10 tips for reducing your legal fees.

10 tips for reducing your legal fees.

While the cost-of-living crisis continues to challenge families the prospect of facing a separation or divorce can seem very daunting indeed. Add legal fees to the mix and the whole situation can seem pretty overwhelming. However, for most people legal advice or representation of some sort will be a necessary part of the separation process. Here are our top tips to keep fees down:-

1. Early legal advice. 

Do not underestimate the value of obtaining good legal advice at the start of your separation process.

The family law arena is not always easy to navigate and understanding some of the common issues and pitfalls can help you and your ex-partner. An initial fixed fee appointment means that you can obtain early advice without the obligation of instructing a solicitor long-term.

2. Plan for your meetings. 

It is sensible to write down a list of the issues and questions that you would like to address. Even better, send that list to your solicitor in advance. This means that if you have any complex or novel issues that you would like to address your solicitor will have time to consider these in advance. This allows for a more constructive session.

3. Don’t use your solicitor as a therapist. 

Whilst your solicitor can provide you with emotional support, it is not our area of expertise. It is more cost-effective to have a good support network of family, friends and mental health professionals who can assist with the emotional aspect of your journey.

4. Don’t fire off lots of emails. 

Email is such a convenient and easy form of communication, but it does mean that there is a temptation to fire off an email every time you have a thought or question. It is much more efficient if you include a number of issues in a single email. 

5. Maintain communication with your ex-partner. 

This one is not always possible or safe, but where it is, communication between the two of you about everyday issues can be far more efficient from both a cost and practical perspective.

6. Do not dismiss non-court based solutions. 

There are lots of ways you can resolve a family law dispute which do not involve going down the court route. These include hybrid mediation, traditional family mediation, collaborative law, obtaining an early neutral valuation, do it yourself solutions, Arbitration, private proceedings, around the table meetings with solicitors etc. Being open-minded about the way you approach any dispute can often lead to quicker and cheaper resolutions.

7. Do your homework! 

Your solicitor is likely to set you quite a few tasks which will include gathering together your financial information, obtaining mortgage and/or tax advice, looking at rehousing options and obtaining valuations. This information is essential when looking at fair and reasonable financial settlements. The sooner this information is provided, the sooner you can look at settlement options.

8. What can you do yourself? 

Consider what aspects of your case you could handle yourself. Whilst this might not be appropriate for everyone there are steps that some clients are more than capable of managing themselves. For example, it is now easy to issue a divorce application online, However, be aware that this does not deal with financial aspects of divorce, nor children, but merely ends the marriage.

9. Be realistic. 

In essence there has to be compromise when there is a family breakdown. Standards of living have to change; you have to make two new households out of one. Sometimes that is really tricky when finances are already tight. Protracted arguments are costly and will only eat into your precious resource

10. Don’t dismiss the court route.

Whilst this may seem to contradict tip 6 above, there are times when the use of a court application is important and necessary. Every family breakdown should be approached with honesty, flexibility, creativity, open-mindedness and compromise. However, there are times when one party has no intention of approaching the matter in this way and it is essential this is identified early on. 

Where there is a risk that non-court based processes are likely to be abused by the other party in order to waste time, costs, or to prevent the open exchange of financial information, it may prove more cost-effective to initiate the court process in order to establish a strict timetable, and provide access to court based remedies to ensure that the non-cooperative party is forced to engage properly.

If you need any help in relation to a family law matter, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01823 259449 or here