Help with the Financial Settlement process
Our consultant service offers expert advice and support to help you reach agreement on a fair financial settlement, at a very affordable cost, typically a few hundred pounds rather than the several thousand you would spend with a traditional solicitor.
3 hours of support
Who is this service suitable for?
This service is suitable for anyone who needs to sort out a financial settlement related to divorce, cohabitee separation or civil partnership dissolution.
If you have already discussed and agreed a deal with your spouse/partner then you can skip this service and move to to arranging a Consent Order.
If you have not reached agreement yet - and would like some expert help - then this service is an effective and low cost way to reach a deal.
Examples of clients using this service include:
- people who require expert help on their case, but who cannot afford to pay thousands for a traditional solicitor.
- people who want to remain in control of their case and not hand it all over to a solicitor.
- people who plan to attend mediation and want advice and support to help them achieve their objectives in the mediation sessions.
- people who are going to court over the finances and would benefit from some help to produce their court documents (Form A, Form E, Questionnaire etc) and prepare for the live hearings.
This flexible service can be used in two ways:
1) We support and advise you, whilst you spouse/partner gets advice from their own solicitor (or friends/family).
2) We can help you both by providing a structured process and joint video or conference calls to assist you to discuss the matter and reach agreement (in a similar way to mediation).
What is the legal process?
The detail of the legal process varies, depending on which method of negotiation you choose to use (i.e. use solicitors, DIY, mediation or court).
However all of the above methods include at least the following four major stages:
1) Financial Disclosure
All of the professional approaches to reaching a fair financial settlement begin by getting the two parties (you and your spouse/partner) to provide each other with the details of their overall financial situation.
This is generally done by each side filling out a Financial Disclosure document and then exchanging these documents with each other.
In the document they declare their overall financial worth including property, pensions, savings and investments. They also list their debts/liabilities including mortgages, loans and tax liabilities. Their current and expected future income (e.g. salary and any other income) is also provided.
The standard document used for this exchange of Financial information is the Form E template provided by the court service. The parties can by agreement decide to exchange high level information or very detailed information.
After the initial exchange each party will review the documents and decide if they are satisfied with the information provided. If either side feels that the figures provided are incomplete, inaccurate or misleading then there will be a phase of additional disclosure requests.
This may include:
- asking for more details (e.g. bank statements)
- asking for formal valuations of assets (e.g. property survey or pension report)
- enquiring about incomplete information (e.g. declaring missing bank account)
Once the financial disclosure is complete you can progress to the next stage.
If the other party is unwilling to voluntarily provide a full and frank disclosure you may be forced down the path of taking the case to court where a more rigorous disclosure process will be applied.
2) Legal Advice
Once both parties have exchanged full financial disclosure then we can provide you with information on what the law says about fairly dividing your assets.
Many people assume that the assets should always be split 50/50. Whilst this is sometimes true, it is often a little more complicated to determine a fair split.
There are many factors that have a bearing on what you are entitled to in a divorce settlement, including:
- how long you have been married
- how long you cohabited before the marriage
- how long you have been separated
- your ages and your health
- how many children you have and who will care for them
- your comparative salaries/incomes
- who owned the assets at the start of the marriage
- any inherited assets
- any gifts or loans received
Consideration is given to both of your contributions to the marriage (financial and non-financial e.g. child care).
A major focus when assessing a fair settlement is to consider the "financial needs" of each party. How much does each person need to set themselves up post divorce/separation? How much capital do they need (money from the house)? How much income support/maintenance do they need?
Our Divorce Consultant can assist you by providing expert advice and a proven methodology to enable you to carefully determine the fair settlement that fits your particular circumstances.
After stage 2 you should have you have a clear idea about what a fair settlement looks like - based on your needs, your legal position and your individual circumstances.
In stage 3 we will assist you to negotiate the detail of your financial settlement with the other party (your ex/spouse/partner).
The negotiations can take many forms depending on how your case progresses and particularly on the approach of the other party:
- For couples who choose to work together on this - we are able to host interactive discussions where our Consultant can assist you to discuss and reach agreement on the overall deal and the finer details.
- Where the other side is using their own solicitor (or other advsior) we can assist you to negotiate via offer letters and other written communications.
