The Cost of Divorce in the UK

Below is a guest divorce law blog post regarding the cost of divorce in the UK, written by Ian Nuttall, a financial writer who covers a number of personal finance topics on his blog. He recently launched a free debt consolidation calculator that you might be interested in. For more information, or to connect with Ian, you can add him to your G+ Circles.

The Cost of Divorce in the UK

The number of divorces in the UK has risen by almost 5% in the last two years with 120,000+ divorces every year. Combining expensive lawyers fees and court fees, the cost of a divorce can be very expensive – even if the divorce is mutual and uncontested.

There are usually two types of divorce, and each will dictate which process you take and how much it will cost.

A mutual and uncontested divorce

If you and your partner have both agreed that the marriage has ended and can be amicable with splitting of assets, parenting duties and all that comes with a separation, then the costs of a divorce in the UK can be significantly lower.

If you use a lawyer to facilitate the divorce, it could cost you £1,000+ in lawyers fees plus £347 for court fees, a document swearing fee and a decree absolute.

An alternative to this in the UK would be to choose an online divorce company. Many of these companies now charge you only a very small fee of £20-100 for their service. You may still have to pay the court fees but it is 90% cheaper than using a solicitor.

One of the main negatives to these “quickie” divorces is that you have to declare a set reason for the divorce. This means one party may have to admit fault in the relationship, even if there was no fault or blame.

A contested divorce

Contested divorces are where one party pushes for the divorce against the others wishes. These can be very tricky and often it is difficult to divide assets or parenting duties without negotiations and a mediator.

The lawyer fees for this type of divorce can range from £3,000-£20,000+ depending on the complexity of the disputes. Essentially, lawyers charge £150-200 an hour so it depends entirely on how long it takes to resolve the issues of the divorce.

With a contested divorce, it may be beneficial to use a intermediary or family friend to try and resolve as many decisions as possible before the lawyers are used.

You could also contact a lawyer who offers a free initial consultation to get an idea for how long it might take and what the potential costs would be.

Additional costs of a divorce

There are other costs beyond the actual divorce process itself that need to be considered as well and these can often be even more expensive than the actual divorce. Here are few areas you’d need to consider:

  • Maintenance payments
  • Setting up a new home
  • Child care costs
  • Buying a second car

There might even be more expenses depending on your personal situation. Whatever stage of the divorce process you are in, the cost could be anywhere from £20-£20,000+ and ultimately, the process you take is down to your relationship with your partner and how amicable you can both be.

How to File for divorce yourself

Below is a guest family law blog post from a US blogger.

You tried every thing to save your marriage but nothing can be done now. The only way is to get a divorce and move out of the nuptial bond. But getting a divorce is not an easy thing to do. Divorce involves loads of legalities and if you are filling a contested divorce then litigations. In order to get divorce  yourself, you need to do basic research on divorce. You need to educate yourself on the legalities involved in the process of divorce, the laws and the desired paper work for divorce. There are many free resources where you can get all these information like Internet, law books, bar council journals. If you are ready to pay some money then you can consult a divorce attorney that will explain you all the do and don’t of divorce. Other than this you can join any divorce support group. Here, you will find people who have gone through the pain of divorce and are willing to help others who either are going through divorce or have recently gone through it.

Given below are few steps that you can take in order to file the divorce  yourself:

  • Educate yourself about divorce:  Knowledge can work wonders for you given you use it in the most productive manner. Before filling for divorce make sure that you  get your hands on any and all kind of information related to divorce. This will help you broaden your knowledge about divorce and  will also clear any doubts if you have about divorce
  • Go online: Internet is the most powerful source of information available today.  Here you can information about the process of divorce. In order to file the divorce paper, you need complete the papers first. Divorce papers are not easy to complete and require  minute  details about you and your spouse and family. If you are facing difficulty completing the paper then you can search over Internet about the information on how to complete it.  If you are  still not able to do so then you can search for online attorneys. They will complete the paper work for you and will get it delivered on your doorstep at a  nominal price.
  • In order to file the divorce papers you will need various financial documents like bank and credit card statements, investment and mortgage papers, vesicle’s pink slip and all movable and non-movable  marital assets.  Start collecting these documents once you start making your move toward divorce.
  • Consult an attorney:  Before filling the divorce paper make sure to consult an attorney on this matter. Explain all the points to him and the circumstances in which you are taking divorce.  That person will provide you all the required details about divorce and the laws involved. Consulting a divorce attorney will clear up all your doubts and it will give new directions and areas to work on and get a desired outcome of the case. It may cost you some money but the information that you will get will be very useful in your case
  • Join a divorce support group: you can learn a lot from the books but the theoretical knowledge is useless unless you mix some practical experience with it. Joining a  divorce support will help in meeting new people who have gone through divorce and are willing to help others who are either going through it or about to go through. Here you will find practical information on divorce  and  post divorce life. How to settle down in life post divorce and how to manage things , you can learn all from here.

