Divorce and separation – at what legal cost?

The result of a divorce or separation is that two households will often have to exist on the same amount of money as one did previously. Unless you are very wealthy, this will mean that there is noticeably less money to go round. The last thing you need is extra expense by way of legal costs. This article explains how to reduce your costs.

How to reduce costs
There is much you can do to reduce your legal costs, no matter which of the options below (or combination of them) you choose:

Do it yourself.
Use an online legal service.
Use a solicitor.

We explain each below

1. Doing it yourself
It is quite possible to do your own divorce without any legal assistance. Free forms and basic guidance notes are available from any divorce county court and court staff will help you with the procedure. However, they cannot give you legal advice.
Alternatively, at little cost, you can purchase individual forms or complete divorce packs which include more detailed guidance notes and explanations of the law from Internet legal sites such as ourselves at Net Lawman. Financial settlement forms and guidance notes and separation agreements (which are not available from county courts) can also be obtained. You might also consider buying a book to help you. There are many different books available on the market. We publish one that deals with all aspects of divorce and separation:

Advantages: the cheapest way of getting a divorce or separating in terms of legal costs;
Disadvantages: you need to do all the work; you have no objective professional advice as to whether what you are trying to do is acceptable.

2. Use an online Legal Services Company
There are now quite a few such companies providing a variety of services. We at Net Lawman offer a comprehensive range of services at a competitive price including:

Complete divorce service – advice and all your documents drafted for you;
Forms and document packs including detailed guidance notes and examples;
Advice on any family law issues including children, finances, living together;
Complete drafting service of family law agreements, correspondence and court documents;
Advantages: Expert advice and support is provided at a fraction of the cost of a solicitor. You get security in the knowledge that your proposals, documents and evidence are acceptable to the court and that any agreements accurately reflect what you have agreed;
Disadvantages: You are ‘acting in person’ – we cannot appear in court on your behalf. Although for most agreed family law matters you are unlikely to need to appear in court, it can happen that the judge wants to see you to clarify a particular issue. In disputed cases you will need to appear in court.

3. Using a solicitor
This is still a very popular way of resolving legal difficulties. In family matters, you should consider finding a solicitor who is a member of Resolution. Members of Resolution are committed to trying to resolve family issues in as non-confrontational a way as possible, so are likely to make your divorce or separation less stressful as well as less expensive:

Advantages: Expert advice, support and representation in court. Requires least effort from you;
Disadvantages: Highest cost.

A note on Legal Aid
If you are on a low income or on income support and you are using a solicitor, you may be entitled to financial help with your legal costs. This is not free. If, for example, you receive a share of the house you live in or a sum of money as part of your settlement, your legal costs will be taken out of that. It is, of course, possible to use a combination of the three options above. You may, for example, do your main divorce yourself, ask an internet legal services company for advice on your finances and ask them to prepare your case and then instruct a solicitor to represent you in court. Net Lawman advice:

Remember that, ultimately, your divorce isn’t about who is right or wrong but about how to practically provide a way to live for everyone;
Try to keep routes of communication open. You’re likely to feel angry, sad and, or revengeful towards your partner. This is perfectly normal and understandable, but if you want to resolve financial issues and matters concerning children without going to court (and without incurring increased legal costs), you will need to be able to talk to each other;
Make use of free resources like the articles on this site. The better informed you are, the better able you are to find a reasonable solution;
Know your own limits: do not start any legal proceedings unless you are sure that what you are doing is right. It can be more expensive and time consuming to correct something than to have professional help in the first place.

About the Author:
Net Lawman Ltd is an English company operated by Andrew R. Taylor. Most legal work is undertaken by Rajeev Goswami assisted by English barristers. Following are the relevant resources: separation agreement , separation agreements For more information, visit us at http://www.netlawman.co.uk
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