My husband of 10 years started divorce proceedings & obtained legal help. He’s on his 4th solicitor’s firm and cancelled mediation as he doesn’t want to make any decisions himself about settlement. I’m funding my own fees, and offered out of court settlement which he rejected with no counter offer. Will his legal help continue? He has no income as he keeps resigning from jobs due to stress. I has 3 children under 18 (not his) & he has no dependants, no property and has told me as I work, I am his only source of income. Help!

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Louise
      Your solicitor could write and complain about his legal aid if its being abused. Im far from clear about what you and he are arguing about so I can’t comment other than to say there are court processes for dealing with time wasters.

  79. Julie says:

    Dear Marilyn

    I have a FDR scheduled for October but my ex has not complied with the court directions orders. I filed my chronology and questionnaire & have not had a response to that or received his chronology and questionnaire. I have written to the court advising of his non compliance twice but all they seem to do is give him more time. It has happened twice now. At what point will the court take further action and what will it be? I’ve heard of a penal notice? Thank you for any advice you can give.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Julie
      You would usually file a Questionnaire and chronology before the First Appointment and then the Judge will decide which questions the other side will be ordered to answer in advance of the Financial Dispute Resolution Hearing. Do you mean he is late filing those replies? As you are referring to the FDR I will assume that to be the case.
      If you don’t ask for something specific the court wont do anything as you have discovered. You can apply to the court and ask the court to attach a penal notice to the order. You will need to pay a court fee. You will then have to arrange to have the order with the penal notice attached served on him. If he still fails to comply you could potentially apply for his committal to prison which is in all likelihood not going to happen. You could however ask instead, for the court’s permission to write to the various (named with account details,) institutions direct if that’s what’s missing and send a copy of the court order when you get it, with your request.
      If he doesn’t serve his documentation in time for the FDR then you could ask the court to adjourn to a new date.
      However the FDR is only a voluntary opportunity to settle, it is a hearing which takes place off the record and if it doesn’t result in a settlement, then the Judge will fix a final hearing where another Judge makes the decision, not the parties. An FDR is a good opportunity to resolve a case but if he isn’t cooperative, then perhaps rather than waste more time waiting for an FDR, ask the court to vacate the FDR and list the case for a final hearing and also make the specific orders for disclosure that you need, to obtain the necessary up to date documents beforehand yourself.
      Most Judges however wont vacate an FDR, they do like to give the parties an opportunity to try and settle the case, but if you think he is trying to pull the wool over your eyes, you could explain your position and concerns to the court.
      Do remember however to be proportionate. Don’t get bogged down in applications if viewed objectively, very little is outstanding and wont make a real difference to the case.

  80. Casey says:

    Hi Marilyn, I am currently divorcing since June 2012, after much dispute over my ex accepting unreasonable behaviour, I decided to accept it to get it over with and to save costs.. We were cohabiting 5 years and married for 2yrs 10months. My ex had 2 properties (1 being a fish shop business with flat above it) prior to marriage then bought 3 (2 in joint names ) after marriage. I had a back operation in 2011 so had to go part-time at work but previously given my ex £500 per month to pay towards bills etc, since part-time I paid £300 per month until our split.. My ex wants me to walk away with basically nothing whereas I am not happy to.. Could you give Me any guidance on which way this would swing with the courts? We received our nisi on 25July and are attending our 2nd court date in October.

    Also if I were to start another relationship would this affect the financial outcome??

    Many thanks Casey

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Casey
      Your case is all about yours and his reasonable needs and whether you should share in assets acquired during the marriage. As you are heading to your FDR I’m assuming you have a solicitor who is more fully briefed than I am and can advise you specifically about what to do. On the face of it, walking away with nothing at all seems unreasonable to me.

  81. Mark says:

    Hi Marilyn,
    I split with my ex wife before buying my own property. I have paid all bills she has paid nothing. She is asking for 50 percent of the equity In my house even though I can prove I paid the deposit after we’d split. Thanks in advance mark.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Mark
      Please download my book which is currently available for free on Amazon, click the link on the blog and read it. You will see how a court divides assets at the end of a marriage. There are a number of factors to take into account including post separation accrual, which is the technical name for this. The outcome will depend on many factors including what she received when you parted, how long ago that was, your respective financial positions, needs obligations responsibilities, including children, ages of the parties, length of the marriage, contributions etc etc They are just some of them.

  82. J says:

    I was interested to note the comments re already divorced and e forms etc. I completed my E Form and it is accurate he on the other hand has squirreled his funds away. We were married less than a year and divorced due to domestic violence of which he was found guilty and there is a restraining order. Do I legally have to attend the first appointment, like the other person I am broke and cannot pay the extortionate fees. I did send a friend to mediate with him and he is keen also to come to a compromise but of course he wants everything including my house which I paid the mortgage and all house bills and % in other properties that we long before I met him. He also happens to be a sociopath and a dangerous one and lied to me about his work his life, stole jewellery from former wife and gave it to me (I have returned it). Any advice to top it all I am going treatment for cancer and still on chemo and surgery and radiotherapy soon all too much stress on top of him?? J

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear J
      Im very worried by what you write, if anyone needs legal advice and help its you. After a such a short childless marriage unless you have created wealth between you I can’t see that he has anything to gain. You say you are broke and then say you have several properties. His claim such as it is needs dealing with by a professional particularly given your health.
      I know its hard to see the wood for the trees but you must deal with this claim robustly for your overall health and I think a good lawyer will do that for you.
      Best wishes

  83. Anne says:

    I have been going through a divorce for the last 2 years as my soon to be ex husband will not disclose all finances. He has been issued with 3 court orders to do so and has ignored them. The final order was issued at the FDR where the judge decided it will now go to a final hearing. I represent myself and so does my ex. What am I supposed to do now as gain he is delaying the order and not disclosing. It seems that court orders have no relevance and can be ignored. Could you please suggest a way forward for me. Many thanks.

  84. Beginning to learn | My Divorce Fiasco says:

    […] Link to Marilyn Stowe article on FDR Procedings […]

  85. Ron says:

    Dear Marilyn,
    Thank you for your all encompassing information available to all, it really has helped me achieve my decree absolute on grounds of unreasonable behaviour.
    My ex wife has applied to the court for a financial order. The 1st hearing is in October .In a few days I will provide her and the court a form E, subsequently I will submit my questionnaire (we are both self representing). though I fully expect her to hide our joint assets.
    We both contributed to our mortgage free £240.000 property that I let her live in 2 years ago when I left.
    We have no children. both in our 50’s and were married for 30 years. We both have arthritis which is likely to affect our future earning potential.
    Both of us need to be accommodated by the assets of the marriage.
    I have two questions which I’d be most grateful if you could help me out with please as I’ve not seen anything comparable in any of your blogs.
    1) I am co-habiting with a new partner whom I hope to marry next year. She has 2 children (under 10) that are supported by and live with us. Unfortunately we are both on state benefits though studying level 2 courses to hopefully improve our employment chances.
    Q. Will my current relationship affect the financial outcome?

    2) This was my 3rd and final attempt to get out of a violent marriage. Over the last 29 years I have been assaulted many times:-
    Attempted stabbings, a punctured eye ball, broken nose, black eyes on several occasions, nail gouges to my face and intimate parts, punches to my head, face and body and the most recent was an assault which left me with cuts and a dislocated shoulder. The latter was as part of a threat on my life resulting in me calling for Police assistance. The 3 Police officers were assaulted whilst trying to arrest her.
    Q. Would her violence be worth mentioning to the court as I have suffered mentally with flashbacks and nightmares over her behaviour?
    Sorry about the long winded email and I hope you will consider answering my questions as well as you’re able.
    Kindest regards.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Ron
      I think the court will take into account all your current circumstances. I’m not sure that what may happen in the future, will necessarily count. If it is going to happen then your documentation in support of your plans, needs to be firm and persuasive.
      As to conduct, the court has a discretion to reduce an award when conduct simply cannot be ignored -it will ultimately be up to the Judge, but I have to caution that it is rare, and if it goes wrong, can backfire. I think you could potentially be faced with the argument that you didn’t have to stay in a violent marriage for 29 years especially as there were no children. On the other hand, I know its not easy to get out of an abusive relationship.

  86. Ray Carman says:

    Dear Marilyn,
    Thank you for taking the time to reply. I will bare your comments in mind when the time arises.
    It was unfortunate that my marriage was peppered with my ex trying to take her own life on the occasions that I left her or told her I could no longer live with her. I guess they were part of the reason I stayed so long.
    This was the third petition for divorce that I’d made re. unreasonable behaviour, but this time I had the backing of the authorities that she would be in serious trouble if she tracked me down and caused further problems due to her Police assaults. I therefore was able to stay away and remain strong throughout the proceedings.
    Many thanks and kind regards,

  87. Ann says:

    Dear Marilyn, firstly you site is the most informative I have come across while trying to source answers to my situation. I read above you said “form E can not be compelled by a court order”…… I had a conversation with my ex husbands solicitor today who was angry I had not accepted his offer to buy him out of the house or voluntarily give them my financial details. I said I am not in a financial position to accept. Her parting words to me were ” we’ll as you won’t submit them voluntarily I will now contact the courts who will make you”
    We have been divorced 2 year and I remained in the family house paying for the joint mortgage and providing for our 2 young children. His soliciotr says he is entitled to 50% of any equity even though he has not paid for over 2 half years and our children are 7 and 2.
    I work full time and with full time nursery bills, mortgage and the rest to pay I don’t have any money to employ a solicitor and I am now scared I will be taken to court by them.
    Can they make me settle?
    Thanks so much

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Ann
      You mustn’t be worried about opting into the court process. It is there to help you sort out your finances. You should issue what is called a Form A setting out what you are seeking for your divorce settlement and this can include maintenance order for you, a lump sum order, a transfer of property order and a pension share. The court will take into account your reasonable needs including those of the children. Completing a Form E will help the court understand your financial position and his. Then the court will help you negotiate a settlement at the Financial Dispute Resolution Appointment. If there isn’t a settlement, then the case will proceed to a full hearing.
      Don’t be scared of engaging with this. Its in your interests.
      What you need to do is decide what you want. Take legal advice about your chances of success. I’m sure you could afford to pay for an appointment or even attend a free legal advice session which many solicitors offer. Then negotiate your deal.
      You can download my book for 99p from Amazon (details on the side bar of this blog) and it will help you understand what you need and how the process works in more detail. All proceeds from my book are going to The Children’s Society charity.

  88. Chandra says:

    Hello Marilyn
    I have an abusive ex, whom I had to get a Non Molestation order on to keep me and my 6 yr old child safe. He works in Brussels, but bought a place in London. He has contact with my child. He has threatened to stop paying her school fees, and push me out of his house – even though we are joint owners. I asked him for financial settlement, he, because he is abusive, kept messing me about and and threatening to start Tolata proceedings. Anyway, I issued Schedule 1 proceedings in July this year. He should have exchanged an E1 three weeks ago, but his solicitor either doesn’t answer or gives ‘my dog ate my homework’ type excuses. First hearing date is 8th October. Can I file a Penal Notice? They are deliberately messing me about. At this stage is it too late to apply for a Penal Notice? If I apply so late, will I be granted it, and if I am, will the presiding judge look not favourably on me for applying so late? What leverage do I have? I have spent savings on solicitors, but now have to do the leg work myself. He/his solicitors know I cannot I fill out the Questionnaire without access to is E1, so I will arrive at court with only a chronology and a list of asks (he earns a very substantial amount, but the delay has allowed him to secret amounts away, change certain work contracts etc, so I suspect he will come to the court claiming poverty). My asks are: my daughter and I stay in our home until she reaches end of university, then house is sold and proceeds divided 50/50, he pays maintenance for my daughter, he continues paying school fees, he gives me a lump sum to do much needed repairs to the house (we now have damp in three rooms) and I get money for a car, because I need one for my daughter’s activities and ours is on it’s last legs. Can I still ask for this, despite the fact that I won’t have access to his E1, but knowing that he is paid very well by is employers? Thank you for taking the time to answer this.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Chandra
      You are asking a lot of detailed questions about the type of settlement you should aim for, which I cant answer with the little information I am given. You do seem to have solicitors retained who know far more than I do, and I really would suggest you ask them.

  89. Karina says:

    Dear Marilyn

    Firstly I wanted to say how helpful this site has been. I have only just realised it exists and I will be buying the book.

    Potted history :-
    I am unfairly dismissed October 2011. Husband of 21 years moves out January 2012 to live with another woman. Battle it out towards Industrial Tribunal, win full amount the day before, which keeps me solvent for a few months.

    I try repeatedly and reasonably to contact him for a year re our finances, jointly accrued debts, possessions and 2 properties (one is rented out with £20,000 equity, the other has about £130,000). I live in it now but it will be sold. Husband would not take responsibility and not turn up to meetings he agreed to. I got more and more panicky about having my hands tied and lack of money, resulting in major depression and nervous breakdown March 2013.

    Husband issues divorce proceedings, forms E are exchanged. I fill mine in scrupulously, with ad hoc advice from a good solicitor (am in so much debt I don’t have the money to employ her properly). Husband fills his in totally sketchily and lies, including saying the house they live in is rented. I look on Land Registry, it is jointly owned by new partner and ex-husband. Husband is self-employed and has lied on his tax returns (provable). Bank statements supplied prove other accounts undisclosed. I issue a 20 point Questionnaire and go to First Hearing. Judge does not have a copy of husband’s Form E, he demands one from his solicitor. Compares my Questionnaire to his Form E, deliberately addresses me, advises me not to settle until I have everything answered fully in writing. He leaves all 20 questions in there. Husband doesn’t raise a Questionnaire towards me.

    What is the next step if I don’t agree with the answers he gives?

    Husband has much greater earning potential than me, has not suffered any drop in standard of living, (been abroad 6 times in 21 months but only declaring household income of £12.000). Says his new partner has no assets, but as a former bank manager that isn’t credible. I have an income of £70 per week, with outgoings of £250 per week. I have no qualifications and want to do a Linguistics degree when this is over.

