Happy New Year Loren
Seven months ago on January 4th, I received an email from my former partner who had a potential buyer, someone who wants to view the property. He is asking me if I would accommodate a viewing.
His message seems a sort of pleasant email because it starts off with, Happy New Year Loren. However, the last time I sent a message to him was the July of the previous year, after he had a couple who said they wanted to purchase. On that occasion, there had been some negotiation between us.
Post-Separation Legal Conflict
I had accepted an offer of £40,000 which would be paid in two payments. One payment of £10,000 in one week’s time and the further payment of £30,000 which he would pay to me on “Sale Agreed” so I would have some funds which would help me to find another place to live. So the offer had gone down from €115,000 which was 50% of the valuation of the property in September of 2020.
That agreement was handwritten by me and signed by both of us. He then asked me to type up the agreement which I did. Then later in the day, he returned the document to me with his alterations. Only the changes he made completely moved the goals posts again.
Moving The Goal Posts
It went from the money being paid on “sale agreed” to money being paid “after I leave” which I had already been instructed by the lawyer in the Gender Violence help centre that it should be money first then leave. But how do you negotiate with a man who has already moved the goal posts a number of times, has threatened me with being kicked out on the streets, has threatened legal action to evict me, has threatened that I will be “forcibly removed”, has threatened that I will leave with just my personal possessions. How do I negotiate, when I have no funds to pay for legal representation at this point? He was meeting the buyers at the notary or solicitors’ office the next day, they were meant to be paying the deposit.
I had tried to contact him that morning, but he had not replied. I was pacing the floors thinking that he had done it again, changed the deal, and left me in a precarious position. I felt that something was not right. I recorded a short video in which I told him the deal was off. He had changed the document.
He had got back to me saying he was disappointed, but that the buyers had dropped out, he stated that the buyers felt that I would not leave the property. Of course, that is his side of the story, I do not know what was in the mind of the potential buyers.
So my last communication in July 2021 was when I had an offer of a place I could stay. I explained that he could have vacant possession of his property if he would pay the settlement that he had agreed to just a couple of days before. He could have got back to the buyers at that point to say he would have vacant possession if he was willing to actually pay the settlement of £40,000. Of course, he ignored my message.
So after receiving his email on the 4th of January 2022, I asked a friend for help in drafting a reply to his message and a couple of days later I send a reply in which I said I am happy to accommodate a viewing if he would honour his first settlement agreement.
My Email Reply 6th January 2022
I am willing to accommodate a viewing at the end of the month and as a gesture of goodwill (and to positively progress things) would you still honour your initial agreement and be prepared to put it in writing (legally through a solicitor) what you discussed before as a settlement solution the 50% of the sale price, including paying the (£30,000) that I had asked you for before you left me here, this would enable me to pay off the mortgage on my UK property?
The money saved on paying the UK mortgage would at least enable me to buy food for myself and pay for my health and car insurance and keep my business going. It would assist me to pay off an outstanding UK tax bill that I now have. This small monthly income would enable me to keep my business online and start searching for somewhere else to live.
Because if the Spanish property is sold, I would be without a residence here and would have no means of securing a place on my own (since at the moment I have not got a sustainable income)
I never had any reply to my message until the 9th of January, when he had changed his thought patterns. His email had a completely different tone, which asked if I had seen the Court Documents, which he was sending in a separate email, Or was I choosing to ignore them. He went on to say, you are now at risk of the Guardia Civil coming to the property you will be asked to leave with just your personal possessions.
That was his second email on January 9th, after reading that I felt sick and fearful, and I started pacing the floor. Then I realised that was what he wanted, to make me fearful. I said to myself, okay stop thinking about this, it was late and I was getting ready to go to bed.
The next morning when I woke up the first thing that came to my mind was to forward this email with the court document to the solicitor I had seen back in October 2020, the same solicitor that had listened to the 23-minute recording from the meeting that I had with the former partner on September 15th, that solicitor had advised me on making the Gender Violence complaint.
So I forwarded the email, and he got back to me and said, no the Guardia Civil can not turn up unexpectedly, because the documents have to be sent to you by the Court. He advised that I would need legal representation, and he suggested that I go and collect those documents myself from the Court. Then I would need to make a request at the College of Abogado or Bar Association for free legal assistance. So that is what I did. Basically, I turned up at the court on January 13th to request a copy of the documents. A very nice security guard who could understand English helped me to get to the right place and helped me with translation with the court official.
At the CourtHouse
The Court Official advised the procedure would be stopped to allow me time to find legal representation. So I started the process and got an initial appointment, they gave me a number of forms to complete which were all in Spanish. I had to provide copies of identification, residencia, and other documents.
