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.

Finding the right divorce lawyers

If you feel your marriage may be ending and you are heading in the direction of a divorce, it is a good idea to take a moment to carefully assess your situation and decide whether or not you will be needing legal advice and assistance from a qualified professional. While a divorce can be completed without the involvement of lawyers, various unexpected complications can arise and that is where having a divorce lawyer can help you. They can help with various tasks, ranging from simply filling out the required forms for you to instructing you on what the best choice will be given the situation you are, for example, how much you should be expecting in terms of a financial settlement.

Finding The Right Lawyer

If you have reviewed your situation and decided that hiring a lawyer is the way to go, you must be aware of the fact that not all lawyers are the same and finding one that will best suit you and your needs is also an important part of the whole process. You should determine what you are looking for in the lawyer you will be hiring, taking into account what exactly you will be needing them for, whether they will simply be someone to help you fill out divorce papers versus someone who is going to be aggressive and negotiate strongly for you to receive a better financial outcome.

You should contact a number of lawyers before settling on a single one. Recommendations from family and friends are usually the best way to meet solicitors that will likely serve you well. Additionally, there are websites in existence that allow you to search for lawyers in your area, such as the Legal Adviser Finder (http://legaladviserfinder.justice.gov.uk) resource made available by the Legal Services Commission (LSA), which allows you to specify your postcode and the area of law with which you will be requiring assistance.

The Cost Of Hiring A Lawyer

Lawyers can end up being very expensive, especially if you make extensive use of their services, so you should make sure you are fully aware of their fees before agreeing to anything. It should be further noted that lawyers are bound by law to be completely transparent with their clients when it comes to fees and that they are not permitted to mask any hidden costs.

When it comes to how much it will cost, it is difficult to say with any certainty. A fixed fee is usually agreed in advance, before any work takes place to ensure both lawyer and client are happy with the arrangement. The cost itself will be directly related to how much time and work the lawyer is putting in for the client, which in turn is related to how much you and your partner can agree on. For example, if the lawyer is working around the clock to negotiate an agreement with your spouse’s lawyer because you cannot agree between yourselves, the cost will be significantly higher than if you agreed on all matters.

Mediation & Legal Aid

If you have a limited budget and cannot afford to pay a lawyer to be working on your behalf, you should contemplate using a mediator to solve your problems. A mediator is a neutral individual who works with the couple in order to try to settle any differences and is financially advantageous to both parties, especially if you are entitled to legal aid, which would make the mediation process completely free. To check if you are able to receive legal aid, you can use the LSA’s Legal Aid Calculator (http://legalaidcalculator.justice.gov.uk/calculators/eligiCalc).

This post provided by Darlingtons Solicitors.

International marriages

An international marriage can include a husband and wife of differing nationalities, a couple living together in a country which is not their home country or even a couple living apart from each other in separate countries.

Statistics

Within the member states of the EU there are approximately 122 million marriages, 16 million or 13% of which are international marriages and, in 2007, within the 27 states of the EU, 1 million divorces took place with 140,000 or 13% of those having an international element.

Divorce

According to divorce solicitors in London, the courts of the EU member states have differing ways of deciding which particular country’s law should apply when it comes to the divorce of a couple in an international marriage. This can create an awful lot of legal uncertainty and may even lead to one partner taking advantage of the other partner, who could be in a weaker position financially, with possibly the stronger spouse pushing through the proceedings in a jurisdiction where the applied law favours him or her over the other partner.

The Settlement

Financial settlements for divorces can vary from country to country so, in order to achieve the best settlement figure, the spouse will need to seek family law advice on this particular area.

Although it is possible to begin legal proceedings for a divorce in more than one country the EU rule states that the divorce which was started first will be the divorce which will prevail.

Going Home

Many family breakdowns in the EU have an international element and often, in the event of the breakdown, some partners will wish to return to their home countries to seek the support and comfort of their family and friends.

However, this isn’t as straightforward as just jumping on a plane and moving back into the family home, especially when there are children involved in the breakdown.

Children

If a spouse has children and wishes to relocate abroad with his or her children then English law states that the spouse will need to obtain permission from everyone who has parental responsibility of those children before leaving the country or to apply for an order of the English court.

If a child or children are removed, without permission, by a spouse to one of the countries who are signatories to The Hague and European Convention on Child Abduction those countries will give full co-operation to make sure that the child or children are returned to the parent still residing in England.