Author Bio:

I am Lisa Levis, I am working as content writer since 2010. I am working for www.divorcestatistcs.org.  Here I am managing it’s article and blog section which tell about statistics of divorce in America.

Guest article: Protecting your future – considerations for prenuptial agreements

Below is a guest article regarding divorce and protecting your future.

Protecting Your Future

There are not many things that will deflate the elation of wedding planning than asking your future spouse to sign a prenuptial agreement. There is so much taboo associated with this legal protection that often times it is dismissed in order to protect the feelings of the one you intend to spend the rest of your life with. Unfortunately, statistics show that it is in your best interest to trek down this road.

Divorce is not a Preplanned Event

In just about every marriage, there was not one bride or groom that said, “I think I’ll be ending this marriage in a divorce in the future”. When getting married, it is the intention of both parties to remain married until death do them part. Although this is the intention, it is not always how it works. Sadly, the current divorce rate is approximately 50% for a first marriage and steadily increases for every marriage thereafter. You wouldn’t hand your hard earned money over to someone with a 50% chance that you will get it all back, would you?

Stopping the Clock

All that a prenuptial agreement will do is stop the clock and give you a new starting point with your new life partner. What it is saying is that, in the event of a divorce, what was obtained prior to a legal union remains with the original owner and that everything obtained after is joint property. This will give you the opportunity to build your marriage on a fair playing ground where you work together to build your financial wealth.

How to Ask Without Sounding Untrusting

There are so many reasons why a prenuptial agreement should be signed prior to marriage, that it is difficult to give specifics. Because of this, regardless of your situation, you must go with sincerity and honesty. Although your significant other may get upset at first, if you are truly sincere and honest in your request and the love is strong, most likely they will come around.

Listen to Others

When making a decision like this, you are probably not thinking with rationality, but instead with your heart. You do not want to hurt your future spouse’s feelings, so you would rather protect them by not asking at all. In this case, you should seek counsel of those you trust. Ask your parents, lawyer, accountant, friends, siblings, and even your significant other’s family and friends. Doing this may just provide you with all the answers you need for making this decision.

Do not leave to chance what you can protect. Although following through with this protection can be difficult, it could prove to be well worth it in the future. We know not what the future holds, however we can do everything in our power to make the outcome benefit all involved.

Stephen Minton is a freelance blogger for prenuptialagreements.org, a site that can help uncomplicate getting a Name change after marriage for men.

20 of the best: family law blogs and news from the past week – March/April 2012

Below are 20 of the best family law blogs and news posts from around the web in the past week. If you have published or found a useful family law-related post that hasn’t been spotted, please do add a link to the comments section below.

Wanted: family justice narratives – Lucy Reed in the Guardian

Editor of the Pink Tape family law blog, Lucy Reed invites readers to share their experiences of working in the family justice system.

‘No good arguments against no fault divorce’, top judge says – Telegraph

Renewed calls for “no fault divorce” from Britain’s leading family law judge, Sir Nicholas Wall.

Launch of Family Law arbitration scheme marked by IFLA event – Family Law Week

On Monday 26 March 2012 the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators (IFLA) marked the launch of the new Family Law Arbitration Scheme.

Other blogs on the family law arbitration scheme:-

Family Law Arbitration in the UK – womeninlaw.com

Russell-Cooke welcomes the new Family Law Arbitration Scheme (26/03/12) – News – Russell-Cooke

Knights in shining armour? Family law arbitration rides to the rescue | jonesmyers blog

Lawrence v Gallagher [2012] EWCA Civ 394 – Family Law Week

The Court of Appeal has ruled in Lawrence v Gallagher that the division of assets in a civil partnership ‘divorce’ should be treated in a similar way to those in a heterosexual divorce.

