Despite at first believing the situation could be resolved fairly, Sharon realised her ex-husband wasn’t being entirely reasonable when it came to pension sharing. The Family Law Company helped her to achieve a better outcome.
“After 15 years of marriage it seemed we’d drifted apart. I don’t think my husband was being totally honest with me though as after we’d separated, he found a new place pretty quickly and moved in with someone else.
We split up in 2013 and opted for a two year separation. In 2015 I went to see a solicitor locally but came out feeling really unhappy. A friend recommended the Family Law Company. My husband was resistant to solicitors and held things up; my lawyer had to cope with me being in tears sometimes but she was always really lovely.
Certain elements of the process were okay; my husband paid more than he needed too for maintenance with some extra support too. But the general tone coming through from his solicitor was that he’d been the hero, left everything and walked away with nothing, which wasn’t true at all.
The main issue was his pension. The Family Law Company advised me that we should get a pension report from an actuary, but my husband fought this and really resisted before finally giving in. Once we had the report, despite my husband telling me he wasn’t going to be unfair, his solicitor offered a very small percentage. The pension sharing report gave very different figures. My husband offered me pretty much the lowest percentage in the report, but the Family Law Company were clear that this was not fair in the circumstances. My husband stood firm and when we couldn’t reach an agreement, even though I was prepared to compromise, he issued court proceedings. I found this very daunting but the Family Law Company were very reassuring and explained what I needed to do.
At this stage, my financial situation didn’t allow me to continue using the Family Law Company to represent me in court, but I continued instructing them so that they could help me to prepare for the court case behind the scenes. They also gave me plenty of emotional support, helping to put balance back in the situation. At the court hearing, the judge indicated that essentially my position was a reasonable one and reflected the advice that Family Law Company had given me; they had advised that in my case, it was appropriate for all pensions to be shared, not just those accrued during the marriage, and the judge agreed.
Following the hearing, my husband increased his offer and we reached an agreement, which finally means this process can come to an end. Perhaps the figure is less than I should have agreed (if the Family Law Company had represented me, I’m sure I would have got more), but sometimes the need to get on with life outweighs a financial outcome.”
- Be strong! I would have been much stronger and stood up for myself when my husband questioned why I had appointed a solicitor.
- Make sure the process pushes ahead, don’t get held up by issues because you’re fearful of the future.
- Protect yourself by keeping the process as business-like as possible.
- It’s still the early stages, but I rent a house in an area that I like.
- I was lucky that the children were able to change schools easily and that all happened smoothly.
- I’m still in a job I love, which wasn’t supposed to go on this long, but it has!
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