27 May 2020
Meeting a divorce lawyer for the first time can feel like a daunting and overwhelming experience. After all, seeking a divorce is often a very stressful and emotional time.
The friendly Family Law team at Phillips Solicitors incorporating Brain Chase Coles will do their best to allay your fears and concerns while making the process as smooth and amicable as possible for you.
Among the team is Sheila Parkes who has practised as a solicitor specialising in Family Law for more than 30 years.
She has put together a list of seven questions, some of which you may have in mind, before you meet your solicitor.
1. Can you divorce if you are still living in the same house?
Yes, as long as you have the grounds – and that you are living “separately” under one roof such as not sharing a bed, eating separately, not socialising together as a couple.
2. Are the assets always divided 50/50?
No – the starting point is equality but there are often situations where one person will have a greater share. The most common examples are that one party needs more, are giving up a share in something else such as maintenance or pension, or that there are matrimonial/non matrimonial aspects to the assets.
3. Do I have to go to court if I divorce?
No – unless the divorce is defended. However, if there are issues about children or finances which require determination by the court, then you will need to attend court potentially on a number of occasions.
4. Will my ex have to pay me more because they committed adultery or have been unreasonable in their behaviour?
No – generally “conduct” is not relevant in the assessment of how assets are divided unless it is such “that it would be inequitable” for the court to disregard it. Section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 sets out the factors that a court considers.
5. Will I have to pay maintenance to my ex?
Child support will be payable if your dependent children are based with your ex – the level is based on your gross income less pension contributions and the number of nights the children spend with you. There is a calculator available which can be found by clicking here www.gov.uk/calculate-child-maintenance.
There is no similar calculator for whether maintenance is payable for your ex – this and the term depends on many factors including the differential in your income, earning capacity of your ex, duration of the marriage and need. Ultimately the issue can be decided by the court if no agreement can be reached in negotiation or mediation.
6. Will I need a lawyer?
It is up to you – a divorce can be done relatively easily online without a lawyer but advice is often recommended in relation to financial aspects and/or cases about children such as where there are issues around domestic violence, or substance misuse or complex finances. Details of lawyers who are committed to the constructive resolution of family disputes can be found on the Resolution website.
7. What will it cost?
The court fee for issuing a divorce is £550, for a child arrangements application is £215 and for a financial provision order is £255 but there is an option to seek an exemption/reduction in the fee for those on low incomes by completing Form EX160.
Solicitors generally charge an hourly rate for any advice that they provide although some will offer a fixed price for specific pieces of work. It is however difficult to estimate accurately what costs might be incurred as no two cases are ever the same.
We are here to help you
It can be hard to stay calm and consider all of the implications, such as who keeps the house.
Sheila and her colleagues in our Family Law team are on hand to support you through the whole process, providing advice that you can trust, particularly when it comes to your children, home and sorting out your finances.
They will listen to your concerns and discuss your options, letting you know what your rights are, as well as those of your former partner.
Alternatively click here to go to our contact page.
During these difficult times our Town Gate office in Basingstoke is temporarily closed to visitors unless by prior appointment when meeting in person is essential. However, thanks to our lawyers being able to work remotely, Phillips remains fully open for business and can discuss your legal matters by telephone and video conference.
This article is current at the date of publication set out above and is for reference purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking any action.
Please call us or email and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
- 01256 460830
- [email protected]
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