    What split should I be aiming to ask for? I want to be treated fairly and 50/50 does not leave us in an equal position.

    I can’t ask the tenant in the flat to leave at the moment as she has terminal cancer. My credit rating (always exemplary) is ruined and 2 outstanding bills are going to CCJ, all the bills (bar mortgages) were in my name. I won’t be able to convert the Buy-to-Let mortgage now. It will be too expensive to pay off in 10 years’ time so will then be homeless. Buy-to- Let mortgage takes care of itself with the tenant’s rent. Husband is paying his half of the other mortgage which keeps his credit rating clear.

    Sorry this is long-winded but I want to be armed with as much information as possible. I will be terrified if I have to represent myself at a Final Hearing.

    Kind Regards


    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Karina
      It is impossible to advise you on the information you have provided. There is a lot of background but insufficient information as to the entirety of both you and your ex’s capital, income and CETV of your respective pensions. You have not set out any of your respective reasonable needs, including the cost of housing, income requirements including from a pension at the appropriate time. Once you have all those details it becomes easier to assess what there is and how it should reasonably be divided. Have a look in my book and you will find examples and more explanation as to what happens both in terms of procedure and split. All proceeds to The Children’s Society.

  90. Brian says:

    Dear Marilyn

    I am 49 years old and my wife from whom I am separated is 40. I earn around £53k and she earns around £85k. We were married in August 2012 and lived together for 7 years before that with my son from a previous relationship. We had a child together who is now 4. We separated on 1st March 2013. We own a house the equity is around £60k. My wife paid the deposit of around 20k when we bought it 6 years ago, we both contributed towards the upkeep and mortgage in equal amounts, although my wife has paid for most of the childcare costs for the younger child.

    Both my parents have died, my father in January 2012, mother in January 2013 leaving me an inheritance which I received after separation of around £130k. Around £80k of this I have spent repaying loans and other debts from the marriage and for buying a car and one holiday, and the remainder has been spent on a narrowboat which I intend to live on when my son (14) leaves home.
    My wife insists that she has a financial settlement from me (from the inheritance) of £40k, but I think that she should take her deposit in the house out of the equity and the remainder of the equity should be split, leaving my inheritance untouched. She is also after my pension which is worth probably around £5000 a year at most.

    She has engaged the CSA and so I am contributing £385 a month maintenance. I receive £20 a month maintenance for my son (his mother is on benefits) Although I am well paid I am struggling financially as I have to employ an au pair (I work away sometimes) and although I have enough to live on, there certainly is not enough for luxuries like foreign holidays. In addition I still pay some maintenance for 2 elder children who are now 19 (court order).

    We have exchanged form Es, and I have now decided to represent myself as I cant afford a solicitor, and have sent off a response to my wifes form E.

    I have osteoarthritis and am waiting for a hip replacement,and am worried about my job as I work for a small firm of IT Consultants.

    My Question is – what is the risk that the court will agree with my wife that my inheritance should be divided up and that I end up paying my wife almost a third of it ? I am really worried that this might happen, and that I will have to sell the boat, and will then not be left enough even for a deposit on a house. Also what is the risk that she can take a portion of my pension ?


    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Brian
      The court will generally not share an inheritance unless reasonable needs of the parties cannot be met without taking it into account.

  91. Christine says:

    Hi Marilyn, my financial order was made on the presumption that my soon to be ex would pay over £45,000 +on the sell of our home, the order also said I was not to receive any of the lump sum due from his pension, as this would cover the £45,000+, so make it fair to us both, however it has just been revealed that all the stbx will have to pay is just £3,000, as we do not have the decree absolute and the order was only made in July this year, and stbx kept refusing reasonable offers on the sale of the house yet the moment the financial order was made they accepted the very next offer. Can I take this back to court and ask for a variation or for it to be looked at again seeing that they will now be £42,000+ better off, and no longer be a fair outcome. Thank you

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Christine
      You need to take immediate and careful legal advice. Setting aside an order in these circumstances can be done but its tricky. Your solicitors will advise you on what basis the original order was made, and whether the change in circumstances was very soon afterwards, whether it fundamentally alters matters and the impact on you both is sufficiently affected too.
      You must move quickly,to have any prospect of success.

  92. Joan says:

    Hi Marilyn,
    I am currently waiting to continue with divorce proceedings against my husband, I have just received his concise statement and it is full of lies about myself. I am worried that the judge will take these into account as my ex is trying to discredit me and make me look like a terrible person in court.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Joan
      Don’t worry. Conduct doesn’t count normally, and judges know when they’re being told untruths. They’ve all been in practice before becoming judges so they’re wise to it all! The person who will be affected is the one who stoops to it. Tell the truth and you will be fine.

  93. Julia says:

    Hi Marilyn,
    I started divorce proceedings in March 2013 for unreasonable behaviour against my husband (never ending arguments and the fact he held a meat clever & butchers knife up at me in front of my step daughter telling me he hated me). To cut a long story short he forced me & our 2 young children (9 &2) to leave the matrimonial home and live in our much smaller former matrimonial home. Both in his sole name. He has 20% shares (£1.6m in value) in his and his brothers multi-million pound company. He proposed to buy myself and our children a home of upto £160,000 (which would be held in an account by my solicitor and only released once I had found a suitable property for myself and our children) and a £60, 000 lump sum. .both of which I feel are an insult. We have been together 13 years in total (married 5, with like I say 2 young children). I have now opted for disclosure as I feel his proposal was an insult-he claims he only earns £30k a year which is laughable considering the assets he owns and lifestyle he lives. We are awaiting the date for FDA, am I right in requesting disclosure from him as he says now his previous offer is now withdrawn? Is there chance I could come away with less? I have been accused of being a gold digger from him and my step children (all over age 18) to which I know I am not, he had just started the business up when we first got together and I believe i have contributed equally over the years by bringing up our children & looking after our marital homes etc how much of this will be taken into consideration by the district judge?
    Thankyou. I await your reply.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Julia
      Don’t be worried by threats, the court will require full frank and honest disclosure before making a determination and will make the relevant disclosure orders. You can’t be found unreasonable by requiring sensible disclosure. You surely have a solicitor advising you from what you write. If you have do ask your solicitor for an opinion. Ask for a barrister to advise if necessary. Your solicitor should be able to tell you what is reasonable by way of disclosure and what is a reasonable ball park area for settlement.
      Do download my book from the sidebar which will give you much more information than I can here. It will cost 99p and proceeds to The Children’s Society. It explains how the process works and what orders the court can make in many different circumstances.
      But also please don’t sit and worry. As you clearly have worries tell your solicitor. You are paying for a service, this is a one off event, so do make sure you get it and if you aren’t happy you are entitled to change to someone in whom you do have confidence.

  94. Robert says:

    My daughter applied for divorce in May 2012. During the entire process of discovery, including interrogatories, her husband did not cooperate, provided false / incomplete information about his finances. They went for arbitration, but my daughter could not prove that he had hidden money, due to lack of bank statements. She subpoena the bank statements, which arrived after the divorce judgment. The bank documents have now been analysed and a report is prepared by CPA which shows that her Ex Husband has removed over $80,000 from marital funds after the family broke up in 2011, and over $200,000 were removed by him between 2006 to 2011. We do not know what he did with the money, but suspect that he has either invested them, or he was blackmailed by some one who extracted money. My daughter has filed a motion. In his response, he has denied it. The case may come up for hearing. My daughter has very little money to continue a legal battle. Do you think she has a reasonable chance to get some money, given the fact that she has a proof in the form of CPA certified report? What are the options available to her?

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Robert
      I don’t think you are referring to the English legal system? The application here would most likely be for permission to appeal out of time and/or set aside the order due to fraudulent non disclosure. However its only worth it if you can trace the money and its going to make a substantial difference. Otherwise the costs will vastly outweigh the benefit.

  95. Lucy says:

    Hi, I am looking for a little advice. My partner is currently going through divorce proceedings, by the beginning of December he can apply for the absolute. But his ex decided to apply to the court for a financial order as he did not meet her demands. He has given her his Form E (over a month ago) but as of yet she has still not sent hers. The first deadline to send the paperwork to the court will be in two days time, which I feel is very close to the wire. They have never owned their own home so do not have anything to divide in that way. My partner pays for their children via the CSA. He does not have any savings, so really he has nothing to offer or to give to her. The only thing he has is his pension, but she should also have her own so if she goes for his could he go for hers? He cannot afford a solicitor to represent him if this goes to court for the first hearing, does he actually need a solicitor? To me this is all pointless as I have said he has nothing to give her and it should not get to the court stage as it is wasting everyone’s time. Thanks

  96. Daisy says:

    Dear Marilyn
    I have undergone 2 x FDR and matters still not resolved, apparently as there are other parties involved they have to be consulted. Husband had taken out mortgages against our mortgage free home unbeknownst to me; first I knew was on the submission of his Form E. He has repeatedly refused to provide the required information as requested before and at the first FDR on his Form E– he has now sacked his solicitor and represented himself at second FDR. Judge has told him he has to provide requested information. He has been told to pay mortgage and household utilities for former marital home and also indicated at first and second FDR that he was. I have found out that he hasn’t been paying these sums and they are in arrears. He has mislead court and lied on Form E. Solicitor has written to him about the utilities but he has responded with lies, drawing the process out, costing me money I don’t have, to address it. He continues to wriggle his way out of his commitments. I am unwell at the moment and unable to work and his behaviours are not helping any recovery. How can he continue to lie and behave the way he does, getting away with it, with no come back from the legal system and placing me in very real financial hardship?
    Many Thanks

  97. dot says:

    much the same as the other threads really — husband had an affair – took our life savings of £25,000 – spent the lot on new clothes holidays and furniture for his mistress (savings account was in his name only) got away with this spending in court and i was awarded just £1,000 of it – and he still gets 40% of the house – the judge had no concern that he had left me with nothing and a mortgage and 2 dependent children to provide for – and even made a comment about “thats what you have insurance for” when i said if anything was to happen to me or the house !! which made me very angry i can tell you ! So now the consent order gave us 28 days to complete the transfer of the house to my name (which takes longer i can tell you for a start) and ex was ordered to pay me my £1,000 also within the 28 days which he has refused to do until transfer is complete – it is now over a month over the 28 days and transfer is nearly ready – can he legally keep my £1,000 back until this is all finished ?? After all it does say that i have to use the best of my endeavors to remove his name as sometimes the mortgage people wont release the name if they think the mortgage needs wont be met ! hope you can help me xxx

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Dot
      If you were advised an appeal was hopeless then my advice is frank, you need to get it sorted and done. If the order doesn’t say the £1k is payable on completion of the transfer then he is in breach and should pay regardless but if you take enforcement action his answer will be he’s in breach only because you are too. It could cost far more than £1k to get bogged down in arguments.

  98. Valerie says:

    My solicitor put to the court at our first financial directions hearing, that I want the family business valued as a going concern, if my husband disputes that he offered me £80K for my half of the business. However, I had previously told my solicitor that I do NOT want a valuation on the business – it is too costly and will be counter-productive for me. My husband put his offer of £80K in writing and doesn’t dispute it, but he asked the court to decide whether he should pay me this amount. The Judge gave my husband and I two weeks to resolve this dispute between ourselves, otherwise we have to get the business valued as suggested by my solicitor. I am really at odds with my solicitor putting this option to the court, and I feel we should have been asking the court to uphold the written agreement my husband gave me – which has been acted upon in that I have resigned as co-director and my husband now has the business, all the stock and has been selling it for the past six months. Is there any way I can ask the court for a different direction on this particular issue – ie, one not of a valuation, but of considering the upholding an existing written agreement between myself and my husband. The next hearing is scheduled for four months time to take account of the time needed for an expert valuation of the business. I would really appreciate your advice.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Valerie,
      You seem to be raising two issues one of which is whether to change a court order -I cannot advise you on the content of a court order I haven’t seen. The second is that the solicitor is acting contrary to your instructions. Generally also a solicitor must take his client’s instructions and must act upon them. Even if the solicitor strongly advises otherwise, if the client gives different instructions then those must be acted upon.
      However notwithstanding what you want, if the court felt that a valuation was required, then that is a different matter and if that is the court’s decision, then that too should be complied with.
      It is however, always open to you to settle and give instructions to settle on terms you and your ex have agreed. This brings the proceedings to a halt and the court must ratify the agreement but its likely to do so if with the benefit of professional advice you still want to settle.
      However, we have a lot of experience of clients such as you who tend to make massive mistakes when it comes to a valuation of a business. They accept what they are told by their ex and rely upon it. Down the line when its too late, and they realise exactly how much they have been swindled out of, and others are now in their shoes, they bitterly regret their decision, but there is nothing they can do about it.
      I don’t think a judge would have ordered a valuation unless there was good reason to do so. Unless you are a business valuer, Id discuss this calmly with your solicitor and personally I would never advise a client to settle until I knew the real value of a major asset.

  99. JamesB says:

    I found the whole court process bad. Indeed the Judges kept saying the court had failed my wife and I.

    In the end I ran out of money and went as LIP. I had two FDRs, one with a barrister and one without.

    I found the only people to benefit from taking relationships to court are the lawyers.

  100. Steve says:

    Merry Christmas to All, so what can you do if a Solicitor does not act upon your instruction?

