Friday, 18 December 2009
Bring Me My Soapbox!
And the UK is meant to be a 'developed' country, one where human rights and justice form the backbone of our society? If you've read my earlier soap-box session entitled "Happyman 213, the press and the lawyers" you'll understand some of the frustrations I've been meeting along the way to rebuilding my life. Well, this latest turn is enough to make your teeth curl.
OK, so as a direct result of what I believe was my husband's deliberate deception, misappropriation of company funds and fraudulent actions, I have discovered that I'm left with a whole mountain of personal debt that runs in to tens of thousands. And he is totally completely and utterly scot-free, excuse the pun. Because he planned it that way.
He took sole charge of our finances in May 2008, and assured me that everything was in order and that financial agreements were all being honoured. And I believed him - after all, we were not only happily married, we were business partners as well. Why would I doubt what he was telling me?
But in fact this was far from the truth. He had failed to pay the mortgage for nearly six months. He had refused to pay suppliers. He had failed to pay back even a single penny of the business overdraft that I had personally guaranteed. And behind my back he was funding another life and spending money like water - on gadgets and shiny things for himself. Mountain bikes, computers, a holiday, jewellery, love trinkets, clothes, sports equipment - oh, and of course, the countless sex sites and porn channels.
So, as you know, once I discovered the truth back in April this year, I immediately froze the business bank accounts and instructed an insolvency agency to put the company in to liquidation. It was the best I could do at least to safeguard some money to get our suppliers paid. And yet - even though I personally called in the liquidators, they have still failed to give me details on exactly where we are with the process. Because, of course, they've met my ex in person - and have only spoken to me by telephone and via email. No matter how many times I ask for an update, nothing is forthcoming.
I've also been pushed from pillar to post in trying to deal with the debts that have landed on my doorstep. I accept that my situation is perhaps out of the ordinary, and as a result I've spent hours on the phone to UK and Scottish debt advisors. The messages I've been receiving are really quite astonishing.
Firstly, nobody, but NOBODY seems to be in the slightest bit interested in my ex's mismanagement of funds and deliberate deception. They are not interested that he has deserted the marriage and fled to safety in our home in Scotland where he stored all his gadgets and trinkets that have cost me so dearly. They are unwilling to seize any of these goods, despite the fact that they run in to tens of thousands of pounds worth of value. And why not you may ask?
"Because, madam, the debts you have are in your name. They are nothing to do with your husband." And that is as far as anybody is willing to look.
But I've done everything in my power to bring the truth out in to the open, and to put things right! I didn't need to freeze the company accounts, I could have taken the money out for myself! I've passed over every scrap of evidence to support my claims that his actions have been fraudulent. But no. None of that seems to matter. All that matters is that the debts are in my personal name and, therefore, it's me personally who has full liability. Full stop. No argument. That is the law.
The latest advice I had just a couple of evenings ago is just unbelievable - and grossly unfair to the extreme. I have been exploring the route of obtaining a Protected Trust Deed through scottish law, because I am still registered as living in Edinburgh. Because of the equity I hold in my share of the family home here in France, this deed would mean that I have to pay back every penny of debt that I owe, plus interest. Fair enough, you might say - and yes, I'm perfectly willing to pay back money that I rightfully owe.
But now here's the rub. Despite the fact that my husband deceived and abandoned me (and my son) and despite the fact that as a result I've been placed in a perilous financial predicament, the courts deem it just and fair that he has a claim over 50% of the family home. Despite the fact that he is currently living the life of riley in our place in Edinburgh. So this is the course of action I've been told I must take.
I have to sell my home - even though I have a child, my son, living with me full time. The proceeds of the sale will be split 50:50, and my estranged husband will receive his lump sum amount in cash. My 50% share, on the other hand, will go immediately to the Trustees, who will pay my creditors. I will then be expected to make arrangements to pay the outstanding balance.
So, my son and I will be left homeless, penniless, and still in debt. While my ex gets to keep the place in Edinburgh and also benefits from a nice bundle of cash from the sale of the house.
Is this justice? Is this fair? Is THIS what we call a civilised and fair society?
No, it is not. And, needless to say, I will NOT be taking their advice. Instead of which I'm now seeking other ways to deal with the problem - but it's hard work. And it's wrong. I've been the victim in all this, and yet I'm the one left holding the baby and being treated like a criminal.
I have a lot to learn, and as I move forward with this I realise that there ARE other options I can explore. And explore them I will, for I will NOT lose any more to that conniving, soulless shell of a man I once called my husband and soul mate.
And once I've found another way - I'm going to shout from the rooftops, and find a way to bring this injustice out in to the open. Watch this space.