That process lasted from January through March before I was appointed a legal representative.
So throughout March, April & May, I had a Spanish-speaking legal representative, Solicitor. I then presented all of my evidence to the lawyer, she basically ignored every piece of evidence that I had. She ignored the verbal recording, the letter he had written to me on August 29th. She informed me that all of the evidence I put forward was just “false promises” of course they were false promises.
Court Document For Precarious Eviction
I had translated the Civil Court document, for “Precarious Eviction” into English. I discovered it was not based on the facts, the first three paragraphs were false, not true and not factual. Or to put it another way, a total fabrication. The only part of the document that was truthful was that the property was purchased by him in 2015 and was registered to him.
The document stated that he had asked me to leave in September 2020, giving me time to find a place to live and time to find work. This was not true, we had never discussed me leaving in September 2020.
His Dear Loren Letter
What had been proposed by him and had been put into his Dear Loren letter and sent to me on the 29th of August was:-
- After I leave the house he would gift £35,000 to redeem a UK mortgage which would ultimately provide an income of £500 per month.
- Plus €85,000 to help me to purchase another property in Spain
- Or, If I wanted to leave immediately, he was prepared to rent another property
- He would pay for legal fees and removals
- I could take any furniture from the house.
That is not the same as giving me time to find a job and a place to live. Again the Court document refers to him giving me until November 2020 for the same reason. This is not factual. There was no such discussion.
The Facts Are
The facts are that I had asked him to help me with the money to repay the mortgage before he would leave me here. I was fearful that I would be here with no income and with very little in savings. I had already been threatened on the 4th of September with being thrown out onto the streets, he was in charge and I should do as he says. He told me he did not have the money to help me at that point. I do not know if that was true or not.
It does make a bit of a mockery of the initial letter of his offer of £35k after I leave, where was that money coming from, if I had made the decision to take him up on moving out?
The truth is I had looked at 100’s of properties online I had a conversation about two houses that were possibilities. He suggested to me that we go together to check out the locations, so we went to look at the two properties. I did not feel they were right for me.
So the paragraphs written in the “Precarious Eviction” Court Documents by the expensive Law firm of Solicitors from Barcelona bore no resemblance to the truth.
My former partner had not “amicably” asked me to leave. He had in fact given me FOUR MONTHS. Four months in which time he had said If I could raise €115,000 I could buy out his share of the property. I have the evidence of a twenty-three-minute verbal recording of the meeting that took place in the lounge of our home on the 15th of September 2020.
He said a lot of things in that meeting, he shut me down I was not allowed to discuss my written proposal with him. He wanted me to listen to what he wanted and what he needed. I was told I could not negotiate with him. He became angry at an innocent question on the arbitrarily set deadline of four months. This was when he slammed his fist down on the glass table in front of me and began his angry raging outburst.
An Angry Raging Outburst.
“I’ll make it the 15th of fucking November if I want to… Don’t fuck about with me, I’ve told you four months, I’ve told you the 15th of January. You asked me why I said because of Christmas, do not push your luck, do you understand me?”
All I can reply at that point, in a very timid and quiet voice is “perfectly” (Feeling intimidated, a bit shell shocked, sick to the pit of my stomach again, how does he do that? How does he make me feel this way?)
He replies, “Good”. And still, in his loud angry tone, he says, “Don’t take the piss out of me, you’ve had one strike already and you were that far away to have your fucking suitcase thrown out of the fucking door.. So just be careful how you tread, like I’ve said to you this afternoon,” (now he has lowered his tone) “your future security depends on having me on your side so don’t alienate me and I’ve told you already, you can’t negotiate a gift.”
So the free lawyer from the College of Abagados was not even prepared to help me or put forward any evidence that he had been abusive before he left me. That I had been threatened, that the Court Documents were not a representation of fact. She informed me that it was the criminal court that deals with that. The advice was that I should go to Social Services and present myself there as being vulnerable, as I did not have any form of secure income at that point. Plus I did not have anywhere I could move out to, my money was also running out at that time.
I had already had some experience in Social Services and another Organisation by the name of CAVI. I had already been to their offices twice. To be honest, I did not find them helpful at all.
I had been given conflicting advice. The lawyer at CAVI informed me in March that the first Solicitor I had seen had given me the wrong advice. I should not have made the Gender Violence complaint. So that confused me. The second visit was in June 2021, just before my former partner was due to return to Spain and I was fearful. At this appointment, I was advised to go back to the UK, because the law in the UK is different or better than the Spanish Law. So in the circumstances, as this new Solicitor was advising me to seek help again at Social Services I felt that it would not be useful based on my past experiences.
