Thursday, April 18, 2013

Any point in having a Consent Order on Divorce?

One compelling reason:

Legal finality.

What are the problems if I don't have one?

Your ex spouse can come back at any time in the future and make a claim against you, regardless of how much money you have given them to go away, regardless on how fair your agreed division was.

A recent case where the couple had been divorced over 10 years and the husband won the lottery resulted in him having to make a lump sum payment to his wife.

If you remarry without opening your claim (ie you are the Respondent to the divorce and do not defend nor   issue a financial application) you lose all rights to make a claim on your own remarriage.

What's the problem with that?  There was a case last year where the husband was due to receive a share of the matrimonial assets and remarried before the Consent Order was sealed by the court and lost his rights to his share.

I explain what a Consent Order is here

What is a Consent Order?

We offer a fixed fee service here

Fixed Fee Consent Order

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Is there any divorce news out there?

Most of the news is gloomy.

End of legal aid for many.

Rich divorcing couples told off by judges for squabbling and squandering their money on legal fees.

News of a divorce advice desert.

The death of Margaret Thatcher.

Divorce lawyers blamed for... fill in the gap.

In the middle of all this some people are having to go through divorce.  Not through choice. What should you do?

1.  Make a list of everything that you are worried about.

2. Write down what you want to happen.

3. Research the options

4. Focus on when your life will be better.

My advice:

Anxiety and indecision are debilitating and the best way to reduce your fear of the future is to work out what the options are - worst case and best case and accept that life is about to change.

Get some good legal advice.  You don't have to follow it but at least you know what the limits are.  Choosing not to fight feels better if you know that your chances of success were high but you are more interested in moving on.  Giving in feels better if you know your chances of success are low.

In many situations it is all about emotion.

Guilt, anger, fear, shame, disappointment. Acquiring governance over your emotional state is a skill - and I don't mean burying your emotions as in the stiff upper lip brigade.

I mean recognise and acknowledge how you feel and then control, not suppress it. Your feelings, like everything else, will change.

Only when you can do this are you able to properly focus on dividing everything you thought was yours for life.  It's not easy but the alternative - a life of bitterness, anger and regret is worse.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Fixed fee Divorce from COOP is it what it says on the tin?

The COOP have obtained a lot of press interest today - the day after Legal Aid is withdrawn by claiming that they offer fixed fee legal advice unlike other solicitors.

They quote people being dissatisfied by the ticking clock and some people pay in excess of £10,000.00 for their divorce.  But is it really any different with the COOP or is this a classic case of calling a spade a banana? Sorry I mean comparing apples and pears. Let's compare our fixed fee divorce with your litigated financial application maybe and see which one is cheaper ?

They say other solicitors need to catch up with them.

They offer a fixed price divorce for £570.00.

We have been offering fixed fee divorce since April 2006

Fixed Fee Divorce Bastows Divorce Solicitors

The people who paid more than £10,000.00 in legal fees were no doubt litigating over the finances.

The COOP will charge £210.00 for advice over the telephone and £180.00 for an additional hour of advice.

How much do they charge for court representation?

They don't quote for court representation but they do offer a fixed fee up to the first hearing of £3,600.00 including initial negotiation plus £600.00 to instruct an expert ( I hope they mean barrister and not McKenzie friend but it states expert and there is no fee quoted)

So with the COOP it will cost you £4,200.00 up to the first hearing without representation. Plus you probably have to pay the first £210 or £180 of initial advice. That plus £570.00 for the divorce gives nearly £5,000.00 before you even get to court for the first time.

It is easy to see that the COOP will end up charging more than £10,000.00 if the matter progresses, £1,800.00 in between each hearing and no quotation for court representation.

AS reported in  Legal Futures

 CLS’s director of policy, solicitor Christina Blacklaws, said: “These individuals are going through major life changing decisions and it’s vital they get the advice they need without worrying about costs spiralling.”

Given that the costs of having the COOP advise you (not represent you) up to a final hearing are probably £9,570.00 plus representation at 3 hearings then this is more than the £10,000.00 complained of.

There is also concern that the advice people are paying for is not from a legally qualified solicitor as their website talks of "Legal experts".

There is another website that talks about expert advice that has handled over 100,000 divorces.  It is an on line divorce company. It is a lot cheaper than the COOP. It makes no secret of the fact that it's expert advice is not given by solicitors. To go back to my original turn of phrase "It does what it says on the tin."