More blogs on Lawrence v Gallagher:

Lawrence v Gallagher: Judicial creations should not be elevated to the status of s.25 criteria – Family Lore

Divorce principles to apply to civil partnership breakup – FLB

Court of Appeal cuts civil partnership ‘divorce’ settlement- Gregorian Emerson

Fifty years in family law: Staffordshire University Conference – Marilyn Stowe Blog

Marilyn visited the Staffordshire University Law School’s Annual Family Law Conference this weekend and produces a comprehensive account of the event.

New Rules for Families? – Cotswold Family Law

Discussion and comment on The Family Justice Review (“FJR”).

New family laws are divorced from reality – Tehelka

Flavia Agnes takes a look at India’s family laws in this opinion piece, noting that moves to make divorces easier may look good on paper but may end up giving a raw deal to women who are not financially independent.

Surge in demand for domestic abuse advice during Old Firm match – CBC Blog

Shelter Scotland has reported a sharp rise in the number of visits to its website from women looking for help and advice on domestic abuse following its recent Facebook advertising campaign.

Conflict and violence in families – Austin Lafferty

National charity, 4Children, has recently published the results of its research into conflict and violence in families.

You Can’t Always Get What You Want – Marshall Chambers

A lesson for litigants: answers provided by the Court may not be the answers desired by the litigant; or any of the litigants!

Rise in international child flee cases – Pannone Family Law Blog

There has been a significant rise in child abduction cases in England and Wales, as per a Report out this week by Lord Justice Thorpe, chief of the Office of the Head of International Family Justice.

Family Lore: Grubb v Grubb: “To be involved in ancillary relief litigation is a dire prospect for any husband or wife”

The report of Grubb v Grubb [2012] EWCA Civ 398, published on Bailii this week may be brief but it is not without interest. Family Lore comments.

Jennifer Brandt: Your First Meeting With A Divorce Lawyer

‘Getting a divorce is never a fun experience, but picking the right lawyer will help you cope with the process while getting a fair and equitable result’ says Jennifer Brandt. Her tips are blogged at the Huffington Post.

Mega-rich divorcees in court squabble over loose change | News.com.au

One from Australia: Having split the family’s $151,037,015 wealth with his ex-wife, a businessman realised he had overpaid and went to the Family Court to get his money back.

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10 of the best: family law blogs and news from last week

Below are ten of last week’s best family law blogs and news posts from around the web:-

The Attorney General has said that the current ban on gay and unmarried couples should remain in place until the Stormont Assembly decides otherwise.

Family Law Week presents Steve Crompton & David Kitson of RSM Tenon who review the Chancellor’s 2012 Budget announcements.

Refusal to allow a woman to adopt her same-sex partner’s child was not discriminatory according to The European Court of Human Rights’ ruling in the case of Gas and Dubois v. France.

Think-tank the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) has accused the Government of missing a chance in its latest budget to tackle the problem of family breakdown.

Some of Wales’ most vulnerable children and young people are unaware of their statutory right to an independent professional ‘voice’.

Jordan Publishing has announced the return of the Family Law Awards, which will be held on 10 October 2012.

A recent study by FindLaw.com has revealed that March sees a spike in the number of divorce queries (although January is generally thought of as “Divorce Month” by divorce lawyers).

Mills & Reeve to launch an online know-how and training package for family lawyers.

Guest family law blog summarising the Court of Appeal decision of Imerman v Tchenguiz [2010] 2 FLR 814.

Some doctors breaking the law by “pre-signing” abortion consent forms, the Government has said.

If you have published or found a useful family law-related post that hasn’t been spotted, please do add a link to the comments section below.

How to Divorce: The Divorce Process Explained

Below is a guest blawg post on how to divorce, explaining the divorce process. Please note that the terms are relevant to the laws of England and Wales. If you’d like to submit a guest family law blog post, please get in touch through the contact form.

Deciding to pursue a divorce can be a daunting challenge, fraught with a range of perils. There are a lot of things to consider, such how the divorce process works, what you’re entitled to and who gets the rights to any children you may have.

