Negotiation vs Conflict October 2020
Phillips Email Communication – October 5th
I received another long email from Phillip. His final words in the email told me he would go to court to have me evicted from his house, “Be in no doubt that under those circumstances, you will leave my house with absolutely no financial support whatsoever from me.”
(So this is the third time that I was being threatened with being thrown out of the property legally or unlawfully, I am at my wit’s end. It was bad enough that he ended our relationship the way he did. But now I’m being threatened with eviction and further emotional and financial devastation) My friends keep telling me to seek legal advice, I have tried but to be honest I seem to be getting nowhere with the Solicitors I’m contacting. They either do not deal with the advice I’m seeking or they don’t get back to me.
Second legal advice – 14th October
After trying and failing to find any local Spanish solicitors that I could have a face-to-face appointment with, I finally got a recommendation from a Spanish friend who speaks English. After making an initial call I have an appointment at the solicitor’s office of Rafael Cardenas in Puerto Mazarron.
He listens to my story and part of the recorded meeting with my ex, but only up to the angry outburst, where Phillip bangs his hand on the table and starts shouting and swearing while threatening to throw me out of the house. (13 minutes and 37 seconds into the 23-minute recorded meeting)
He tells me to stop the recording and asks me what he did then. So I explain and then he gives me his advice, which was to file a gender violence denuncia against Phillip.
Negotiation And Cooperation
At that point, I had been trying to make requests for cooperation with Phillips’s solicitor. So I asked Rafael if he would help me by writing on my behalf to Alexander Fontaine. I thought that things could be sorted out. Rafael refused, again saying, I needed to file a denuncia and I would receive free legal help, then I would receive financial assistance and psychological support. He then said, “did you not hear what he said, you can not negotiate with him.”
Gender violence denuncia – October 16th
I had made an arrangement to meet a Spanish friend who could translate for me and help me at the police station. I had to drive 20 minutes over the mountain to Puerto Mazarron. I had the radio on in the car, the sky was blue and the sun was shining. But I wasn’t okay, I was shaking and very emotional, fighting back the tears, then having to wipe them away with soft tissue as I was driving. I really felt sick to my stomach.
I arrived at the house and was greeted at the gate, at that time I was still in shock, and upset and could not really think straight. The tears spilled out as I told her, “I can’t do it, I don’t want to go to the police station.” So we went inside and she made some tea and I talked to her about the events that had led up to me being on the verge of making this gender violence complaint.
I backed out of making the complaint that day because I was scared of the consequences for the both of us.
So again I wrote to Phillip and his Solicitor and because I didn’t want to go to court I told him and his solicitor of the legal advice I had received. Writing in my email that I prefer cooperation to litigation.
I did not have any legal representative helping or assisting me. Obviously, I know now that it was a mistake to communicate with my ex and his solicitor.
I was writing to his solicitor thinking that maybe just maybe there could be a way of opening up discussion and cooperation between us. I made a huge mistake in writing that email. I informed his solicitor of the advice I had received about making the gender violence complaint.
Questions: Why didn’t Rafael Cardenas the solicitor I sought advice and assistance from want to help me? He told me I would be appointed a free solicitor, but that meant that I had to communicate my story to the Police and a different Solicitor when he had given me the initial advice. Why didn’t he want to write to Alexander Fontaine?
The reply from Phillips Solicitor.
Alexander Fontaine replied to my correspondence that I had sent to him on the 16th, he copied it to Phillip. I was hopeful that there could be a way forward. As I sat in the office I started to read his communication. It did not read well. I got to the end of the email, I was again thrown into emotional turmoil, I was shaking inside and very distressed.
In his message, he warned me “be sure about facts in your denounce. As it is possible to process with a denounce against someone, it is possible to prosecute someone who made a false denounce.
I tell you this, and would like to insist, as there is a stream of colleagues that are keen in taking any problem for couples married or in partnership, through this option to denounce just with no real facts.”
He then proceeded to tell me I have no rights here in Spain and that it is different from the UK.
Then he tells me that Phillip will need to go to court, that in time I will need to get free legal assistance, but in time I will be asked to leave the house, and if not voluntary then the Judge will order to do it by force. Is this what you want?
These sentences cut through me like a knife, again I was thrown into fear, and I started having a panic attacks and palpitations. With no one that I could really turn to, I rang the Samaritans in Spain. I was crying, I was emotionally in a very sad place. I really could not understand how this solicitor could write those sentences. I was on the telephone with the Samaritan’s advisor for 50 minutes before I was able to regain some composure.
Fontaine had advised me to make a proposal.
The thing is I had already made a proposal. I sent Phillip my financial proposal on the 12th of September, the one that Phillip rejected and did not even discuss with me. Phillip’s Solicitor did not know any facts of the situation.
Phillip had betrayed me and abandoned me and was now trying to destroy me emotionally, psychologically and financially. He was using the legal system and Spanish law to threaten me, I really did not think that I had done anything to deserve the way he was now treating me after eleven years in a relationship.
Phillip knew that I had no job, and no monthly income, and now I was being told I had no rights, and would be evicted from the home I lived in for 5 years, I was reduced to an emotional wreck again.
