There have been several reports in the media recently of cases where the costs of divorce have spiralled out of control.Just this morning I read about how one man was almost bankrupted as a result of the costs he incurred following his divorce.The court ordered him to pay his wife a substantial lump sum of £750,000, plus another £250,000 in respect of her legal fees.He had to pay his own legal fees and was left in a poor financial state. Undoubtedly not be as simple or straightforward as it appears, but it reminded me of casesI have dealt with where costs have uncesessarily spiralled.Despite divorce solicitors best efforts to keep costs in proportion, sometimes emotions take over and perspective is lost.
So what can you do to keep your costs down?Here are some tips to help you along the way.
1.Make sure you are clear about the basis on which you will be charged by your solicitor.Know what their charging rate is, if its a fixed fee what does this cover? Set aside a sum or earmark some of your income each month to pay your costs.Ask for regular invocies so you know the costs in your case.Most solicitors are happy to discuss costs and advise you about the costs impact of any significant action you take.
2.Use your divorce solicitor wisely. It may be tempting to call your divorce solicitor up simply to get things off your chest, but every time you do it inevitably increases your costs.Your solicitor will gladly listen but ask yourself whether it is advice you need or a shoulder to cry on.When you have a number of queries write them down, send them in one email rather than calling with each query which is more cost effective.Deal with your solicitors queries quickly to avoid them having to chase you. A good divorce lawyer will keep you updated so you can avoid increasing your costs by you chasing them.
3.Help your solicitor – take the time to keep your financial information well ordered and organised before handing it to your solicitorwhich will reduce the time they have to spend looking at the papers and the amount you will be charged.
4.Keep it amicable if possible.Try to reach an agreement with your spouse or at least keep good relations. The more time spent arguing over assets and/or going to court the more your fees will be.Once an application is made to court to decide an issue, costs can increase rapidly.To avoid contested proceedings try mediationto resolve issues.In conjunction with good legal advice this can be very cost effective.
5.Keep things in perspective.This is the golden rule particularly when looking at financial matters.Work out what the value of what you are fighting for or seeking to achieve.Too often the costs involved in doggedly pursuing your goal can outweigh the value of what you are aiming for.
At The Law House we are acutely aware that costs can be an issue and work with our clients to achieve the best possible result without disproportionate costs.Where appropriate we offer fixed fees.If you would like expert practical advice about your situation please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01245 809 556.