  101. Jacqueline says:

    Dear Marilyn,
    Have been to court for FDR after my X decided in June 2011 to end our 30 year relationship (2 years cohabiting & 25 years married) in favor of new relationship with 23 year old Phillipino woman. He forced the Decree Absolute in Feb 13 on the grounds that there is sufficient equity in the FMH if anything happens to him prior to a financial resolution being reached & my legal executive was not confident that she would get the court to agree otherwise. There are 2 children of 15 & 13 who are with me, this is the one area were there’s been no issue, he wanted them to remain with me full time. His earnings far exceed mine (78K + Fully Expensed Company Car, and other perks for him /11k me). The FDR went badly because he had a Barrister and I had Legal Exec. who against my wishes went before the Judge demanding £600 pcm Spousal maintenance for joint lives. Now in a position were FDR Judge has accused me of being greedy and becasuse I haven’t got into debt since X left, feels that in his view no SM should be paid. X is inflating his monthly expenditure and demanding that the FMH be sold when eldest child reaches 18 or finished FT 2nd Education.
    He pays me CSA for the children and no SM. He did make a couple of additional payments when he first left, but these came from savings accounts that he’d set up in joint names that I was unware of at the time. Strongly suspect that he has further savings offshore, but no way of proving this!!

    Final hearing is set for early Feb and with no legal represenation not sure how to proceed.

    At my wits end and have no faith in Legal system now – What would you suggest.


    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear J
      You could approach some local barristers chambers and see if you can instruct one under their direct access scheme. Arrange a conference straight away.

  102. Burnt B says:

    Dear Steve
    Please get in touch with the Legal Ombudsman, urgently.
    I had the same experience and they were most helpful.
    James B….I totally agree with you.
    A peaceful, happy and healthy 2014 to everyone…hopefully, things will improve with lots of positive thinking.

  103. Guitarista says:

    I’m at the stage now where in a few days I will be attending court for the fist appointment. I have make 2 attempts at convincing my wife to go to mediation to settle financial matters there, but she has refused. I attached copies of 2 emails showing she refused to attend mediation, her solicitor has stated she won’t go to mediation because she took out an emergency non-molestation order 3 weeks after she alleged I had assaulted her (which I didn’t), I was arrested and released without charge after questioning to return home the next day.

    I still would prefer to go to mediation and want to propose to buy her out so we can move on. We have 2 children and still live together in the matrimonial home but in separate rooms, and since the previous court hearing of the non-molestation nonsense I don’t speak much with her for concern she will accuse me of harassment. She spends little or no time at home and instead spends much of the day at her parents home nearby.

    She did have a solution 2 years ago where she would buy a one with her brother and I would contribute to the deposit, but for reasons known only to her she went back on this and now appears to be trying to get as much as possible from me even though my income has fallen in the past 4 years and she has a higher earning potential than me.

    How can I get things back to mediation? Can a court at the first appointment order her to go to mediation before it gets to the FDR meeting?

    Please help

  104. Anonymous says:

    You don’t get things back to mediation. It has to be something both parties want. From what I have seen, many solicitors advise (or rather don’t discourage) clients to make allegations of some kind so as to get things into court, where it’s not a matter of give and take, but just take.

  105. Sarah says:

    Hi there,
    I am due to attend FDR hearing next week, at the first hearing my ex was order to answer my question – to produce a copy of full title deeds to a property, I know he owns, ex however is saying otherwise.
    He has been given six months to do so and has still not produce.
    What will happen at FDR ?

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Sarah
      You can search the Land Registry for a copy of the title deeds if you know the address. Otherwise the court has power to order a search by the Land Registry against a named person. Given his default the Court might do so.

  106. Maria says:

    Hi, would love if you could take a moment to reply, really to offer confidence and reassurance.
    Brief outline – married 6years, together 8 with 1 child together. I had my own home that I sold when married and gave up career to support his is the army. I kept the equity made 33k as it was always in my name. I have 2 other children, not my ex husbands.
    As he is in the army and it was agreed he would do lump sum payment 15k but no order sought when he got his pension on leaving. Then changed his mind to offer me nothing. Saw solicitor and have exchange date by 15th January then court 19th February.
    He has since offered 7.5k then 10k. I have refused advising I would like to wait until forms are exchanged. I understand he is due approx 80-90k lump sum, then monthly pension of 700.00 per month.
    When we split, I kept my money in order to buy a house for me and kids and he paid what really was spousal and child maintenance of 1500.00 per month for 4 months while we settled. The gradually reduced it all which was very kind. We had no debts other than a car loan which I kept along with the car.
    Just guess I don’t really know a realistic idea of what I should expect. Still can’t work full time as son still at junior school etc etc.
    Any realistic expectations as currently I genuinely have no idea. Seem to have a very good solicitor in terms of his letter content though…

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Maria
      The issue is how to meet both your reasonable needs. You need a home and you have three children to look after, presumably he accepted your other two as children of the family. How much do you reasonably need in terms of income and capital to keep going into the future? That’s the answer to the question which only you know and then it needs to be looked at in context of his needs too. How does it balance out?
      Some suggestions:- Do you need more capital off him and perhaps can agree that as a clean break or he has an interest in the house which is paid back when your child leaves school or uni or you remarry? This is called a Mesher order but make sure you could afford to pay him or you could be left homeless. If you don’t get an outright clean break capital settlement you need to make sure he still contributes towards the outgoings at least so a maintenance settlement is important too. You also need to make sure he doesn’t spend the lump sum before your case is dealt with but I’m sure your solicitor has done that.
      You can download my book for 99p and it gives you much more information than I can here. All the proceeds are going to The Children’s Society.

  107. Melanie says:

    Wow thanks millions for your reply Marilyn. I have mentioned this to my solicitor re freezing his lump sum and so far he has requested that the funds are if you like out to one side but have had no confirmation of this from my ex. He did advise that really you need to have reasonable doubt that the money is going to be spent before you can apply for an order? The fact that he hasn’t confirmed he will freeze this asset…is this enough?
    He has no interest in my house. His name is not on the mortgage and never has been, neither were the savings ever in his name.
    The original idea was that I would use the lump sum to reduce my mortgage debt then monthly outgoings would be a lot less making life just that bit easier. I am def seeking a clean break order.
    Fingers crossed it works out for me.
    I will download the book now…thanks for letting me know about it 😉

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Melanie
      I have no wish to tread on your solicitor’s toes but I think a refusal to agree to hold the money intact would be a good reason to apply to freeze at least half the money, potentially all of it, unless there are sufficient funds elsewhere to cover the amount he is going to get.

  108. Ms Julie Moors says:

    Dear Ms Stowe. I have read with interest your messages and help you have given people free of charge and think you are really doing a great thing. Question I have is this: My friend is preparing for a Financial Dispute Resolution Hearing. Ex husband wants 50/50 split on sale of house they have joint mortgage on but he left approx 5 years ago and she has maintained house and mortgage since. He had previouisly left for 2 years when she paid mortgage also. When he had responsibility of paying mortgage it got into arrears and they re-mortgaged and he spent the re-mortgage money. Judge has said she has to submit Financial Irresponsibiity to have chance of more than 50%. Can she bring up about his debts etc., and can she say she wants 50% plus what she has paid on the joint mortgage during the previous 2 years, the current 4 plus years and the debts she paid off when he left? thank you

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Julie
      Your friend can argue whatever she wants if she has the facts and figures to support it. She needs to think about the potential for arguing her reasonable needs require more the equity in order for her to rehouse etc and to be able to demonstrate this to the court. I think a court will be much more attracted to a reasonable needs argument than a denigration of her ex husband although her post separation contribution is a better way of putting it, and perhaps demonstrating if she can, how the contribution she has made on her own has increased the equity in the property.

  109. B says:

    Hello, i was wondering if you could advise me? i divorced my partner a year ago and he recently remarried. he has now decided he wants to go for my pension and was wondering if this was possible with his remarriage?

  110. Anne says:

    I need some advice please. My ex and I got a divorce in June 2012. I filled in form E in may 2012 but he did not submit his until August 2012. Since then he has been delaying things and we have finally reached an agreement last December. I have now got to fill in a Statement of Information with my current financial and private details which are very different from when the form E was done. Firstly I am very angry that I have to disclose my situation for him to see but also I am worried that, as he lives abroad, he might lie on his figures and that the Court will have no way of checking his figures out. Also, is there a chance that the Court changes the agreement we have reached on the basis on the current figures as well as my change of relationship status (cohabit but not married). Thank you.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Anne
      If I were you I would ask a solicitor to check the information you gave in your Form E against your current position now and also draft up the agreement. Its not something you should really try and do on your own.

  111. Anne says:

    Dear Marylin
    Thank you for your answer. My solicitor has drafted the agreement but it is based on last year’s form E so I am wondering if the court will look at my current financial position or last year’s and if it will take my new relationship status into account. I should not have to disclose my position now more than a year on, should I? Many thanks

  112. Liz says:

    Dear Marilyn
    I am coming up to the FDA. My barrister said “The Courts think it right that after divorce the wife and children should have a lower standard of living than the husband”. My ex and I agreed that I should be a stay-at home mother bringing up our two sons for the last 18 years while my husband worked away from home most of the time and earned a very good salary (around £75,000). We separated nearly six years ago. I was stunned at my barrister’s comment. Is that really right? I should be most grateful for your guidance. Thank you.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Liz
      Are you sure you got that right? It’s untrue. Check with your solicitor and if you’ve got a weak barrister,change.

  113. Liz says:

    Dear Marilyn
    Thank you very much for your reply and advice. The barrister’s exact words when discussing the future financial settlement for me and my children were: “The Court thinks it right that the wife and children have lesser standard of living than the high earner – your husband”. I made a note of his words at the time – I did not want to believe what he said was true and thank you for reassuring me that it isn’t.

  114. Victoria says:

    My Styx obviously has some kind of trouble around money he has blown 2 large inheritances and is still gambling after leaving me he has been drawn into 419 scams over and over I fact all the time and I have proof on paper of the huge sums he has given to Internet scammers, we are about to have a FDR and he is wanting 50 50 split of equity I spite of trust deed giving me 80 20

    What will a judge say ? He is earning three times my salary and his pension is nearly 3 times mine but he is quite old 75 and I am early 60s

  115. Bobby Y says:

    Dear Marilyn Stowe, I am representing myself, my FDR hearing is coming up in approximately 4 weeks, I have been married for 18 years and my wife applied for divorce unreasonable behaviour. We have lived in the property 11years, we have two children ages 21 and 18. My 21 year old daughter has a 5 year old child and my son is not in further education, they are still living in the property. I left the property and moved to my parents’ home which is a three bed room property, my disabled 79 year old father, has one bedroom, my brother has another and my two adult sister has had to share a room to accommodate me. Lost my job due medical reasons; I have three clasp discs, which is repairable. I have had one operation and there is a second one due. In all likely hood I will be unable to work again in the future. The appropriate medical information was included in Form E, I have applied for lump sum to be rehoused, but now I have found out I am medically unable to work this means I won’t be able to get a mortgage so I won’t be able to provide that information for the courts. My question is would I be able contact petitioners solicitor and the courts and change my income needs from lump sum for purchasing property. Or will I be able to provide information for renting of property.
    My next question, I want apply for a financial order Form A, is too late to put order in I am four weeks away from hearing.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Bobby
      This is your second question and reading both it seems you have a complicated case with quite a few holes so I don’t have the full picture. You should take legal advice and issue your own form A which will tell the court what you want, but from what you write, it seems like you can’t work, are living with your parents and siblings,and there is your former home to be taken into account the equity of which I don’t know plus your wife’s inheritance under the will if any. I don’t know if she has an income and what other assets there are including a pension or other investments or savings. The children have left full time education.
      You claim a lump sum but then you are seeking maintenance.
      What you both need is to sort out the full amount of the income and assets of both of you and your respective reasonable needs eg you both need housing and income. Then see how the income and capital can be divided up to provide this.
      As I mentioned in the first answer, please go and see a solicitor to help you.

  116. U says:

    Dear Marilyn
    I represented myself for the first hearing and submitted the Form E, Statement of Issues, Chronology and Questionnaire. I have an FDR coming up soon. On my statement of issues I mentioned that my Ex surrendered a policy that was in joint names, which he said he split equally between our three children but never provided any evidence to support this claim, I also mentioned that he claimed insurance for my car when I had an accident (and the car was written off) and he did not pay me this money back (as the insurance was still in his name). However I did not include this in the Questionnaire that I submitted as I was under the impression that the questions should only be about his form E- Is it too late to raise this issue or will it be considered at any stage as it was included on the statement of issues?

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear U
      What you could do if you know the sums involved is at the FDR is argue that the court should add back the value of the insurance policy and the money recovered from the car accident into the assets and apply it to his half of the balance sheet.
      I would suggest getting some legal advice however from someone who has all the info in front of them before the FDR about this and about what you want and what further information you need if the case doesn’t settle and what you will need to ask the court to order if it goes to a final hearing. This hearing is a negotiation to try and settle, there may be solicitors or barristers near you who will do the hearing for you quite cheaply.

  117. nasima says:

    i have filled form E FOR FAINANCIAL case.i have two kids from y ex husband.i have aplied but the thing is he never responds for first hearing and didnt even hired a i just got the letter from the court that we going to have again hearing on 25th april.all i want to ask is if he doesnt reply on this hearing what could the court do to him.last time court decided for him as a penalty that he has to pay for my last hearing bcz he never turned up,so if he doesnt come this time so what could be the setuation?

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Nasima
      Ask your solicitor to advise you about obtaining a penal order. If he refuses to engage with the process I suppose you could also ask the court to make an order that you want but I don’t know enough about your case.

  118. U says:

    Dear Marilyn
    Thank you for your response and would just like to say that this is a great thing you are doing and it is so helpful to me and I’m sure to so many people in the same situation as I am.

  119. Sarah says:

    Dear Marilyn,

    Please could you help, my solicitor has advise I go to court for maintenance for 2 of our 3 children 1 lives 50/50. The CSA can’t get maintenance as he doesn’t pay himself a salary. And financial settlement before absolute. My husband has a rented farm and over 400k in assets (stock) but claims he has more debt than assets, part of that debt is a large amount lent to him by his mum. I own nothing at all, and work in a low paid job. He hasn’t paid into my pension for years un beknown to me and it is worth nothing. I have have worked and helped him on the farm for 18 years and brought up our 3 children putting my career on hold. I am really frightened he and his solicitor and accountant will leave me with no maintenance and any financial settlement to start again. It is I who moved out into rented accomodation as we lived in the farmhouse. I have tried to talk to him but he insists on going to court with suggestions it will all be to his benefit. Many thanks for any advice.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Sarah
      Don’t be bullied. Farmers always use the argument they have no liquid assets but courts still usually find a way round the problem. You have substantial valid claims and unless the debt to mum is secured, the court is likely to regard it as a “soft” loan. Remember the court can order a sale of it all if necessary to achieve fairness and divide the proceeds as it thinks fit in order to meet the reasonable needs of the parties.

