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Fdr help

Posted by Newstart2020 
Fdr help
February 16, 2020 05:48PM
I have my fdr in 45 days.

My husband solicitor has sent me an 'open statement' and asked for me to return one. This arrived a week ago and i have been trying to research and understand what is required of me but i am struggling.
In the statement my husband solictor has written my husband will be 'asking the court to make final orders'
But surely if we have no agreed to anything no orders can be made at the fdr?
I do not see us agreeing at the fdr although i would like to, what happens at this hearing? I would like to take with me 2 possible offers and have in my opinion been more than reasonable, but i am not holding out any hope.
I am now very worried about what to write within this statement to my husband and the court. I would like to complete this paperwork right away.

(our divorce is not final yet but we should be legally divorced in a few weeks)
Re: Fdr help
February 17, 2020 10:28AM
Both parties are expected to try to use the FDR to settle otherwise there is no point to the hearing and it is wasting the court's time. An 'open' statement is one which is not protected from disclosure in later proceedings (unlike a 'without prejudice' statement which cannot be so disclosed). At an FDR a court is entitled to know what both parties' positions are so your open statement will set out for the court and for the benefit of the other side what you position is. You may be prepared to go further to actually reach a settlement but you may not necessarily want to put your absolute bottom line in an open statement. On the other hand you certainly need to set out your opening position in an open statement.
Re: Fdr help
February 17, 2020 10:59AM
I have started writing mine today and I have been honest with what i think is a fair settlement as i would like to sort this at the fdr, my husband is asking for £20,000 more than what i believe is a fair offer after debts.
Im terrified for the fdr.
What is a without prejudice statement please.
Re: Fdr help
February 17, 2020 11:09AM
My husband is now saying he wants the courts to order me to oay half his legal costs. His solictor is about £200 an hour. What will this be?
Our FDA was rescheduled twice so we ended up turing up to court 3 times already, now the fdr is looming and he has already threatened to take it to a final hearing. I can not afford a solictor and certainly not a barrister for the final hearing.
What is this likely to have cost my husband in solcitor fees so far and what would you estimate taking it to a final hearining cost ?
The fda jusge suggested we shouldn't and that if we did it would likely be only a 1 day hearing because of our circumstances.
Re: Fdr help
February 17, 2020 02:09PM
It is very unlikely that you would be ordered to pay your husband's legal costs. The normal rule in this type of litigation is that each side pays its own costs. The circumstances have to be exceptional for a court to depart from that rule.

A without prejudice letter is one which is headed with the words, 'Without Prejudice'. The effect of those words is that the letter cannot subsequently used in proceedings against you by producing it and using it as evidence.

Say the total assets in dispute are £100K and the argument is about in what proportion that £100K should be divided.

An 'open' proposal might say, 'I want £60K and you can have the remaining £40K'.

A 'without prejudice' proposal might say, 'I am willing to divide the £100K, £55K in your favour'.

The point is that if you failed to reach agreement after making both those proposals you would be free to go to court asking for £60K knowing that your without prejudice letter could not be produced and used in evidence against you.

You may ask why anyone should offer £45K in a without prejudice letter if they really want £60K. It is because litigation has a cost. To get £60K, or even £50K, may involve going to court and gambling you will get that from a judge. Even if the gamble is 100% successful and the further litigation costs £15,000 you will be no better off. And, of course, if the gamble does not pay off then you will be a lot worse off. That is why the lowest a person will actually accept is usually put in a without prejudice letter rather than an open one. The latter can be produced in evidence in later proceedings.
Re: Fdr help
February 17, 2020 07:18PM
I see this makes sense. I am glad to hear about the legal costs too.
We have no children, small penions each and equity in one home of just over 50,000.
Can you give me an estimate to the cost for myself if this went to a final hearing and any additional costs once a settlement is made?
I was very worried when i thought i would be required to pay half his legal fees as i dread to think what it would have cost him to date.
Re: Fdr help
February 18, 2020 10:45AM
How much it costs if it goes to a final hearing depends upon whether you represent yourself or whether you use a barrister. You need a barrister rather than a solicitor at any final hearing because advocacy is a specialist skill. Barristers do this all the time. Solicitors rarely do. How much a barrister costs depends upon the seniority of the barrister. You can probably find a very junior barrister able to do it for about £2,000. If the case is not complicated that may be sufficient. A more senior barrister can cost much more than that but it is only worth spending that sort of money if either the case is very complicated or else there is a lot more money at stake. You may be able to instruct a barrister directly if you search for direct access barristers.
Re: Fdr help
February 19, 2020 11:37AM
Thank you that makes sense.
My husband has a credit card debt for a holiday for us and for a new bathroom. It is about 11,000.
His solcitor has wrote to me to say I am liable for this debt. But from what I have seen online this should be paid off when we sell the home? My sister has told me to argue against this but i am unsure on where i stand legally.
Re: Fdr help
February 20, 2020 10:25AM
Well, his solicitor would say that, wouldn't he/she? If the debt is in his name then he is the one liable for it. Whether any provision is made for it when capital is divided up will depend not only upon what the debt was incurred for but also upon who can most afford to shoulder the debt. If, say, a husband had a credit card debt in his name for £10,000 and he earned £100K and his wife £10K then in such circumstances the husband would almost certainly end up with the debt. It is not quite as clear cut as your husband's solicitor is saying (although you can't blame them for trying).
Re: Fdr help
February 26, 2020 02:24PM
This makes sense.
He earns about 1200 a month and i earn about 2000 depending on overtime. Sometimes with overtime I can bring home 2400
I am happy for the debts he has for the bathroom and holiday to be deducted from the house sale equity if we sell.
My assets around 15000 higher than his because of pension and other assets, his assetes is onky around 9000.
I am hoping the fdr judge can give a good opion on this. What would you suggest a judge would do.
Re: Fdr help
February 27, 2020 11:18AM
I think it is almost certain on these figures that at least the bathroom and holiday costs on his credit should be paid from the net proceeds of sale. He doesn't have the income for it to be reasonable to expect him to take on the whole of this debt.
Re: Fdr help
February 28, 2020 11:00AM
This makes sense to me.
My sister is telling me she knows a solcitor who i should hire who will argue agaisnt this and a judge at the fdr would agree but i dont think that is thr right route.
Re: Fdr help
February 28, 2020 02:21PM
Arguing against it and winning an argument are two different things. As are what one judge may say at an FDR and what another would decide at a final hearing. Judges at an FDR will often make off the cuff remarks. Judges at final hearing are by nature more cautious because they are very conscious of the need to be fair to both parties.
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