The CAVI Website claims:
The professional team of CAVIs offers:
- Psychological support, at individual and/or group level
- Social advice (social worker) on the most appropriate resources for the situation.
- Legal advice (lawyer) about everything related to the situation of abuse.
As the weeks went by, my anxiety about the Court Case was growing. I was trying to remain as calm as possible and to gather my evidence and put it in some order. Making the decision to visit Social Services on May 23rd there were only a few weeks to the verbal hearing which was going to be heard on June 10th. I had already made an online appointment for May 26th with the Housing department within Social Services. I was not sure where I needed to go, so I first go to the Local Authority and I was given a Pass with details of the address. It was in fact the same offices where I had been before.
So I turn up at the office and use Google translate to try and explain my position and how the Solicitor had informed me to request a report from them. I was meant to then forward that report to the Solicitor.
However, the Social Worker I saw was telling me that it was the Lawyer who makes the request. I began to get a little irritated. So, I folded my arms and told the person I was not going to leave until I got an explanation or they called the lawyer from the office and explained it to her. At that point she got up and left the room she returned with two sticky notes and put them down in front of me. Another Social Worker came into the room with her.
The actual notes.
As I had been registered there before they had my file, they also discovered that I had an appointment booked for Wednesday and gave me a printout of the appointment I had made online. I left the office somewhat confused and bewildered. I felt like I was going around in circles. The lawyer had told me to present to Social Services then Social Services inform me it is the Lawyer who makes the request.
As I am leaving I ask for help from the translator who had helped me at the Gender Violence Court hearings in October 2020 & January 2021. He replied that I should go back to the Bar Association and tell them about the situation. At this point, I am past caring. I have had it with the Spanish Legal System. The Spanish Court System, the Spanish lawyers, and the Spanish Social Services, I am past caring.
I arrive at the College of Abogados, I explain the situation as best I can through Google translate. Then someone who can understand some English comes forward from the back office. I present the two sticky notes. Yet he is adamant that it is me that has to request the report from Social Services. He takes a pen and writes on the sticky note in black ink (mistake) and puts a line around the word he has written.
At this point in my head, I’m thinking, is it any wonder that vulnerable people commit suicide when all they are asking for is some help?
So, I am feeling quite bewildered and confused. I pick up the sticky notes and slam them on the front of the perspex Covid screen in front of me. That makes the screen wobble. The male office worker looks at me and realises that I am getting agitated or even frustrated. He says “tranquilo tranquilo” meaning calm, calm.
Feeling that I am getting nowhere so I take the notes and I leave the office. I am wasting my time trying to get help and talking to people who are not aware of the procedures. My mind is now completely confused. I’m thinking this scenario is just as bad as being in an emotionally abusive relationship and being “Gaslighted”.
I have been to one organisation and followed the advice of the lawyer who tells me one thing. Then I go to another organisation that tells me another thing. I go to a third organisation and I’m told a different thing. How can a person not be confused at that point? So I just leave everything.
It gets to the week before the Court hearing for the case of “precarious eviction” the Lawyer is refusing to put forward any evidence or documents from my side whatsoever. She tells me that it is the Criminal Courts that deal with Gender violence and that non of the evidence I have can be put to the Civil Court as this is an eviction case.
I had already looked up Civil Litigation in Spanish Law. When I find that there is some cross-over between Civil and Criminal Courts. This is from my research.
Article 40 Criminal Prejudiciality
Article 49 bis Loss of jurisdiction when acts of violence against women occur1. When a Judge, who is hearing a civil proceeding in the first instance, becomes aware of the commission of an act of violence defined in article 1 of the Organic Law on Comprehensive Protection Measures against Gender Violence , which has given rise to the initiation of criminal proceedings or a protection order, after verifying the concurrence of the requirements set forth in section 3 of article 87 ter of the Organic Law of the Judiciary , it must be inhibited, sending the records in the state in that they find the Judge of Violence against Women that is competent unless the oral trial phase has begun.
2. When a Judge who is hearing a civil proceeding becomes aware of the possible commission of an act of gender-based violence, which has not given rise to the initiation of a criminal proceeding, nor to the issuance of a protection order, after verifying that the requirements of section 3 of article 87 ter of the Organic Law of the Judiciary are met, you must immediately summon the parties to an appearance with the Public Prosecutor to be held within the next 24 hours so that the latter becomes aware of any data that is relevant to the events that occurred. After it, the Prosecutor, immediately, will have to decide if it is appropriate, in the following 24 hours, to denounce the acts of gender violence or to request a protection order before the Court of Violence against Women that is competent. In the event that a complaint is filed or a protection order is requested, the Prosecutor must deliver a copy of the complaint or request to the Court, which will continue to hear the matter until, where appropriate, inhibition is required by the Court. Competent Judge of Violence against Women.
