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How much were your solicitor fees

(63 Posts)
Minionmomma Mon 02-Dec-19 14:54:54

I know this should prob be in the divorce section but the relationships section seems to have a lot more traffic.

I need to financially disentangle from my ‘D’H. We agreed that we both wish to avoid court but he seems to want 50% of our house, pay me some maintenance (he earns a lot more) and his inheritance is not included in the division. This would mean him walking away in a much more secure position than I. I’m primary carer although he’s going to try to claim we are 50/50%.

I called a reputable solicitor and was quoted £235 p/hr plus vat; £23.50 plus vat for each letter, email, phone call thereafter. I can see huge bills building up.

How much did you pay in total? Is there anything I can do myself to keep costs down? TIA.

GinNotGym19 Mon 02-Dec-19 15:06:11

Shop around and get a free half hour off a few.
Mine recommended applying for the divorce online myself (£550 and I’ve applied to claim costs back from stbxh) and the financial arrangement is done on a fixed fee basis. I think I’m paying just under £2k.

welshladywhois40 Mon 02-Dec-19 15:18:22

I ended up paying about £1,500 and that was mainly for advice and a few letters.

I live in the south east and used a solicitor back in the north where I have family. Hourly rates were much lower. I did all my meetings by phone.

My ex and I largely agreed on what we wanted and use an unofficial mediator (ie family member) to sit between us while we made an agreement.

Dacquoise Mon 02-Dec-19 15:18:32

I went through this very recently. I recommend a one off conference with a barrister to see where this would go in court. You can use a direct access one, without the need for a solicitor referral. It's a much more accurate picture as they see the judgements everyday, solicitors are much more theory I found. You can use this information to negotiate realistically with your ex-husband. He may be talking hot air to frighten you at the moment.

My barrister conference cost £600. Send all your details and paperwork to them in advance. I started off with a solicitor and quickly ran up £12k to first hearing having been quoted that for the whole thing. It runs away as you are charged for absolutely every email or text they read, every phone call even if you are chasing them up for things they haven't done. After that I did the paperwork myself, there is a lot of information online to help and then took advice from a barrister.. I represented myself at FDR but used the Barrister for the final hearings which racked up another £10k but was worth it and I got a very good result and clean break.

My partner's legal bill came to £100k because his ex-wife pursued to final hearing so beware!

Blobby10 Mon 02-Dec-19 15:37:58

I paid £175 per hour plus VAT for my solicitor and she was very good. I'm in East Mids - I guess London fees would be higher. My ex and I had decided between us what we were going to do and just wanted someone to put it into legal speak. Its worth getting recommendations from other people (the best aren't always the most expensive!) but my tips for keeping costs down are:

Don't spend time on pleasantries when phoning - the solicitor clicks the timer from the second they start the call so don't waffle on about non relevant stuff

Similarly with emails - try and get all your points into one email. I found this better that a phone call as it allowed solicitor to go away, get the answers and get back to me on all the queries at the same time so I only paid £20 for one email rather than £20 x 5 or 6.

Don't get swept up in the "this is what you could go for" as this just racks up the costs for very little benefit. Yes, I could have gone for half my ex's pension but then I would have had to surrender half of something else. In the long run it was better for me (and cheaper!) to go with what we agreed between us.

Minionmomma Mon 02-Dec-19 16:03:11

Blimey. I mean, a few thousand I can understand but over £10k... my god. I do not want to go down that route.

If me and my ‘D’H were able to come to some sort of agreement between us, bearing in mind my situ - main carer, I earn a lot less and took career breaks to have our children, we both have pensions (I’ll have been paying a lot longer than DH I think), he inherited approx £100k early this year before we split; capital in house approx £250k... what do people think would be reasonable? What happened in your situ? I really don’t want to rack up £1000s

Minionmomma Mon 02-Dec-19 16:03:43

*in solicitor fees if it can be avoided

Dacquoise Mon 02-Dec-19 20:13:38

In my experience it comes down to what's available in the pot and what you need going forward. There is no one size fits all.

Is yours a long marriage? In which case the starting point is 50/50 of all assets including pensions.

What would it cost for each of you to house yourselves taking into account the children's needs?

What mortgage raising ability to each of you have? Do you need a bigger share of the assets to enable you to raise a mortgage?

How old are the children and who will be the resident parent? The non-resident parent will need to pay child maintenance which is calculated as a percentage.

How much do you need each month to live on reasonably? Mortgage, bills, food, clothing. Is there enough finances for holidays. My advice would be to avoid long term spousal maintenance if it's applicable as it can bite you later if the payer doesn't want to pay.

You mentioned an inheritance. Is there enough capital available for housing for your ex to ring fence it?

How much are the pensions worth? Do they need to be valued if they are final salary? Pensions can be offset against equity /savings/inheritance.

You need to take a good look at these things. Like I said, the courts look at 'need' but if you can't agree between you it may end up in court with a judge deciding. Try to avoid if you can as it's brutal.

DarklyDreamingDexter Mon 02-Dec-19 20:43:43

I did my divorce myself. The cost was just the court fees which were about £450 at the time. Being able to do that is entirely dependent on reaching an agreement with your soon to be ExH. If you get a solicitor involved in the negotiation, your costs will absolutely spiral. A friend of mine was into about £25k in solicitors fees as they could not agree and it ended up going to court.

I filled in the court paperwork myself. It’s actually quite straightforward. The key is getting agreement with your Ex.

My partner (also divorced) has just read this over my shoulder and recommend www.wikivorce.com . I don’t have personal experience of this, but he said it’s a useful forum for info and offers a fixed price service. Hope this helps!

noego Mon 02-Dec-19 20:47:12

£5k start to finish and £10k putting the kids through therapy.

