Tips to cut your divorce costs
Our divorce lawyers understand that not only is divorce a very painful process, but it can prove very expensive too. Apart from the fact that two households are more expensive to run than one, legal costs can mount up. However, by following these simple tips, you can help keep your legal bill down.
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Prepare for your first meeting
If you file for divorce, then it will save your lawyer time and you money if you arrive at the first meeting with a written summary of the basic circumstances of your case, including those set out below. Your lawyer will then not need to spend time getting these simple facts from you:
- Your full name
- Your address
- Your date of birth
- Your spouse’s full name
- The names and ages of any children
- A rough summary of your family’s finances, including details of any property, its approximate value and any debt outstanding, details of any pensions, shares, savings, endowment policies or other investments, any other debts or assets
- A list of the main questions you want to ask
Produce your marriage certificate
If you intend to file for divorce, let your lawyer have either the original marriage certificate or obtain a certified copy from your local Registry Office.
Complete Form E
Form E is a large court document setting out full details of the family’s finances. By completing as much of it as possible yourself and by letting your lawyer have as much supporting documentation as you can, you will reduce your legal bill. Please note that you must keep strictly to the various notes on the form as to which documents are required.
Get your pension valuation yourself
One of the largest family assets is often a pension. Like it or not, your pension is taken into account when considering family assets and how they should be divided up between you both. You will always need to get an up-to-date valuation from your pension company. Often, this is referred to as a “transfer value” or “cash equivalent transfer value”. A simple letter to your pension company requesting its current value will save you money.
Get financial documents yourself
In preparing to negotiate a financial settlement, you will need to provide many documents. Ask your lawyer for what is needed in your case, but it is likely to include:
- A valuation of your home if you own it; we suggest you get three (usually free) market appraisals from local estate agents. It is useful to request they provide you with (a) the value the property will be marketed; and (b) the value they consider the property will sell.
- Your P60 and three recent payslips
- One year’s bank statements
- Your latest credit card bill and redemption statements for any HP or loan agreements
- Details of any substantial asset you own (e.g. life insurance policy, shares etc.)
- Obtain a mortgage redemption statement from your mortgage company
Click here to read more about divorce and finances and what is involved
Respond promptly to letters without being reminded
Remember, your divorce lawyer will charge for every letter and phone call – so restricting them as far as possible will help to keep your bill down.
Although collaborative law and family mediation are separate and require a quite different qualification, both share a strong emphasis on co-operation and seeking an agreed outcome to family breakdown –and a strong drive to avoid costly court battles. Both approaches can often produce swift and often less expensive outcomes.
Click here to read more about how Collaborative Law or Family Mediation could help you
Keen to keep both your legal costs and stress levels under control? Click here to read about our tips on Mistakes To Avoid In Divorce