In order to get a divorce, you will have to undertake a range of steps in order to come to an agreement with your partner. These include your reasons for divorce, which of you will take care of the children and how you’ll split up your money, property and possessions.

One of the first ports when considering a divorce is hiring legal help. You may consider hiring divorce solicitors in Kent, or wherever you are based, who will act on your behalf in divorce proceedings.

The good news is that if you and your spouse agree on these points then the divorce process can be completed in as quickly as 4 months. If not, then divorce proceedings can drag on for much longer.

There are four formal stages to divorce in the UK:

  1. Establishing the grounds for divorce
  2. Filing a divorce petition
  3. Applying for ‘decree nisi’
  4. Getting a decree absolute

You can only divorce under UK law if your marriage has ‘irretrievably’ broken down and you have been married for a least a year. You will be required to prove this to the court by relaying the ‘facts’ of why your marriage has ended. These facts can include reasons such as adultery, unreasonable behaviour and desertion.

To start divorce proceedings you will need to fill out three copies of a D8 form, also known as a ‘divorce petition’. You will also have to pay a fee of £340, but you could be entitled to a discount if you have a low income or are on benefits. Once the forms are completed, you will need to send them to the court.

A notice of divorce will then eventually be served to your husband/wife. Your partner can then choose to either accept or argue against the divorce. If your spouse chooses to fight against the divorce then proceedings can be delayed significantly. If no agreement can be made then this is where divorce solicitors will step in to negotiate with your partner to try to reach an agreement.

Once you both agree on the divorce you can then apply for a ‘decree nisi’ – a document from the court which says that it can’t see any reason why you can’t divorce. A judge will consider whether there is enough evidence to allow the divorce to proceed and review all your paperwork, such as any arrangements you’re proposing for your children.

If the judge gives permission for the divorce to continue then you are able to apply for a ‘decree absolute’ 6 weeks after you have been issued with your decree nisi. Once you have the decree absolute, you are officially divorced.

The Divorce Process: Family Law Information

The Divorce Process

Divorce is the legal process through which two people end their marriage and the legal status that it provides. It is usually an extremely emotional time for the parties involved and also for their children, if they have any. The best way to make your divorce process as smooth as possible is to find a solicitor who you can trust and work comfortably with.

It is important that both parties understand their legal position on divorce and know exactly to what they are entitled. A divorce solicitor can make sure finances and property are properly distributed and arrangements are made for children, leaving no room for disagreements.

Petitioning for divorce

In order to begin the process of divorce one party to the marriage must present a petition for divorce on the grounds that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. It is important to note that the parties must have been married for at least a year before they are able to make such a petition.

Whether the marriage is broken down irretrievably is not simply a matter of opinion, and there is legislation stating that at least one of five factors must be present before any court will make a ruling that the marriage has in fact broken down irretrievably. These five grounds for divorce are as follows: unreasonable behaviour, adultery, living apart for two years and both parties consent to the divorce, living apart for five years, and desertion.

Acknowledgment of service

A copy of the petition must be sent to the other party along with a statement of arrangements for the children (if applicable) and an acknowledgment of service. The respondent must inform the petitioner in the acknowledgment of service whether they will be contesting the divorce. The acknowledgment of service is therefore an extremely important document as it shows the court that the other party is aware of the petition. If the other party refuses to return the acknowledgment of service you may have to arrange for a process server or bailiff to serve the document and make an affidavit stating that they have done so.

Decree nisi

If the court is satisfied that there are valid grounds for divorce it may well grant what is known as a decree nisi. A decree nisi will generally be granted when a divorce is not being contested and there are valid grounds for divorce. The party who made the petition must then apply to have the decree made absolute which they cannot do until at least six weeks and one day from the date of the decree nisi.

Decree absolute

The decree absolute is what actually ends the marriage, as opposed to the decree nisi which merely declares there are satisfactory grounds. Once the decree absolute has been pronounced the marriage has officially ended and usually the parties will begin ancillary relief proceedings: the name given for deciding how the matrimonial assets should be split.

Ancillary relief proceedings

The ancillary relief proceedings are often fiercely contested as a judge will rule on who should have what from the matrimonial assets. The ancillary relief process can be quite long and usually involves three trips to court.

