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Any divorce solicitors on here who can answer a question?(11 Posts)
I went to see a solicitor for advice about divorce and financial settlement. They told me as I have a pension I will have to pay for a pension valuation report at a cost of £1000. They also said because my husband has a limited company I ill have to pay for an accountants report at a cost of £4000. I can't afford this and the legal fees. They told me the overall cost could be £20,000 if it goes to hearing. Is this really how much these reports and divorce are likely to cost?
My ex and I both used solicitors. We paid for none of those things. Don't be coned into doing it unless you need to. We reached an informed agreement on who got what and had the solicitors draw that up into the court sealed consent order. We had no financial hearings.
I am not saying that is always possible but it is not wrong to do it our way and saves a lot of time and money. In our case we knew roughly the sum in our pension funds and the type of pension and decided they were about worth the same so each kept their own pension. No need for a valuation. If instead the other person is really secretive about their pension you might need to force a valuation out of them.
On the limited company you can buy for about £3 its accountants on companieshouse.gov.uk and indeed your husband will probably give you its accounts - in fact many spouses like us have copies of an know everything about the finances of the other person. I do not understand anyone in a marriage which does not have that disclosure right throgh from day 1. Have you seen his tax returns - I used to write both of ours - they will show you his salary. have you had his P60s? Most couples have access to each other's such documents.
You will know how many people he employs. You probably know what the company's receipts (turnover) and likely profits are.
Also be proportionate. if he makes £2m a year from the company then paying for a valuation if he is saying the company is worth peanuts is worthwhile. if he draws £20k out a year in dividends only then paying these large sums for things is pointless.
I'd see a different solicitor. That sounds scarily expensive.
They are giving you the if he argues and is obstructive costs. Believe you me just the other party doing nothing, not responding in any way can be hellishly expensive.
It's only me who has a pension, well two of them. He said he hasn't got one which is a little strange as he used to work for big companies.
He doesn't have any employees only himslef, but no he never disclosed his finances to me and he doesn't live with me anymore and has his paperwork with him. We always had separate bank accounts (not my choice). I'm scared I can't afford to divorce or that it will wipe me out financially with the figures I've been told. I think the £20,000 was if it went to hearing, to be honest if it went that far I may have to represent myself.
I went to the solicitors to find out where I stood legally as I was feeling stressed about it all and now I'm stressed about the potential legal costs!
May be don't use solicitors then so at least no costs are being incurred.
So buy his company's accounts on on line at Companies House. You probably have a rough idea what he draws out of his company as you know when you lived together what sorts of things he could afford. If he only has himself in the company then the company itself probably isn't much of an asset that has a value, just the income he earns from it unless it makes £400k profit a year or something and is courted by potential buyers.
Do you know the amount of capital in your pensions if they are not final salary ones? Eg if you have £100k in the fund that will buy about £5k a year annuity when you retire. That is not treated as £100k cash you have by the way on divorce. Just a small percentage. It may be you keep your pensions and he keeps his company.
So that leaves cash at bank, shares, properties to divide less loans and deciding what is paid for children.
Finally if one of you earns a lot more than the other but there is not much capital then a "clean break" may not be possible and if you earn less he may need to pay you some spousal maintenance. Trouble is he owns his own limited company so it is not too hard for him to ensure he pays himself very little and avoids maintenance so go instead for as much of the equity in the house as you can. However if you earn more than he does (I earned 10x more than my ex and I paid him on the divorce) then you might well want a clean break and pay him off rather than pay him maintenance for life.
I didn't do any of this. Even using a really expensive lawyer my costs ended up about £3-4k all in. I was lucky that we avoided court - mainly because we both recognised how much the costs would hurt both of us.
If it is a small company you will probably only get abbreviated accounts from Companies House which won't give you the information you need. It will give you the balance sheet but you need the P&L to determine the value of the company. Depending on how the company is being used it may be necessary to delve into the accounts further to determine the true value of the business. As babybarrister says, these costs would normally be shared between you.
My mother is in the same position and she was told the same re pensions. My dad's solicitor said it was possible to come to a financial arrangement as he also has pensions.
Ask your solicitor is you can make a legally binding agreement to pay your H a monthly sum from your pension rather than have it administered by your pension provider? Not sure about the other stuff though.
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