  120. sh says:

    Dear Marilyn,
    Im having a complete nightmare with a husband who is a compulsive liar. He has stated on his form e and his statement to the court that he doesn’t want our business, that I just bullied him into it and he wishes to do something else. However the opposite is true and he wants it desperately now that he has managed to successfully lie to the valuer and get it massively devalued. I have said all along that I may want it and now I definitely do. As he has said he doesn’t want it in court papers will I definitely get the business.
    Many thanks.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear SH
      I’ve absolutely no idea! There is nothing provided to me at all on which to give an opinion but in any event I suspect you must have a solicitor advising you, ask him or her that question because they have all the papers and can give you informed advice. It seems as though you don’t have even a basic understanding of what will happen. You should ask your solicitor and perhaps even ask to see a barrister who will be sent all the papers and give you the advice you need.

  121. Belle says:

    My husband doesn’t settle for anything ever, he is an expat so hides a lot of cash. I have spent thousands so far having both my lawyer and a barrister at the first hearing, we are now approaching the FDR and my lawyer insists on accompanying the barrister making the costs so high I will go into debt and can no way afford the final hearing if one is needed. I have a 5 year old child and don’t work. My lawyer is suggesting a direct barrister and to de-instrcut her , but does this not leave me in a mess, we have had answers to the questions from the first hearing but I do not know what they are or how to dissect them. What can I do?

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Belle
      Explain your situation to your solicitor as you have to me. Ask your solicitor to put her advice as to your options in writing. Then decide what you are going to do.

  122. Kate says:

    Dear Marilyn,
    I have found your site to be very informative. Thank you!
    My FDR is coming up shortly and I have a great solicitor. I understand that he doesn’t wish to say too much about the outcome in case I am disappointed. However, I do feel I have a strong case but would like some reassurance please.
    My ex left ten years ago to persue an affair when our children were very young and we had just moved into our house a few months previously. He hasn’t paid a single penny towards the mortgage since and has not seen my children for a significant number of years (his choice) with not even a birthday or Christmas card in sight.
    We are actually divorced as he was in such a hurry to start a new life but it took me many years to clear off debts that accrued. I have worked hard to keep my home and provide everything for my children. My ex says he has not worked in all these years (health issues I suspect) so only pays the bare (and insulting) minimum per week for my children and absolutely NOTHING else.
    He remarried practically immediately after our divorce was finalised and his wife earns very good money. I live independently and did not remarry.
    It has taken me all these years to seek justice. He provided false information during the first meeting which I have been able to prove without a shadow of a doubt and two other circumstances he claimed have also since been found to be untrue. There is now the added possibility that he has omitted information in his E Form (hiding money?). He is absolutely insistent that he will receive money from my home! It appears that he lives a very comfortable life, paid for by his wife, who I suspect doesn’t know the half of it.
    My ex appears to be quite aggressive at this stage but is adamant he will benefit from me. I have a feeling that he will ‘enhance’ health issues to gain sympathy. I have one issue in relation to mobility which has become progressively worse and I am worried how this will affect my employability in the near future.
    I have been honest throughout the entire case, backed up with solid evidence. There are other issues in relation to my ex which I do not want to divulge but all of it should put him in very poor light.
    My lovely children have suffered emotionally over the years, so my case isn’t just about protecting what I have built up – the only asset I have is my home. In fact, for me, my priority is for the court to acknowledge how badly my ex has treated my children and to prevent them from suffering further. In a nutshell, I am hoping Karma plays a big part.
    I really could write a book about all of this! I feel so hurt for my children and really believe that they should be compensated for what he put them through. They have grown up to be intelligent and wonderful children despite all of this but it hasn’t been an easy journey.
    I strongly believe my ex will fight to the bitter end and will quite happily take it to a Final Hearing. I, equally, am determined to stand my ground. How do you think I will fare in this? Will any health issues he claims sway in his favour? Could he be held in contempt of court for giving false information and omitting information?
    Many thanks in advance.

  123. Steve says:

    Hi Kate Unfortunately you do not have a great solicitor which his attitude. he should be able to provide some guidance on what the possible outcome could be, after all you are paying handsomely for their knowledge and experience.

  124. Kim says:

    Hi Marilyn,
    My husband and his ex wife seperated several years ago and divoreced in 2005. She has since applied to the court for financial aid. She has already been given all proceededs from sale of their home etc.
    My husband is representing himself at court.
    My husband has submitted forn E to the court and the is ex wife, he has also submitted form G, Chronology, statement and questionnaire and sent a copy of these to his ex wife.
    He has not received the latter documents from her – can the case continue if she does not provide him with a copy of these documents and will I be permitted to attend the first hearing as his Mckenzie Friend?


    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Kim
      Both are up to the judge to decide. However I do think he should get legal advice and consider having legal representation.

      • Kim says:

        Hi Marilyn,
        During the first hearing between my husband and his ex wife the judge ordered that both parties shall provide and serve bank statements showing a large transfer from him to her which was done upon the sale of their home.
        He has bank statements showing money in and out on Ashe day but as over 6 years ago the bank cannot give records of the receipt account.
        She has supplied a statement of an account with no transactions for a period of 3 months. This is not the account she was using at the time. She has refused our request to provide other account info.
        Will the judge force her to provide this as part of the next hearing?
        Many thanks.

  125. U says:

    Hello Marilyn
    I have got an FDR hearing coming up. On the first hearing one of the things ordered was a valuation by the same surveyors, of the marital home (where my Ex still lives) as the last one was about a year ago (£100,000). The latest valuation is £20, 000 less than the last one- This seems very odd and I find this hard to believe as I hear on the news that property prices have been going up for the past 12 months. I am unsure if it is the same type of valuation as the document I just receive only reads that they recommend a starting asking price of £80,000. Can I do anything about this

  126. Andrew says:

    If you can show that the drop in value is caused by your ex’s neglect of the property you may be able to get a share based on what it would have been worth if she had kept it in good order.

    How to do that? An ingenious client of mine got a friend in the business to pose as a buyer and his statement was dynamite!

  127. Anon says:

    Once Form E is filed with the court and exchanged with each party is it allowed to change whether you would like legal representation afterwards? If I said no to a solicitor on my Form E would I be allowed to change that and be represented by a solicitor at the hearing? Thanks

  128. U says:

    Dear Andrew
    Thank you for your response. It will be difficult for anyone to pose as a buyer as he is not seeking to sell the property (as far as I know) but I have found out that the property valuation was an appraisal and not a valuation carried out by a qualified surveyor. I’m not sure where that leaves me but I would like a proper report as other properties in the area are much higher. Also I spoke to the person (a lister) that carried out the ‘valuation’ and he said that the property was not in a good state so I think if that is the case then he has neglected the property. Can I insist on a report from a qualified surveyor

  129. jojo says:

    hello marilyn your site is great ,please can you help me,ive just started divorce proceedings,theres a lot of rental property involved, i dont really know what will happen about them ,they are all in his name except the family home which through his work there is still about 327.000 owing,my solicitor is protecting them all,although 2 properties he has renovated only lately were getting sold now he his renting them out i am fuming ,he is doing what he likes as he always had,i dont know where i stand re this,im getting divorced through unreasonable behaviour i have a 14 year old im concerned about also,throughout my 36 years with him alot of domestic violence my son thinks he can treat me the same way,i had to leave him with him,now i am having good contact with my son i am trying to get him help,school .drugs stealing it goes on, i dont know where id stand with him either re living arrangements and so on ,i have a33 year old and 22 year old also,he had nothing when i met him and all i get told is its all his hes worked hard i have also worked and brought up three children,thanks for any help xx

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Jojo
      I don’t understand much of what you write, there is very little relevant information here but what is coming through is how confused you are and what you need is a clear steer from your solicitor. Tell your solicitor you don’t understand, you need advice about your child, about abuse and about a financial settlement. Ask for advice about the procedure and what you can expect and when, and how much it will cost. As a starter you can download my 300 page book from the side bar of this blog and this should be a good guide to begin with.

  130. Andrew says:

    U: my apologies, I assumed you were the ex-h, probably because it is usually the ex-w who is in possession!

    Sfaik you can insist on a report from a qualified surveyor but you may end up paying the fees. Marilyn will probably know better: don’t rely on me.

  131. Ms C says:

    Hi Marilyn,
    I have completed the Form E and have attended 3 appointments with the court in regards to the questionnaire being non complete and requesting further information,my ex husband has NOT been forth coming about his business’s ( which I have provided proof of) every time an order is made he answers the questions with lies although I have the evidence, why has he been allowed to say and do what he wants without proving his innocence, he doesn’t comply with the order and the Judges do nothing, why has the law no authority to put him in contempt of court… he says he has no money and there is nothing to obtain yet each time he doesn’t disclose it’s another day of court costs for him to ignore another order, I have evidence he has business’s and bank statements with large transactions yet he still denies it, now I’m told that it’s his word again mine I can’t believe after 4 years of doing this and providing hours n hours of evidence I’ve spent researching nothing is going to happen. I have an FDR hearing of which I am told that unless he comes clean then I will have walked away with nothing – Irony is I sold my property put £40 into the FMH which he still resides, as the mortgage was in his sole name as we decided I needed to be at home for 12months, when he knew the marriage was going to disolved he remortgaged the lot with out telling me, lent huge amounts from his millionaire parents so the matrimonial finance’s look a shambles on paper yet this man pays 1.97 per week via CSA yet has a net DISPOSABLE income of £1800…. I still live at my parents with our daughter and cannot move on with my life without this being settled … what can I do to make him provide what we need?

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Ms C
      Again, excuse me but I just don’t understand your question and the information you have given me. If you have a solicitor, which it seems you do, please ask your solicitor for a plan and advice as to how to go forward. You may need to see a barrister. If you don’t, go and see one, taking all the documents with you and get some good advice as to how to go forward. It may be what you already have is enough for the court to make an order.

  132. Miss V says:

    Hi Marilyn,

    My partner is going through an FDR with his ex. The divorce came through in last year and at that time the house had been valued at circa 200k. However if it increases in value between the time of the divorce and the FDR, is she still entitled to half the increase, even though it is his house, in his name and he can prove he has contributed 100% of the equity?

    Alternatively, is he entitled to sell it to me at its current value? And if I bought it – is there any way I could be dragged into the case (i.e. forced to sell by a judge) if we do not live together and there is no legal tie between us?


    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Miss V
      The assets will be valued at what they are worth at the date of the hearing. If he sells it to you at an undervalue the court has the option of setting aside the sale if it can be demonstrated it has been done to defeat the claim and potentially paying a lot of money in legal costs as well. The onus would be on him to prove he sold it to you, his new partner at an undervalue without intending to defeat the claim. I doubt the court will have much sympathy with that argument.
      The court will take the contributions of both parties into account, financial and non financial.

  133. Richard says:

    My isreali wife has moved back to isreal with my two children. A divorce has been completed but now trying to sort out financial details. There is no capital in the house ( in my name and interest only mortgage in my name and paid by me). No other capital. Wife was a student and did not contribute to bills. Am I correct in assuming that any child maintenace would be via CSA which does not have an agreement outside EU. Also wife was not resident in the UK prior to divorce … Is it all legal?. What rights do I have. One last question, which period of time does the information for full financial disclosure cover and how does this work with a foreign national?. Many thanks

  134. U says:

    Dear Andrew
    Thank you for your response. That’s Ok – I realise that it is more unusual for the ex-h to be in possession of the property . I am hoping that you are correct (as you implied that you were not too sure). I have requested for a surveyor’s report but have not had a response yet.

  135. U says:

    Dear Marilyn/Andrew
    I have had a response to the Questionnaire that I submitted for the first hearing, If questions have not been answered or evidence not provided etc or I have issues- should I submit them the my ex’s solicitor (and a copy to the court) or wait until the FDR?

  136. Anna Ratcliffe says:


    Marilyn has asked me to respond to your question. I am a solicitor at Stowe Family Law’s London office.

    If the other party has not fully answered the questionnaire that they were ordered to answer following the first hearing then you should produce a schedule of deficiencies setting out the information and documentation that the other party has failed to produce. You should send this to the solicitors for the other party and invite them to provide the outstanding information and documentation.

    If the other party refuses to do so then you will need to consider making an application to the court. I would recommend that this is done in advance of the FDR hearing if possible, since it seems likely that you will require the outstanding information in order to have productive settlement negotiations at the FDR hearing.


  137. jennifer says:

    Hi Marilyn,

    a friend is going through acrimonious proceedings leading to divorce. The final hearing is due in May 2014 following non agreement of the FDR first hearing in May 2013. The ex-wife is now claiming to be unwell and possibly having medical treatment. The question is will she be able to use this to delay the final hearing scheduled for May 2014?

    Thank you

  138. Nina says:

    Hi Marilyn

    Just a brief history, separated in Feb 2013, non molestation order on my husband for 6 mths due to violence, got changed to undertaking order. My husband is a property developer so moved out of marital house into one of his properties with children. He took 3 children with him and one refused to stay with him. When the undertaking was up in October he changed locks and moved in, currently fighting residency order and get house back. The marital home is a building site and when we went to court trying to fight for children and get home back, he offered another house needs major work and court order that he is required to bring to the same standard of living. The first fdr hearing was rescheduled agreement by solicitors has he was not ready, but he went and got date changed to suit himself. He is currently trying to hide assets and move property into other peoples names.

