We understand that the costs of legal advice and representation is always a concern. Having complete control over the costs of your divorce or family matter can make a considerable difference to the experience of using a lawyer to assist with your relationship and children issues.
You can consult us as much or as little as you need to. We are happy to provide one-off advice at any stage or just represent you at a Court hearing or at a particular point in negotiations with the other party or their lawyer. We will assist you in considering which tasks you are able to take on yourself and advise you when it is prudent to consider expert legal advice, drafting of documents and legal discussions or to be represented at Court.
We can offer fixed fees for specified stages in the process so that you can choose which tasks you can take on yourself and when you want us to act. This enables you to decide in advance where you will get the best value for your money and so retain control of your budget throughout.
If you want us to take over your case entirely we will provide a detailed costs estimate at the outset and review this with you regularly to ensure you are kept informed of progress and made aware of any variation in the estimate, and the reasons for it, at the earliest possible stage.
We will always try to offer a fixed fee for the work if that is your preference.
One of our most popular options is to have a detailed written advice, often called Counsel’s opinion, at the outset so that you have a document to be able to digest at your own pace and refer back to whilst discussions with your spouse or mediation sessions are ongoing. We offer this for a fixed fee.
We will send you a questionnaire so you can provide us with full details of your circumstances and highlight the issues you are most concerned about. We will then provide you a detailed written advice informing you of the relevant issues in your case, how a court would approach the matter, outlining your options, or lack of options, the strengths and weaknesses in your case and the next steps should you wish to take matters further.
If you are the Petitioner (person who initiates the divorce) we can deal with your divorce for a fixed fee – you will also have to pay the Court fee to issue the divorce – currently £550.
If you are the Respondent (your spouse is divorcing you) we can deal with this for you for a fixed fee.
If you have an agreement with your spouse about financial issues such as what happens to the house, will you share pensions, is spousal maintenance going to be paid, it is vital you have a financial consent order. We can make the agreement legally binding for you for a fixed fee. We will review your needs and agree a fixed fee with you to give you peace of mind and full control of the costs. You will also have to pay the Court fee for a Judge to approve your agreement – currently £50.
Initial telephone consultation, or face to face at our offices if you prefer, to discuss your situation in detail. We will ask you to provide us with some basic personal details prior to this discussion in order that we can consider your situation and be able to draw your attention to the most relevant aspects and likely issues based on the information provided. This will give you expert advice specifically tailored to your needs to enable you to make a fully informed decision about how to proceed. If you decide to proceed in instructing us to deal with your matter, this fee will be credited against your ongoing costs.
It is usual in divorce proceedings based on unreasonable behaviour or adultery to ask the court to make an order that the other party pays your legal costs. It is good practice for family lawyers to address the issue of costs before issuing divorce proceedings in an attempt to minimise the issues. The cost of arguing about which party should pay the costs can often cost more in itself than the amount of the original costs that are in dispute so it is much better to compromise if possible.
If the other party has requested an order that you pay their costs without consulting you there is an opportunity to comment on this when you send back the Acknowledgement of the divorce petition and say that you don’t agree to pay the costs. You also have the opportunity to attend Court to speak to the Judge about it on the day your Decree Nisi (the first stage of divorce) is pronounced.
When dealing with cases about children the general rule is that each party will pay their own costs and it is also very unusual for the court to make an order that the other party pays the costs of any court hearings dealing with financial claims that arise out of the divorce proceedings. Unless one party has failed to adhere to court directions or timescales, or to make full and frank disclosure about their financial circumstances then you will each be paying your own costs out of your share of the matrimonial assets and/or your own income, this ‘rule’ is to encourage the parties to reach agreement at an early stage and not engage in adversarial or less relevant communications if they can be avoided.