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Consent Orders - anyone used Wikivorce or other online services?

(29 Posts)
ChangingWoman Tue 08-May-12 01:30:48

Decree Nisi was finalised this week. We've had a written agreement about finances and children set out between us since we decided to divorce and now want to get this turned into a legally binding Consent Order to submit to the court.

The Wikivorce and other online services look affordable (£139-£200) and since we're already long agreed on everything, it seems like a good option.

Has anyone had any good or bad experience in getting Consent Orders drawn up by the Wiki lot or any others online? Any particular recommendations?



mustbetimeforacreamtea Fri 25-Jul-14 21:05:30

Filled in all the initial forms myself which was hardly rocket science but don't know where I go from here. Solicitor was recommended and on the resolution list. Subsequently met someone who had used the solicitor and the bill had mushroomed and they were having to pay it off monthly which was causing them to be living hand to mouth.

mustbetimeforacreamtea Fri 25-Jul-14 20:57:29

OP - another one in the same boat. Financially incontinent stbxh destroyed my savings. Although I'm the bigger earner I have no money spare to pay for legal advice so it's the diy route or nothing. No chance of ever seeing any of the money he owes me so am screwed.

Bit hacked off tbh by solicitor I saw who wanted �1.4k to fill in the divorce petition for me and send it off. Plus a further �3.5k to do the finances which he knew would equate to 25% of my total assets. I could only afford it by selling my home.

Tinyminx Tue 01-Jul-14 19:34:56

Oh god!!

I don't know which path to go down. Everything is pretty much sorted. Originally I was gonna go after his pension, final salary scheme, and I gave up work for some time to care for our children.

But now, I can't be bothered. I bought him out of the house. We split our small savings. I don't want his bloody pension, I just want rid and it all sorted so he can't go after my inheritance.

He gives me the minimum he can for the children. All I want is a clean break, no claim on anything in future and confirmation his maintenance will increase as his salary increases.

Is that easy/simple enough to do?

tna14 Sun 08-Jun-14 22:02:42

yes, brethertons are totally awful!

peedoff2012 Thu 27-Feb-14 08:18:40

I'd like to warn anyone against using Wikivorce. They are incompetent, as are Brethertons.

Just do a search online to see all the people who've had hassle with them!

Really isn't worth it, go somewhere else where you will get a PROPER job done.

Screenwipe Tue 02-Apr-13 14:20:47

Hi CW. How did you get on with getting your consent order? Just asking as I have opted to use Bretherton's via Wikivorce.

dbno Wed 20-Jun-12 22:51:48

Hi all,

This may be a bit late - but I just came across this thread.

I work at Wikivorce and thought that I could usefully clarify a few points.

The Wikivorce consent order service is a solicitor service, it is just that we charge a lot less. The main solicitors we use are Brethertons - they are a well respected law firm with a strong family law team including several specialist family law solictors.

If you use a local solicitor be sure to ask how much of their time they spend doing family law as opposed to personal injury, employment law etc.

The Wikivorce service includes the professional drafting of a consent order and legal advice on that order.

Its does not include negotiating with the other side to reach a deal.

You have all of the same protections using Wikivorce and Brethertons as you have with a high street lawyer (professional indemnity, regulated by SRA, ability to complain to legal ombudsman etc).

You are right to be wary of other online services that do not use solicitors and are not delivered by a good family law firm.

If you have any further questions you can call the Wikivorce helpline on:
0800 44886644 or 01202 805020

Collaborate Wed 16-May-12 00:22:05

"A family lawyers advice here would be useful - in broadly what circumstances can an order be overturned?"

I could give a lengthy reply.....

nocake Tue 15-May-12 20:48:49

A friend used an online service to draft her consent order and ended up with an unenforcable document. That meant her ex stopped paying child maintenance and she was unable to take any action for months, until the CSA would take it on. She ended up out of pocket by a lot of money, many times more than it would have cost to get a local solicitor to draft the consent order.

Please don't do it. Use a local solicitor instead, preferably one that's been recommended to you.

reluctantmpvdriver Tue 15-May-12 20:43:39

I am not sure how wikivorce etc works but I would not be comfortable with not having a person taking the facts of my case as you need a person to ask you the right questions and really pick up on issues or matters that might be harder to to winkle out in an online questionnaire. An order based on wrong facts or which does not take account of all the facts may be open to challenge.

There may be other considerations too (I don't know personally as I am not in that field). For instance - there are circumstances (in other fields of law) where orders can be overturned if parties were not legally advised and therefore you have to get the parties to sign up to documents saying that they have had advice (even if they have not) . I really don't know if that is the case here - but it is because I don't know that I would always go for a face to face lawyer so that I can ask the questions.

Also - and this is quite remote - if the legal advice you are given is wrong - you have recourse to the lawyer - you can pursue the lawyer in court or through its regulating body to recoup your losses. I am not sure that that is the case with an online service.

A family lawyers advice here would be useful - in broadly what circumstances can an order be overturned?