    What can I do and is this possible for him to do and try and transfer assets into my childrens names to cover his tracks? Can I go from the fdr straight to final hearing, as he is playing delay tactics and I currently have nowhere to live with my child, living with parents, which is not ideal and will this also help in my financial hearing?

  139. Name Witheld says:

    Dear Marilyn,

    A week or two before our FDA, my daughter has been approached and coerced to sign a statemement prepared by my husband’s solicitor. She was at university and contacted me because she was very distressed.
    Eventually she did not sign the statement but made one of her own but still maintaining the frame of the original statement and omitting the maligned criticism about me.
    Because of my awareness of the approach, I instructed my lawyer to ask if my ex husband’s lawyer had in any way helped to prepare my daugter’s statement.
    My ex husband’s lawyer admitted preparing the statement but she lied that it was only for my ex husband and daughter to discuss.
    My daughter was willing to testify that she was coerced by my husband’s lawyer but my lawyer think I should drop the idea
    of putting ex husband’s lawyer on the stand.
    I appreciate your advice on whether my lawyer is right to stop pursuing the truth.

  140. Anon says:

    Hi How can I contact Marilyn for her free advice on financial settlements I have just instructed a Solicitor to apply for a disclosure notice to be served on my ex wife and can not afford to run up bills with them.

    • Cameron Paterson says:

      Hello – if you leave a comment here, she may be able to respond. Alternatively, if you live close to one of the firm’s offices, you may be interested in attending a meeting

  141. Liz Bell says:

    Dear Jennifer

    Marilyn has asked me to reply to your question. I am a solicitor at Stowe Family Law’s Wetherby office.
    It is possible to delay a hearing due to ill health. However, the ex-wife’s solicitor would have to make an application to adjourn the hearing to a later date on the basis of ill health. Medical evidence of her ill health and the fact that it will prevent her attending Court in May 2014 would need to be provided and it is then up to the Judge whether they accept such evidence and are happy to adjourn the hearing. I would imagine that given the delay of one year since the FDR the Judge would be reluctant to delay the final hearing unless it was absolutely necessary.
    Kind regards
    Liz Bell

  142. David Milburn says:

    Dear Nina
    Thank you for your enquiry. Marilyn has asked me to reply to your question. I am the firm’s Managing Partner for our North West offices.
    I am very concerned regarding the financial situation that you currently find yourself in. You do however have various options in particular with regard to protecting your own position and preventing the disposal of assets intended to
    defeat your claims. Firstly you should take urgent steps to prevent your husband from actually disposing of assets. If you can demonstrate that he is actually intending to dispose of assets you can seek an injunction/freezing order pursuant to s37 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.
    If you’re struggling to prove his intention you should still consider requiring your husband to provide his ‘undertaking’ (a solemn promise to the Court) that he will not dispose of assets. If he actually has already disposed of assets an application should be made seeking that the disposition be set aside. Essentially this is an order that puts your husband back in the same position he was in before he disposed of the asset i.e. back
    Into his ownership.
    I see that your husband is also trying to delay matters. The Court should be proactive to avoid delay and applications can be made if your husband does not comply with the Court’s timetable. It might be difficult, although not impossible, to skip the FDR. The Courts are very keen on FDRs as they do, more often than not, result in the case settling.
    I do hope that this is of help to you. If you do feel that you need a more proactive lawyer please do not hesitate to come in and see us.
    Kind regards
    David Milburn

  143. Anthony Jones says:

    Dear Name Withheld
    Marilyn has asked me to reply to your question. I am a solicitor at Stowe Family Law’s Hale office.
    The object of the proceedings you are involved in (Financial Remedy Proceedings) is to seek a solution to the division of the matrimonial finances. You need to consider whether pursuing the truth will make a difference to the overall division of the matrimonial finances. If you are likely to receive more from the assets as a result then it may be worth pursuing. If not then you have to ask whether it is worth the extra time and cost of pursuing your ex-husband’s lawyer.
    Kind regards
    Anthony Jones

  144. Self Rep Katherine says:

    Thanks for the fantastic info- so useful to have resources out there like this.

    I wonder if somebody would be able to give me some guidance.

    Married for 7 years, 1 daughter age 8, he has access 2-3 nights per week. Decree Absolute in Dec 2013. FDA on 30th April.

    Background: I have 19K of debt in my name from our relationship- he never had a credit card or loan for us due to being declared bankrupt 2 years after we met (none of this was my debt).

    I have taken him through mediation- he agreed that he may be liable for up to 25% of the debt- but refused to come closer to my offer to settle as he claims he is unable to pay more than £25 per month in repayment and is unable to secure a loan (poor credit still) in order to make a lump sum payment.

    We lived in shared ownership (25% owned) with the mortgage and lease in MY name only (due to his poor credit) and my grandparents put £5k deposit on property for me.

    Equity in property (after taking out % for fees) is less that £5k. I do not intend to sell the house.
    No other savings, but I do have pension valued at £12k.

    He has no savings, no pension, no assets.

    Both employed full time, but I am covering £420 a month in debt repayments (he was paying half of this- clearly visible in his bank statements until he moved out) I am living on very little to spare with my daughter- no treats, no trips, no luxuries.

    We have just exchanged Form E. His breakdown allocates £100 a month to spend on luxuries for our daughter, plus very high figures i.e. £60 per month servicing and maintenance repairs for his car (not including fuel, tax and insurance) plus he has budget for clothes, dinners out, cinema etc. So he clearly has reasonable spare income, where as I am on “essentials only”!

    I am going to court in the hope that the court will rule several things:
    a) the equity in the property is so little that he is not entitled to anything (in fact it is minus figures if we consider the deposit by my grandparents)
    b)That my pension (£12k) be ruled out of considerations as it is so small, and he has made no effort to pay into a pension, and he is only 33 so could start now. (Plus there is a c£3k fee to transfer- which he can’t afford, I can’t afford and we can’t afford to split)
    c) and finally that he repay 50% of the 19k debt, either by monthly repayment (and covering the interest on his share) or by lump sum. (the debt is “matrimonial” I believe, holidays, food, fuel, clothes meals out etc)

    I suppose I am reassurance seeking, rather than posing a question.

    Is what I am asking reasonable? will court see it is reasonable? what is the worst case scenario? Am I capable of self representing? Are there any specific orders I should be seeking?

    I believe we are both self representing.

    Hoping that someone may be able to offer some reassurance that I am not asking for something unreasonable, and that I am not unrealistic for expecting my home and pension to be ruled out of the considerations.

    Many thanks in advance for anyhting that anyone can offer, and good luck to all you others that are fighting similar battles.

    Regards, Self Rep Katherine

  145. Jonathan says:

    Hi Team,

    My wife has refused to engage in the resolving the resolving the finances after three failed Mediation attempts a no show at first hearing, she turned up and the rescheduled first hearing, the experience was very unpleasant, the judge order we go straight to final hearing, however now she wishes to settle before final hearing.. can we do this with out her filling in form E (She does not what to fill form E in).. I am happy to settle without her form E, Basically I will pay mortgage, she will have all assets in house and maintenance and school fees for Kids until they are 18.


  146. Natalie says:

    Hi Marilyn, My partner is still going through a divorce. He has his first appointment on 6th May. He has submitted his E form twice, once back in Sept 2013 and again this week. His ex wife will not cooperate and has yet to complete an E form. I think she has things to hide, as she is now cohabiting with her partner, has a fancy new car and I know that she is trying to hid savings by using her grand children’s bank accounts. I have two questions, first one is what will happen if she still won’t cooperate and second what will happen if she doesn’t appear in court. I just have this six sense that she won’t appear and will make up some feeble excuse. My partner and I just want this all over so we can build a life together that we deserve, and in the future move in together too.

  147. Gary says:

    Hi Marilyn
    I am due in court in 2 days for my First Appointment. I have now prepared my questionnaire based on my wife’s form E. I have not submitted it to the court as I only received her form E after I had to submit my paperwork to the court.
    Is this going to be a problem for me or can I submit it on the day of the First Appointment? Will the Judge still take it into account as its late?
    I am self representing, as I can no longer afford a solicitor.

  148. M says:

    My ex-wife withheld information from her Form E and did not mention at FDR about unpaid council tax on the former marital home (that I had not been back to for 18 months) and money I believed was a gift from her mother and used by us joinlty to settle a debt. I have had to pay half the council tax to avoid legal action by the local authority and I’m now being taken to the small claims court by my former mother in law as it now turns out that what I thought was a gift was actually a loan! The total sum of money I am considered liable for is nearly £2000 a sum that would have had a bearing on the financial settlement that was agreed. My ex wife has supported her mothers claim and admitted to leaving these details from her Form E in order to do so. I believe she is in contempt of court at the very least but is there anything I can do with regards to this? Can the settlement be re considered?

  149. M says:

    Dear Marilyn,
    My partner and his ex- are now finalising a financial settlement. However, we are sure that she lied in her statement for information for a consent order and presented her situation much worse than it is. She take majory of the marital assets as she has the custody over the children. This includes 65% of the profits from selling the marital house and 4 other properties with my partner receiving 35% of the profits from the house sale. She never delivered the valuation of these 4 properties and now she claims they have negative equity. Can the information she included in her statement make a judge to change the way the assets are to be split? Should we ask her to correct the form or should it be left up to the judge. Thanks, L

  150. J says:

    Just a quick Question.
    My ex wife and me, exchanged form E’s (we go to first hearing in a few days)

    The Form E she exchanged with me, and the Form E that was submitted to Court are different.
    She eventually submitted the Form she filed with the court, to me, 10 days later.

    Therefore she sighted my form 10 days before submitting hers to Court (which she then changed dramatically to suit her needs)

    Is this wrong, or will the courts take no notice of this?


  151. Sharon says:

    Hi, hope you can help, if one party filed their Form E on time to both court and the other party. But, two weeks later, the other party still have not filed their Form E, is there any action that can be taken? Also the other side are now trying to use our evidence documents, to make a financial agreement regarding properties, is this ethical? Hope you can help

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Sharon
      I’m trying to understand all of what you’ve written. For the first point the court can attach a penal notice to the order. The second Im afraid doesn’t make any sense. If you want to clarify what you mean I can try and help.

  152. U says:

    Dear Anna
    Thank you for your response of 5 March 2014. I did submit documentation to my Ex’s solicitor that highlighted details of all the information that was still outstanding and also sent a copy to the court (however I did not title it as ‘schedule of deficiencies’. At the FDR hearing, I also mentioned that I sent such documentation to his solicitor and the courts, however no further reference order was made with reference to the outstanding information and therefore is still outstanding-Will this be taken into consideration at the Final Hearing?

    Also at the FDR, a court order was made that a joint valuation of the marital property be undertaken by both parties with an independent valuer that has been agreed by both parties at joint expense. We exchanged details of three valuers each, I dismissed his three options and provided reasons and he dismissed the three options that I submitted without giving any reasons and then insisted that we appointed another valuer of his choice. I then submitted another three options for him to consider who he also dismissed without reason. He is now having a valuation done and has suggested that I do the same-which is going against what the judge ordered at the FDR hearing. His solicitor said that this should comply with the court order but I don’t see how as I was under the impression that there must be a valid reason of why the judge ordered a joint valuation by an independent valuer.

  153. Denise says:

    Dear Marilyn, Unfortunately my husband is a pathological liar and has lied about everything and is refusing a lot of disclosure. My solicitor has finally decided to issue a penal notice and it is 5 weeks til final hearing. Should this have been done ages ago is my first question and my other question is you say that inheritance isn’t taken into consideration where both parties needs can be met. With the money I brought to the marriage at 34 and the inheritance I have received that amounts to £720,000, however this includes 66% shares of a company (value £200k) for which I work as MD and get 20k per year salary. At the start of these proceedings we had about 1 million in total wealth although my husband has been on a mission to dissipate assets and lied to the valuer so now the main cash cow company is only worth £150,000 rather than £400,000 and appears to ‘break even’ when it actually makes about £100k per year. He has also spent about £200,000 on his various mistresses over the last three years out of the company. He now wants half of whats left which wouldn’t house me and the boys or give us much to live off. there is also £180k IHT to pay as my mother has terminal cancer. He is 32, I am 44 and I have our two boys 12 out of 14 nights. I have no more inheritance coming but he will have substantial inheritance. Ive been told he wont get much, do you agree with that as im pretty sure hes not being told that.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear “Denise”
      I’m not in a position to advise you. Your solicitor is. As you are approaching a final hearing you need to check who is conducting it. If it’s a barrister, make sure you know who he or she is, and meet him or her soon to make sure everything is teed up for it. Ask all the questions you want. Write them down so you won’t forget. Don’t leave it until it is too late. Having a meeting sooner rather than later will put your mind at rest. You need to ensure you have full confidence in your legal team. I like your arguments and think you should be ok but that’s not legal advice. Take legal advice from the people you are paying to do the job expertly.

  154. Melanie says:

    Hi Marylin,

    I have written to you a couple of times regarding my current situation. I am sorry to nag :-(.

    I have spent a small fortune so far and I just don’t feel the advice I am getting is very good. I had originally contacted your office as I would have loved for you to represent me. I am in leeds and understand you have an office here. Is there any way at all that you could take on my case.

    My current solicitor seems to be scaremongering with regards to how much I would eventually receive in a settlement from my ex husband even though a judge has said the current order is not fair and he won’t sign it off. My current solicitor is basically suggesting that we just need to justify why we agreed on this and tough luck on me that it isn’t fair and I should be happy about it. Then went on to proceed how much it would cost to continue with legal proceeding and I can’t now renege on an agreement I signed even though the judge has stated it’s unfair. I have no confidence in him and come to you in the hope you will help me.