- Where the couple have chosen to attend mediation we can support you throughout the mediation process, making sure that you are well organised and prepared for each mediation session with the aim of ensuring that you achieve a good result from the mediation process.
- For those clients whose voluntary negotiations have failed, and whose case has gone to court, our Divorce Consultants provide much needed support with all of the court paperwork, court hearing preparation, case strategy, legal procedures and any other support that you need.
4) Consent Order
Whichever of the above paths your case takes, you will eventually reach a point where a deal has been agreed.
You can then use our fixed fee Consent Order service to have this agreement written up in a legally enforceable document. The Consent Order will be submitted to the court for approval, and once ratified by a judge, the settlement process is complete - and you will each get a copy of the final agreement.
In the vast majority of cases a deal is negotiated out of court, and the last step is the formality of drafting the deal into a Consent Order.
Even for difficult contested cases that go to court hearings, around 80% of them are settled through very formal in-court negotiations that take place at a Financial Dispute Resolution hearing. These cases also conclude with a Consent Order.
Only in the most difficult cases would the process reach a Final Hearing at court - and these cases conclude with a Judge's decision - and a final document called a Court Order (note the absence of the word Consent).
What is included in the service?
This service provides you with access to one of our Divorce Consultants, who are full-time professional divorce experts who specialise in the process of working out and negotiating fair financial settlements.
This service includes 3 hours of support from one of our consultants.
You can use this time on any aspect of your case:
- understanding how the whole legal process works
- getting advice and information on what you are legally entitled to
- assistance in responding to solicitor letters or court documents
- help preparing for mediation or court hearings
- completing your financial disclosure (e.g. filling in Form E or other forms)
A major feature of this service is that, in addition to the one to one contact, our consultant can also provide you with materials and templates that will enable you to manage your case effectively and with much reduced cost.
Any restrictions or limitations?
This service is for anyone who needs to work out a fair financial settlement after a relationship breakup. It is suitable in cases of:
- civil partnership dissolution
- cohabitee (unmarried couples) separation
It is suitable for those with simple, medium or even very complex financial situations.
It is suitable where the other party is expected to be co-operative, but also for cases which are highly contentious and where the other party is not expected to agree to anything without a fight.
It is suitable in all the following circumstances (and more):
- you want help to work out a deal without court or solicitors
- the other party has a solicitor
- the other party does not have a solicitor
- you are planning to use a mediation process
- you are being taken to court
- you want to take the case to court
This service is best suited to people who have the inclination and aptitude to be closely involved in the management of their case with guidance and support from our Consultant.
In particular you should:
- have internet access
- have phone access
- have an email account
- have access to a computer or tablet
- have a reasonable level of English
- be able to organise paperwork
- be comfortable with form filling (guidance will be given)
- be comfortable dealing with basic correspondence
Whilst our Divorce Consultant service is open to anyone, it is most suited to clients whose total assets are less than £2 million. If your assets are above this then it is probably worth your while engaging a full service solicitor - due to the high amount at stake. If this is applicable to you then please call us on 01202 805020 - we absolutely can still assist in your case - however we would assign you an appropriately senior solicitor to manage your case.
This service is only applicable to people whose divorce/separation is taking place in England/Wales and/or who have financial assets in England/Wales.
How much does this service cost?
This service costs £250 (including VAT) for 3 hours of support from a Divorce Consultant.
This compares very favourably to the £250 (plus VAT) charged per hour by a typical Family Solicitor.
In addition to our rates being 3 times cheaper than a solicitor - this service saves you a lot more money due to the approach that we take.
A solicitor usually takes over the whole case and does all of the necessary work for you. This means that you pay £250+VAT per hour for all these tasks:
- legal advice
- letter writing
- reading emails from you, the court and the other party's solicitor
- filling in forms
- checking forms that you or the other party filled in
Our approach is very different, we aim to work with you as a team - and will enable you to complete many of the more straightforward tasks yourself (with a little support and guidance from our consultant). As a result we typically find that our clients are able to complete more than half of the work themselves.
For an example case that requires 12 hours of work to be completed - a solicitor would charge (12 x £250) totalling £3000 plus VAT. We would only charge for 6 hours (with you doing 6 hours yourself!) and therefore the cost would be £500.
