Resolving family finances on divorce or relationship breakdown – how much will it cost and how long will it take?

These days there are many different ways we can work with you to resolve your financial issues following divorce or relationship breakdown. It is not always necessary to start court proceedings. We also know that the cost of legal fees for divorce can seem daunting. We will work with you to keep them proportionate and will offer a fixed fee proposal wherever possible if that is what you seek. Below, we go through the different options available and summarise indicative cost and timescales.

Each divorce, and indeed each family, is different and how long it takes and what it costs will depend on the facts of your case, and the seniority of the solicitor working your case. The summaries below are intended as a guide to help you decide which option would be best for you. Your solicitor can give further detail and help you decide which is best for you.

What is involved?

You would negotiate with your spouse direct and we will advise you in the background as you go.

If you reach agreement, we can advise you whether the agreement is the type of outcome the judge would consider fair.

We can draw up the agreement into the required format for the court (consent order)  to consider and help you obtain the judge’s approval.

Once the judge has approved the agreement and decree absolute has been obtained, the agreement is enforceable.

How much will this option cost me?

Usually between £2,500 and £10,000 depending on the remit of your instructions and the complexity of the circumstances.

Are fixed fees available for all or part?

Yes – for the preparation of the draft consent order.

What is a realistic time frame for completion?

The time frame is entirely in the hands of you and your spouse.

Usually it takes between 3 weeks and 3 months to agree the wording of a court order, submit it to the court and receive the judge’s approval.

What is involved?

At the outset,  you will need advice on your legal position.

Prior to advising we will need to identify with you the assets, income, debts and anticipated expenditure. This will allow us to provide detailed advice as to your options, along with an estimate of future costs.

Often a voluntary exchange of financial documents can lead to settlement negotiations without the need for court proceedings, although we will advise you as to when we think court proceedings might be necessary.

We can draw up the agreement into the required format for the court to consider and help you obtain the judge’s approval.

Once the judge has approved the agreement and decree absolute has been obtained, the agreement is enforceable.

How much will this option cost me?

Usually between £5,000 to £20,000 depending upon how much work is required to reach a compromise.

Are fixed fees available for all or part?

Yes – for the preparation of your case presentation and a draft court  order.

What is a realistic time frame for completion?

The time frame is largely in the hands of you and your spouse.

Usually it takes between 3 weeks and 3 months to agree the wording of a court order, submit it to the court and receive the judge’s approval.

What is involved?

You and your spouse attend a series of mediation meetings with an impartial mediator. The meetings usually last for up to 2 hours and you may require up to six meetings. The mediator’s role is to facilitate a constructive conversation and give guidance where required. The mediator is not allowed to advise either party and is not able to impose an outcome. We will advise you as you go, usually between the mediation meetings and as required.

If a proposed agreement is reached, we will advise you whether the agreement is the type of outcome the judge would consider fair.   We can draw up the agreement into the required format for the court to consider and help you obtain the judge’s approval.

Once the judge has approved the agreement and decree absolute has been obtained, the agreement is enforceable

How much will this option cost me?

Usually between £5,000 and £10,000.

Are fixed fees available for all or part?

Yes – for the preparation of your case presentation and a draft court  order.

What is a realistic time frame for completion?

Usually up to 3 months, but the timetable is set between the parties and the mediator.

What is involved?

Collaborative law is a good option for you and your ex-partner if you are committed to working together to reach a settlement or agreement, and wish to avoid an acrimonious and lengthy court process.

It involves a series of meetings where you and your spouse meet in the same room with your respective collaborative lawyers and everything is discussed openly and honestly with a view to resolving the issues and reaching an amicable agreement.

We can draw up the agreement into the required format for the court to consider and help you obtain the judge’s approval.

Once the judge has approved the agreement and decree absolute has been obtained, the agreement is enforceable.

How much will this option cost me?

Usually between £10,000 and £60,000.

Are fixed fees available for all or part?

No – we do not offer fixed fees for the collaborative process.

What is a realistic time frame for completion?

Usually up to 6 months, but the timetable is set between the parties and their collaborative lawyers.

What is involved?

The court will direct and manage a three stage process –

Phase 1 – disclosure using a standard financial summary template.