    Please help ;-)….if you can

  155. WS says:

    Hello Marylin
    I wonder may I ask a question . This divorce thing is a nightmare . My ex wife has lied constantly from day one . She is claiming she doesn’t live with the man I know she lives with in his home . She is claiming she has mental health issues . The list goes on and on . She says the marriage lasted 2years 4 months this is a lie it actually lasted longer . The only reason I can think she lied about that is she was falsely claiming social security and so cannot admit she was married to me . because of the lies I hired a private detective who kept her lovers house under observation for 5 days . She claimed her family dare not leave her alone due to her mental health problems but on the private detectives video she is seen shopping with a baby in a pram on her own . The detective also handed in a report saying it was obvious she lived with the lover . I have messages off her sister saying she lives with her lover . I have so much evidence proving she is a liar about just about everything on her e form . By the way she sent twelve months of bank statements all addressed by the bank to her lovers house . She is registered at her doctors at her lovers house . I am just an ordinary working bloke I drive a crane . Well I did I now have had to take retirement as I am sixty five . I had intended to work on but she is claiming money and so I see no point in working to give it to her . She is trying to claim amongst other things £20,000 out of my inheritance from my father who died three years after she left me . Can this be right Help please
    Sincerely Bill

  156. Bev T says:


    Do I need to have a barrister at the first appointment?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

  157. Pilot scheme to streamline finances in divorce proceedings announced - Marilyn Stowe Blog says:

    […] it possible for parties in a financial settlement application to avoid personally attending the First Appointment hearings when the benefits of their presence are outweighed by the cost […]

  158. Julie Noon says:

    The District Judge at the first hearing I attended has advised that my partner, who failed to declare his partner on form E, does not have to do so. he has advised that her capital and income are irrelevant in this case. Could you please advise why such a decision could be made. I assumed that as the question was on Form E and that obviously this gives him an economic advantage her capital would be considered. Thanks

  159. Chris says:

    My ex has asked me to fill in an E1. I have assets less than £60 000, probably around £30 000 tied up in a property with another ex. I’m in the process of forcing a sale to release this. Other than this property, I have nothing else of value. Will her claim for a Shedule 1 claim still stand? Is there a threshold for the value of assets?
    We were never married, have an existing family based Maintenance agreement and a 3 year old child.
    Any information will be appreciated,
    Best Regards

  160. Rebecca says:

    Dear Marilyn
    I am 71 years old and my husband of 8 years walked out on me in February 2012. I filed for divorce which is uncontested and submitted my decree nisi application in March 2014. On 19 June 2014 I receive a Form E from my ex-husbands solicitor stating that the court had ordered that I need to complete and exchange by 23 June 2014. I have received no notification from the court and when I contacted my ex-husbands solicitor they informed me that a hearing has been set for 4 July. I will be visiting the court tomorrow to find out exactly what is happening. Can a form E be requested without prior notification?

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Rebecca
      It seems that your husband has issued an application for a financial settlement. You should have heard from the court with a copy of the application and a timetable which sets out the documents that need to be filed in advance of the First Appointment hearing on 4th July.
      You can advise the court you have not received any of the documents and ask the District Judge for the timetable to be put back preferably with the consent of your husbands solicitors, but if I were you I’d go and see a good solicitor as soon as possible for some advice about exactly what is happening here, and what your husband is seeking and the chances of success. You may have got some idea what he wants from the Form E, but applying is not the same as getting it.
      You need to make a will and consider the ownership of property you may own jointly, ie severing the joint tenancy if that’s the case and you are so advised. You also need to consider your own position in relation to a financial application. Your solicitor will be able to advise you. Take along with you details of your own financial position, along the lines of the Form E so you can get a much more informed opinion. Write down details of what you brought financially into the marriage and him too. Then ask what are your financial needs going forward? Do you need income and capital from him to supplement your own and/or is that what he is arguing and if so what is your opinion?
      You could take a look at my book for 99p from the sidebar which has an entire chapter about what to take to an interview with your solicitor and accompanying examples of how to complete a Form E are on this blog.
      Best wishes,if you need any more help, don’t hesitate,

  161. Kim Ratcliffe says:

    Hi Marilyn,
    During the first hearing between my husband and his ex wife the judge ordered that both parties shall provide and serve bank statements showing a large transfer from him to her which was done upon the sale of their home.
    He has bank statements showing money in and out on the same day but as over 6 years ago the bank cannot give records of the receipt account.
    She has supplied a statement of an account with no transactions for a period of 3 months. This is not the account she was using at the time. She has refused our request to provide other account info.
    Will the judge force her to provide this as part of the next hearing?
    Many thanks.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Kim
      He could make that order, and add a penal notice to it, but on the balance of probabilities I suspect he will find that she did receive the money.

  162. Pamela says:

    Dear Marilyn

    After spending £7k getting divorced my husband signed a financial order at the last hour. In the two years it took to get divorced I ended up fleeing the marital home with our children as I could no longer stand the aggressive behaviour and emotional abuse he subjected us to. I have run out of money and it has been over 8 weeks since he signed the financial order and it was approved by the court yet he still has not provided me with a key to the marital home (he locked me out after I fled) or put the house up for sale. My solicitor has sent me a form to fill out myself (I have no money left) to take it back to court but I am struggling. To add insult to injury my ex husband has moved his girlfriend into the marital home (which I sold my flat to help buy) and seems to have no intention of selling. I was forced to flee and move my kids schooling because he refused to move out and then bullied us and now his girlfriend has moved in. I just want to sell the house so I can find a property for myself and move on with my life but can’t afford a solicitor to do so. Any advice would be gratefully appreciated on how I can make him follow the order. Kind regards Pamela

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Pamela
      Frankly, I think it’s false economy to try to do this yourself. I think this is where you do need to demonstrate firmness. If the house is being sold then can you arrange to pay your solicitor from the proceeds? My experience suggests a firm approach now with a costs order against him payable immediately for any default until now should get this sorted. Plus is there interest running on your award? Obviously I don’t know how this is structured but it’s a thought.

  163. Alena says:

    Dear Marilyn,
    My husband and I are both British and at the moment, we are residing in another country but we have no assets in this country, all are in the UK. My husband wants to start Divorce proceedings while abroad because it is beneficial for him financially, or which would cause prejudice to me in the future. How can I get relief when I am back to the UK? Or how to proceed? Would it be very costly?
    Kind regards,

  164. stephen wilson says:

    Hi Marylin

    I hope you can help, my sister was married for over 23years to a man who lied and eventually broke her down. During the marriage they bought a house for £20000. She worked all the time and paid the mortgage and her ex husband hardly paid anything as he was always out of work. She left him in 2002 and moved with our father, the two children wished to stay with the father as they were at school locally. From the moment she left, she continued to pay the mortgage, insurances and saw the boys every day and pay CSA and bought them what they needed. We found out that the ex husband was not looking after them and the house was a mess and they never had food in the house. In 2008, due to a leak in water pipes, the house subsided and was condemned and knocked down and rebuilt. My sister paying the mortgage still. The ex husband disappeared. The house was rebuilt and my sister moved in with the boys as her ex did not assist. In 2013 he instructed a solicitor and got legal aid and wants 50% of the profits of the house. I couldn’t believe it, my sister had offered him £27500, the market value is £180000 and he wants half. He has refused mediation and his solicitor won’t budge. We had an FDR yesterday, but the ex’s legal aid had been embargoed so the judge decided on a Final Hearing. My sister is in pieces, we also found out he has many debts he left, and council tax liabilities, he also borrowed £1500 off our other brother, saying not to tell our sister as she has breast cancer, a lie. My sister can prove she paid the mortgage and has statements. My sister cant afford a solicitor and is representing herslf, he has legal aid. Can he take 50% of a property he did not pay towards, and ten years afterwards. Sorry for long one

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Stephen
      Ask her lawyer! Way too far down the line for me on the basis of a quick question. Sorry dont wish to seem unhelpful but Id need to see the file.

  165. Steve says:


    Unfortunately this is the same position that many men find themselves in. Often a lazy ex who hides behind sacrificing a career for the children. Then take everything.

    All the best for your sister and welcome to family law

  166. Joanna says:

    Having reached a financial order just over a year ago my ex husband is now, for the 5th time wanting to return to court. He has not been paying me my spousal maintenance. In a children dispute he signed an order saying that in any circumstance he would not return to court for 2 years. It also transpires he lied about his income on his previous form E, and about his accommodation. We have yet another directions hearing in September. He has employed the most expensive solicitor, but I have no money and have to do this myself. Is it possible at a directions hearing to enforce the spousal maintenance payments, and would it also be possible for the case to end there? Thank you for your time.

  167. Ellen says:

    Dear Marilyn,
    My husband and I are divorcing and a decree nisi has been granted. We both have solicitors and are in the process of disclosing finances/assets. He has bought a house with his new partner and is living with her. Is his new partners income of any relevance? He is refusing to give this information on his form E He is also refusing to give details of credit card statements. I am considering going to court to obtain this information but am very concerned about the costs. Would the court direct him to give his new partners earnings? Thank you very much for your time.

    • Luke says:

      ” Is his new partners income of any relevance? He is refusing to give this information on his form E”
      “Would the court direct him to give his new partners earnings?”
      I don’t see how it could be and I don’t see why you are asking, it’s none of your business and if I was him I would flatly refuse too. If you go to court for this information I don’t think it would be unfair if you got saddled with his costs as well as yours.
      Good grief, he may not even know what she earns – he doesn’t own her !
      When I hear these stories of what apparently reasonable people think they are entitled to the idea of marriage gets funnier and funnier…

  168. Alex says:

    Hi Marilyn, My wife has produced a financial statement which is untrue from start to finish.Does that mean she is in contempt of court(provided i can prove her statement is lies)as she is verifying that the statement is true? What will this mean in practice? Of course the purpose of lying is to obtain financial advantage. (We both have solicitors but they can only give advice on the basis of information supplied,they cannot check the veracity of the information) How do i pursue an action for contempt? In your opinion how do the courts/judges view this reprehensible behaviour? My worry has been that my wife will be believed and as a result the financial settlement will be affected

  169. Bev T says:


    I am at my wits head and not sure which way to turn .I am in the process of divorcing my husband , which so far has taken over 2 years. I have the degree nisi, but we cannot come to an agreement on our finances.

    I am planning to stay in the matrimonial home, and 8 weeks ago, we agreed the value of our house, which was confirmed in writing by my husband’s lawyer. My lawyer put forward a proposal in October 2014, and we did not have a response until December. My husband did not accept my proposal , so we went back and offered a further £10k. I was notified on December 20th, that he has also refused this offer and now does not agree to the value of our home ( even though confirmed in writing by his lawyer) and instructs me to put our home on the market. My barrister has informed me once my husband has agreed the value of our home , he cannot then withdraw the agreement.

    Apparently my husband has also postponed the our FDR hearing in January 2015- I am not sure why he has postponed it.. My problem is I am 58 years old and I managed with great difficulty to obtain a mortgage offer . This offer is only available until the end of February 2015. Now that the FDR has been postponed , we will probably not receive a new date until March , and I would have lost the mortgage, and probably will not be able to secure another one.

    I am not quite sure which way to turn , so far the divorce has cost a small fortune and I really can’t spend anymore money on it, what would you advise.

    Many thanks


  170. JuliaS says:

    Good afternoon. My partner is going through a divorce and the first financial hearing is coming up in February. The did not have any property or assets, all they have is a joint loan that my partner has been repaying by himself for 2 years and there is still a rather large amount to repay. she has successfully ignored the loan ever since it was taken out and the loan was to cover her debt . My question is , his income is slightly larger than hers, she is the main carer for their child but is now in a new relationship and has a new baby. My partner has no assets and some debt, she doesn’t as it was and still is repaid by my partner. Can he ask the judge to make her liable for what is left on the joint loan seeing that he repaid more than half already? He doesn’t want to claim her pension or anything else, just address the joint loan.
    thank you

  171. princesscookie says:

    Hi Guys,
    I’m looking for any advice anyone can give me.
    My partner is currently going through a very bitter divorce. They separated late last year and since then my partner has had to endure various false accusations at the hands of his including a serious sexual assault and harassment accusations which are still ongoing as well as a bitter divorce.

    His ex is demanding 70/30 split of the equity in the house, she has already had 10k in a 50/50 split of a savings account in my partners sole name plus a payment of 2k to stop her pulling out of the sale of the house, plus a car that was 1 year old and the contents of the house which she has decided to move out of.
    She has no solicitor and is choosing to represent herself. She has refused my partners offer of a 60/40 split in her favor deciding to instead go to court.
    She has refused to complete form E saying that her financial position is none of my partners business, but insists that he completes his. She has also recently indicated that she has left work because of what my partner has “done” to her. She was already on sick leave due to a long standing issue with her employer and believe it is because of this and no other reason.
    His solicitor is currently applying to the court for a date for a hearing but my questions are:

    What is the likelihood of her being awarded the division she wants?
    Why is my partner being asked to provide bank statements declarations of assets and evidence of earnings up to date and not just to the point at which they separated?
    It seems unfair that she seems to be calling all the shots and demanding to know my partners financial position but isn’t willing to afford him the same luxury plus avoiding all the legal fees by representing herself.
    Also is she able to refuse to declare her financial position yet force my partner to declare his by going to court?
    I must just add at this point that my partner works off shore and earns a decent salary, they also have 1 child together which he pays £500 in maintenance for. He also paid all of the mortgage payments even though the mortgage was joint.
    She is also claiming they have been separated for 2 years when in fact they haven’t, they did split briefly 3 years ago but have since got back together. We believe she is laboring this point has she has been claiming benefits for which she is not entitled and also believe that this is the reason she will not disclose her financial position.

    The stress of this plus the ongoing criminal accusation which has absolutly no evidence to subsanciate her claim is taking its toll on my partner and we feel we are unable to move on until this mess is sorted.


  172. Jessie says:

    Hi Marilyn,
    Thank you for all the advice that you give us all on your blogs, it’s very helpful.

    I am self representing, the FDA is on 16 April. The court did not set a timetable.
    I have emailed the my husband’s solicitors twice to suggest exchanging 5 weeks before (a past date of the 12th March) and exchanging questionnaires etc 2 weeks before, on the 2 April.

