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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.


I would welcome any advice

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21 Sep 07 #3793 by dragonfly
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I am almost at the end of my divorce. There is just the solicitor's fee and final finacial settlement to buy TS2BX out (already agreed in Consent Order). However, the solicitor's fee is, in my opinion too high even for legal aid statues. Can I argue for a fair price. How would one conduct the arguement. I felt thet I have been penalised for the indecisive decision by the courts/Judges.:unsure:

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23 Sep 07 #3821 by Sera
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In my divorce of 1999, I questioned a few of the costs, my solicitor reduced the invoice, just on my questioning.

I think you should go through (fine tooth-comb) and state your reasons clearly. (Mis-advised), etc.

It's worth a try! Why should anyone treat a solicitor any different than say they'd question a plumber?

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23 Sep 07 #3838 by dragonfly
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Thanks Sera for your reply. I am getting the silent treatment from my solicitor at the moment after sending her an e-mail about her cost of bill. :unsure:

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24 Sep 07 #3843 by wscowell
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Or maybe your solicitor is already at capacity just running the cases, and now has to deal with the extra burden of producing a lengthy summary of what was done and when. I am sure you said you were legally aided.

All legal aid firms have to have a system where they record all the work on a computer and the computer has to be able to do a printed summary of all the work done, so ask for that - a "WIP summary" (work in progress). If you don't like what you see, remember that you are entitled so see a full "solicitor and own client" bill drawn up in a way that shows every scrap of work billed for.

The firm can't demand payment from you, if you are legally aided. They prepare a summary and ask the legal aid to pay them. They can't do that until they can sign a certificate that you have seen the bill and raise no objections. As this is "contentious business" (i.e. litigation) you have the right to have the matter taken to a Court procedure called "Detailed Assessment" where the District Judge checks all the bits you are challenging and decides what was reasonable in terms of duration of the work, cost etc.

The firm gets paid by the Legal Services Commission after detailed assessment if need be. The LSC then comes to you for repayment under the "statutory charge" in due course allowing for the fact that if you recovered the home for yourself and any children, you are entitled to defer repayment - but interest will run on it, just like a mortgage.

The interest is more than you would pay under a mortgage, so get a mortgage to pay off the statutory charge if you can. It's cheaper. HTH

Will C

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06 Oct 07 #4386 by dragonfly
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From my last posting, I understand that the solicitor's firm cannot demand payment from me if I have legal aid but Legal aid will in due course get in touch with me for payment. However, the acting solicitor have in their client account my money of over £12k from the proceed of the sale of MH. Now the firm is demanding another £14k cheque from me to pay immediately. I think something is not quiet right here. She had been avoiding my calls and I have sent several e-mails to her. Yet no answer. I have now asked for her itemised billing and also her hourly rate under legal aid system. Urgently in need of advice please.

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08 Oct 07 #4458 by wscowell
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Dear Dragonfly

The hourly rate paid to solicitors under the legal aid system is fixed, and is about £67.00 per hour or £75 if the solicitor is a Resolution accredited specialist or a Law Society / SRA Panel member. As compared with £180-200 per hour for privately funded work.

Your solicitor should have ensured that the money you have obtained is recorded in the Order as "to provide a home for the Petitioner/Respondent" in which case you are entitled to defer payment of the Stat Charge. If this isn't in the Order (you should be asking why not - ? negligence?) then the sols must pay-over to the LSC the money they were holding for you, and then get paid by the LSC when they submit their Report on Case after detailed assessment if necessary. The system is very bureaucratic I'm sorry to say.

But total costs of £25,000+??? On a legally aided case?? That's enormous! You *must* challenge it. If your solicitor is ignoring you, write to the senior partner, demanding a full reply within 7 days, failing which you will take the matter to the Legal Complaints Service. (They used to be the Solicitors' Complaints Bureau, part of the Law Society, now an independent body albeit still paid for by the Law Society). That should light a bonfire under 'em.

Best

Will C

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08 Oct 07 #4469 by dragonfly
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Thank you so much for your reply. Its so much clearer the way you have explained the legal ais system. However, if I defer the state payment, would'nt it incurr huge interest?
Sorry, for my ignorant. I will be ringing the solicitor again today.
Many, many thanks.

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