Ian Walker

Ian Walker – Mediator and Collaborative Family Lawyer

Divorce Costs

There is a lot about costs in the cost section of our website.

We firmly believe in being transparent about how we charge and have always published our hourly rates on our website. We also offer fixed fees – but every case is different – so fixed fees are bespoke to the individual client.

When we redesigned our website in the summer of 2020, we included the title divorce costs – as a page to be added. When it came to writing the content – we started by googling divorce costs and we came across a number of unregulated websites offering low-cost fixed fee divorce.

As solicitors we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). This means that we must follow our professional standards which are set out in the solicitors code. You can tell if a practice is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority – because it is a requirement that the practice’s website includes a link to the Solicitors Regulation Authority which confirms that the website is

legal

verified as genuine. Our link is in the footer at the bottom of each page of our website.

Why regulation is important

When client instruct solicitors, one of the things which they are paying for is an assumption of risk by the solicitor. In other words – if things go wrong – the client has a route to complain to the solicitors regulator – which expects the solicitor to meet high standards. Also, a solicitors practice must, in order to be able to practice, have the right level of insurance – in case something goes wrong. On the websites we looked at – all we could see were internal complaints processes in unregulated providers.

Sorting out financial issues and children issues is ordinarily much more significant than the divorce itself

The thing to bear in mind with divorce is that in most cases the divorce itself is only a small and in many ways the least significant part of the job.

The divorce itself is invariably the cheapest part of the whole process.

The main matters to be decided in a divorce are financial issues and the arrangements for any children that the couple might have.

The divorce itself provides a legal framework to end the marriage and to enable final decisions to be made about finance. Some unregulated divorce providers will offer to prepare a clean break order as part of their package – and sometimes they might say that they will ask for this to be checked by a solicitor.

The importance of legal advice

Before anyone agrees/decides that a clean break is appropriate is one – we would strongly recommend that the take legal advice.

For a solicitor to be able to advise properly – the solicitor needs information. The information will relate to the means and prospects of both of the couple. We regularly see couples underestimate the worth and importance of assets and in particular pensions. Valuations might be needed.

The law is about meeting the reasonable needs of each of the couple and any minor children – in the context of the marriage. Unfortunately, we and most solicitors see people who have blithely agreed to clean breaks or other financial arrangements which are not fair and which do not meet the reasonable needs. The clean break order or alternative financial order is an important legal document. The starting point for anyone considering a divorce should be to take legal advice. The advice may be that there is good reason to delay a divorce – or not to seek a divorce at all. The advice may be that much more information is needed from the client to enable them to make a good and informed decision about what a fair financial settlement looks like.

Once a direction of travel and parameters are decided – then there are different routes that can be chosen to negotiate. This can include solicitor/solicitor negotiation or mediation or collaborative family law. Sometimes a court application is required.

Save now and pay later!

In our experience it is always harder (and in some cases impossible) to unravel a bad agreement.

Trying to unravel a bad agreement will normally result in a lot of extra cost.

A well-run and purposeful negotiation should lead to a good agreement and this will be much better value. This

Who wants to be the person who claimed to have saved £00’s at the cost of £000’s or £0,000’s or even £00,000’s

Think about your overall divorce costs and the cost of not getting good legal advice

We would therefore strongly urge anyone who is considering getting divorced to start with some legal advice as the very first step. The advice shouldn’t be taken at the end of the process or when bad agreements have already been reached.

We have a very experienced team of divorce lawyers and are happy to assist.

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