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Family Law Blog

Comment on divorce & family law 

What Katie didn’t do next

1 Comments

Katie Price appears to have made it very clear that she will not marry again. This revelation came on the same day as other reports which suggested she would wed Argentine lover Leandro Penna “at some point”. Not so clear then. I am less worried about clarity on her love life and future intentions though as I am with her not wanting to get married again “because it is too expensive”. I take it she is not just referring to the cost of extravagant receptions grand enough to grace the pages of OK! Magazine, but also the cost of the divorce when things go wrong.

Divorce doesn’t have to be expensive. As an industry I think we are not very good at conveying this message, something perhaps not helped by a minority of less scrupulous solicitors looking to make as much money as possible from clients rather than looking to offer great customer service with transparent pricing.

Cost being a reason not to get divorced is ridiculous. Not getting married because of fears over the cost of a divorce is also madness. A pre-nuptial agreement can go some way towards mitigating the cost of a divorce if things take a turn for the worse. Correctly executed, they can set out how assets will be divided and how any children will be looked after.

In terms of the cost of a divorce itself, there are certain fees associated with legal actions to take and papers to be filed, which will inevitably involve solicitor’s fees as well. Outside of that, commonsense steps can limit the cost of the process.

Agreeing a fixed fee with your solicitor is a good move so you know exactly what you are getting and how much it is going to cost. Allied to this is knowing exactly who is working for you. Are they a junior or even trainee solicitor, a general high street solicitor or a family law specialist? Charges will vary depending on their level and experience.

My three top tips for keeping a lid on divorce costs are:

Give clear instructions – make sure your lawyer is clear in what it is you want to achieve. Avoid changing your mind or ambiguous statements.

Establish a policy for correspondence – if you do not want your solicitor to acknowledge correspondence or respond without authorisation from you, specify this in writing

Do not allow emotional issues to cloud the facts – if you are making decisions based on emotions, they might not be the best ones, and so could extend the process and the time needed in court – which is where the costs really start to rocket.

For more advice on money saving tips, have a look at our video on the topic.

Andrew Woolley
Family Solicitor

Comments

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Andrew, I love the down to earth common sense in your BLOG posts. This one contains as usual some sound advice for ordinary mortals, who don’t know how to handle the complex and emotionally charged events of divorce, and are likely to be worried about losing control of the cost.
I would like to add to the point you make about emotion getting in the way of clarity. This is the time when the client needs to see some one other than their lawyer. I know many empathetic and sympathetic lawyers, who offer a metaphorical and sometimes real shoulder to cry on, at lawyer rates of pay. While I applaud their humanity I know they do not have the deep skills of a family consultant / counsellor / family therapist to help the client get their emotion in perspective and find their own solutions and clarity about what they really want. Even if the hourly cost is the same as lawyers, the money spent will save many fruitless hours of emotional turmoil and not lead to excessive dry cleaning bills for soggy solicitor shoulders!
This use of the right person for the right moment comes about when lawyers and other professionals work closely together as a team with their clients at the centre of this team. ...

By Nigel Heath on Friday July 22, 2011

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