When people go through divorce this is one of the most stressful periods in their lives and so naturally they place heavy reliance upon their solicitor to guide them through the process whilst they come to terms with the painful break up of their marriage.
Often, the matrimonial assets are quite large and extend to pensions and shares.
Solicitors are sometimes negligent when acting for their client in trying to settle off the financial aspect of the divorce too quickly, which often results in the divorce being settled unfairly for their client and most of the time in those circumstances the solicitor has been negligent.
On many occasions where this has occurred it has happened due to the solicitor negligently allowing their client to conclude a negotiated financial settlement without full and frank financial disclosure having taken place and that the common situation is that after the consent order has been approved by the Court the client finds out that his or her former spouse has more assets than were revealed at the time of settlement and the usual allegation is that the solicitor was negligent in not discovering these. Where the client’s former spouse does not give full and frank disclosure applications should be made to the Court to force the issue as they are obliged to provide this disclosure prior to a consent order and disclosure is certainly not optional.
Another area where negligence claims are being pursued by former clients of solicitors, are in situations where their spouse has a large pension, often civil service pension (which historically have been more generous than the private pensions) and their solicitor has merely relied upon the cash equivalent transfer value of the pension in order to settle the financial assets by placing reliance on that figure in order to “equalise” parties financial position whilst going through the divorce. On many occasions the cash equivalent transfer value is not the true value of the pension “pot” and in order to calculate the true value of the pension pot an Actuary Report should have been obtained. There are cases that we’ve dealt with whereby the cash equivalent transfer value may have been too low by as much as £200,000-£300,000 which means that one of the parties to the divorce has come out of the divorce substantially better off than the other.
Unfortunately, sometimes it takes many years for the party who has come out of the divorce worse off to realise that this has occurred but luckily a remedy is still available by pursuing their solicitors that advised them during the divorce proceedings given the negligence of the firm of solicitors in not advising their client that an Actuary Report should be obtained before any discussions of a financial nature take place. This negligence claim against the divorce solicitors can be pursued many years after the divorce has concluded in most situations and therefore it is very important that if you feel that your divorce was concluded unfairly, that this is investigated as soon as possible, as it may well be that your solicitor has been negligent and in those circumstances we may be able to claim compensation from the solicitors that dealt with your divorce.
Contact Martin Oliver for more details as to how we can help you – 01274 864002