ChasingSquirrels Tue 15-May-12 17:03:27

Interesting, I was just looking at this today.
I have filled in all my divorce paperwork and just need to think about the consent order.

Separated 4 years, agreed split of finances between us and actioned it.

All I want to make sure of is that he isn't able to make any financial claim on me in the future, and I am fairly certain that is all be will be bothered about as well.

I don't want advice as to whether it is a "fair" financial settlement, or whether I could get more.

In these circumstances what am I paying extra to a local solicitor for?

Peppin Tue 15-May-12 16:58:57

Second the previous post on all counts. You do not want to be trying to get a crap consent order set aside in future - that would cost a lot more than £800!

At my firm we do pro bono work at our local CAB in the evenings. Anyone can get free advice. I would really recommend you contact your local CAB for advice as a minimum. Online divorce/will-writing providers are not worth the trouble that will inevitably be stored up for your future. And usually they've gone out of business anyway by the time you realise you need to make a negligence claim against them.

reluctantmpvdriver Sun 13-May-12 22:10:23

I am a solicitor (although not a family solicitor) and I would never enter into a arrangement like this without a specialist - if only for the peace of mind . Do find a cheaper solicitor.

cbmum Sun 13-May-12 21:13:29

mumblechum it's good to see there are a few of us realistic enough to be flexible on costs!

I agree it's not always that simple but if you don't ask you don't get. My firm is looking to roll out fixed fees for preparing consent orders plus lots of other tasks. I reckon it'll be live within 6 months. Interestingly lots of other firms are doing it too. Most firms seem to be charging approx £500 incl for consent orders.

Llareggub Sun 13-May-12 08:56:39

That is interesting. I wonder if my solicitor will be up for negotiating her fees. Our situation is all agreed. I shall ask her for her hourly rate and an estimate on how long it will take.

mumblechum1 Sun 13-May-12 08:42:04

cbmum, same here; my charging rate's £185 plus VAT and I reckon if everythign's already agreed and it's just a matter of drafting the CO and having it approved, signing the client up and doing the M1, you're talking two hours, so £370 plus VAT.

Problem is that often it's not that straightforward.

cbmum Sat 12-May-12 20:44:56

Hi. It sounds to me as though the solicitors you contacted are being slightly high on the costs. For something like you outline, if it's all agreed and I am literally drafting and explains the consent order, I usually allow 2-3 hours. I charge £185p hr + VAT but usually reckon to come in under that!

Have another look at the Resolution list and make some more calls.

ChangingWoman Sat 12-May-12 18:05:28

Llareggub: I can easily believe it - one thing I've learned from Mumsnet is that I didn't just marry a man, I married a pattern of negative behaviour... It's quite sad how you see the same stories again and again on here.

Hope all goes smoothly for you.

Llareggub Sat 12-May-12 16:10:34

We really are in the same boat.

ChangingWoman Sat 12-May-12 14:31:11

Yes, I was quoted around the £800-850 mark too.

I do agree that a local family solicitor is the ideal option but it's all rather academic as I don't have a spare £800 and won't do for years. To even consider borrowing that money (on top of the exH debts) I'd need some evidence that I really needed the superior (local sol) option in my particular circumstances and I don't think I have that evidence at the moment. My choice is really between no consent order or a Wikivorce consent order.

All I really need is a single clause, stamped by the court, to prevent exH trying to claim from me in any form in future. (This remains unlikely but future partners and unstable relatives could be an influence and I want to close that door now if I can.) The rest of the consent order is more to give very disorganised ExH a framework to remind him in black in white of what we have agreed. There are no circumstances in which I would seek to claim anything from him other than through the CSA if necessary.

Llareggub Sat 12-May-12 12:16:40

My solicitor quoted me around £800 for a consent order. I was very impressed with her and felt comfortable with the advice given. I would go with the advice to seek face to face advice. Frankly the questions she asked me were worth the price alone!

Stepmum395 Sat 12-May-12 10:24:46

OP, it sounds like you are the one at most financial risk in the future. I seriously advise getting proper family solicitor advice. If you've already agreed everything the advice and document won't be too expensive (obv not as cheap as online) and could potentially save you thousands further down the line. This is not the time to save cash. You need to be certain you are protected.

ChangingWoman Thu 10-May-12 10:56:19

Thanks Mumblechum - that's really helpful. Will make sure it's all in there.

mumblechum1 Thu 10-May-12 08:07:45

Oh, right OK. In that case, make sure the dismissal clauses cover EVERYTHING, ie

Secured Provision
Property Adjustment
Pension sharing/earmarking
Claims under the Inheritance (provision for family and dependents) Act 1975
Any other claims under Ss 23 & 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973

remember that you both need to service statements setting out your financial position as well as the consent order, which needs to be in triplicate. And there's a fee of £45 payable to the court.

Llareggub Wed 09-May-12 23:50:05

Goodness me. We are in EXACTLY the same situation. It is pants, isn't it?

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