Guest post by Hannah Madison
Going through a divorce can be one of the most difficult experiences anyone is likely to face during their lifetimes. Not only do you have to deal with the heavy emotional toll of separating from your partner, but there are also plenty of practical issues that need to be sorted, including finding a way of paying for the divorce itself.
If you and your former partner live in London, finding a way of paying for the divorce can be even more difficult. The capital is one of the most expensive places to live in the UK, if not Europe, which can make paying for things like a divorce particularly tricky. That being said, getting a divorce in London isn’t impossible, no matter what your financial circumstances may look like.
In this post, we discuss some top tips to keep in mind when it comes to paying for a divorce in London. This includes how to find the best value for money family law solicitor in London and investigating various out of court options. To find out more, be sure to read on below:
Tips to Help You Afford a Divorce in London
Find the Right Family Law Solicitor
Finding the right family law solicitor when you’re planning to get a divorce is absolutely essential. You won’t be surprised to learn that there are plenty of solicitors to choose from in London, which is why it’s important to carry out some careful research. This way, you can be sure that you are getting the best value for money, alongside a professional and effective service.
While you might be tempted to simply search for ‘cheapest solicitors in London’, this may not be the best approach. While, yes, you’ll be saving yourself money in the short term, you’ll still want to find a family law solicitor who you know you can trust and will protect your long-term interests.
So, make sure that you consider as many options as possible. Research a firm’s fees, whether they offer free consultations, who is likely to be handling your divorce case and what they will be offering as a part of their services. Only by taking the time to methodically research the sort of family law solicitor you want to work with will you be able to make an informed decision about what is truly the best value for money option.
Prioritise Getting an Out of Court Settlement
If your divorce ends up being contested, and you need to go to court to resolve certain matters, such as financial settlements and arrangements for children, the fees you need to pay can quickly escalate. The fact of the matter is that the representation you need for court proceedings can be incredibly expensive, especially when using a solicitor based in London.
So, what alternatives can be used to reach an out of court settlement?
Family mediation is a voluntary process that you and your former partner can enter into to help you resolve any disputes that have arisen while you’re arranging the details of your divorce. It involves you both meeting with a neutral mediator, who acts to facilitate a productive discussion and gives you both an opportunity to express what issues you have and what you would like to achieve.
A mediator does exactly that – mediates. They are not present to provide any legal advice, nor can they take sides.
Constructive negotiation brings both you and your former partner together, along with your respective solicitors, for round-the-table discussions geared towards reaching an out of court settlement.
Collaborative law is similar to constructive negotiation, with the main difference being that it is governed by what’s known as a Collaborative Agreement. This is signed by both you and your former partner, as well as your solicitors, and commits everyone to making the process a success.
The solicitors that sign the agreement are then banned from representing their clients in court if it ever comes to that.
Wait for No Fault Divorce to Come into Effect
Currently, in the UK, you can only get a divorce if you are able to prove the irretrievable breakdown of the relationship. You do this by relying on one or more ‘facts’, which are:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- Adultery (not available for civil partnership dissolution)
- Desertion for at least 2 years
- Separation for at least 2 years with the consent of both parties
- Separation for at least 5 years even if one party disagrees
This effectively puts the blame on either you or your former partner, creating animosity and increasing the chances for costly court proceedings.
However, this is set to change with the introduction of no-fault divorce. With this, separating couples will no longer have to rely on one of the ‘five facts’ to prove the ground for divorce and it will encourage a collaborative approach.
It will be introduced in April 2022, so waiting for it may be a good way of saving money.
Consider a Charitable Grant
If affording a divorce in London seems out of reach due to economic abuse, another option could be to take a look at whether charitable grants may be possible.
There are a number of charities and organisations that can offer you funding, and provide you with debit information and advice. These include Buttle UK, St Andrew’s Society for Ladies in Need and the Heinz, Ann and Carol Kroch Foundation.
Are You Concerned About Affording a Divorce in London?
That covers just about everything you need to know about your options for funding a divorce in London. The best advice is to make sure you do plenty of careful research so you know exactly what is suitable for your situation.
Have you got any other concerns about affording a divorce in London? If so, feel free to leave comment below with your thoughts!