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Costs for children's act proceedings

  • rustyspoons
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27 Jan 17 #488063 by rustyspoons
Topic started by rustyspoons
I've just had a conversation with a solicitor who said costs for a fully contested set of proceedings to get a Child Arrangements Order would be between £75-90,000 if it went all the way to final hearing.

Is this typical or does that sound high?

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27 Jan 17 #488077 by Forseti
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It sounds high to me, but your solicitor may know something I don't.

The cost is hidden in that phrase "fully contested" - the longer proceedings take, and the more resistant the other party is, the greater the cost.

Costs can be reduced by numerous measures: option one - don't go to court, resolve matters amicably in the best interests of the children.

Option 2 - represent yourself, don't use solicitors, and save a fortune, but scary and not wthout pitfalls.

Option 3 - similar to option 2 but use a McKenzie Friend - risky and make sure you seek recommendations.

Option 4 - similar to option 2 but use a solicitor sparingly for certain tasks you cannot do yourself (this is called "unbundling" or an a la carte service).

Option 5 - similar to option 3 but use a "direct access" barister for the final hearing.

And so on.

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30 Jan 17 #488205 by rustyspoons
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Thank you. I called the Wikivorce helpline and was given a much more realistic estimate!

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31 Jan 17 #488217 by jonathancj
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Are you in London by any chance? A lot of the central London firms quote figures that solicitors outside London simply don't recognise. When I was in practice, are used to reckon that you could add a nought to my bill if you used one of the major central London practices.

A good solicitor can be a huge benefit in adjusting expectations and introducing realism. They are invaluable for the haggling over details which form such a large part of reaching a final workable arrangement for the children. Oddly enough, I think they are less important in the courtroom itself, except for finding of fact and Final hearings. After all, a court hearing is just about two parents talking to an outside professional about how best the children are looked after. It's not a very technical business. A finding of fact hearing and some final hearings, however, are quite technical and a professional advocate makes a big difference.

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31 Jan 17 #488225 by rustyspoons
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Yes I am using a specialist London firm. I'm actually really happy with my solicitor's services - she is very responsive, helpful and has 'talked me down' from some unwise positions a few times.

I'm planning to keep her on if we can get this sorted via negotiation, but if it goes to proceedings (sadly looking likely) the costs will escalate so I'll have to change.

Thank you.

  • .Charles
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31 Jan 17 #488239 by .Charles
Reply from .Charles
That costs estimate is for an Armageddon situation.

The Family Court has a much more realistic outlook for timescale and attempts to conclude matters in around 18 weeks. Rarely does.

As part of this speedy process it is possible to go to a first hearing and end up with a final order by which each party is bound. This usually favour one party over the other hence it is better to try to agree matters between you (I know, it's easy for me to say).

I've seen Children Act cases reach the levels you have described but only after several years, many hearings and usually one very disturbed party who believes they know what is best for the child/ren despite input from experts who state the reverse.

Charles

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