It’s difficult to pin down the ‘average’ cost of divorce in the UK since there are so many variables involved: the method of separation you choose; the duration of the process; unexpected complications; and the price of moving house and other lifestyle changes etc. But there are ways to make the process run much more smoothly and effectively, not only reducing the cost but also minimising the stress and upheaval on you and your family.
The best way to reduce costs is to focus on the important issues. Arguing about pots and pans is costly and adds the length of time the divorce may take without adding anything to the outcome. Choosing an out of court method such as mediation, arbitration, or collaborative family law may also help to keep the costs down and get you to a settlement reasonably quickly. Each of these options allows you to negotiate the logistics of your divorce and financial settlement with the assistance of an experienced solicitor, while keeping your case out of court, thereby avoiding protracted proceedings and costly delays.
Mediation enables you to sit down your spouse with a neutral third party who will help you work through the process in a cooperative, non-antagonistic way, coming to a mutually position on all aspects of your situation, including property, finances, and childcare. Mediation has been shown to be quicker, cheaper, and easier than going to court, since you are able to resolve conflict and disagreements without the need for a judge’s decision. It is also an excellent choice for those with children, or couples who want a straightforward approach to dividing up assets, as it is based on collaboration and helps to reduce animosity and antagonism.
Collaborative family law is an ideal choice for couples with children who are looking for advice on how to plan their future as co-parents with children’s best interests in mind. The clue’s in the name, as couples work collaboratively with the help of a solicitor to make important decisions about their lives post-separation. It is one step up from mediation. Solicitors and couple works together to find the best for you. You make the decisions with the help of highly qualified legal advisors at your side.
For those who prefer to allow someone else to make the ultimate decision then arbitration is an excellent choice. A Family Law Arbitrator is an experienced family lawyer who has had extensive training to be able to make a decision on your behalf much the same way as a judge. The advantage is that it is private and the process is flexible. Arbitration is a good choice for couples who want to deal with financial issues out of court and decide on their own timeframe and schedule for proceedings.
In all cases, you can reduce the cost and time of your divorce by working together as much as possible with your spouse and by making preliminary decisions about how you’d like to divide assets and deal with finances and children’s issues before you meet with a solicitor. The most expensive part of separation is negotiating disputes and disagreements – particularly when it comes to money and children – as any conflict only extends the duration of the process, racking up legal fees in the process. Financial proceedings that can be resolved in a non-adversarial way will always end up less expensive than having to negotiate financial settlements, so the more you can cooperate and agree on the outcome the better.
Another large part of the cost of divorce is not directly related to legal issues but the general logistics of splitting up a household and starting afresh. Moving house, renting or buying a new place, and the cost of furniture, vehicles, taking on sole responsibility for bills and other day-to-day necessities all add up and put pressure on your finances, so it’s essential to sit down and factor in all these costs to your budget.
You may be tempted by DIY options, but these are a risk unless you have extremely straightforward circumstances, and in most cases it is still highly recommended that individuals seek the advice of a solicitor at some point in the process to avoid unnecessary and unexpected costs in the future. Many DIY divorce kits do not provide enough support and coverage for dealing with property, complicated financial situations, and children’s issues, and it’s far better to have the experienced support of a solicitor than discover you’ve made costly mistakes down the rad.
If you have children, you may also need to consider the cost of child maintenance, which can be calculated by the Child Maintenance Service or with the advice of a solicitor if you cannot come to a mutual agreement. The cost of maintenance will depend on how many children you have, how much time children spend with each parent, income, living arrangements, and other special needs your children might have.
For all separating couples, the support and expertise of an experienced solicitor is the best investment you can make – no matter whether you’re able to settle things out of court or need to pursue things further. At Frances Lindsay & Co we offer mediation, arbitration, collaborative family law, and support through court divorce, based on your unique circumstances, with fixed fees available every step of the way. We also provide a free 45-minute initial consultation to talk over your situation and help you to decide which method will be most suited to your needs. But most of all, our aim is to take the weight off your shoulders and help you through the process of separation as smoothly and quickly as possible. Get in touch at www.franceslindsay.co.uk to see how we can help.