However, things can become particularly tricky if a parent relocates with his or her children, without permission, to a country which isn’t a signatory of the Convention on Child Abduction and it can be an extremely costly, confusing and very traumatic experience for the parent attempting to get his or her children back, especially when it comes to initiating legal proceedings in a foreign country.

Historically, there was a presumption that children would move abroad with their mother if she was a foreign national wishing to go back to her home country, but a recent Court of Appeal decision has stressed that the welfare of the children is paramount and that each case needs to be determined on it’s own merits.

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.

What To Look For When Seeking a Family Lawyer

What To Look For When Seeking a Family Lawyer

If you’ve never been through the legal process before, realizing the amount of time, effort, and stress that go into it can be more than daunting.  Hiring a lawyer alone is intimidating; how can you determine a good lawyer from a bad one if you’ve never had to hire one before?  Below you’ll find the qualities you should look for when seeking the right lawyer for your family law case.

Background Information on the Practice of Law
There’s a misconception that a lawyer is a lawyer, in the sense that they all have the same knowledge and practice law.  However, this is simply not the case.  There are three types of lawyers you’ll come across on your lawyer search.  Specialized lawyers are those whose practice is specialized in a specific type of law, such as personal injury law.   General lawyers, i.e. lawyers that practice a broader area of law, might practice personal injury law and business law simultaneously.  Then there are Referral lawyers.  These lawyers may be either specialized or general lawyers, but they advertise as if they practice various types of law.  When clients come to them in a specialty outside of their practice area, which is typical due to referral lawyers affinity to advertise a broad range of specialties, referral lawyers then refer the client to another attorney.  The reason they do this is because referral lawyers get a percentage of the lawyer fees for all cases they refer out.  For instance, Lawyer A refers a client to Lawyer B.  When Lawyer B wins the case, Lawyer B must forfeit a percentage of his/her fees from the case.  So, put bluntly, referral lawyers get paid for doing absolutely nothing in a case they’ve referred to another lawyer.

Qualities You Want in a Family Lawyer
You should look for three factors when determining if a lawyer is right for your divorce, separation, will, children’s rights or divorce settlement legal needs.

First, you should look for a lawyer who has experience handling family law cases.  You will want to avoid “referral lawyers” as the fees they take can deter the lawyers they refer your case to from actually taking it; lawyers, like any professional, are in it for the money and if they have to forfeit percentage of their winnings on a case that already isn’t worth that much, they aren’t going to take it.  You should seek out lawyers who have a long history of experience with family law cases and who have been successful with such cases.  While a general attorney might have a lot of experience with family law cases, you should generally look for a lawyer who specializes in family law as he/she is the more likely to be adept to the legal procedures of such a case.

And do not rely on lawyer rating sites, like Super Lawyers, AVVO, and Best Lawyers to give you reliable information on a lawyer’s success rate and the like.  These sites’ “rankings” are determined by how much a lawyer is willing to pay and the information on the lawyers is not generally verified by the lawyers themselves.  For example, attorney John Smith might be stated as a family lawyer on a lawyer ranking site when in fact he is a slip and fall lawyer.  You don’t want a personal injury lawyer handling your family law case, do you?  It would be like having an accountant acting as your stock market investment advisor; it’s simply the wrong specialist handling the wrong specialty.

Second, you need a lawyer who is capable of giving your case the time and attention it deserves.  And third, you need a lawyer with knowledge about your case type.  General lawyers handle many different types of cases, which means they must have a vast working knowledge of different laws and law procedures.  For instance, a general lawyer handling a business law case, a personal injury case, and a criminal case will need to know the necessary laws for each of those law specialties as well as the procedures required by each.  That’s a lot of work and knowledge that a single person must endure and retain.  A general lawyer may be less knowledgeable about your case type and less able to spend time on your case because he/she is handling so many different types of cases.

Amber Paley is a guest post and article writer bringing to us what qualities one should look for when seeking a family lawyer.  Outraged by the prevalence of elder neglect in the U.S., Amber spends much of her professional life writing education articles to help those affected another’s negligible care find good nursing home abuse attorneys.

Is it right that Single Joint Experts can do a poor job and then hold the parties to ransom over correcting their mistakes?