In practice, having provided this service for many years, the typical bill for our clients is usually a few hundred pounds, whereas clients who use a solicitor to negotiate their financial settlement will usually end up with a final a bill of a few thousand pounds.
In most cases you will need to book a minimum of 3 hours of support. However, for existing clients who need to top up their time, or for new clients who only require support on a simple issue/task, you can book one hour of support for £90 using this link.
How long will this service take?
Due to the wide variety in circumstances, complexity and level of co-operation from the other side - it is simply not possible to say how long your particular case might take.
The nature of financial negotiations is that the take as long as they take until both parties agree.
In the most straightforward cases where the couple's ideas about what is fair are not too far apart and where they are willing to compromise and engage with the process, it is perfectly possible to complete the negotiations in a matter of weeks.
Medium cases might require a month of disclosure followed by a couple of months of negotiations.
Complex or highly contested cases which end up in court will typically take at least 6 months and often as long as 12 months.
Who provides this service?
This service is provided by Wikivorce - the UK's largest and most visited family law website. We have been operating since 2007.
Our Divorce Consultant team is comprised of highly specialised divorce experts whose full time role is assisting client's to negotiate financial settlements.
Our experts have in depth experienced in a wide range of negotiation methods including out of court negotiation, mediation as well as the formal court hearing process.
Unlike many high street solicitors, we operate using modern efficient remote working practices and the latest communication technologies, including:
- a focus on email (rather than posted letters)
- individual or group phone calls
- skype or Zoom in place of live face to face meetings
- document sharing
- plain simple English rather than archaic legal language
Why should I choose Wikivorce?
For many years there have been two main options for people trying to negotiate a financial settlement, either a) use a costly solicitor or b) struggle through the process on your own.
For many people - neither of these options sounds very attractive.
Our Divorce Consultant service has been designed to provide a modern, user-friendly, cost effective alternative to solicitors or DIY.
Key benefits of the Divorce Consultant service compared to using a solicitor:
- Cost: As detailed earlier on this page, the Divorce Consultant approach costs 'hundreds' whereas solicitors cost 'thousands'.
- Convenience: We use modern technology and working practices as opposed to paper files and snail mail.
- Accessibility: You can access our service from anywhere in the UK or beyond, we don't depend on local face to face meetings
- Communication Style: We use plain, simple English and are happy to explain any aspect of the process to you. Unlike traditional lawyers who can sometimes come across as pompous and distant.
- Involvement: Our methodology is to key you closely involved in the case, whereas solicitors can completely take over the case leading to clients feeling lost and peripheral to the whole process.
Key benefits of the Divorce Consultant service compared to doing it all yourself:
- Expertise: Whilst it is possible to DIY your case, there are many pitfalls and traps lurking for anyone who is not familiar with the law and legal proceedings and it is all too easy to make costly errors. Our consultants can help you avoid these problems.
- Time: To build up the level of knowledge required to represent yourself takes a huge amount of time and energy.
- Confidence: People struggling on their own can end up being bullied by the other parties solicitor or the courts which can result in accepting a very unfair proposal. Having a Divorce Consultant on your side will prevent this.
- Result: Perhaps the greatest risk of trying to handle everything yourself is that you get through the process - but the final financial outcome is a significantly worse one than you might have achieved with better legal support and advice.
How do I get started?
To begin the process simply place an order online or speak to one of our expert advisors on our free telephone helpline.
1) Place Order
Click the "Order Now" button at the top of this page to place an order on our website. You can pay by debit or credit card, Paypal or bank transfer. If you have any questions about our service or if you want to order by phone, just call our helpline on: 01202 805020.
2) Divorce Consultant Assigned
The same day that you order, we will send you the email and telephone contact details for your assigned consultant.
3) Send An Introductory Email
So that our consultant can get up to speed with your case as quickly as possible, we ask that you send them a short email explaining: your situation, a brief history of your case and a summary of what you need help with.
4) Consultant Begins Work On Your Case
Once they have read your introductory email, our consultant will contact you to discuss and agree a plan to progress your case. Over the following days and weeks they will guide you through the process towards reaching a financial settlement.