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Posted by ConfusionReigns 
September 18, 2022 01:03AM
I've been reading through some of the threads on this forum and I'm starting to question the reliability of some of the advice for two reasons:

1) The advice on here is often in stark contrast to that received from the three firms of solicitors that I have consulted myself. The firms I have consulted are all members of Resolution and whilst they are not promising me the earth (I'm a higher earner who married a lifelong loser that the taxpayer don't want back so I'm going to get fleeced a bit!), they do seem to have more "modern" views than the advice given here. For example, responses to my concern that my wife might refuse to work ranged from a polite "well, she'll still have an earning capacity imputed whether she works or not" through to a snort of derision and a comment "well, there's a word for people like that but it's rather rude and she's in for a bit of a shock." There was complete consistency in the view that she would be expected to maximise her earning capacity promptly, whereas on this forum there seems to be hints that wives that haven't worked for a while can go back to the workplace extremely slowly (admittedly I've seen the same person giving contradicting advice depending on whether they were advising the working or non-working party which adds to my confusion).

Similarly, none of them thought my STBXW had any prospect of a Mesher Order or similar because she simply couldn't afford the mortgage, especially when it went on to standard variable (and with a best endeavours clause to release me from the mortgage, she couldn't very well ask me to agree to a new fix). They were all consistent in their view that I could do nothing to help in that respect even if I wanted to, because any maintenance paid would just reduce my STBXW's benefits and so her income would still be too low to afford the mortgage. Whereas this site often has posters claiming it's still the norm for these orders to be used where there are children. The solicitors I've spoken to have said generally they only tend to be used when children are sitting GCSEs and A-Levels these days because they're such a bad option causing hardship for the NRP followed by hardship for the RP when the children turn 18.

2) The advice is also at odds with the statistics. Statistical reviews on a sample basis show that substantive spousal maintenance to a weaker financial party is quite rare. Only 16% of cases in the sample (which was selected across England and Wales) had any spousal maintenance at all, a sizeable majority of these were nominal orders only and typically the age of the recipient where substantive amounts were paid was close to retirement. Mesher Orders and the like were even rarer still. So to say these are the typical methods to resolve a divorce these days seems at odds with reality. Clean breaks with maybe the odd nominal order for SM seem a lot more common even with young children.

I'm curious though as to who is right? Certainly solicitors who want my business might be telling me what I'd like to hear although I would have hoped their membership of Resolution and basic ethics would ensure they were reasonably accurate!
Re: Accurate?
September 18, 2022 07:13PM
>>Certainly solicitors who want my business might be telling me what I'd like to hear

That about sums it up really. Also, frankly, when it comes to individual cases statistics matter not one jot. What matters are the details of individual circumstances both personal and financial.

Finally, the fact that a firm or solicitor is member of Resolution does not in my experience usually result in either amicability or low costs. What is actually more important is whether the solicitor you instruct has experience of the type of work for which you seek assistance and whether the advice of that solicitor makes sense.

Let me give you one simple example. If, say, a solicitor says both parties 'must complete a Form E' then ask yourself why. If a court has directed that then clearly it needs to be done. But if it has not then why 'must' a Form E be completed? Most people can summarise their financial position on one side of A4. The reason for advice should always be explained and it should make sense.
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