One of the most important questions to ask at your first meeting with a family lawyer is “how much could this cost?” You may already have asked this question to family members, friends or even your hairdresser, and been worried by the variety of replies.
In truth, every case is different, with different factors to take into consideration. Your family lawyer should be able to provide a general breakdown of the Court fees involved in an uncontested divorce, together with an estimate of their costs. Your lawyer will also explain to you, that the costs involved in dealing with divorce, are separate to those incurred in dealing with financial matters.
It is in dealing with finances, that most of the costs are often accrued and therefore it is essential for anyone considering divorce to try and consider ways in which they can keep their costs to a minimum.
The 5 Tips
- If possible, try to reach direct agreements with your spouse on as many issues as possible. The less there is to dispute, the less your family lawyer will have to do. You can consider options such as Mediation, Collaborative Law and Arbitration to help avoid Court and narrow the issues.
- Try to keep your paperwork organized. Obtaining the property valuations and a Cash Equivalent Value for your pension at an early stage can save considerable time and ongoing costs.
- Try to contact your lawyer only when you need to. In most cases, costs usually increase because clients, quite reasonably, get in touch with their lawyer for updates. Family lawyers will usually write to set out the procedure involved at each step and seek instructions in correspondence at the earliest opportunity in anticipation of problems that may arise.
- Be cautious of fixed fee packages. Read the small print – what does the fee cover and, more importantly, what does it not cover?
- Do not get caught up in tit-for-tat correspondence with your former spouse. All of Spratt Endicott’s family lawyers are proud members of Resolution, a national organisation of lawyers who believe in a constructive, non-confrontational approach to Family Law matters. We do our best to avoid creating animosity, which not only serves to increase costs, but also makes matters acrimonious.
Finally, if you are struggling with costs, speak to your lawyer as soon as possible. He or she would rather you be open with them from the start, so that they can try and find ways to help you finalise matters while keeping costs as low as possible.