Phillip had given me three different financial proposals. Non-solid or binding. Non within a time frame that was reasonable. One minute he was gifting me money, the next I was going to be thrown out of the gates with just my suitcases.
After I ended the call with the Samaritans, I decided to write a reply to the email I had received from his solicitor.
Advice: Again, I should not have communicated, it should have been another solicitor communicating on my behalf. Never attempt to resolve these conflict legal situations yourself, always try to get a legal representative to write on your behalf. Of course, it is easy to say this now, but at the time when I knew I had no stable income and had no idea if Phillip would honour the financial proposal or not. Even worse when you are in a foreign country and do not speak the language.
Firstly, Alexander Fontaine had assumed that my Solicitor was somehow going to benefit financially from helping me with a complaint to the Guardia against my former partner (his client) this was far from the situation.
Secondly, Sr Fontaine knew nothing of how his client had behaved towards me. He had not heard the way I had been spoken to, the violent and angry outburst I had sat through at the meeting which Phillip agreed could be recorded. The demeaning way he spoke to me, the threats of being thrown out of the property. The previous betrayal and the emotional distress and verbal abuse. He had no idea of the sadistic sexual acts that I had experienced throughout the relationship. Or, how I might actually be in deep trauma.
In the days that followed I again tried to make contact with Phillip, and I left a few voice messages. But did not get any replies. I could not think straight at all. I had never been in a situation like this in my life, I was feeling so very frightened, vulnerable, alone, isolated and traumatised.
The email reply to Alexander Fontaine:-
Firstly, things are not fine with me.
I accept I have been left in a “predicament” in the situation and circumstances that I find myself in.
Phillip made several financial proposals. In writing and also in a recording.
1. I have no income.
2. I have no place to go.
3. I can not rent a house in these circumstances.
4. Phillip offered to pay me £35,000 to redeem my mortgage so I would have a modest £500 per month. I am in agreement with this. Including allowing me €75,0000 from the sale of the property.
A total of €115.000.
5. I asked Phillip to help me by redeeming the mortgage before he left for the UK on the 24th of September. He told me he did not have that money as he had paid money to his son to make a property purchase. I have no idea if this is a fact or not.
In his 2nd financial settlement proposal, he offered to pay my mortgage of £28,500 (since I had rang for the redemption figure) plus he said he would pay £500 to my business account for four months. £30,500 or €33,000
He told me I could buy him out of the property if I could raise €115k. His first option.
Then gave me four months to find the money.
Is this reasonable or rational given I have no income and no access to financial services or a mortgage in Spain?
It could perhaps be possible but only in unconventional ways. For example going public with my story, predicament and situation and appealing for help from a fundraising website. Like GoFundMe.
Going public would mean the full story perhaps being told in Newspapers in the UK and in Spain. Is this what Phillip would want me to do?
In the first proposal, it was never discussed with me, it was made 2 days after he told me about him being in love with another woman.
I tried to offer a solution with a counter-proposal. Phillip ignored this. Hence the recording that he agreed to. My idea for a solution was a “terribly, terribly, terribly bad idea, and it isn’t going to happen” according to Phillip.
I was unable to say anything at all. It is his way or no way at all. None of this was my doing, Phillip is 100% responsible for this situation.
The decision to go to the Police
I changed my mind. It was the email from Alexander Fontaine that had helped me to make that decision. A difficult decision to make but one I thought was right. Even so, as I travelled into the city I felt nervous, scared and very apprehensive. I did not take anyone with me, I went alone. When I arrived I again paused, am I doing the right thing, I decided to send another voice message to Phillip. (Don’t ask me why) I felt that I should reach out again to see if he would open up to some negotiation, while I was on the brink of entering the building of the Guardia Civil.
Conflict And More Hostility
I received the following text in reply.
I kept telling you that your actions have consequences. So far your choices have been reckless and cost the majority of my goodwill.
You go ahead and file your report with Guardia Civil if that’s what you want to do. It’s your choice Loren. You will have to live with the consequences.
I just want my house back, peacefully. But if you want to fight, we can do that. I have £28,500 budget to fight you with. See? It’s now YOUR mortgage redemption money I am spending.
Just don’t expect any kindness or consideration from me once the gloves come off.
Once the gloves come off, I think the gloves had come off a while ago. I never wanted conflict from the start. I wasn’t the person who was shouting, being nasty or angry and saying horrible things.
When I finally go into the building of the Guardia I’m shown into a corridor and asked to wait for an officer to speak to. During October 2020 the wearing of masks is obligatory due to the Covid pandemic that was declared an emergency. Sitting waiting I felt my heart beating faster and faster, my mind was actually becoming numbed, I had no idea how I was going to explain my situation to an officer. There was no translator available at the time and after the initial complaint was recorded I was advised to return the next day when a translator would be available. I guess it is difficult enough for any woman to go to a police station to make a complaint of domestic abuse against a former husband or partner, but when you do not speak the language and you are a foreigner this complicates things enormously.
