It is difficult for anyone to predict how much you will spend on legal costs by the end of your divorce case.
How long your case takes and how much it costs is actually as dependent on you and your ex as much as anything else.
The more the two of you disagree, the longer the case is likely to take and the more you both risk spending on legal costs to get everything resolved.
When you make enquiries of solicitor firms to decide who you would like to work with in your divorce, make sure you ask questions about their charges and invoicing system. You’ll want to know;
- Do they offer a fixed fee for the divorce element of the case?
- Who has conduct of your file and what are their charges?
- Who else may be working on your file and what are their charges?
- How much is the first meeting?
- How often do they invoice?
- What monies on account do they require to start your case, if any?
This information will be set out again in a letter to you, once you have confirmed you wish to proceed with this particular solicitor.
Your overall divorce case is likely to involve two or three main issues:
- The dissolution of your marriage – the divorce itself
- Finances – reaching a financial settlement with your ex
- Children arrangements – If you have children, you will need to reach agreement on their care arrangements as well as financial support for them (if they are under 18, in full term education or require long term care).
Paying for your divorce case
There are various ways in which you can pay your solicitor’s invoices. These are as follows;
If you earn sufficiently, you may be able to simply pay the solicitor’s invoices as they come in.
You may have sufficient capital in savings accounts in your sole name, from which you can pay your solicitor’s fees. Or, you may reach an agreement with your spouse for both of you to use joint funds to meet your legal costs.
3. Your Spouse
You may reach an agreement with your spouse for them to pay your legal costs. This may be relevant if you don’t work, have no other form of income and your spouse has been the breadwinner during the marriage.
You may need to consider taking out a loan from a family member or friend or a bank loan. If you are lent monies by a friend/relative, you will need to show this is in fact a loan and not a gift. The lender can provide a letter to prove this and that they will be expecting the monies to be paid back.
5. Litigation Funding
Your solicitor can talk to you about options available for “litigation funding”. This is a type of loan used in divorce cases to provide someone who does not have any other form of meeting their legal costs with the funds to do so. It is, however, worth bearing in mind that this is a loan and these types of loans usually have very high interest rates.
6. Sears Tooth Agreement
This involves you reaching an agreement with your solicitor that they will get paid in full from your financial settlement before you receive any monies. These types of agreements are now fairly unusual but you could still ask whether your solicitor offers this.
How to keep your legal costs down
The best way to do this is to ensure you only use your solicitor for what they should be used for, i.e. legal representation and formal legal advice. Their role is not to provide emotional support and for this you should look to work with a divorce coach and/or counsellor. Working with a divorce coach/consultant such as myself can also help save you a lot of money on your legal costs.
Thank you to Divorce Consultant Rhiannon Ford for this informative blog for The Group Hug Community. If you wish to contact her regarding funding a case or any other divorce matter, get in touch.