Divorce and dissolution of civil partnership - explanation about the expected divorce changes On 9 April 2019, the government published its response to the consultation paper, Reducing family conflict: reform of the legal requirements for divorce. The...
It is often difficult to predict costs of financial disputes on divorce because there are so many aspects of the case that will be very specific to you as individuals.
We have devised optional fixed fee packages that work on a staged basis depending on how quickly your case is able to be resolved. To try to enable you to budget and predict costs as accurately as possible in each stage of your case, we have devised the following fixed fee stages:
Preliminary work, to include consideration of voluntary financial disclosure of you and your spouse and initial negotiations.
Further work including drafting your financial Form E and consideration of your spouse’s Form E, drafting of initial Court documents, issue of Financial Remedy proceedings and work required up to and including attendance at the First Appointment Hearing at Court.
Subsequent work following First Appointment through to preparation for and representing you at Financial Dispute Resolution Hearing. Includes drafting of your Questionnaire and drafting your replies to your spouse’s Questionnaire.
Preparation for Final Hearing and instruction of Barrister if required.
- Cost relating to Final Hearing itself
- Payment Structure
- Arrange a meeting with a Legal Advisor to discuss the fixed fee package costs
- Final Hearing Court Representation
In relation to the Final Hearing itself this would need to be determined closer to the event depending on the timescales involved. Where a matter proceeds to a final contested Hearing and the parties have to give evidence, depending on the issues, often it is more appropriate for you to be represented by a barrister. The costs of doing so are in addition to the fees detailed above and any Barristers’ fees will need to be separately negotiated. As a guide, Barristers’ fees for a 1 day Hearing are usually in the region of £2,500 + VAT, with a further £1,500 + VAT per additional day. We can advise further on these costs closer to the Hearing.
Wherever possible, a representative from Crombie Wilkinson will attend Court hearings for you. Unfortunately, we rarely have control over the day that Court hearings are set and therefore inevitably situations will arise whereby your Crombie Wilkinson legal representative is not available to attend that hearing. In those circumstances, we will ensure that an alternative appropriate representative is made available either from within Crombie Wilkinson or if, when appropriate, to instruct a Barrister on your behalf.
If the representation of a Barrister is needed, there will be an appropriate reduction in the relevant fixed fee stage to offset against the Barrister’s costs. Barristers’ rates, however, quite often are higher than Solicitors’ rates and they will therefore have to be negotiated on a case by case basis. We will always strive to secure the best representation for you. In addition, due to complexities or particular circumstances of your case, there may be merit to you in having the representation by the Barrister which may require additional costs to be incurred and this would be reviewed and agreed with you.
Avoidance of Disposal of Assets
If as part of financial proceedings it becomes necessary to make an Application to the Court for an injunction to prevent your spouse from disposing of assets improperly, there will be an additional fixed fee to cover the costs of this Application and Hearing. Such applications are very rarely needed.
If as part of proceedings it is necessary to bring the matter back to Court for additional Interim Hearings to deal with any unforeseen issues which require the Court’s attention, a fixed fee will apply in relation to making this Application and related Court attendance.
In addition to the above costs of my firm, there would be separate fees incurred in relation to any experts that were required. It is possible that a formal valuation of the business would be needed or a possible Accountant’s Report. It is impossible to predict those costs at this stage as it would be third parties that were undertaking that work and it would potentially be Ordered by the Court. Such experts are usually instructed on a joint basis by both parties’ solicitors and therefore the costs would be shared. It is not uncommon for valuations of this nature to be anywhere between £1,500 to £8,000 depending upon the nature of the business. We would obviously have to secure appropriate quotes if and when we got to that stage.
Once agreement is reached:
In relation to the above matters, the above fees do not include the costs of drafting a Consent Order to reflect the terms of the agreement reached. An additional charge would then apply to whichever stage has been reached.
Once a financial settlement has been agreed, there may be additional work that is required implementing the terms of the Order. It will be possible to agree further fixed fees in relation to that specific work, for example, a transfer of equity or costs of sale of a property. Alternatively, the charges will revert to the traditional method of payment on an hourly rate which may prove to be more cost effective for you depending upon the nature of the work that is required.
In order that we can effectively conduct your matter, you must agree to:
1. Give us instructions that allow us to do our work properly.
2. Not ask us to act in an improper or unreasonable way.
3. Cooperate with us.
4. Not act in such a way as to delay or prolong matters unreasonably.
5. It can be the case that protracted negotiations can take place without any reasonable prospect of settlement without the involvement of the Courts. If this is the case, you will agree to accept our guidance that matters are unlikely to reach agreement without the issue of Court Proceedings.
We can extend negotiations if you specifically wish us to do so however if our view is that these do not have any prospect of achieving an effective agreement we would reserve the right to agree additional charges with you.
Whilst we try to offer fixed fee arrangements and the best price structures for you, family work is difficult to set to strict fixed fee arrangements. Family work is often about feelings, emotions and security issues for our clients and it is the overall service that Crombie Wilkinson offer that makes us stand out from the crowd. Our clients are of utmost importance to us.
The above fixed fee rates do not include advice in relation to children related issues. Such work is undertaken on an hourly rate and therefore the costs will depend upon the amount of work which you instruct us to carry out on your behalf. If the children issues become significant, then we are willing to discuss fixed fee arrangements in that regard. Separate details can be provided on request.
Public Responsibility Policy
Until 1 April 2013 in certain circumstances some individuals qualified for Legal Aid. From 1 April 2013 under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act, Legal Aid is no longer available except in very few circumstances.
We recognise that the cost of legal proceedings can be significant for families, particularly those on low incomes. We are therefore happy to try and formulate a package that suits your situation and the complexity of your case for clients who would previously have qualified for Legal Aid. This Scheme is available subject to financial eligibility but still requires regular payments on account of costs as the case progresses, including an initial deposit when the case commences.