Spanish Gender Violence Laws
In Spanish Gender violence, legislation abuse can be physical, emotional and psychological. It can be a current relationship or a former partner. When a person makes a formal complaint a criminal court hears the case within 72 hours. So my complaint or “denuncia ” was taken by the Guardia officer while I was speaking to the translator. I had tried to ask for legal representation before making the complaint but I was told a solicitor would be appointed at the court.
Yet, the Gender violence helpline I had called had advised me that I should have a legal representative when I file the complaint. (This did not happen)
I struggle to explain the circumstances and I play part of the 23-minute recording I have on my phone. The translator picks up on a phrase which he considered was verbal abuse. That phrase or one sentence in the whole of the 23 minutes of the meeting that was recorded was the main complaint of the Gender Violence Court case that was going to be heard by the Judge.
It was Phillips’ second outburst.
They’re not going to give you feedback and say actually you look like a fucking bleeding heart, postmenopausal, sad old bitch who’s just been fucking
At the court, I am met by the translator and the free solicitor. He talks to the translator and asks me to sign a few documents that I guess were some confirmation of him doing the work and likely so he would get paid. I am so very nervous and feeling out of breath, having to wear a mask over the nose and mouth does not help.
Inside the court there is a female judge, it is all a bit of a blur now I am writing this. I recall the judge asking me what I wanted. I thought it was a strange question and I had no idea how to answer. I do remember saying that being in the court and making this complaint went against my beliefs. She said she could not ask my ex to return. I was confused.
So after the brief hearing, the translator informs me that the case is being left open, as the ex-partner is not in Spain I am not at risk. However, if I was threatened at any time I should call the Guardia again.
So the legal help I received did not really assist me in the situation and circumstances that I had found myself in. I followed the advice of the two legal advisors. Unfortunately, I was not understood at the office of the Guardia in Cartagena. I was not able to communicate the complaint, how I had suffered emotional distress, how I had been humiliated, manipulated how the things Phillip did and said confused me.
The free legal assistance Solicitor did not ask me any questions. The court translator Jose was very helpful and really tried to be supportive throughout all of this trauma.
All I ever wanted was to be given some time to heal from the situation and to start another business to rebuild my self-esteem and become an independent businesswoman again, without the threat of eviction over my head.
My ex-partner Phillip has all the power and control here. He has the money, he has the properties, he has the legal advisors. He even has a new relationship and proposed to his new woman just six weeks after abandoning his property with me still living in it.
The engagement photograph was on Facebook for all of our friends to see. My friend and good neighbour here had sent me a message to see if I was ok, she was actually worried about me, she thought that I may have seen the photograph and could be emotionally triggered and very upset by it. I had not seen the photograph since I had blocked both of their Facebook accounts.
It looked something like this.
He declared on Facebook that he had “plighted his troth”.
I had worked in my own property business for 11 years, earning £3,500 per month before selling in 2016. I had been able to use a small inheritance from my grandmother to use as a deposit and managed to obtain a mortgage as a self-employed person in 2012. I had been an independent business woman in 2009 when I met Phillip. Now I was in Spain, with no income, no job, and some friends who were trying to help me. Now facing an uncertain future, not knowing who I was anymore, or even what I wanted to do. I felt so lost and confused.
I feel that Rafael Cardenas who provided the advice to file the gender violence complaint could have provided some written instruction of why he was giving me the advice to go to the police. If this information had been communicated to the Guardia Civil in Cartagena then any misunderstanding could have been avoided.
Also, I feel that the email from the solicitor of my former partner was further traumatising or triggering and I think that it did not take into account my delicate emotional state at that time. I was obviously in deep shock, fear and grief.
Many women actually attempt suicide after the end of their relationship some actually succeed. Add in the circumstances of being in a foreign country with no means of supporting yourself, the betrayal trauma, the grief anxiety and fear and threatened eviction. I think that his email was highly insensitive. It could have tipped a woman over the edge.
Just how many women actually succeed in suicide post-separation in cases of domestic abuse?
Domestic violence is a factor in up to one-quarter of female suicide attempts. Female victims of domestic violence have eight times the risk for suicide compared with the general population.
Criminal Justice Research.
Taken from the first creative non-fiction book that I self-published on May 2022 while living under the threat of being evicted in a foreign country by a former partner.
Please note the names have been changed to protect the identities of the people involved.
At some point, I will be starting to write the sequel to this book. As the story is not over yet.
The Ex didn’t like the fact that I published the truth. He alleged seven criminal charges against me in July 2022 just weeks after the Civil case for “Precarious Eviction” was heard in court.
I received the Court summons in October 2022. Delivered to the gate of the property he abandoned in September 2020, the summons was handed to me by two Guardia Civil officers who arrived in a police vehicle. The specialist lawyers from Barcelona that the Ex had representing him had filed the charges, and within the court documents that I had to translate from Spanish, I found more fabrications and twisted statements. The truth had been omitted again. This plays out over and over again in these twisted games of manipulative people who can pay for legal representation to help them emotionally psychologically and financially destroy their target.
You might be interested to read another post from March 2022 Dealing With Sadness & Disappointment