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Financially controlling ex/consent order

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  • Financially controlling ex/consent order

    Hello. I hope you can help me with a couple of questions - I'll try to keep it brief:

    - My husband was abusive towards me and the children (verbally abusive, aggressive and controlling pretty much everything), which heightened in intensity over the course of the 14 year marriage
    - Things got so bad I issued an ultimatum stating that he had a year to address his abusive behaviour or I would leave and take the children with me. I put the ultimatum in writing.
    - Among many other issues, he'd denied me physical contact for some 6-7 years by that point but refused to accept that this behaviour was damaging to me. I told him that I wanted to meet someone else/have an affair as I was desperate for affection/kindness. We'd already been sleeping in separate rooms since the start of the marriage because of his snoring and his aggression in his sleep.
    - I had a minor breakdown at the time of the ultimatum and was referred to a course specialising in domestic violence. I completed the 12 week course and fully recognised that I was in an abusive relationship.
    - A year later, I reviewed the situation. He'd clearly tried to modify the worst of his verbal aggression towards the children, although he'd still had two or three unforgivable outbursts and the kids were still very wary around him. He'd made no attempt to change his behaviour towards me.
    - On the year's anniversary I informally told him I'd give it a few more months because I still foolishly felt we could come to some amicable arrangement. I repeated that I wanted a normal, loving relationship and that if he wasn't able to give me that, I wanted to meet somebody else.
    - Over those few months, it became clear that I was in a stalemate. He wouldn't allow the marriage to end (please bear in mind how brainwashed I was, after years of being controlled), or entertain the idea of us cohabiting with the possibility of both of us seeking a new relationship. My self-confidence was in tatters due to years of being told how useless I was and his obvious disgust at the thought of having physical relations with me, so when my birthday arrived I decided to have a one-off sexual encounter with someone else to determine exactly how revolting I was. The experience broke my heart because not only did the man involved find me attractive and appealing, his affection made me realise how desperate I was to be loved.
    - I told my husband that the marriage was over, and arranged to meet up with the man again. We met a further two times before my husband found out, and that's when the abuse escalated dramatially. Among many things, my husband trapped me in the house, gained unauthorised access to my emails (meaning I had to carry my laptop and phone with me everywhere), I had to bar my door at night because he'd burst in shouting at me, I had to endure him following me around the house while calling me "****ing whore" (among many other names) in front of the children (then aged 11 and 13), he told lies in order to blackmail me, he'd trap me in the bathroom so I couldn't get out as he continued his torrent of abuse right outside the door, he'd send me accusatory texts of such a bizarre nature that I really thought he'd gone insane.
    - There are many other traits of his personality that indicate mental illness but I won't go into them here.
    - After having to involve the police and calling in a lot of help, the children and I finally escaped in September 2019.
    - It was verbally agreed that the children would stay with him once a week but it became clear that this arrangement was causing distress to my 11 year old daughter, and it reached a point where she refused to see him either in or out of what had previously been her home, so the visits gradually reduced to the point she stopped seeing him completely. My son, now 14, still goes but he doesn't always want to and sometimes returns home in an agitated state. I've told him he doesn't have to go, but he feels he has to until the divorce comes through - he knows his father's blackmailed us in so many different ways and thinks his dad won't pay maintenance if he stops going.

    Now for the legal nitty-gritty:

    - He still lives in the marital home with his mother. The house is worth approx £600,000 and is owned 50% by his mother, 50% by him. He refused to put me on the deeds because he controlled everything, especially money. His father is dead, he has no siblings and he will inherit his mother's 50% when she dies. There is no mortgage.
    - In order to get out, I agreed to receive 50% of his share of the house (ie: 25%) upon granting of the decree absolute. I also didn't want his mother to suffer if the house had to be sold to pay a higher settlement.
    - His mother is frightened by him and personally told me that she thought he was lazy, aggressive and controlling and acknowledged that he has mental issues. She'd always been supportive of me, and told me she'd noticed how he'd always avoided getting involved with family life right from when the first child was born. Sadly, her memory isn't what it was and I sincerely doubt she would be able to remember anything about this - she's 95, very frail and has dementia (although it's in a relatively early stage). She apparently won't leave the house for fear of coronavirus, which may be true, but I also suspect he may not be letting her leave or is feeding her false information to control her, in the same way he tried to manipulate/trap me.
    - My husband pays weekly maintenance, but it doesn't come close to covering half the cost of housing/raising the two children in the area they attend school/where their friends are.
    - My husband advanced a quarter of the divorce settlement to me, to enable me to get out.
    - I moved into a rented 2/3 bed unfurnished house, paying six months' rent in advance because I wasn't working at the time.
    - After years of being told that I'm mentally incapable of getting a job, I eventually got one. However, I had to leave it at the beginning of lockdown because my daughter's autistic and was struggling with the long hours that I was away.
    - I'd already applied for divorce in July 2019 and had instructed a firm of solicitors to draw up the consent order setting out the financial arrangement of 25% of the value of the house less what he'd already advanced me. The drafting took 4 months due to a mixture of mistakes by the solicitor and my husband delaying revealing his financial situation.
    - The solicitor mucked the document up and, after 4 months of waiting, the court rejected the order because of a drafting issue
    - My husband refused to sign the redraft unless I changed the terms slightly in his favour. Desperate for the settlement money, I agreed.
    - Another 4 months later, I still haven't officially heard whether the amended consent order has been agreed. The court have escalated the matter to critical because I can no longer afford to pay my rent - the advance my husband gave me has run out and I haven't been able to find another job.
    - Judgement was apparently passed 2 weeks ago, but no one can tell me the verdict because of a massive backlog in data entry. However, someone at court hinted heavily that it had been rejected again.
    -If it's been rejected on another drafting issue, then I'll obviously have to take this up with the solicitors, but I think it may well have been rejected on the basis it's unfair to me and the children.

    My question is this: if it's rejected because the judge felt it was unfair, what should I do? I know I can write to the judge and explain that his was an agreed amount etc, but the truth is, it IS unfair. My husband is living in a huge 5 bedroom house with an additional 'flat' for his elderly mother. The house is mortgage-free and he has very few outgoings. His mother actually receives decent allowances, which she gives to him (he controls her as well). He has no friends anywhere near where near the area and he doesn't use the local facilities like the children and I do. Meanwhile, I'm in a 2/3 bedroom house and pay a ridiculously high rent in order to stay in the area where the kids' school/friends/familiar facilities are, I currently have no job, I have two dependants (one of whom is autistic) and I can't make ends meet. I can't even move away from the school/friends area because no landlord will take me on without a job or six months' rent in advance. I can't afford to hire a solicitor to take him to court.

    I really need some advice - can anyone help?
    Tags: None

  • #2
    Hi,
    Iím not in the legal profession, I am waiting for any help or advise regarding my own problems and have just read your post.

    The solicitor you previously instructed should of advised you of your right to legal aid as a victim of domestic abuse. My solicitor did not advise me of this, resulting in over £70k of legal fees.

    You have documented evidence that proves the domestic abuse as required to obtain legal aid. You can search online for legal aid solicitors or visit citizens advise. Correct me if I am wrong as Iím a new member on here, but I think you need more than just advise, you need someone in law to represent you to enable a fair settlement so you can be free of your ex and his abuse.

    You do not need to make excuses for your actions. If like me, I became numb to the physical attacks but 6 years later, Iím still not over the mental, manipulation, control and low self worth. Just concentrate on you and your kids, get the legal aid and legal representation to deal with the rest.

    I wish you well

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