Funding Your Case
Starting legal proceedings for divorce or separation can seem daunting, and many of our clients come to us with concerns about how to fund their family cases. However, there are various funding options available, meaning you can get the help that you need.
Our family law solicitors aim to be transparent about our charges and to give you the best possible estimate of how much your case could cost. However, it can sometimes be very difficult to predict how a case will develop, and the costs can sometimes exceed initial expectations due to matters or complications beyond our control. For example, the other party or their solicitor may be uncooperative, or it may take longer than expected to reach an agreement, and you might end up having to apply to court rather than reach an agreement between yourselves.
Our divorce and separation fees
In some cases, we are able to offer tailored fixed fees for defined pieces of work. For example, if you and your partner are seeking a straightforward divorce and have agreed on what you want to happen, and that you will cooperate. Our family solicitors will always discuss the availability of fixed fees with you as an option, where appropriate.
Estimate of costs
In cases where we are not able to offer a fixed-fee package, we will provide you with our best estimate of the likely costs.
Normally, our family lawyers will ask for a deposit to be paid at the beginning of the case and for further payments to be made ‘on account’ as the case progresses. This is to avoid you having a large bill to pay at the end of the case.
How can I pay for my family law case?
If you are finding it difficult to fund your case, there are several options that may be available to you.
Some clients can pay for their case using a bank loan or a credit card, or a loan or gift from a friend or family member. If you are able to, this may be the best option for you.
Alternatively, it may be possible to ask your ex-partner to help fund your case. Some clients find that they can agree on a funding ‘pot’ to help pay for the legal fees for both parties. This is usually from money held in a joint account, to fund the legal fees of both parties.
Legal Services Payment Order
If a funding pot cannot be agreed upon, our family solicitors can, in some cases, apply to the court for a Legal Services Payment Order. This orders your former partner to contribute towards your legal fees.
If you are unable to arrange private borrowing from a bank, commercial lender or family/friend, or from your ex-partner, you can receive funding via a specialist third-party legal services funding lender. We strongly advise that you seek independent financial advice from a qualified and regulated professional before considering this option.
To apply for funding from a third-party lender, you will need to provide details of the case so that an assessment of the risk can be carried out. This will only be suitable if there is a good chance that you will be receiving a financial settlement at the end of your case that is at least three times the likely legal costs of the case. If approved, the provider then agrees to pay your legal costs on the basis that you repay the loan once your case is concluded. Interest is also usually charged, often at around 1-1.5% per month, which is added to the loan.
Some of the legal funding providers we work with include:
Rhea Family Finance
Rhea Family Finance is an independent third-party lender which provides funding for family finance cases.
There is an administration fee of £500 in order to set up the account, although you can borrow that amount which will be added to the loan, and you will also need to pay for independent legal advice before taking out the loan, which can cost around £250-£300 + VAT.
Interest is added to the loan and paid off at the end of the case out of any financial settlement reached.
The amount outstanding in respect of the loan amount is payable at the end of the case, out of the financial settlement reached.
This is likely to be suitable for middle to high-value cases.
Level charge a £500 administration fee for providing a loan facility, although this can be added to the loan so that you do not have to provide this sum upfront.
Our family solicitors can advise you about potential funding options with any provider if you are interested in exploring this option.
Sears Tooth agreement
As a final resort, if you are unable to consider any other alternative funding arrangement, we may in some cases, agree to withhold our fees until the conclusion of the case. However, we will only do this in certain exceptional cases, due to the level of risk and financial consequences for us.
Our family solicitors are only likely to agree to this arrangement in a case where there is a high level of certainty that a significant financial settlement will be achieved at the end of the case, from which our fees will be paid.
We will require some control over the process to ensure that our fees are paid at the end of the case and will require you to legally charge your settlement in our favour so that we can ensure that we are paid at the conclusion of the case (called a Sears Tooth agreement).
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