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Can anyone help re divorce costs - don't know how I'm going to afford it :(

(12 Posts)
KrispyKreme Wed 07-Oct-09 20:00:46

Can anyone offer any advice?

H & I have agreed to separate and are about to start mediation.

I have been told I am not eligible for legal aid so will have to fund myself.

Initially it looks like about £450 a month if we have 2 mediation appts per month, not considering if I need to consult my own solicitor in the meantime at £200 an hour.

This is going to be very difficult for me to afford - and I'm not sure what to do.

I have access to some funds in a savings bond which I do not really want to cash in until our finances have been agreed (if at all) because the surrender value is currently quite a bit less than I invested.

Other than that I have my p/t income and tax credits but with legal fees I will end up going overdrawn if I don;t cash in the savings.

What should I be doing?!!

CarGirl Wed 07-Oct-09 20:03:59

Do you have equity in your house? In which case you can put a charge against the settlement you receive?

KrispyKreme Wed 07-Oct-09 20:17:45

Yes, Cargirl, we do.

Does that mean that the solicitor deducts costs from the amount we settle on at the end(equity / otehr assets)?

CarGirl Wed 07-Oct-09 20:25:58

I think so. That is how legal aid works anyhow if you get any equity you have to repay the legal aid.

Ask your solicitor.

KrispyKreme Wed 07-Oct-09 20:39:08

I will probably have to do that with the legal costs for my solicitor but I wonder if it's the same for mediation. I am thinking perhaps not, but can ask at the first appt.

Thank you

mumofsatan Thu 08-Oct-09 10:37:38

I think you've misunderstood the situation.
If you get public funding (legal aid) and then recover money or property (ie keep the house) then the money you owe to the legal aid board but be registered as a charge (like a second mortgage) against the house and be paid off later (with interest)

However, if you are privately funded you cannot do this. Very unlikely a solicitor will agree to be paid at some unknown time in the future as at the end of the day, they need to get paid too.

With regards to Mediation, you would normally have to pay each week when you go and you and DH would normally pay half each.

Sorry you are in this situation KK it really is very difficult when you have a limited income and savings and can't get legal aid. Good luck

mumblechum Thu 08-Oct-09 15:49:11

Are you absolutely sure you don't qualify for public funding? You could always double check by going on the Legal Services Commission website. Go to eligibility calculator (you'd be looking under the Legal Help tab). It only takes a few minutes and you never know, your solicitor may not have done a proper check.

If you've formally applied and been refused, ignore all of the above.

KrispyKreme Thu 08-Oct-09 18:53:39

Thank you for explaining, mumofsatan.

I have been to see a solicitor re legal aid and she was certain I don;t qualify, due to having savings.

The problem is of course, that if I cash in the savings bond now, we lose £3k immediately and then start eating into what will be considered one of our joint assets. They are the only savings we have and were put away for DS when he is older sad

I'm going to need absolutely everything once we have settled financially as only work p/t and will only be able to afford a tiny mortgage.

God what a nightmare this all is. I guess I'm going to have to see how it goes and if I get desperate, cash in teh bond.

CarGirl Thu 08-Oct-09 21:12:37

Presumably you don't have to pay the solicitors bill until the end and that could be months/years away! Ask them about how they will bill you/when it will have to paid etc etc

It may be cheaper in interest to get out a small personal loan and pay that off in future from the savings bonds however whose name is the bond in?

BTW when I got divorced my dh and I did it ourselves we only had to have a seperate solicitor each to check over the financial agreement that it is "fair" etc other than that we didn't use them.

mumofsatan Fri 09-Oct-09 06:53:33

I don't know any solicitors that will let you pay the bill at the end. Some ancillary relief (financial) cases can drag on for a year, sometimes longer and the solicitors simply cannot afford not to be paid for that period of time.
You would normally pay an initial interview fee and then be billed at regular intervals, sometimes monthly or every couple of months depending on how much work is undertaken.
If counsel (barristers) are instructed to represent you at a hearing their fees will need to be paid up front.

Sorry that this is not what you want to hear KK but hopefully, as you have agreed to go to mediation, you may resolve things amicably early on and not end up going through lengthy (and expensive) court proceedings

KrispyKreme Fri 09-Oct-09 21:28:21

CarGirl, I wish! I am not even sure if mediation is going to work sad

Situation is very complicated in that H has been divorced before and it is me that has initiated the separation. It is going to be a struggle to get to a settlement.

For mediation, after the first session, if we agree to carry on, we have to pay quite a large amount on account. So not even after each session.

All teh solicitors seem to require this (mine, H's and the mediation sol).

Maybe I will consider the short term loan thing, though. I am desperate not to get into debt but I suppose to an extent it's swings and roundabouts. It will have to come out of the equity at the end.

CarGirl Sat 10-Oct-09 14:38:57

Something to through is how much the divorce is going to cost you in ££££££££££s and in some ways it may be worth accepting a bit less in settlement than you would like as in the end you will actually physically receive more?

There is also nothing to stop you writing to your h to thrash out financial agreements with each other and then refer it to solicitors to formalise it ie you both take legal advice than thrash and then go back to solicitors.

Can you at least chat to your h and ask him to bear in mind the longer you argue/disagree over stuff the more it is going to cost financially for both of you?+

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