Turning your break ups and breakdowns into breakthroughs!
Are you worried about the cost of divorce?
Are you unsure about seeking professional legal advice?
When you are in the midst of a relationship break up you can have so much going through your mind that looking for professional advice can be confusing, daunting even. We will attempt to demystify the important aspects for you so you can make a better decision based upon your own best interests.
You can read about the stages of divorce, solicitors fees, and court costs. Thats one thing. But the costs spiral into your emotional, spiritual, and physical well being as well. We can support you through those emotional times and recommend professional legal services too. So relax, read on and really think about the next move that is the right one for you.
These will vary dramatically depending upon your location, the solicitor that you instruct, their position in the firm. Some may charge higher fees than others if you use a higher profile solicitor's practice, for example any you can expect any major city law firm or national law firm to have higher costs to an out of town family law firm. Costs can range from anything as little as £100 per hour to over £300 per hour. City Centre lawyers and particularly in the capital are always going to charge premium rates, and that does not necessarily make them better.
This is a personal matter for you to negotiate and agree with your legal adviser. For example, you could be charged an hour for the meeting you have with your lawyer then further hour for them to write up the notes of the meting! Remember, you are employing them, not the other way round, so don't let the cost of divorce spiral and set very clear expectations up front. That way you can avoid a nasty surprise in the mail such as an invoice for £25,000 before you even get to court!
A Solicitor will normally give you an estimated overall cost of the divorce based upon the time they think they would spend on your case. Beware the conditions. Letters, emails, copying, travelling can all add to the overall cost of divorce. Any legal argument that is contested or "defended" is clearly unpredictable and the costs can quickly soar.
If the divorce is not contested you can opt for a DIY divorce package which again, there are a number available online. Do you need a divorce solicitor?
Again these will vary depending upon who is instructed., and from what Chambers. Typically, a barrister will be self employed member of a set of chamber. They will pay for a clerk to manage their diaries and caseload. Barristers usually charge on a daily basis or per hearing to act as counsel at court. The fee can depend on complexity of the case and the amount of papers to read (ever wondered why the court files are so big?)
Costs can range from anything from around £500 for a court appearance again depending upon the barrister that is used. That, by the way, also include the situations where a settlement is agreed without a full hearing taking place. These are often called "out of court settlements."
Barristers are not normally contacted by the parties to a case. They are usually instructed by the solicitor.
One crucial thing to remember is every hearing you have a barrister you will also usually be paying the solicitors firm too, because they will send an assistant to take notes. So don't be surprised when the divorce costs go up and up, every time you go to court!
Here is an idea of some of the applications you can make through the courts directly. Most of these you can do yourself, but legal advice is always recommended because there are many legal loopholes that could damage your future interest if ignored now. Also, you might find some of the language used confusing so a solicitor can help. Approximate costs:
Mediation is fast becoming the norm in divorce cases to help couples negotiate outside of expensive court hearings. Mediation can take away all of the drama and all of the emotion and get down to business for a fraction of the cost of barristers fighting it out on your behalf. Your solicitor will normally refer you to mediation and costs can vary around the £100-£200 per session. Our stress free divorce page will also help you negotiate more easily.
OK so we have covered the basics for you. But each individual case is going to present its own unique challenges. You may also factor in independent financial advice, professional debt advice, conveyancing fees if there is a property to be sold, you may need personal or business accounts prepared for the court. You may also seek out counselling or other emotional support.
If you get it wrong, it could end up costing much more than you think. Maintenance payments, child care payments, future sale of property, or inheritance, future pension benefits. Make sure you get the right level professional legal advice to suit your individual needs. A few hundred or even a few thousand invested now could save you a small fortune in future.
Review the Cost of Divorce from the top of this page.
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