    My 2 questions are…
    – As I have not heard from my husband’s solicitors, shall I give my completed FormE to the court, within the next week, and then tell my husband’s solicitors that I have done this. I want to do what’s right regarding the court process.

    -is it ok if I manually give my FormE and supporting documents direct to the court, my computer isn’t up to sending everything electronically.

    Thank you,

  173. Cavs says:

    This website is so resourceful. I was just researching on finances and divorce, and from the information I gather from this website, I will see what is applicable in our jurisdiction. I am from East Africa. Thank you so much.

  174. S says:

    Hello, Marilyn, I divorced in 2014 and since remarried. The fiancial matters are still pending. My wife owned a non marital property which she continued to pay for during our marriage. We have a residencial property and an investmdent property too.
    around 2008 my wife and i were having difficulties. She left me on the basis I sell our investment property to her brother for £20,000 less than value. I refused so she stopped helpjng me pay the morgages and we were left with repossession. At last minute she returned and I was left to save our properties from repossesion. I dnded up with £14000 capitalised on our morgages.
    I t turns out that her brother didnt get our investment property but unbeknown to me he came up with a scam.
    He took my wifes property at undervalue. We had seperate loans . I payed mine up. My ex was advised to go into an arrangement with her creditors. She transferred her home with 3/4 equity to her brother.??
    These shannanigans have only come to light.
    her property worth jn excess of £110,000 transferred to her brother for £49000.
    However she claims no consideration was payed.
    I would like this property transferred back to her and included in our financial matters.
    The transfer was made whilst we had difficilties and also before she went into an arrangement via Payplan with her creditors.
    surely this is illegal? One of hef loans was with the same bank that her property wad morgaged with.
    On querying how could she go into an arrangement with her loan when she had equity in a home morgaged with ghe same bank.
    As she was found out, and before I could question her bank, she quickly payed off her bank loan off.
    I believe a tranfer defrauding creditors may be my only hope but I do not know who to inform or apply to.
    Further on a more serious note. Her brother tried to take my investment property, but ended up taking her house as a means of financing buying a property for his brother and sister in law. He has been renting the home to his brothef in law and his wife since 2008. Both of whome are from India, and originally gained status via a pre bogus marriage.
    Sorry this all sounds confusing; but I am getting ill over the stress, especially not knowing how or whk to report sll this to.
    My ex and I had an amicable agreement drawn up but not signed. This included her house. I was led to believe our divorce would be amiable but she backed out of our agreement whdn it came to light that she had trsnsfered her house to her brother.
    Please can you shed some light on my predicament. I am led to believe it is fraud or money laundering. I wish to conclude the matter as it will cause a strain on my new marrisge.
    Thank You.

  175. JT says:

    Hi Marilyn.
    My current Partner of 16 Months is Joint owner of her Home that she resides with her and her Two Children aged 11 and 6.
    Eighteen Months ago my Partners ex was arrested for threatening to kill his then Partner with a hammer. He was jaile for 4 Months for domestic violence and afray.
    He was released and tagged but is under a restriction order for 5 Years to not approach my partner or Children.
    My partner is desperately trying to reach a financial settlement but we need the help of the Courts to reach a settlement as her ex is none compliant. He does not and has not contributed to any mortgage costs, or maintenance costs of the house for the last 18 Months for obvious reasons.
    My Partners has had the property valued which she has had done by a reputable, local Estate Agent. She has been told that she can re mortgage to pay him a nominal sum but she is prefering the option to sell. Please what forms do we need to ask for to achieve Financial disclosure and achieve a conclusion with the help of the Courts.

  176. Annie Leung says:

    Hi Marilyn

    I separated from husband in March earlier this year. We then sold our family home and husband agreed for me to keep 100% of proceeds so that I can purchase a new property with my children. We had our mediation (MOU document was produced this September) but now he disagreed with the outcome and hired a solicitor wanting to do Form E on voluntary process again or else threaten with Court action. With the remaining assets in question, I don’t think it is wise to repeat the exercise as it will escalate costs and then result in court action anyway. He refuses to put forward a proposal without me making a full disclosure. I feel the disclosure should be done based at the time of our separation which is still a relatively recent event? Am I right to say that it would normally cost £40k for the court action to seek settlement? How likely that he can claim back the 50% of the proceeds from our family home sale? We earn about the same level, so will it likely be 50:50 of our remaining assets? The two children live with me (aged 5 and 2).


  177. L says:


    I’m wondering if anyone can give me some advice, I have filed for divorce on the grounds of Financial Control…..For 26 years I paid the mortgages and bills I also paid my husband’s debts whilst he kept all of his own income……We have two houses worth £435,000.00 with around £200,000 equity…..I discovered my husband had made transfers out of the joint account to around £200,000.00….He owns his own business which has assets of around £400,000.00 with no debt in the company…..Yet he wants half of the equity in the matrimonial home, he also transferred his shares to his brother and has not had valuable consideration for those shares…..A forensic accountant has picked up errors he supplied abbreviated accounts and these were different to the ones that were submitted to companies house and compared this to his financial disclosure in his Form E (he claimed he took £30,000 from the company to raise for the former matrimonial home) but this does not appear in his accounts as a directors loan……he is also taking the rental income from our investment property too…..Matrimonial home was purchased for £230,000.00 and we paid £60,000 deposit, £100,000 was on Capital Repayment and £70,000.00 was on interest only….our investment property we paid £35,000 overpaid mortgages and he lied to me subsequently remortgaging this property on interest only and now have a mortgage on it for £72,500.00, we have been married for 7 years and have two children one aged 3 and one aged 7, he won’t pay child support as requested to by the CSA even though he has been advised to even though he is paying the mortgage on the FMH…….
    Can anyone please help or give me some advice, we had th FDA hearing yesterday !!!! Out of a remortgage we paid for a car and he placed ownership of this in the company name prior to transferring his shares and then demanded money from me to buy it back…..and also gave money to his brother in addition to the family car…..

  178. Helen N says:

    Hi Marilyn, I am self repping in a financial resolution case and we have had our first directions appointment where our questionairres were disclosed, we have until 4th April to respond, however I now have further questions I would like him to respond to and wondered what the process is regarding this? Do I simply request these through his solicitor or do I need to go back through the courts?

  179. Bob H says:


    Just had my FDR. Ex partner came in and did not budge – no attempt at negotiating at all. For first hour her barrister would not even give her starting negotiating position (I don’t think he knew it) then we went into a nice room with a very kind old man who listened to each barrister then said that all seems fair and that was it. No agreement – no idea what the final trail costs would be – no telling us to try to negotiate – no clear reasoning behind his views. A complete and utter waste of time and money. Why does this process exist at all? I went in willing to negotiate – put forward a good opening offer and then gradually moved massively but nothing – no counter offers no engagement just silence. Here goes another £5k plus on a trail – I hope that is more professional and organised.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Bob
      An FDR Judge can be much more proactive and give a view. The idea of the FDR is to try and achieve a settlement. Usually both sides positions are clear on the papers before the FDR, the offers that have been made are notified to the Judge and the Judge then gives an indication as to what he or she would likely do in the event of a hearing.
      It may be that the two sides in your case are too far apart for a settlement to be possible. That could be because both of you adopted unreasonable positions beforehand and whilst you were prepared to use it to negotiate from, she wasn’t. I suppose it is possible your wife has been advised her position is unassailable and therefore there is no need to move on it – I don’t know.
      But what you need to do now is stand back, think hard about what she is asking for and why she won’t move, still show goodwill try and settle and if you can protect your position in costs by making a good open offer that might protect you on costs going forward and it might make her think too. She is presumably taking a risk in costs by going to a final hearing. It might not work on costs but it’s worth discussing with your lawyers, if you are indeed dealing with someone who is just stubbornly litigating for no good reason.
      You might also find that you’ve done better than you think and get an offer from her shortly. She may have blinked but you don’t know just yet. It happens. If it does, stand back stay objective and commercial and keep negotiations going.

  180. Bella says:

    Simple question, the Judge gave me and ex’s solicitor a date to exchange documents prior to the 1st hearing, this date has passed and I still have not heard from the other solicitor, is there a legal minimum time before the 1st appointment do documents have to be exchanged?

    Thank you


    • Bob says:

      Bella, I don’t know how many days before you need to have the documents but the point of the first hearing is to determine all that will be needed for FDR so anything outstanding will be discussed at the first hearing and orders made to make sure you get what is required. My solicitor advised to do the first hearing by exhange of letters- big mistake! Whatever you do make sure you have a hearing so you can set out clearly evrything you need. I really hope it works out for you Bella.

      • Bella says:

        Thank you Bob for your helpful reply. This is a bit different from the usual process as my children’s father left the country 4 years ago with a promise of continuing maintenance payments..eventually last year I gained a REMO, the country he now resides in agreed to the order…. he then said as he now resides abroad the current order in null and void, and has instructed a Solicitor in the UK to represent him. Basically we are now going to Court and going through the FDR procedures as he wants a remit on 4 years of maintenance payments, and despite there being a REMO in place, the UK Court is allowing him to drag us all back through the system yet again… I would walk away from the whole thing, but, for my childrens’ sake I have to go through with this, as morally, they need to see that ‘ the law’ upholds justice and basic morals…that having children is a life long commitment and that both parents are responsible to providing.

  181. Polly says:

    Your advice would be greatly appreciated as I have read through the previous questions & answers and can not find anything of a similar nature. I appreciated the law in N.I may differ slightly to that on the mainland.

    After 20 years of marriage my spouse decided he no longer wishes to be married to me although he apparently still loves me.. This decision being sparked by my refusal to allow him free access to the remainder of an inheritance I received 7 years ago & a redundancy payment I received last year. My reason for this decision was based upon my spouses poor management of his own personal finances.
    Currently we are amicably living separate lives in our mortgage free marital home. As I have no desire to divorce the only available option is divorce after a 5 year separation.
    My question is – can my husband insist that I settle the finances now as this is what his solicitor past & present have been pushing for. The letters also contained various threats of which non materialised. Ie divorce petition due to unreasonable behaviour as evidence of my unwillingness to hand over 50% of my assists. An application to the court for auxiliary relief, application for partition, an enforce the sale of our home etc. My redundancy came at a good time as my siblings were struggling to look after my elderly mother who has vascular dementia. I am now able to lighten their load but as this could be a indifinate situation I have to be astute with my finances & can not afford to just to hand out money without thinking long term.
    Please advice if at all possible.
    With thanks and appreciation.

  182. Karen Dent says:

    I from my.ex husband. I was instructed by the court to arrange to swap bank statements, pension.details etc with him He failed to turn upwhen I’d arranged to meet him although I turned up What happens next and. what happens if he doesn’t turn up at court.

  183. Ella says:

    Hello Marylin,
    I’d appreciate if you can advise on the issue
    Decree Nisi granted, voluntarily filled Form E exchanged through solicitors, the ex has been ordered by court to file in for financial application to the court which was done on the “non-consent order” basis. At the same time the solicitor has received the offer for negotiation of the assets.
    He hasn’t had a chance to negotiate anything or discuss the offer proposed to him and it is now left for the court to decide about the financial assets?
    Is the chronological list which needs to be prepared relevant? There is some vital information which we think should be taken into consideration showing the other party to delay the proceedings for no reason.
    What to put in the statement of issues – there is no disagreement because he hadn’t had a chance to negotiate anything with the ex.
    thank you for your time

  184. Pat says:

    Hi. I would appreciate it if you could give me some advice please.
    My FDR hearing date came through and my solicitor advised me that he would be on holiday and unable to attend but that a barrister would attend with me (someone I had never met or discussed my case with). I have now received an invoice of £1,800.00 relating to this barrister. I was not instructed that this would be the case. I, in the first instance thought that a fellow solicitor from the same company would cover the annual leave. Is this usual practice ?? Thank you

  185. Jim says:

    Hello I have a couple of questions

    I’ve just received a letter from my separated wife’s solicitors asking for 3 months bank statements, payslips, evidence of pensions, a valuation of the property, p60 & any other capital and informing me that I will receive divorce papers from the courts in due course, do I have to give them these now or can I wait till I receive instructions from the court.

    Also they are registering matrimonial homes rights notice against my property, which is in my sole name. I was due to take out finance on a new car today, will this cause me more problems. Can I continue to use my credit cards or will this cause me more problems.

    Thank you for your time

  186. Helen says:

    Hi im representing myself in court as i simply cannot afford a solicitor.
    I m divorced and oder stated i stay in property until youngest is 18 or leaves higher education plus he was to pay £200 mortgage and £150 in CSA payments a month.
    He has since remarried and is now seeking to change order, he wants to sake house or he will go bankrupt!
    he’s also seeking that i compensate him for CSA payments , as i made a new claim after he stopped paying after 2 Yrs ( we have been divorced 4yrs)it stated in order i would not make claim while living in house, but as he broke order i seemed advice and was told i could make new claim.
    Hence the reason he now wanting to change order as he’s saying he’s in financial difficulty, I know other wise and already this yr has earned £18000 inwages alone since jun.
    We are now at FDR hearing in a couple of wks , im still representing myself, Am i allowed to ask to see his wife’s assets as im sure their hiding assets that he hasn’t disclosed but i cant get proof of.
    he’s also stating he’s working for his wife but considering she is a nurse this is doubtful, and she pays him £600 a month, can i asked this to be proved through her bank statements.
    Any advice will be much appreciated.
    we have two children who live with me and i don’t want to lose their home by agreeing to an outcome under pressure , i want to be prepared for negotiations .

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  188. Bob H says:

    Dear Marilyn,

    Last April I posted on here. Since then all is sorted and the dust has settled. My issue was my ex wife’s total lack of engagement at FDR and the judge saying she be likely to get £2000 per month till 60, all of the equity in the house and 50% of my pension (by far the biggest asset). In the final hearing she was awarded £1,100 per month till 60, 45% of pension and 80% of the house. On assets that was an exact 50/50 split which I offered her a year before the FDR and £300 less than my offer on maintenance. I am so pleased the process is over but the FDR was a let down for me and just bolstered her unrealistic expectations rather than aid closure of the process. For all those going through this please believe it will end and you will be able to get on with your lives.

