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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.


Do you need help sorting out a fair financial settlement?

Our consultant service offers expert advice and support to help you reach agreement on a fair financial settlement quickly, and for less than a quarter of the cost of using a traditional high street solicitor.


Solicitors Fees / Hourly Rates

  • gp126
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25 Mar 08 #17666 by gp126
Topic started by gp126
Hi,
I made my first post on this website yesterday and after issuees between myself and my wife at the weeekend am now seeking a divorce. I rang a solicitor in Cambridge today to ask about an initial meeting and fees in general. I was told that the going rate within Cambridge is £200-£250 per hour (nice work if you can get it), obviously how many hours they spend on a case is variable and depends on particular circumstances.

My question is, has anybody out there (not neccesarily in Cambridge) got an idea of what an hourly rate is for a solicitor? Obviously I plan to contact more solicitors to build up a picture but couldn't due to work commitments today. The rate will obviously depend on the perceived quality of service/solicitor, and maybe I just picked one of the more expensive solicitors in Cambridge!?

Also does anyone have a ballpark figure for waht a divorce costs in total, as mentioned before this will depend on the case, but for say:

1. A straight forward case where both parties are collaborating amicably to reach a settlement.

2 A compilcated and drawn out case.

I'm sorry if my questions appear stupid, but I need to do some of the legwork in the evenings due to work commitments. Thanks in advance for any replies, on day 2 I am finding this website invaluable.

gp.

  • redoctober
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25 Mar 08 #17669 by redoctober
Reply from redoctober
hi there,

I am certainly not trying to be funny when I ask you : how long is a piece of string ?

The facts I know are the following :

- my own case ( which should be straight forward but is dragging on for reasons I can't fathom ) has cost some 10,000 pounds up to date

- a friend of mine has spent 3,000 from start to finish

- another one has to date spent 30,000 ( yes thiry thousand ) and the end is not in sight yet.

So you see why it is impossible to answer.

What keeps costs down is not so much the hourly rate that solicitors are charging, but you and your spouse arranging as much as you can between yourselves. Should that be possible, you only need a solicitor to finalise your wishes which will then be rubber-stamped by the court ( this is a distilled summary of what happens )

The moral of the story ? Keep takling to one another

Good luck Red

  • gp126
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25 Mar 08 #17670 by gp126
Reply from gp126
Thanks Red,
No offence taken to the 'how long is a piece of string' reference, I sort of knew that already. But the figures in your reply give me a good idea of what is possible accross the spectrum. I will try to keep communicating on an amicable basis with my wife, it is early days for me and i'm sure their is a long way to go and many hurdles, so your advice is most welcome!

gp.

  • Elizabeth
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25 Mar 08 #17678 by Elizabeth
Reply from Elizabeth
Hello,

Just seen your post and hope this is not too late a reply. The fees you quote per hour for a fully qualified solicitor are about right, very often once you have "instructed" a solicitor a junior solicitor will do all the admin and the rate will be marginally cheaper.

I would hesitate in instructing a solicitor unless absolutely necessary. As the previous post said the costs can vary enormously. The actual divorce itself can be as little as between 500 - 800 pounds. Where the costs escalate is when there is no agreement on how you divide up your assets. I always refer to the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 as a basis on which to work with - this is precisely how the courts deal with each aspect of any proceedings - if indeed it reaches that stage.

If you can avoid the court route do so - it will save you thousands. If there are children involved their needs will be a priority. Courts start with a 50/50 split of assets but various things such as the length of the marriage value of matrimonial home pension values (Cash Equivalent Transfer Value) etc etc.

I have been through to a Final Hearing (not my wish or instigated by me) so I will if you need any help/advice - I will..!

I did all my own letters/statements to the court and took "Ad Hoc" advice from a solicitor (any good solicitor will do this for you). I saved myself a lot of money but even so still had a bill of 7,000 which I could have gladly done without!!

Keep in touch on this site - it will help you enormously.

  • gp126
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25 Mar 08 #17679 by gp126
Reply from gp126
Hi Elizabeth,
And thanks for your reply! I have been reading numerous threads on the site and their is a lot of sound advice. My problem is that I am at v early stages of the process and have no knowledge of my options etc. I have an appointment tomorrow at a solicitors (initial meeting) to try and clarify this, but obviously going forward wish to keep costs/solicitors involvement to a minimum. As has been said elsewhere on the site I would rather spend this money on my child!

The Matrimonial Causes Act 1973; where can I obtain a copy of this internet/book shop?? Is this written in legal spiel or clear/concise English? How many pages is it? Does it lay out the whole process/options?

Another common theme/advice seems to be to maintain dialogue on amicable terms with my wife, again minimising red tape/costs.

Any advice you can offer is greatly appreciated!

gp

  • Fiona
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25 Mar 08 #17682 by Fiona
Reply from Fiona
Try www.statutelaw.gov.uk and enter the legislation and year at the top. :)

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25 Mar 08 #17683 by Elizabeth
Reply from Elizabeth
Hi,

I think Fiona has given you a link to the Matrimonial Causes Act, I am sure it can also be "Googled" (! sounds funny to me!) also...

Your first appointment with a solicitor will probably be first half hour free, a sound piece of advice I had was "use it wisely - not as a emotional unloading session!" This may seem harsh but in the early stages it is very easy toget caught up in the emotional side of divorce. I was in bits, I did not want to deal with it at all - it was not my choice and I found it extremely difficult as I was being bulldozed in a direction I did not want to go in. Eventually I started to treat the financial process as a business transaction - and I managed to emotionally detach myself.

A good book is the Which Guide to Divorce - I got it from the library but found I had to keep renewing it as I needed the keep looking things up! You could probably get it from the Amazon site fairly cheaply.

If you can keep communicating amicably with your wife I am sure you will save yourself a lot of money - as one post said you can agree things between you and have a Consent Order drawn up - it might be a good idea to mention this in uyour first appointment. Another good tip - write down your questions with a space underneath for the answer and stick to it!!

Hope all goes well, would like to hear how you get on...

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