Divorce: Fear of Lawyers

January 8th 2024

At the beginning of a new year, many people are considering their future and whether or not they wish to remain in relationships. What proportion of them will seek independent legal advice? 

In a recent report (Fair Shares? Sorting out money and property on divorce) it was revealed that only 32% of people getting divorced made use of legal services in connection with their financial arrangements. Of those, 40% said they had been deterred by fear of costs. 

Interestingly, where legal or mediation costs did arise, the report showed that 24% of people spent less than £1,000 on them and a further 18% spent between £1,000 and £3,000. 

The report went on to make clear that where financial issues were dealt with through solicitors or by means of a Court Order, more positive outcomes for the applicant could be expected. 

For many people, it is hard to see the value in legal advice where there is no tangible outcome, as you get when buying an item or, for example, having building work done. 

Legal services, although intangible, can be invaluable. When dealing with financial matters and matters concerning children, expensive litigation can often be avoided by taking advice early on. 

When legal advice is not sought, divorcing couples can potentially spend the rest of their lives looking over their shoulders for a financial claim against them which may or may not arise. 

Expensive legal costs are not always necessary, though. When needed, legal advice can be kept to a minimum in terms of cost by finding the right lawyer and choosing how best to instruct them. 

For example, many Family Lawyers work in teams, sharing out work with legal assistants or paralegals who will work efficiently and well but for a lower price.

Some work can also be carried out on a fixed fee basis. In any case, monthly bills will help with budgeting and experience suggests that Family Lawyers are often driven less by profit then the desire to deliver positive, life-changing outcomes for their clients. 

For more information on any of the issues raised in this article, please contact Patrick Mulcare, Head of Family Law at SE-Solicitors, on 01295 204153, or by email at pmulcare@se-solicitors.co.uk