Yet, the lawyer was not wanting to present any of the facts from my side of the story. So I decided to go back to the Court House on June 3rd to put forward my evidence myself. I also wanted to ask what was the correct procedure for requesting a report of vulnerability. The Court Official does not understand English so I am again using the Google translate app to communicate. The security guard who can understand English and has helped before kindly offered to help me again.
After all the circumstances are explained the court official tells me that the Lawyer is not helping me. The court official then says I should file an official complaint. I was also told that I should have made a request for another lawyer who could understand and speak English. Yet, I was under the impression that because I had been appointed a free lawyer I was not able to request a change of lawyer. So then again I am given more conflicting advice.
I later discover that, if I had then sacked the lawyer on June 3rd, the verbal court hearing for June 10th would not have taken place at all. Apparently, in law, a person who is being evicted from a property is entitled to legal representation as a human right. They are unable to represent themselves in court. This would have postponed the case until a new lawyer was appointed.
Now I have a dilemma. What to do? Should I actually make an official complaint through the College Of Abogados? Do I go back to the Court and make a request for written proof of what I was advised by the Court Official when she told me that the lawyer was not helping me? Do I raise the necessary funds to pay for legal representation to take my complaint to a higher authority? Or do I start litigation in the UK following the advice of the CAVI lawyer?
If it wasn’t for the fact that I have met and spoken to another woman who lives in the Murcia region. A woman who was left in similar circumstances three years ago. Let’s call her Carol. Carol has had a totally different outcome to the experience that I am going through right now. Without knowing Carol, I might have believed that the Lawyer from the Bar Association was right.
Carol was not married, her partner left her, went back to the UK moved in with another woman. Left Carol in the Villa he had purchased. There was nothing in writing, there was only a verbal agreement. He had said he would provide a financial settlement that would help her to purchase another property in Spain.
She was negotiating through her former partner’s Solicitors, Carol’s former partner kept moving the goalposts. She had found a property, put down a deposit, and packed all the things in anticipation of moving. This was the point at which we met and started to compare notes on the advice we had been receiving.
Remain In The Home
We had both been told to remain in the home. It was best to negotiate.
Another Attempt To Prolong The Agony
The property she wanted to buy fell through. Her partner did not pay the settlement within the four months time frame in which Carol had to complete the purchase. At this point, it was two years post-separation and Carol was unable to move forward with her life. Her family helped her with the money to appoint a Spanish lawyer. The lawyer spoke good English and was prepared to negotiate with her former partner’s solicitor.
Eventually, there was some agreement. But again at the last minute, the goalposts were moved as there was a request to inspect the property. Her former partner then wanted to reduce the agreed settlement figure. Another attempt to prolong the agony, to leave her floundering again, and of course rack up more legal fees. More weeks went past, and coming up to three years post-separation. Finally, there was a settlement, her lawyer instructed that payment should be by bankers draft to avoid any possibility of a cheque bouncing or being stopped.
Three Years Spent In A Form Of Limbo
As she received the banker’s draft she moved out. Her ex-partner took possession of his house that was in his name. Carol was finally able to start her life over after three years spent in a form of limbo trying to negotiate a settlement with her former partner. Only it was not over yet. Through the process of purchasing a property she was asked for proof of where the funds had come from. The bank would not accept her explanation. They wanted proof from her former partner, again he did not cooperate and she lost a second property. Another waste of money.
The last time I spoke with Carol she had in fact purchased a property. She was in the process of getting the utilities turned on. Carol told me it was not what she was used to. She bought a small terraced house, but at least she has a place for herself. She was still worried that the remaining funds in her bank account were disappearing quickly. Another element of having to rebuild her life by securing an income.
It’s Not Over Yet.
I published my own story earlier this year. This article is an update and a continuation of the situation I have found myself in. I have recently been described as a “Fecking Warrior Woman” well maybe.
Three reasons why I published my first book.
1. To raise awareness of hidden emotional and psychological abuse in intimate relationships.
2. Highlighting the gaps in the laws that often fail women. As a warning to unmarried couples especially women who become or are financially dependent on their partners.
3. For information and educational purposes signposting to helpful resources.
Readers will also discover
- 2 Resources for keeping a record of incidents of bullying and emotional abuse.
- Writing as a way to heal – Letters to the ex – Letters to the other women
- 40 Signs of Emotional Abuse
- 4 Steps to Release Anger & Resentment
- 5 Ways to Recover & Heal