It may surprise you to know that 42% of marriages end in divorce (source: Office for National statistics ). With summer holidays looming we can expect another spike in divorce applications, the unfortunate result of couples spending more time than usual in each other’s company. For couples whose relationship is already under strain spending holiday time together, often in the company of extended family, can be the last straw and lead to an irretrievable breakdown in their marriage. But while divorce can be costly in terms of health, family relationships, and social life, the financial implications can be reduced with some careful planning.
If possible, the first sensible course is to remain on good terms with your spouse. The more you can discuss and agree between you, the less involvement you’ll need from your solicitor, and the quicker the divorce will go through. Naturally, keeping on good terms with each other will have a positive effect if there are children involved and where regular access is desired.
Preparing as much background information yourself on the reasons for the breakdown of the marriage, as well as providing financial and personal information will also help to save costs. Put simply, the more work the solicitor has to do in these areas, the more they will need to charge the client.
Some Family Law firms offer a fixed or reduced fee for an initial consultation, so check that your solicitor gives you this option. And ask them how they would charge for handling your case beyond the first meeting, so you can plan accordingly.
Divorcing couples should also think carefully about the legal methods they wish to employ to resolve any disputes:
- Settling matters in court is usually the most expensive option, so should be avoided wherever possible.
- Matters can be resolved between the two sets of solicitors, either by letter or via face to face meetings, sometimes with their clients in attendance.
- Using a trained family mediator can help to reduce divorce costs. A mediator can offer advice on any proposed settlements, and usually charges an hourly rate which will often be split between the applicants. Solicitors are not normally present at meetings, but will offer guidance in the background.
- A relatively recent method introduced to resolve family disputes is the use of an agreed arbitrator, or judge, sitting in a private court. This has the advantage of being a much quicker option, which consequently can cut the cost of a divorce.
Whichever approach you choose there is no avoiding the court fees themselves – it currently costs £550 just to file a divorce petition.
Sadly, in this world not all couples can live happily ever after. But at Bretherton Law we’ll aim to make your separation and divorce as pain-free as we can, and give you a sympathetic and professional service that won’t cost the earth. (or “won’t break the bank”)
Contact family law solicitor Heidi Fleming at Bretherton Law on 01727 869293 for more confidential and practical advice. Alternatively you can book your family law appointment online. Your first, fixed fee family law appointment is just £100.00 plus VAT.