Now that public funding (legal aid) for divorce and separation has been withdrawn (except in certain specific cases – see our article on this), many people are understandably worried about how to fund the legal costs of a divorce before receiving the money from a settlement. Whilst Harney & Wells are not qualified to give financial advice, we can outline some of the options and identify sources of advice and help.
Here are some options for this funding along with some sources of information…
- A private loan (e.g. from family)
- A bank loan
- A specialist loan provider such as Novitas. The aim of such providers is to provide a loan facility to help pay the legal costs of people going through divorce and separation. The loan is used solely to pay legal costs and out of pocket expenses. The loan funds are sent directly to the nominated solicitor’s client bank account. The solicitor can only draw the money against invoices which have been approved by the client. Security is usually required (unsecured loans are unusual in these cases).
- An application to Court for an Order that the other party helps contribute to your legal costs by paying a lump sum. This is known as a ‘Legal Fees Order’. Such an application can only be made once proceedings have been ongoing for a while and the court has to be satisfied that it is not possible for you to fund the proceedings in any other way (e.g. through a loan). Therefore, this is an application of last resort.
Once again it should be stressed that the best way to contain divorce or separation costs is to settle all matters through mediation or collaborative law. Remember that legal aid (subject to circumstances) is still available for mediation and for free legal advice during the course of the mediation.
Harney & Wells are aware that Novitas will also cover all aspects of dispute resolution such as arbitration, mediation and collaborative law. The lending specifically covers the fees of the solicitor, mediator or arbitrator.
Please go to our costs page for details of our costs but, in general terms, our hourly rate is £170.00 + VAT. We do offer fixed fee packages which are detailed on our costs page.