The court then decides what further information or documents you and your spouse need to provide and what, if any, expert advice is required.

Phase  2 – secondary disclosure, obtaining expert reports and negotiations.

The judge will assist by giving a non-binding opinion designed to help you to negotiate and agree a settlement.

If final agreement is reached, the judge can approve the agreement on the same day.

Phase 3 (if required) – If agreement cannot be reached, the judge will set a timetable for  evidence to be updated, followed by a court hearing at which the judge will make a final decision.

How much will this option cost me?

Settlement at phase 1 – £10,000 to £30,000

Settlement at phase 2 – £25,000 to £60,000

Resolution at phase 3 – £50,000 to £120,000

Note – these figures are based on the work required for the core financial remedy case only.

If we are required to deal with extra financial issues or hearings, they will incur additional charges. .

Are fixed fees available for all or part?

Yes – for individual phases of the case.

What is a realistic time frame for completion?

Phase 1 – 3 to 4 months.

Phases 1 & 2 – 6 to 10 months

Phases 1, 2 & 3 – 12 to 24 months

What is involved?

We will design a process and agree a timetable with your spouse’s solicitor for the exchange of financial information and obtaining any expert reports that may be necessary.

We will work with you and your spouse’s lawyers to set up a settlement hearing with an experienced private judge whose role is to help facilitate settlement between you.

The private judge will assist by giving a non-binding opinion designed to help you to negotiate and agree a settlement.

We can draw up the agreement into the required format for the Family Court judge to consider and help you obtain the judge’s approval.

Once the judge has approved the agreement and decree absolute has been obtained, the agreement is enforceable.

How much will this option cost me?

£20,000 to £50,000

Are fixed fees available for all or part?

Yes – for individual phases of the case.

What is a realistic time frame for completion?

1 month to 6 months

What is involved?

We will work with you, your spouse’s solicitor and an arbitrator to design and agree a bespoke process for disclosing your respective financial circumstances, obtaining any necessary expert evidence, negotiating and, if required, the arbitrator will decide the outcome the case.

How the process works is up to the parties, their lawyers and the arbitrator to agree. It may be a document-only process, or include face-to-face and telephone/video meetings.

Once a final decision has been made, we will then obtain the court judge’s approval to the arbitrator’s award. 

How much will this option cost me?

Depending upon the process agreed, between £10,000 and £80,000.

Are fixed fees available for all or part?

Yes – for individual phases of the case.

What is a realistic time frame for completion?

1 month to 6 months

What is involved?

A process combining mediation and arbitration. We work with you to prepare and present your case. You would then attend mediation with your spouse.

If the mediation process is not successful in enabling you to reach agreement, any outstanding points of disputes will be decided by a jointly appointed arbitrator in binding arbitration proceedings. We will work with you to present your case effectively to the arbitrator.

Once a final decision has been made, we will then obtain the court judge’s approval to the arbitrator’s award. 

How much will this option cost me?

£20,000 to £50,000

Are fixed fees available for all or part?

Yes – for individual phases of the case.

What is a realistic time frame for completion?

1 month to 6 months

What is involved?

Hybrid mediation is a dispute resolution model that enables a jointly appointed and impartial mediator to manage a course of mediation more closely than in a standard mediation setting.

The mediator’s role is to facilitate a constructive conversation and give guidance where required.

However, the mediator may also meet with each party separately to enable more in-depth dialogue.

Each party can be supported by their lawyer during those meetings, which does not happen during standard mediation meetings.

The mediator is not allowed to give legal advice to either party and is not able to impose an outcome.

If a proposed agreement is reached, we will advise you whether the agreement is the type of outcome the judge would consider fair. 

We can draw up the agreement into the required format for the court to consider and help you

obtain the judge’s approval.

Once the judge has approved the agreement and decree absolute has been obtained, the agreement is enforceable.

How much will this option cost me?

Between £5,000 and £20,000.

Are fixed fees available for all or part?

Yes – for individual phases of the case.

What is a realistic time frame for completion?

1 month to 6 months

If you have a question that isn’t here or would like advice from one of our family solicitors on financial settlement, then do get in touch with the family team on +44 (0)1892 506 275