Vardags Solicitors are a Top Divorce Lawyer based in Central London that specialise in complex and substantial cases

Expert witness reports are often necessary in the course of proceedings to assist the Court in determining issues which require special expertise and usually where the parties are unable to agree those issues between them.  In financial proceedings, for instance, experts are regularly called upon to prepare reports to determine the value of real property and businesses.  In children’s cases, the Court may often direct that an expert psychologist assess and interview a family and prepare a report to assist in determining the most appropriate living arrangements for children in light of parental separation.

Part 25 of the Family Procedure Rules 2010 (“FPRs”) and the accompanying Practice Direction 25A set out the applicable rules and guidelines with respect to the appointment, duties and obligations of expert witnesses in family law Court proceedings.  Part 25 is reflective of Part 35 of the Civil Procedure Rules (“CPRs”) which was applied in respect of experts in family law proceedings until the FPRs came into effect in this jurisdiction on 6 April 2011.

Rule 25.7 of the FPRs sets out the Court’s power to direct that expert evidence be given by a “Single Joint Expert”; in other words, a single expert witness who is instructed jointly by the parties rather than each party instructing their own separate expert.  The fees of a Single Joint Expert are normally shared equally between the parties.

In the vast majority of cases the appointment of a Single Joint Expert will be the starting point for the determination of issues requiring expert evidence.  The introduction of the CPRs was intended to bring about the end of “trial by separate experts”, with Courts being under a duty to restrict the use of expert evidence.  Following the introduction of the CPRs, as a general principle the Courts have promoted the use of Single Joint Experts sought to resist parties to a case instructing their own experts.

However, it is arguable that the Court of Appeal decision of Daniels v Walker [2000] 1 WLR 1382 has significantly eroded the foundations of the general principle regarding Single Joint Experts.  In this case, the Court of Appeal stated that where there is a Single Joint Expert report, a party is not necessarily prevented from obtaining a further report from their own expert.  Subject to the Court’s discretion, a party should be given leave and permitted to obtain further a further expert report when they can satisfy the following criteria:

  1. The reasons for the party wanting a further report are legitimate rather than “fanciful”.  This is a broad test and the reasons do not need to be significant;
  2. The sums involved in the case are substantial and the issues are complex, or at least the cost of obtaining a further expert report will not be disproportionately expensive within the context of the case;
  3. The party has asked the Single Joint Expert address the issues of concern through appropriate questions, and this has not resolved the issues.

A party will normally be solely responsible for the fees of their own separate expert.

In light of the decision in Daniels v Walker, the instruction of a Single Joint Expert may be considered to be the first stage in a more extensive valuation process that can potentially develop over the course of litigation.

Yet does this mean that the continuing standard practice in family law proceedings of obtaining a report from a Single Joint Expert has been rendered obsolete and is now effectively a “waste of money”?  Furthermore, can the use of Single Joint Experts deliver a fair and just outcome?

Certainly the decision of the Court of Appeal may have encouraged parties to seek the appointment of their own experts, which in turn gives rise to the possibility of increased costs in the already expensive process of litigation.  Yet it would be a step too far to suggest that Single Joint Experts are now a simply a waste of time and money and produce unsatisfactory outcomes.

Firstly, the authority in Daniels v Walker is not a guarantee that a party may instruct their own separate expert whenever they choose.  The criteria set out by the Court of Appeal in that case must be satisfied, and most importantly, the decision to grant leave to party to obtain a further expert report remains within the discretion of the Court.  There will be many instances in which the Court will not grant permission as it considers further expert evidence to be unnecessary, inappropriate, or too expensive in the context of the case.

The primary basis of support for the continued use of Single Joint Experts by divorce lawyers on both sides, however, is that in a significant proportion of cases the parties will not seek to adduce further evidence from their own expert.  There are various reasons for this; for instance, both parties may be satisfied with the report of the Single Joint Expert and accordingly will have no reason to seek a “second opinion”.  Even where a party is somewhat dissatisfied with a Single Joint Expert report, they may dismiss the idea of seeking a further expert evidence on the basis that a more favourable report will not greatly affect the overall outcome of the case or the costs of obtaining further expert evidence will outweigh the potential advantages.  Frequently one party will be happier with a report of a Single Joint Expert than the other; however, the latter party will nonetheless be able to “live” with that report.

