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Where to get good, but cheap legal advice on divorce

(14 Posts)
ChickOnaMission Thu 30-Jan-14 15:36:14

My husband and I separated last august after 10 years of marriage, 2 kids–, he was a pot addict, started online relationships with other women, I got fed up and had a fling with someone at work that he found out about. He reacted incredibly badly, tried to get me sacked, made life at work horrible, told the kids what I’d done. All very very ugly and nasty.

Since I moved out we have been amicable about sharing custody of kids etc and had agreed to wait the 2 years to get easy divorce, now he says he wants to name me for adultery and divorce ASAP.

We have no assets, he owes thousand to HMRC and his family. BUT owns his own business which looks like is about to start earning a fortune I felt I was better off waiting the 2 years mainly as I supported him and brought up his kids while he built the business up. I feel I deserve some of the proceeds after the years of bloody poverty while he did this. Seems so unfair for me to walk away with nothing and him be loaded soon which looks like it will happen.

I can’t afford to pay a solicitor, he has got a family member who is a divorce lawyer for free advice.

What should I do? Where can I get cheap but good advice, I work full time so don’t think I’d get help with legal aid. He wants to just get papers together, get me to sign them and move on. How can I get advice on how much he should pay for the kids, can I have any claim on his future earnings since I supported him by staying at home to bring up kids while he set up business.

lostdad Thu 30-Jan-14 16:09:41

Consider a McKenzie Friend. Some of them are legally qualified and are able to do a lot of the stuff solicitors do, although the legal bods on this forum will point out that they can't litigate, act as your agent, don't have automatic rights of audience, etc.

Dededum Thu 30-Jan-14 16:12:28

Not sure where you are based but Surrey Law Centre in Guildford do cheap family law advice for clients on lower incomes (sliding scale up to £40k)

IneedAsockamnesty Thu 30-Jan-14 16:13:50

How much he should be paying for the kids is dealt with by the CSA, there is a helpful online calculator.

Phone these people for qualified legal advice, they are hard to get through to as its a very busy service but they are very good.

IneedAsockamnesty Thu 30-Jan-14 16:14:15


lostdad Thu 30-Jan-14 16:33:37

Make sure you get someone to help you whatever you do. Don't be tempted to do it all on your own. Especially if it comes to court hearings - you can't write and take notes on your own.

I've lost count of the number of people I speak to who have been misled and bullied when they are alone.

travellingbird Thu 30-Jan-14 17:05:20

Try the Family Advice Service, if you are in London. At Willesden County Court. Free advice and representation.

ChickOnaMission Fri 31-Jan-14 09:22:18

Wow, thanks for all the replies. I'd not heard of a Mckenzie friend before so will definitely check that out.

It's pretty overwhelming, he has said that he wants to name me for adultery and if I contest it he will name the other person, (my boss - very messy) and then he will have to make a statement. He's got me over a barrel as he knows the last thing I want is to involve my boss. My work situation is precarious as it is.

MrsSquirrel Fri 31-Jan-14 10:39:08

He is bullying you. He says he wants x y and z, but it may be just bluster. Get advice now, so you know what your options are. If/when he serves you with papers, don't just "sign them and move on."

iheartdusty Sat 01-Feb-14 16:09:51

Adultery - totally irrelevant - the court will yawn in his face. Just focus on what is a fair division of the money, the starting point is what you each need out of what is available.

xxxxmrsxxxx Sat 01-Feb-14 21:00:06

Have you looked on They have some invaluable advice and support.

STIDW Sat 01-Feb-14 22:21:30

Some solicitors offer a first free half hour and I would try that first. If you can't raise the money for legal fees there is a possibility you (or rather the solicitor on your behalf) could apply to court for an order that your husband makes money available to pay for your legal services, as long as he has the resources. If he doesn't have the resources it would be worth finding out if there is a law clinic near you that offers help to people on low incomes in family cases.

McKenzie Friends aren't the same thing as a lawyer. Basically a McKenzie Friend is a lay person who helps someone representing themselves in court with the papers and note taking. That could be someone you know who is articulate and well organised.

There is no requirement for a McKenzie Friend to have studied a law degree or complete years of training on the job and further training year in year out like a solicitor. Neither are McKenzie Friends regulated or insured. There are some Mckenzie Friends charging an hourly rate similar to a solicitor. McKenzie Friends don't have an automatic right of audience so they can't necessarily speak on your behalf in court. Also some McKenzie Friends have their own axe to grind which can make matters more difficult and protracted.

LauraBridges Sun 02-Feb-14 17:00:34

If he has not issued a divorce petition yet get in first and issue one yourself (you don't need a lawyer) suing his unreasonable behaviour. He is unlikely to dispute that and cross petition for adultery so you will be removing the adultery risk not that it makes an iota of difference to the divorce other than who pays some court fees as to who starts the divorce but I recommend you do that in the next few days for a start.

If there really are no assets not house no pensions and just a lot of debts in his not your name and simply a hope the dope smoker might earn more in future you might prefer just a clean break with no support paid to each other other than for children. If you really think he will make the business work and he will earn more than you do then you are right to take advice and perhaps try to slow things up.

babybarrister Sun 02-Feb-14 21:55:11

you can go to a barrister who specialises in family law on a direct access basis - look at the Bar Council website for listings - cheaper than solicitors and also cheaper than many MacKenzie Friends who are not qualified

you should also consider mediation

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