Costs and funding divorce


03 August 2021

When your marriage or civil partnership breaks down, you may look to get advice from a lawyer, in order to point you in the right direction as to what issues you need to think about, what options you have available to you and what next steps you should be taking.

One of the issues that you may have considered is, how will you be able to pay for the divorce and the financial proceedings? From the outset our lawyers would discuss with you what your estimated costs would be in relation to each step in the divorce process and any proposed course of action.

As there can be a lot going on in the early stages of a separation, at Birketts we offer you a fixed cost appointment that enables you to have a discussion with one of our lawyers for a fixed price.

After the first meeting, there are a number of options as to how the legal costs are funded. The first is to consider whether you already have resources available to you, savings and investments or an income that could fund legal costs going forward.

However, if there are no such savings or you do not have such an income, or they will not sustain the level of estimated costs, you do have other options to consider. You could look to borrow money from your friends and family. We would advise you to consider entering into a formal written agreement to confirm that the monies are loaned to you rather than gifted. The court may treat informal arrangements as being ‘soft loans’ and deem that such monies do not require repayment as a priority.

Applying for more formal borrowing may be an option, and may include the use of credit cards, or obtaining a new credit card, applying for a personal bank loan or in some situations re-mortgaging to release funds but that may not be viable if a property is jointly owned with the other spouse. You would have to take your own separate independent financial advice before you took out such funding.

If you are not able to secure such lending, there is the option of considering applying for a specialist loan for divorce/civil partnership financial proceedings. We would assist you with such an application as you would need to provide information about your financial circumstances, and we would provide information and an assessment about your case. You would need to take independent financial advice before signing such an agreement as interest would be payable on the amount borrowed. If you are offered a loan, funds would be released by the lender to us, normally to cover invoices, and not drawn down in one sum. You would repay the money to the loan company at the end of your case, or if you were to retain property assets and a smaller amount of cash, the lender could secure a charge to protect their money.

Finally, if all other funding options have been exhausted, and your spouse has refused to provide you with a cash sum from assets that they may have, we would advise you to apply to the court for a legal services order. The court could make an order that your spouse has to transfer or make available to you some cash or funds in order to fund your legal fees.

It can be a difficult time, to not only think about separating and in addition to think about funding and costs. If you would like to discuss any of the matters raised above, please get in touch with Ivana Radovic via [email protected] or 01245 211289. Alternatively, please contact another member of Birketts' Family Law Team.

The content of this article is for general information only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. If you require any further information in relation to this article please contact the author in the first instance. Law covered as at August 2021.

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Ivana Radovic

Senior Associate

+44 (0)1245 211289

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