There is a popular perception that involving lawyers in the divorce process is always going to cost lots of money. When going through separation and divorce people are understandably very wary of running up huge legal bills, with Solicitors costs and court costs being a daunting proposition.
The Daily Telegraph this week reports on the recent case of Kavanagh v Kavanagh, where two solicitors have managed to squander the vast majority of their assets in legal fees for their divorce. Whilst I have to take issue with some of the rather unflattering comments about lawyers, the fact remains that this couple should really have known better.
Although certain costs of divorce are unavoidable, such as the Court fees when filing a divorce petition, there are many things that you can do to try to keep the cost of divorce in check.
Firstly, make sure that the Solicitor that you choose to instruct is focused on resolving your case in a constructive fashion. I would recommend that you look for a member of Resolution as they follow a code of practice which emphasises the importance of balancing the costs against the likely benefits. However, you will also need to keep this in mind yourself. Divorce is without a doubt a highly emotional and difficult time, and it can be hard to put those feelings aside and to look at things objectively. Think about why you are pursuing something, is it really crucial for you or is it driven more out of anger? Bitter battles about who gets the sofa are simply going to further drive a wedge between you, making it harder to agree anything, and could end up costing so much more than the item is actually worth.
Deal with matters promptly, and try to avoid burying your head in the sand. If your Solicitor asks you to collect some documents together, do so in one go rather than bit by bit to avoid them having to chase you for the information.
Consider using mediation, or other methods of dispute resolution, which focus on keeping matters out of Court and reaching a fair outcome for both of you. If you are able to have amicable discussions between you this can help minimise the points in dispute, but make sure that you do get advice on any agreement reached to make sure it is appropriate.
Costs are not just financial, the emotional impact cannot be ignored. Make sure that you obtain support where needed, and try to look towards the future.
Image by Images_of_Money under a Creative Commons Licence