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Unexpectedly being asked to pay costs

  • scfisher
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19 Aug 2016 14:27 #482692 by scfisher
Topic posted by scfisher
A friend is separated from her ex husband. Initially they were going to get divorced under the 2 year separation rule. Then he decided he wanted to move on and engaged solicitors and said it would be under unreasonable behavior. She was a bit upset as he was the one who was unreasonable.
He engaged solicitors and sent through documents detailing and outlining the divorce Petition and the grounds of unreasonable behavior.
On that document the box was not ticked that respondent pays costs. She decided to let things go as she knew the divorce needed to happen.

Now the divorce document has come through from the court she has noticed that they have now ticked the box saying costs to be paid by respondent.

She doesn't have much in savings as all her outgoings go on the kids and paying for house. Her ex earns over eighty thousand a year before tax.

Is there any way she can argue she should not have to pay costs as the initial agreement (verbally but no witnesses) was he would pay for it all.

She doesn't mind paying half the court costs but as he cannot even afford to engage a solicitor so is representing herself so is now worried she is going to have to pay all of his solicitors costs. And he using the solicotor a lot.
Any help or advice appreciated.

  • .Charles
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22 Aug 2016 17:01 #482834 by .Charles
Reply from .Charles
The costs you are talking about is only in relation to the divorce process - not the other issues such as the financial matters. The costs are likely to be £1100-£1500.

Your friend could offer to pay half of the reasonable costs of the divorce provided that this is taken into account in the financial settlement at the end of the case i.e. when the finances are divided, the contribution to divorce costs is factored in to your friend's division.

Charles

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22 Aug 2016 22:58 #482848 by Blondiegirl
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This is similar to my situation except the ex has represented himself but has deliberately run up my legal bills to the excess of over £15,000.
When I instructed my solicitor not to contact him she said she had to.
It's all a bloody mess & im far worse off financially & still not divorced.
The judge has said it has to go to trial & I am unable to fund this

  • .Charles
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26 Aug 2016 10:11 #482971 by .Charles
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When you instruct a solicitor to act for you they go 'on the record' which means that all communications go through them. Similarly, if your ex has a solicitor who is on the record, your solicitor is not permitted to contact your ex unless it is through the other solicitor. Those are the rules of professional conduct.

It is possible to instruct a solicitor to advise but not go on the court record. This is what is known as giving ad hoc instructions. The benefit is that you can save money by dealing with the written and spoken communications but you can seek discrete advice as you need it. You can even instruct a solicitor to attend a hearing where they go on the court record just for the hearing (although few solicitors will do this at short notice as they have to deal with the case competently or risk being negligent therefore they will have to spend time reviewing and formulating a strategy before attending court).

One of the things a solicitor cannot do is ignore correspondence if they are on record - even if instructed to do so. In the face of such repeated instructions the solicitor could decline to act further and sever the retainer with their client.

Charles

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