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What are we each entitled to in our divorce settlement?

What does the law say about how to split the house, how to share pensions and other assets, and how much maintenance is payable.

What steps can we take to reach a fair agreement?

The four basic steps to reaching an agreement on divorce finances are: disclosure, getting advice, negotiating and implementing a Consent Order.

What is a Consent Order and why do we need one?

A Consent Order is a legally binding document that finalises a divorcing couple's agreement on property, pensions and other assets.


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How to claim Costs

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26 Sep 09 #149644 by nosurrender
Topic started by nosurrender
Hello
Has anyone Got any idea how I claim the legal costs? My Ex was ordered to pay the costs of the divorce when the Decree Nisi was issued. Other Financial stuff was settled in court yesterday and the judge hinted that to claim my legal (sols and court fees) costs back re the divorce I had to submit some forms through the court. Any idea what these forms are as he was a little unclear.
:S

  • .Charles
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28 Sep 09 #150039 by .Charles
Reply from .Charles
If you are representing yourself the costs will be minimal - limited to the court fees and possible a marriage certificate fee (if you obtained a duplicate) and an oath fee (if the special procedure affidavit was sworn anywhere other than at the court).

However, if a solicitor represented you at any time and carried out work in relation to the divorce (just the divorce not any finances or children issues) then you can claim these too.

The first step is to itemise your costs on a sheet of paper - description on the left, cost on the right. Put the total at the bottom. Put the case number at the top right and head the sheet with the parties to the action (Between X, Petitioner and Y, Respondent)

Send a copy of the sheet to the other side and invite them to pay or to make proposals for settlement within 14 days. You should indicate that if no response is received within 14 days you will apply to the court for assessment and you will seek to recover the court fee in addition to the costs detailed on the attached schedule.

There is no point in detailing the assessment procedure until you have carried out the steps above. Post back here with your progress.

Charles

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02 Oct 09 #151393 by nosurrender
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Hi and thanks for the advice.

I submitted costs of 1122 detailing as you advised, legal fees of 715 being bulk after that it is all court fees.

She has come back with 800 and lots of "I think this is fair and I think this is reasonable".

Last Friday we met at court and she was ordered to pay me a lump sum buy the judge, he saw a way out and I accepted. It was only 5K and she was so spiteful and angry at me and the judge. I compromised lots in getting to this point we, no need for details now.

In my divorce, given because of her unreasonable behaviour and she was ordered to pay costs. I just want her top pay the costs she is so angry that she can not see past that and is fighting every step. I asked for the 5K settlement the judge ordered in January but it took going to court to force her to pay. so it looks like I will have to go to the court for what you called an assessment of my fees.

What do I need to do then?
Do you think I am likely to get my full 1122 or is the court likely to split it say 50% or 70%?

cheers

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02 Oct 09 #151428 by .Charles
Reply from .Charles
If there is an order for costs in your favour that will be for 100% of the costs subject to the test of reasonableness by the Judge. The Judge will only make a reduction on an item by item basis if those items are deemed to be unreasonable in amount. The court has made the order and will not override this by only allowing a certain percentage of the costs unless those costs have been scrutinised and reduced with good reason.

eg. if 60 minutes is claimed for preparing the divorce petition, the other side may say that it was a short Petition and 30 minutes is more appropriate. You might say that the particulars of divorce are lengthy (but only if they are) and 60 mins is fair. The Judge will make a decision and leave it as it it, reduce it to 30 minutes of somewhere between 30 and 60 minutes.

Personally, I would never advise anyone to fight a claim for £1122 for the whole divorce proceedings. A basic rule of thumb is that for a simple uncontested divorce the costs should be 3.5-4 hours work + VAT + disbursements. Let us assume that the solicitor's hourly rate is £150 - the figures look like this:

£525.00 - £600.00 Costs
£78.75 - £90.00 VAT
£300.00 petition fee
£40.00 Decree Absolute fee
£7.50 Duplicate Marriage Certificate fee
£5.00 Oath fee

This will give a gross value of between £956.25-£1042.50.

If the other side did not cooperate with the divorce additional expense will have been incurred such as chasing the acknowledgement of service, instructing a bailiff to effect service, instructing a process server to personally serve, sending additional letters in relation to the order for costs etc. Every letter will cost £15 + VAT which are costs of the divorce and recoverable from the other side.

To settle the matter I would make an offer to settle in the sum of £1000 to be payable within 14 days of acceptance of the offer and give 14 days to respond to the offer or you will seek that the court list the matter for assessment - the costs of which you will seek from the other side. With any luck you will have to wait a maximum of 28 days for the money and you won't have to go to court.

As litigant in person you should write to the court and request that the matter be listed for a divorce costs assessment hearing. The court is likely to write back with the appropriate form (N258) and request a court fee but you might get lucky and get a hearing for free. The court fee is £300 last time I looked which is why it is better to settle.

Charles

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04 Oct 09 #151818 by nosurrender
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Hi Charles,
A good idea on the £1000 offer and I may try it.
You see 9 months ago I asked for £5k for a loan and £1k for my legal fees. She forced me to go to court and at the FA the judge granted me £5k made a final order and of course I have the order she pay fees. Yet here I am again arguing the toss over a few quid with her and in the end she will loose but her anger means we are likely to go to court over the costs. Grrrrrrr

Anyway I think my costs are very reasonable
£715 for the sols all in total
£300 for petition
£40 for the absolute
£40 for the D11 I had o submit as she held the original marriage cert
£27 for the marriage cert copy I had to get got married in Cyprus

So i will try one more return offer on costs but I think on balance the Judge will see my bill for fees as reasonable. Do I write to the court with an open letter...

dear court re case number XXX
Respondent has refused to pay the costs so ordered in July 2009. Please advise further


something like that/

Does anyone have an old template they used?

cheers
:blink:

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06 Oct 09 #152462 by .Charles
Reply from .Charles
Something like this:

"
Dear Sirs

Case number: *************
Petitioner *************
Respondent **************

Re: Costs order dated ***********

I write in relation to the above costs order in divorce proceedings which the Respondent has not yet paid.

I am now acting in person but I have provided details of the costs incurred by my solicitor and these are detailed below as follows:

£715.00 - Solicitors costs inclusive of VAT
£300.00 - Court fee for petition
£40.00 - Court fee for Decree Absolute
£40.00 - D11 form as the Respondent held the original marriage certificate
£27.00 - Copy marriage certificate obtained from Cyprus

£1122.00 TOTAL

As the Respondent has not paid these costs I now request that the court list the matter for an assessment of those costs. I would be grateful if the court could provide guidance on the procedure if this letter cannot be treated as my application for the assessment.

Yours faithfully
"

The court may tell you to make a 'proper' application but that really is a pain so try with the letter and see if that gets you anywhere. If you have access to your solicitors file I may be able to help you out if needs must but see how you go.

Charles

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