  • A first appointment in which a judge outlines his position and ensures appropriate disclosure has taken place.
  • A financial dispute resolution hearing in which a judge (a different judge from who will be in attendance at the final hearing) will give an indication of what he would order in the hope the parties then settle on similar terms and avoid a final hearing.
  • A final hearing in which an order will be made.

With the potential for several court visits, it is in both parties’ interests to try to facilitate an early settlement to avoid significant legal costs.

There’s no place like home…but where is home for your children?

With the opening of borders across Europe and the recent growth of the internet and cheap travel, it is becoming increasingly common for children to have parents who are of different nationality to one another.  However, should the parents separate, what happens if one parent wants to return to their home country with the child?

This is a question I am frequently asked as a family lawyer and it is understandably a highly emotive issue between parents.  Should a parent leave the country with their child without the other parent’s consent they could face criminal charges for child abduction.  Therefore consent is essential and if it is not forthcoming from the other parent you will need to apply to the court for a judge to decide.

When the court considers whether such a move with the child should be allowed, the child’s welfare is paramount and the court will apply what is known as the welfare checklist.  The checklist includes factors such as the physical, emotional and educational needs of the child, the wishes and feelings of the child, the capability of the parent to meet the child’s needs and the likely effect on the child.  The proposed arrangements need to be considered carefully and the greater part the parent who would be left behind plays in the child’s life, the greater impact/damage upon the child if the move is allowed.

If you wish to make the move with your child, preparation and research is imperative.  Also focus on how your child’s relationship with their other parent can be maintained if the move is allowed.  The court needs to be sure that the proposed move is genuine, realistic and above all in the child’s best interests.

It is a very difficult issue with many factors to consider. Whether you are the parent wishing to make the move or the parent opposing the move, early legal advice is essential.

This was a guest post by Patricia Robinson Senior Associate at divorce solicitors Pannone LLP. For more information visit their website at http://www.pannone.com/

Family Law Mediation and Mediators in Scotland

Guest blawg post by Gavin Ward as posted to WardblawG

On Wednesday 30th March, I attended a Relationships Scotland event, hosted by HBJ Gateley Wareing in Glasgow and attended by family law professionals across Scotland. The event was of particular interest given the recent review of family law in England and Wales, one element of which concerns the fact that mediation for divorcing couples shall, as of 6 April 2011, be compulsory prior to them attending Court, subject to limited exceptions. For further information on this see a blog post by a family law firm in Liverpool. While mediation for divorcing couples is not yet compulsory in Scotland, it is becoming more widely available.Relationships Scotland Image

What is Parenting Apart?

Parenting Apart groups give parents the skills and confidence to communicate with their children about their separation or divorce in child-friendly language. Importantly, parents get the chance to chat with others going through the same as them. Groups are hosted by two family mediators giving parents the chance to speak to a qualified professional about any issues around parenting their children or their relationship with their ex-partner following their split.

Key Speakers at the Event

Although I have seldom practised family law myself (although I do now work with family lawyers), I still found the event very informative with speakers conveying ideas with clear expression.

Speakers included the following people who should be contacted should you wish further information on any of the topics discussed:-

– HBJ Gateley Wareing’s family law partner, Shona Templeton, who set the scene, exploring the changing face of collaborative family law within Scotland;

– Mark Stalker, who is a service manager with Family Mediation South Lanarkshire. A former solicitor, Mark discussed the the impact of the Parenting Apart project throughout South Lanarkshire;

– National Development Manager with Families Need Fathers, Ian Maxwell discussed how fathers can become involved in the collaborative process. I would also add that I met one of Ian’s colleagues, John Forsyth, who is a support and development worker with Families Need Fathers and is contributing greatly to the Scottish family justice system; and

– Stuart Valentine, the Chief Executive of Relationships Scotland, who explained how Parenting Apart fits in to the wider national picture of family support.

Further Information

For further information on Relationships Scotland and their work, see Relationships Scotland’s Blog here, their twitter account here and watch the video below.

If you have any specific queries on family law in Scotland, get in touch via the contact a solicitor form at the top right of this page.

Welcome to Family Blawg

Welcome to Family Blawg, a legal news blog on family law for family lawyers, the general public and potential clients of family solicitors.Family Law Justitia Image

A complex area requiring advice from specialist solicitors with an understanding and appreciation of sensitive issues, family law and practice involves divorce, separation, wills, children’s rights and divorce settlements.