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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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Challenge my legal bill

  • pattyb
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10 Jul 15 #463985 by pattyb
Topic started by pattyb
Hello
I have a question regarding my legal bill
I had a terrible divorce and STBX failed
to produce any paperwork or disclosure.
There were attempts to get him to comply
but he dodged them and my sols did not
serve him with either of the 2 penal notices
so there was no real disclosure. My legal aid
bill for taking him back to court became very
high and the partner at the firm told me
£18,000 plus. After a solicitor at the firm
was extremely abusive to me, the firm agreed
to continue my divorce at no additional cost
to me and eventually after i asked for a copy
of my bill, they limited my legal aid certificate down to £8,000 from £18,000.
I am concerned however because in a letter
today they refer to my bill that was £18,000 as only being £13,000. The firm have
not sent me any information about how these (Bills) were complied, what I was
being charged etc and I as them in 2013 for the information and they have not sent it to me. Can anyone tell me how i can get my bill looked at and whether I have any
right to see it. All they ever did was
just keep on applying for more and more
legal aid and I was not sure what it was
being spent on or why when i asked for the
bill information, they suddenly reduced the
bill by £10,000 or whatever figure it really was. I hope someone can advise me
many thanks

  • .Charles
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13 Jul 15 #464069 by .Charles
Reply from .Charles
As the person who will have to pay the bill from your settlement you have a right to see the bill and to dispute it if you wish.

On a legal aid certificate there will be a financial limitation which can be extended but not (usually) retrospectively. This means that your solicitor cannot charge more that the highest limitation.

In order to get paid a solicitor must prepare a bill, serve it upon you and then submit it to the legal aid agency or to the court depending upon the value of the bill. If your case the bill is likely to be submitted to the court where a judge will ''assess'' the bill and reduce or delete any items which are deemed to be unreasonable.

Charles

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13 Jul 15 #464072 by pattyb
Reply from pattyb
Thank you charles

The information you have given me
has helped tremendously especially
as I have been given in writing a
much higher bill than my actual bill
may be. I will ask again for a breakdown
of my bill, which I originally asked for
in Jan 2014 and they have not sent me.
They just offered to reduce my bill by
£12,000 e.g. the £20,000 they said my bill
was in their letters reduced down to £8,000.
Something seems wrong to me so I shall certainly
get the bill looked at.
Can I just ask one more thing, do you know
if my legal aid will extend to cover enforcement
if my STBX does not follow the payment
schedule...as £8,000 is money due to the
legal aid board (the sols picking up the
remaining £12,000) how will I be able to
afford to take STBX back to court to recover
the legal aid bill money if they will not
fund me to do so. I am assuming that my STBX
will most likely have to pay the costs in a
breach. I do not recover any money directly
myself because the settlement is £28,000
of which £20,000 is to pay debts and £8,000
is the legal aid bill remaining. I am on
income support and a carer to my disabled
son so sadly do not have any money or assets to pay to take STBX back to court if
(more likely when) he defaults. Just wondered if you had any thoughts on what the
legal aid board,s position might be or whether I should contact them about it?
Many thanks for your help
Patty

  • .Charles
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13 Jul 15 #464096 by .Charles
Reply from .Charles
Unfortunately the legal aid agency won''t pursue your ex unless there is something in it for them. If you pay their bill in the first instance they won''t fund you to obtain that money from your ex.

Going back to the original bill at £20k - I would imagine that a costs order was obtained against your ex which allows the solicitor to recover a higher hourly rate - usually three times as much.

In the event that those costs are not recovered you have to foot the bill but only at the lower rates which are around £68 + VAT per hour. This would explain the difference in the bill totals.

Charles

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13 Jul 15 #464099 by pattyb
Reply from pattyb
Thanks for your answer I dont know about
any court order that had allowed the sols
to charge more, the figure of £20,000 was
quoted when there was no court order save
a heads of agreement agreed by the sol instead of a final hearing. The Consent Order which was not finalised
until June 2015 sfter the solicitor told me
she could cancel my legal aid and I could re apply to finish the divorce myself. I felt this was wrong and found out that legal aid would not just allow me to sign off
and then go to another solicitor. I felt I had no choice but to go with the heads of agreement into a Consent Order or have no way forward with such a high legal aid bill. The original bill was
put to me
in writing in 2011 and again in 2014 when I asked what my legal bill was? I will
have to get an itemised breakdown from them
(I originally asked for one in 2014 but they did not send me one)and then get some advice
as to what they were charging me.
Thank you so much for your answers
you are a star!

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15 Jul 15 #464197 by Rumbled
Reply from Rumbled
I queried my legal aid bill in great detail and when I was contacted by the Legal Aid Agency it appeared to have reduced by approx. 2/3rds, I just kept quiet thinking that they had either made a mistake or they had taken my points into account and re-calculated the bill. No order was made for costs from my ex so I assume from what was said earlier, the amount may be correct?

  • .Charles
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16 Jul 15 #464233 by .Charles
Reply from .Charles
Once the amount is calculated you will receive some notification. If a Charge is to be registered on your property you will receive some kind of account from the Legal Aid Agency head office in London who will keep track of payments due, interest accrued and payments received.

Charles

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