Separating? Make sure you consider your options
If you’re going through a divorce or separation, you have several options for addressing the practical and legal aspects of ending your relationship.
Divorce rarely means going to court. But when it comes to fixed fees, mediation and collaborative law, what do these terms actually mean? After all, you can’t make an informed decision unless you understand the routes available to you.
Our divorce and separation solicitors take a look at some of the options you should consider.
‘Traditional’ legal services
‘Traditional’ legal services involve both parties instructing a solicitor with a view to negotiating a settlement or agreement.
It’s a comprehensive service that involves a family lawyer managing your case entirely. As part of this service, your solicitor may write letters on your behalf, make applications to court, manage settlement negotiations and represent you at hearings.
But whilst the benefits of this option are clear, traditional legal services are charged hourly and it can be difficult to gauge the cost of your representation, especially if your case is lengthy or included something unforeseen.
If you can work together, mediation is a useful approach for separating couples.
Family mediation brings you together to talk constructively about how you end your relationship and resolve your other family issues. You’ll both be guided by an impartial family mediator – they’ll manage discussions and keep you focused on finding a solution that suits you both.
Mediation as a form of dispute resolution offers many benefits. Typically it’s quicker and less costly, as you manage the agenda and the pace of developments. It also gives you far greater control over the outcome and enables you to focus on things that are important to you both.
Legal aid is also still available for mediation, if you’re financially eligible.
Collaborative law and family mediation may seem similar initially; however, there are several differences to the two approaches.
Collaborative law enables you and your former partner to work through your issues amicably, face-to-face. But unlike mediation, you’ll have your own collaborative solicitor with you at each meeting to provide advice and support.
Choosing a collaborative approach demonstrates your intention to resolve your problems through negotiation and agreement, rather than through court proceedings. This enables you to focus on what is important to you both, without the threat of court intervention.
Fixed-fee family law services
If you need to control your costs, fixed fee agreements work by fixing the cost at each stage of your case. This enables you to budget for your case from the outset, with pre-agreed costs for each piece of work we do for you.
With fixed fees you can also choose to instruct a solicitor for just part of your case, giving you the option to save on costs by taking on some of the more basic tasks yourself with support.
However, it’s worth noting that the scope of work covered by a fixed fee agreement is limited. If additional work is needed on your case, you may find that your charges increase.