The Cost of Divorce

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Recently, in possibly the surprising context of the jostling position over Brexit negotiations, there has been quite a lot of talk about the cost of divorce.

Furthermore only last week on ‘Question Time’ the fragrant (at least in certain areas on the other side of the Severn Bridge) Leanne Wood said,in a similar context, that ‘in a divorce the lawyers are the only winners’. Last week the BBC and the sainted Sir Cliff were also arguing about the amount of lawyers fees.

So in the light of this – what is the cost of divorce? First of all it has to be said that the cost is not merely financial but emotional as well. The cost can be considerable and it should also be borne in mind that in divorce cases it is normally the case that each party pay their own costs both with regard to financial and children related disputes and proceedings (two areas in which most ‘divorce costs’ are incurred) and an order that one party pays the other’s costs is very much the exception rather than the rule. However in the actual divorce proceedings a Petitioner can obtain an order against the Respondent spouse that he or she pays the Petitioner’s costs although it has to be said that in the grand scheme of things the actual costs of the divorce suit are not vast.

Given that the costs and fees of the lawyers (whether they be Solicitors or Barristers) can be high, serious consideration needs to be given to the selection of one’s lawyer at the outset.

The central issues in a divorce – who divorces who, how finances are resolved and what arrangements can be put in place in respect of the children of the family – can be sorted by the parties themselves but if that is not possible (which is often the case and is often also unwise) then mediation can be explored, Solicitors can be involved or, if all else fails, a decision can be sought from the Court. The latter option should be viewed very much as a last resort given factors such as the uncertainty of the outcome and the enormous cost involved in Court appearances.

It has to be said that a confrontational approach by the parties and/or their lawyers invariably leads to an entrenchment of the positions of the parties and the ramping up of costs – grist to the mill of the likes of the aforesaid Ms Wood. In light of this there is much to be said to the instruction of lawyers who are either members of organisations such as Resolution or the Advanced Family Law Panel or adhere to the principles espoused by those bodies. We at WSP have in the Family Department members of Resolution, the Children Panel and the Advanced Family Law Panel, Solicitors who don’t just look at following the most costly option.

Please get in touch with WSP Solicitors to speak to a specialist in Family Law.

Read more Family Law articles here.


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