    Kind regards


  189. P says:

    Dear Marilyn,

    I am going through financial proceedings and the FDA is scheduled in few days time and I am representing myself. To give you a background, ex-wife applied for divorce and Decree absolute was pronounced in 2015. The marriage lasted just under 4 years and no kids or assets involved. Both were and are working with ex-wife earning more than me. Now ex-wife has applied for financial relief in UK claiming that I have spent more on myself and have transferred funds from her account to my account.. She wants that money back. When we split we had similar balances in our savings account. At present, she has more assets and savings than I do. Can you please advise, what should my stance be in contesting her claim for money and is it within her right to ask for money that is already spent. Look forward to your reply. Many thanks

  190. AF says:

    Dear Marilyn I have a quick question regarding the First Hearing with my ex-husband I do not have legal support as I have very little income and no savings, my husband earns in excess of £150k but he too is saying that he cannot afford legal representation. He is trying to force the sale of the house I bought for myself and my son 5 years prior to meeting him. (we were married for 4 years and now separated for one year) I want to try and get a deed of indemnity to release him from the property so that he can go and buy a property elsewhere (he was renting when I met him) Then buy him out when I am earning enough. Do you think this is realistic? He has savings of over £70k and his P60 for last year was £224k, this year’s he predicts at £179k. He has to pay maintenance and child maintenance to his ex but that is all he has an outgoing which amounts to £2100 per month. I am told he could raise a mortgage of up to £420k. I would really appreciate your opinion and whether this is a realistic ‘ask’.

  191. L says:

    Dear Marilyn,
    My husband has ceased to pay maintenance set out by court orders put in place by FDR 3 years ago. he has fabricated his unemployment and left a perfectly good job. He has applied for a a variation order but has stopped paying me 2 months ago so we have also applied for an enforcement order as we know he is lying.

    My main questions are:• Can they take into consideration the increase in value of my house since the divorce in march 2014 and now. Can they offset that equity against what I’m asking my Ex for in terms of spousal and child maintenance, even though that was settled at the divorce hearing. I got the house and he got the pension but his pension is worth peanuts and the house has gone up 150K
    How can I gain an interim order to get payments in the mean time , because this could go on for months again.
    Many Thanks Lesley W

  192. J says:

    My son is awaiting a final court hearing for his FDR, he was married for 5 years and in the process of getting a divorce. Up to date they cannot agree a financial settlement. I dont think his solicitor is giving him sound advice. At the moment my son is living in my garage whilst his wife resides in the 4 bed family home with their 2 young children. My son wanted to sell the home to release the 140K equity, but he has been told by various people that the court will favour the wife as she looks after the children and is only working part time and claiming benefits.She wants to remain in the family home and have my son pay £800 towards the mortgage for 3 years, by then both children will be in full time education and she will be in a position to earn more money. She wants to split the equity 60% to her and 40% to my son and only in 16 years time he will get his money back, and this will be based at the current valuation and not when he gets his share later on. He put £50,000 down, which we gave to him before they married to help with the deposit. Now the deed of trust that was legally signed by her, we have been told is not valid as they are now married. He has paid all the mortgage and all the utility bills, as he was the main earner. Is there any way the court will agree that the large family home is sold, after his wife starts to work more hours, in 2 years time? I also believe the title is “Tenants in Common”, does that sway the percentage split, given my son put the £50,000 into the house?Is there any guide lines to the Segal order, as he thinks £800 a month is too much as he needs to get a home for him and his 2 children, when he has them for the weekends. I also thinks the wife want my sons name to remain on the mortgage, surely this will prevent him from getting a loan for his own home?Is it possible to get a divorce absolute before the finances are agreed?
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  193. C says:

    Hello Marilyn

    I have my first FDR in 5 days time having both parties agreeing to skip the FDA.

    However we still do not have full disclosure from the other side, in fact far from it.

    Should ask my solicitor to adjourn the FDR until we have full disclosure?

    If not what course of action should be taken?

    Many Thanks

  194. David says:

    Hello Marilyn,

    I would like to ask few question:
    It’s my understand that I need to send a copy to my ex-wife? I feel extremely uncomfortable in supplying her with my current wife’s details, our home address and my bank details. I am more than happy to supply all this information to the Court, but is there a way that I can omit these details in her copy of the forms so that my ex-wife cannot see those specifics? I would really want to protect my private details in this matter if the Court would grant me.

    I would very much appreciate any help with regards to the above and await your reply at your convenience.

    Kind regards,


  195. Ged Edgar says:

    Dear Marilyn, I am a Litigant in person and have my FDR on 13 Dec 2017, may I ask of some clarification on the following?

    Financial Dispute Resolution Appointments: Best Practice Guidance, Preparing for the FDR, Page 8 Documentation, Item 20:

    20. When preparing asset schedules, practitioners should ensure that the total available assets are easy to identify. Practitioners should bear in mind the role of the judge and the fact that he or she will, in virtually every case, need to cross-check any proposed award against the overall asset base to ensure that fairness is achieved. Including pensions in the overall total, for example, can give a distorted financial picture and therefore should be avoided.

    It is the last sentence that is very confusing, does it suggest that any pension CTV should not be added in the overall assets?

  196. Julie says:

    If my ex husband
    -never paid any bills
    -the mortgage and deposits were in my sole name
    -I am full carer of both children
    -can prove with receipts and statements the above and all belongings in house was purchased from just me
    Will the fdr go my way?
    Many thanks

    • Cameron Paterson says:

      Solicitor Mark Heppinstall responds:

      Hello Julie, thank you for your query. There are lots of things that can influence the outcome of proceedings.
      When the court is looking at how matrimonial resources should be divided it will have regard to section 25(2) Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, which sets out various criteria that need to be considered. This includes things like the financial resources of the parties, each of your financial needs, the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage, the length of the marriage and the contributions you each made to the family. A full list of the criteria can be reviewed here –
      The payment of bills, mortgage instalments and the initial deposit are relevant to the issue of “contributions”. This can be important but often the court’s starting point will be to look at the needs of the parties first.
      It strikes me that some of the key factors that are likely to influence the court’s approach in your case are the length marriage, how long you cohabited before the marriage (if relevant) and whether or not you had children together. Please bear in mind however that at the FDR hearing the Judge will not be imposing an order on you. The function of the FDR is to try to narrow the issues in a case and assist the parties to reach an agreement with some judicial encouragement.
      If you would like to explore these issues in more detail please do not hesitate to contact us and we’ll be happy to help.”

  197. jenny jay says:

    I was married for 16 years, divorced my Husband 3 years ago for unreasonable behaviour. we have 2 children, 10 and 13. My 13 year old has autism. I had to get a non molestation order and occupancy order to keep my children safe. My ex does not want to see the children so has not seen them for a few years.
    We have paid our mortgage and have no debt. I am a doctor so earn more than my ex.
    My ex is a nightmare so we are going to a final hearing in the next few months.
    what is the likely outcome?
    I am very worried

    • Kate Nestor says:

      Thank you for your comment. To start with I would recommend giving our Client Care Team a call on 0330 404 2912 or email at [email protected] and they will be able to help you and point you in the right direction for advice. Thanks again.

  198. Gerry says:

    I had the final FDR hearing, got the order, but my husband is refusing to pay by the deadline and is stalling. What do I do?

    • Kate Nestor says:

      Hi, I have passed your details to our specialist client care team who will get in touch with you. Kind regards

  199. Susan says:

    I would appreciate your advice. I have been separated since July 2017 with a non-molestation in place for a year due to domestic abuse. I have 3 children – 8, 9 & 15. We have £300k equity in house (after mortgage paid) and £300k in pensions held in ex’s name. My ex’s salary is nearly double mine and his earning capacity is far higher with ability to earn overtime etc. He also has financial backing from family. I used to look after the kids but now work full time and have just started a pension. The kids reside with me except alt weekends and some periods time 1-2 week (he has recently started unsupervised contact). I live in London where property is highly priced near schools. We used to live abroad so we currently rent but this is unaffordable for me and puts me £1k in debt per month. Whilst he is making savings. It’s more cost effective to buy a stable house for the children nr schools, to do so I need the total equity in property due to my low mortgage capacity. However, I am worried about my pension which is in its infancy and feel I also need a share in the pension. His pension contributions are double mine monthly as shown on payslips. He will be able to buy somewhere due to his ability to save a deposit/family gift and high potential earnings. Therefore both he and I will be able to afford to buy a house. But his pension will be £300k more than mine on a 50% split of overall assets (ie I get house and he keeps pension). If feel I am being penalised for needing to house the children and have to choose between giving them having a stable home and my pension needs. At the age of 58yr it will be difficult to get enough equity from the house towards a pension taking into account re-housing in similar area and buying/selling fees. Would a court consider a settlement of 65:35 split in the overall assets (for me pension just under third and housing – all or nearly all equity). In order to maximise my mortgage capacity and kids needs I would need also need universal maintenance at a min level of 35% of his income. From July 2017 my ex paid 37% of his salary in rent/child maintenance (*not income). In July 2018 at end of non-mol order he dramatically reduced this without warning to 20%. These % are from his salary not income which includes earnings of substantial overtime / or from big allowances sometimes nearly doubling his salary which I can evidence this from joint bank statements. I started financial proceedings with the aim of settlement at the First Appointment (FA). However, my ex has tried to hide assets and not fully explain his financial income. He is stating he has less opportunity for overtime and therefore allowances. I feel his potential earning capacity is crucial to the outcome. I can evidence his earning from bank statements- can this be used to show potential future earnings. My ex has also gone to some lengths to reduce his income by not doing OT which he used to do on a monthly basis. Will this now be considered? What is my best argument to receive the equity in the house and some of the £300k pension?

  200. Susan says:

    Would appreciate your advice: Medium marriage of 13yrs cohabiting for 16yrs. 3 kids 8, 9 & 15 mainly living with Applicant. Respondent earns 43% more than Applicant and currently pays 20% of net salary in maintenance. If there is a £275k pensions (Respondents name) and £275k equity in only jointly owned property. Applicant needs £275k to house 3 children due to low mortgage capacity and as renting unaffordable putting her into debt monthly. But Applicant worried about pension as only just started. Applicant feels she will also need % of pension as not enough equity in property for pension after rehousing and paying buying/selling fees. How can Applicant achieve min. 65% : 35% split. This would be nearly all equity in house and less than third of pension. What is best strategy to achieve this? The Respondent although has temp stopped this, also has capacity to earn nearly double salary in overtime and allowances evidenced from joint bank statements. How is it possible to achieve % of future income or get that added to current 20% maintenance, Applicant needs a min of 35% net salary to pay for basics and achieve mortgage.

  201. Smiffy says:

    I’m currently trying to organise a financial settlement. My husband is divorcing me for adultery (which I’m not contesting and really don’t care about). However, he has been pyschologically abusive since the split last November and has successfully alienated my daughter whilst I tried to stay out of his way to lessen the animosity and makes things easier for my daughter. He refused to leave the house and I had no idea he was emotionally dumping on my daughter or turning her against me. We are now about to swap Form E with each other and I’m in a dilemma, as he is SO vindictive, do I use my police report of the abuse and state it on the Form E to ensure I get what I’m entitled to and there is no argument or am I being naive? I’m also scared as he has recorded me via phone/alexa and RING doorbell, various private conversations with neighbours and friends that I was unaware of and only found out when he confronted one of them and told them “I’m recording all of her conversations”. He is vindictive and manipulative so now I’m worried that if I put this down on Form E what if he tries to do it back by saying I’m an unfit mother as at the moment my daughter would probably back him up, although I have friends and family who would all negate this. Do I leave this off and just hope my poor health gets me the settlement I need to get a roof over my head? I’m just really scared of the consequences of putting this on the Form E and what his reactions will be!

    • Kate Nestor says:

      Sorry to hear about your situation. I have passed your details to our Client Care Team who will be able to put you in touch with a lawyer who can help. Regards,

  202. Clark says:

    married 2 years no kids she lives in our house with our mortgage ( paid up to recently) , seperated since april 2019, divorced but finance not sorted, there is equity in the house not much but will pay my solicitors fees , ex wife hasent a solicitor and not communicate very difficult. is a FDR possible and how long does it take . hearing is this week .

    I just like to move on , its so stressful and she complicates all . we got divorced last year because of her behaviour , alkohol and abuse physical and mentally.

  203. Cleo says:

    Good evening,

    My ex and I have been granted decree nisi, and I’ve applied for a financial order.
    I’ve sent in to the courts a years worth of bank statements, and miam certificate.
    We married in 2004 and went our Seperated ways in 2009.
    We have two children together and I have a third who he has Brought up as his own until two years ago.

    His parents gave us a substantial amount as a deposit for our home. This was a gift to us both.
    Since seperating, myself and children have continued to live in the house.
    Two years ago he borrowed money from his parents to pay off the outstanding mortgage on the family home so he could get a mortgage on a property with his partner.

    I have zero family where I live and two of my three boys are wanting to move also. My middle son is not so happy.

    I’ve asked for 80 percent of the sale of the house and 20 percent of his pension.

    I have no legal representation.
    My youngest son has challenging additional needs and I myself struggle with bipolar disorder, anxiety and endometriosis stage 4.

    I work 19 hours a week, sadly not enough to afford legal help. 8500 per annum

    Does 80 percent of the sale of the house seem fair? I am to rehouse two but hopefully all three children with me. We have lived mortgage free for two years.
    My ex has a home with his partner, earns 35k plus per year his wages alone.

    I didn’t know about the loan he took out with his parents until the deeds of house came through the post.

    I’m asking for enough to be able to relocate and set up a new home with children.

    I have a partner but we don’t live together and won’t do for the foreseeable future.

  204. BR Recovery says:

    Amazing piece of content, Thank you for sharing this blog….

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