The costs which can be involved in Divorce or other matrimonial proceedings or issues are clearly a fundamental concern and are increasingly proving to be influential at all stages of the proceedings, so far as the parties involved are concerned. It is possible for one party in a case to increase the costs by carrying out unnecessary steps or creating unnecessary work for the other side. Equally, it is possible that one party, or indeed both parties, can reduce and confine the costs by suitable agreement or narrow down the issues which divide them, and thereby reduce the amount of work that the lawyers are required to carry out on their behalf.
How we work
This firm approaches cases in which it is acting on the basis that payments on account of costs are required to be made by our own client as the case proceeds on a periodic basis. Invoices are rendered every month. At the end of the case if costs have been recovered against the responding party the amount recovered is reimbursed to the client who in all the circumstances will have paid the costs to us as the case has proceeded.
In order to conduct a case under a Legal Aid Certificate, it has been necessary since 1st January 2000 in relation to all claims subsequently filed for the firm involved to have a Legal Aid Franchise. This firm has decided as a matter of policy not to undertake any further cases on a Legal Aid basis and has not therefore sought a legal Aid Franchise.
The amounts of costs can of course vary depending upon the extent to which cases are contested or not. Typically however a divorce itself if undefended will cost £550 exclusive of VAT and Court fees which are currently £385. It is common for the other party in the case to share equally the costs of the divorce or even to pay them all at the end of the day and, as indicated above, the client would then be reimbursed from that payment.
Every time that we work on your case the time spent by the solicitor is recorded and collated on a computerised system to produce a monthly bill. The time may be spent meeting with you and others on your behalf (for example counsel), telephone attendances, attendances at court, or in the preparation of letters and documents. Each fee earner has an hourly charging rate which varies according to his or her experience. However the same person will handle your case from start to finish; Any disbursements incurred in the month will also be included on the bill. These include court fees and counsel's fees.
We expect you to discharge your monthly bill within 21 days of receipt. If for any reason you cannot discharge that account then you should contact us immediately. If you fail to discharge the account without explanation then we will, regrettably, stop working on your matter until your account has been settled.
The costs of obtaining a financial settlement can vary hugely but every effort is taken to keep costs down and ensure that clients receive value for money. At appropriate intervals in the case a review takes place to discuss with the client the state which has been reached and the amount of costs which have been incurred. It is possible at such times to ensure that costs are kept on a tight reign and that only steps which can reasonable be justified are taken. Where we instructs experts such as barristers, accountants or surveyors to prepare reports or act in relation to a case, we are required to discharge the fees of the experts ourselves and in such circumstances it is necessary for us to receive payment on account from our client for the amount required for such fees. Every attempt is made to predict the amounts of experts fees and estimates are sought so that the client is fully aware of the extent to which such fees are likely to be incurred.