Settling Financial Issues During Divorce
How Much Will It Cost?
How much it will cost to resolve financial issues between separating or divorcing couple depends upon how contentious those issues are between the parties.
Some of the cases we deal with are very straightforward and some are more complicated. We charge for the time we spend assisting and advising clients with their divorce proceedings, and we are happy to support clients who wish to keep their legal costs to a minimum by filing their own documents. Where we are filing the documents at court for our clients, our charges are usually between £500 and £1,000 plus VAT.
Anyone filing a divorce petition has to pay a separate Court fee which is currently £593.
Financial Consent Order
Both parties should always aim to prepare a document called a Financial Consent Order. This is a legal agreement that sets out how the financial issues have been resolved. The document is sent to the Court with a standard form for approval by a Judge. Once approved, the Order is binding on both parties.
There are various ways that we can help couples get to this stage. Couples can agree matters between themselves, and if they are able to do that we can prepare the Financial Consent Order, which is then posted to the Court with an additional standard form that has to be sent to the Court every time you ask a Judge to approve a Financial Consent Order. Our costs for this will depend on the complexity of the financial resources involved and we are happy to provide estimates at an early stage.
Another option for financial settlement during divorce involves mediation. This can help parties keep their costs to a minimum, with a professional mediator helping the couple try and reach settlement proposals. If they manage to do this, both parties can obtain independent advice before any legal documentation is drawn up. The costs very much depend upon the number of meetings required with a mediator, but the process is normally a lot cheaper than using lawyers charging an hourly rate to do all of the negotiations.
Negotiation by lawyers
If for any reason mediation is not appropriate, then the lawyers can gather in all financial information and put forward proposals for settlement, whether in correspondence or at round table meetings. Ultimately, the lawyers try to help the couple reach an agreement so that it can be included in a Financial Consent Order to be sent to the Court. The costs for this approach depends on the time spent by the lawyers.
There are other processes available to clients such as collaborative practice and arbitration but the costs for dealing with those need to be considered on a case-by-case basis by the lawyers involved.
Going to Court
Ultimately, if an agreement cannot be reached, the parties have to go to Court and that can be extremely expensive. The minimum bill can be in the region of £15,000 plus VAT together with any Court fees and/or experts that need to be involved. However, there are cases that, if they go to Court, can cost over £100,000 plus VAT and disbursements. It is for this reason that we work very hard with our clients to try and help them reach an agreement so that Court proceedings can be avoided.
For more information please contact our family team.
‘Doing the right thing’ is at the heart of Freeths. Find out more about our excellent client service and the strong set of values that guide the way we work.
Talk to us
Freeths are a leading national law firm with 13 offices across the UK. If you have a query about our services or just want to find out more, why not give us a call?
Contact: 03301 001 014