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HELP!!! divorce/legal aid advice needed please

(10 Posts)
lunavix Fri 10-Jul-09 21:05:57

H and I are getting a divorce, his petition. I have a solicitor through legal aid, he pays for his.

We agreed that we'd like to avoid a financial breakdown in court and that we've split everything fairly so are happy just to go ahead. However, my solicitor upon receiving this instruction from his solicitor has now told me that if I don't go ahead with the claim/financial stuff in the divorce, I have to pay his fees as it won't be covered by legal aid.

Is there no way out of this????? I don't have any money to pay him, ex doesn't either. It's not like I'd get a settlement out of ex, he has nothing and I probably owe him!

Ex didn't want to go down the financial route in court as it'd cost him money, and I don't as I don't particularly want ex to see my bank accounts.


PintandChips Fri 10-Jul-09 21:13:08

I don't know much about this, but can you not wait until you've been living separately for two years and then just get a divorce without any of the financial nonsense involved?

PintandChips Fri 10-Jul-09 21:14:39

i meant to say, i know this is what my sister did, but they had no kids or property involved... maybe that will have a bearing. But i would have thought that Legal Aid would hold up whatever the outcome - you might want to take advice from the CAB.

lunavix Fri 10-Jul-09 21:18:42

I imagine it's because without a financial settlement they won't get any of the money back. Thing is, this divorce has cost ex tons so I think he'll just push on ahead (even though it's 2 years in 3 weeks!)

DLI Fri 10-Jul-09 21:19:34

presumably you get Legal Help level of legal aid and you live in England

You should not be liable to pay his costs if you don't deal with finances. sounds to me like your solicitor is trying to get more money! If you and your husband have agreed financial matters and solicitors dont negotiate they just need to draw up a Consent Order to submit to the court for sealing (no court proceedings are issued). This can all be done under Legal Help Scheme and you don't pay the costs of your solicitor. Your solicitor may ask you to sign a disclaimer to say that you havent taken advice on finances to cover his back.

You can both decide to deal with the divorce yourselves without solicitors. its much easier than you think!!!!!! Are proceedings issued? If you dont enter into a Consent Order then financial matters are not finalised but his solicitor could draw the paperwork up and you could sign on your own and tell your solicitor to get lost.

Genereally solicitors like to advise you on financial matters to ensure that you are getting a fair deal and they get more money.

moodywren Fri 10-Jul-09 21:23:04

If you don't have anything that needs sorting out in court ie finances etc. you can do the divorce yourself.

I went to the court offices got the forms, all child access and finances were sorted out between ourselves and we didn't even need a solicitor. Because I was on benefits I didn't even have to pay court fees.

There is more info at

DLI Fri 10-Jul-09 21:28:39

moodywren did you enter into a consent order cos if you didnt your finances are not finalised and you or your ex-dh can always claim in the future for financial provision from the other/other'e estate. alot of people don't know this. you may have also lost out on a share of your ex-ds pension!

lunavix Fri 10-Jul-09 21:31:20

What's a consent order?

Can I boot the solicitor and represent myself straight away, and will I need to pay him off?

Is it wise to boot him? Ex and I have now agreed on everything but he can be sneaky...

moodywren Fri 10-Jul-09 21:37:47

In the end I did get a solicitor because my ex-h wouldn't respond when the papers were served so I had to prove he had received them. Which involved getting his probation officer to give them to him then sign and affitdavit stating that she had given them to him. Unfortunately because he was an arse my divorce took two and a half years. To be honest if I was starving and homeless I wouldn't touch a penny of his money and I am now re-married and make a point of everything being in my dh name just in case there was any problem but I am sure the arse (ex-h) wouldn't have the guts to even try and get anything out of me (he would be too scared I'd go after him for maintence)

DLI Fri 10-Jul-09 21:42:54

a consent order (You are living in England?) is a document which records what you have agreed and dismisses each other's rights to claim against each other in the future. its all standard wording and shouldnt take much to draw up. You also have to complete a statement of information for a consent order which is a form showing what each of you earns,has in savings, pensions etc so that the judge can assess whether he thinks the consent order is reasonable. this is usually submitted to the court between decree nisi and decree absolute stage although it is entirely separate from the divorce proceedings. once you are divorced you lose your rights as a spouse to any of your ex-dh's pension provision and therefore finances should in an ideal world be sorted out before applying for decree absolute.

basically what generally happens is one person issues divorce proceedings, the other returns the acknowledgement of service, you get your certificate of entitlement telling you when your decree nisi is going to be pronounced, you get your decree nisi and then six weeks and a day later you can apply for the decree absolute(the petitioner). that the divorce process.

finances are usually discussed and sorted out whilst the divorce proceedings are going through but sometimes it can take months/years. a Consent Order is drawn up when finances are agreed and then court proceedings dont need to be issued in respect of finances (ancillary relief). if you can't agree then the solicitor applies for public funding (The next level of legal aid) and issues an application at court. if you recover or preserve assets because of your solicitor negotiating on your behalf then you pay your costs back to the Legal Services Commission.

you seem to have agreed an arrangement (not sure if it is acutally fair) but if you are happy and understand that it is final when the consent order is sealed and no going back then your solicitor should prepare a Consent Order stating your agreement.

if i was you i would make an appointment with another solicitor at another firm where they offer free initial appointments and ask about legal aid and divorce (dont tell them you have solicitors already but that you are just thinking about it at the moment)

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