MsNobodyHere Mon 02-Dec-19 23:17:26

50/50 is the starting point. Given your career has taken a backseat to raise children and you are the primary carer, it's more likely to be weighted in your favour, especially if his earning capacity is greater than yours. He's living in a dream land if he thinks he'll get all that.

I was a SAHM for years, ex had a decent enough job with a good pension. We had equity in the house paid for mainly with my inheritance and savings I had made. I work part time and my earning capacity will always be limited, ex's won't. My pension is pitiful. I am the main carer and the DCs are with me over 70%. I got the house for a very small pay off, I can afford the low mortgage I took out in my own name. Ex got to keep his pension. I could also have claimed spousal maintainance but I also gave this up in order to keep the house.

MsNobodyHere Mon 02-Dec-19 23:18:43

Fees so far £2200 including the £550 divorce cost. Still going but not much more. Financial order is in the process which I was originally told was about 1k. It's costing far more than the quote I was given and it's been fairly straight forward.

sunshiney78 Mon 02-Dec-19 23:24:31

34k

Minionmomma Tue 03-Dec-19 09:52:17

I’m in shock the amount of money that can go into legal negotiations.

If I could avoid court I really would. I’ve a few friends that came to arrangements with their exes with zero involvement of solicitors other than for the transfer of equity with the property. But pensions etc were not part of it and others have advised to go for everything I can.

Minionmomma Tue 03-Dec-19 09:53:14

@MsNobodyHere was there any dispute between you and your ex re division of assets?

notapizzaeater Tue 03-Dec-19 10:01:39

My mums cost 6k and an extra 2k Ish for the actuary to value pensions

Dacquoise Tue 03-Dec-19 10:05:48

Pensions are often the most valuable asset in a marriage and should definitely not be overlooked. What it come down to at the end of the day is how much is in the pot and what you need to house yourselves and move on. It can make the difference between keeping your house and having to sell if you offset pensions against equity.

Minionmomma Tue 03-Dec-19 10:14:55

Thank you @Dacquoise

The thing is, if he was to allow his inheritance to be considered as part of the split then I would be able to buy him out and take on our home. He would then be in a position to set up on his own in a home of the same sort of value. I’ve a good pension. He has his. I could then move on and he could too without blowing £1000s on legal fees and months of negotiations.

Dacquoise Tue 03-Dec-19 10:25:59

Hi Minion, it's not a case of him 'allowing' the inheritance to be put in the pot if it's a long marriage and it's needed to be able to house each other. For some reason people seem to see themselves as financially separate on divorce. How long have you been married?

Minionmomma Tue 03-Dec-19 10:57:08

Together 17 yrs. married 5. Inheritance received 2 months before we separated. And before people jump to conclusions that I’m after my ‘D’H’s inheritance (was suggested in a previous post) it was him that started treating me with contempt and indifference. I could no longer tolerate his arrogance.

He has stated he wants 50% of the capital in the house, inheritance is in his words ‘off limits’ and he will pay maintenance.

Initially I was open to this but I now realise division of assets is more complex than that.

I was given legal advice that the inheritance is a ‘grey area’.

If he sought legal advice is it likely that a solicitor will advise him that the inheritance should be considered a marital asset?

Considering it a marital asset would mean me being able to buy him out. Not doing so would mean he could buy me out and be loads better off. I’d still have enough to put down as a deposit on a home But it’d be a much smaller home.

Minionmomma Tue 03-Dec-19 10:57:26

@Dacquoise

Snooper22 Tue 03-Dec-19 11:06:20

My partners divorce cost him £50k and his exes share was £50k thank goodness she was made to pay her share as it was her that differed and delayed for 3 years. Ridiculous money that could have gone to their kids inheritance, and it ended up 50/50 !!

Dacquoise Tue 03-Dec-19 11:22:49

My experience of court is that 'need' is the first consideration in divorce and priority is given to the needs of children first. You mentioned that he would claim 50/50 childcare. How realistic is this? I suspect this may be a ploy to avoid maintenance and giving you a bigger share of assets.

I believe that the 17 years cohabitation will be added to the 5 years marriage so it will be considered a long marriage plus you have a child together. However, your best bet, in my view is to have a Barrister conference, someone who has experience in the family court in your area.

If it goes to court you are at the mercy of a judge who will have his own interpretation of divorce laws, which is why it's so random and best avoided. Ten judges will give ten differing verdicts on the same case depending on their preferences for dividing the pot. Regarding the inheritance, if I were you, I would get a view on your case i.e finances, childcare, housing needs, pension values etc etc and use this to negotiate with your STBEXH.

If a barrister advises you that you are likely to get, say, 60/40 or 70/30 it will give you some ammunition to negotiate hard. I can't guarantee this as I don't know all the circumstances but if 50/50 is the best you can get, it saves the frustration of unrealistic expectations. Also a barrister can write a letter on your behalf to your husband setting out a settlement.

He will want to avoid court as much as you as that inheritance may well be eaten up in legal fees and will affect your settlement. Someone has to pay the fees and it comes out of the pot at the end of the day.

Dacquoise Tue 03-Dec-19 11:26:40

Same thing with my partner, Snooper, his ex-wife wasted £100k on legal fees and ended up with a much smaller settlement because of it.

Zenithbear Tue 03-Dec-19 11:33:25

Just over £2k. There was a lot in the pot. Definitely worth getting a solicitor. If I'd have listened to exh and his 'fair' split I'd have been about £100k worse off. Let the solicitor know exactly what you want.

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