Further, an inherent risk of seeking a second expert report is that there is no guarantee their opinion will be favourable to the party instructing them.  There will often be a range of acceptable expert opinions in respect of an identical scenario (for instance, the potential market value of a property), and even a fundamentally flawed expert approach or methodology may still produce a similar result to that produced using the correct approach or methodology.  Single Joint Experts and separate experts alike have an overriding duty to the Court to provide an opinion that is entirely independent of either party.

It therefore follows that in most cases where neither party wishes to depart from the Single Joint Expert report and obtain a further expert report, it can be assumed that the use of the Single Joint Expert has indeed been effective in producing an outcome that is acceptable to the parties and therefore fair and “just”.  Overarching this is the likely cost saving advantage; usually the fees of a Single Joint Expert which are shared between the parties equally will be less overall than the fees of separate experts paid for by each party respectively.

Of course, it must not be forgotten that the use of Single Joint Experts represents an evolution of the law and procedure from a time when the use of separate experts was the norm.  A proliferation of experts within a case can significantly increase the time, costs and complexity of the issues at hand – and can also ultimately fail to assist the Court in making a decision and produce a result that is fair and just.  There are, one might suggest, sound reasons for the continued use of Single Joint Experts which have been developed over many years of litigation experience and history.

Finally, what might occur in a scenario where there is a Single Joint Expert and it has been identified that there are legitimate errors and other issues within their report?

Unless the Court directs otherwise, the Single Joint Expert will continue their role in the case and the parties will remain jointly and severally liable to pay the fees arising from the Single Joint Expert’s work – even if those fees are incurred by the Single Joint Expert in “rectifying” their initial report (for instance, after a party has raised questions of the expert).

If the parties are genuinely dissatisfied with the work and level of fees of the Single Joint Expert and cannot resolve these issues with the expert directly, they may seek to obtain appropriate relief outside the family law proceedings.

To find out more about Vardags Solicitors, visit their website.

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.

Follow us on Twitter

For further family law updates, please follow our Twitter account: @FamilyBlawg.

What makes a top divorce lawyer?

Vardags Solicitors are a Top Divorce Lawyer  based in Central London that specialise in complex and substantial cases

Lawyers who specialise in divorce require skills and knowledge that are not often associated with commercial lawyers. Whilst skills such as communication, working as a team or working to deadlines are needed by any legal specialist, a lawyer dealing with relationship dissolution needs more than these attributes to cope with the challenging situations that may arise.

Understanding the complexities of adult relationships is key. A top lawyer must be capable of dealing with clients undergoing such emotional upheaval with dignity and respect. This will include being capable of appreciating significant factors in the divorce outside monetary issues, namely children who would be adversely affected by a drawn out adversarial litigation.

A divorce lawyer must accept that there are two halves to any divorce proceedings, and the desires of each party will likely conflict. Compromise will be necessary and that needs to be communicated to the client, whose vulnerable position may cloud their view of the situation. Many clients will come seeking to withhold everything from their former partner, motivated by spite or fear of losing what their earnings. The client needs to be reassured that they will be protected, and with competent legal professionals, each party should be left content. Total reluctance to negotiate with the other party will only lead to negative effects to any children involved, who have been shown to suffer as a result of the uncertainty and upheaval involved in divorce proceedings.

Expert knowledge of Family Law is an obvious requirement. The lawyer needs to be able to advise their clients about the existence of the “clean break” principle, the precedents set by cases such as White v White and other relevant case law, s.25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, and other legal principles which would affect the clients position in the event that the issue should come before a judge. Even before this, the top divorce lawyer will need to be able to convey the availability of alternative dispute resolution such as mediation or collaborative law, especially with the weight given to the ADR process by the government, the courts and organisations such as Resolution. Aside from being the cheaper option, ADR is often considered the more holistic method of dealing with a divorce, with financial, housing and custody issues being looked at as one complete issue.

It is important that the client has faith in their lawyer to do the best they can, to protect their interests and to provide the best legal advice. To ensure this the lawyer must show a determined and professional demeanour throughout the process.

The main issue to be dealt with by a lawyer dealing with divorce is turning a sensitive situation into something that the client is happy with and as a result the client will be able to move forward and build a better future. If a lawyer can do this, then they would be considered a top divorce lawyer.

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.