Here are my book recommendations for looking after yourself within the Family Court system.
With “Economic Abuse” the new word on the street, I thought about the books I personally used to help with being a Litigant in Person (LiP). Increasingly, people are finding that they are forced acting LiP as they are left strapped for cash by exes who were the breadwinners in the marriage. They simply strip themselves of funds by suddenly being out of work or hiding assets. For exes who are self-employed being strapped for cash is easy.
I know a family provider who was a Marketing Director but when the divorce papers were served he suddenly became a Kitchen Porter. Yes! Really.
Those of you with exes who will go to such extremes are in for a bumpy ride as we move into the territory of the Narcissist. They have no empathy and don’t care whether their children are suffering. They will simply tell the children that you are to blame! If YOU hadn’t left (or asked them to leave), THEY wouldn’t be broke. (for books on Narcissists see my blog on this subject).
Their only concern and goal is to win (and break you) and they will fight you in court with funds provided by way of loans from friends or financial gifts from your equally crazy in-laws.
Maintenance Pending Suit orders fall to the floor as in the eyes of the court there is no “income” from the ex. So that road collapses. So what can you do?
1) Have you ever suffered domestic abuse of any kind? If you have, then you may be entitled to Legal Aid. These lawyers are now few and far between but try http://www.mackenzieco.co.uk/family-law/
or Google Legal Aid Lawyers in your area to see who may be able to assist. The process can be tedious as the Legal Aid Agency will want to know the ins and outs of every part of your financial life.
2) If you don’t qualify for Legal Aid then you may find yourself acting LiP and although this sounds terrifying, it doesn’t have to be. I myself acted LiP on a number of occasions and found every Judge to be considerate of my situation in that they explained legal terms to me, ensuring I knew what was happening. I would even say that they sympathised with me and could see how stressed I was. They reassured me, by way of explaining the proceedings.
I armed myself with knowledge for the war ahead and even if you do have a solicitor, it’s in your own interests to be aware of the law so you know exactly what your rights are.
The less questions you have to ask your lawyer, the less time you need to converse and the less your bill will be!
Knowing what’s happening also keeps you one step ahead of the game and prevents your ex from trying to pull the wool over your eyes. These books are much better than trawling through the internet and you can take them to court with you for quick reference. I could relax in the evening when the children were in bed, glass of wine in hand and read. No tiring screen time involved. I also found it useful to highlight certain pages with tabs.
So get ahead of the game and your ex! Be prepared. Know what you are talking about and don’t stick your head in the sand. You are in this situation and you have to fight your way out.
Get your ammo in place with my reading recommendations!
Also remember that you can take a friend with you and ask the court to allow that person into the court with you. Look up “Mackenzie Friends” too.