Category: Family Mediation

How much does it cost to get a divorce?

When getting a divorce, the cost of the process probably isn’t the first thing on your mind, but it is certainly something that you should consider.
Over recent years, the cost of court fees has risen, bumping up the price of filing for a divorce.
It’s not just the immediate cost of the divorce process that couples should prepare for though, they must also plan for other hidden expenses that they may face as a result of the divorce.

The cost of filing for a divorce
The price you can expect to pay when filing for a divorce will vary depending on several factors, including:
• Whether you are the divorce petitioner or respondent (the person applying for the divorce or their spouse).
• Whether you use a solicitor or a DIY divorce service.
• Whether your divorce is contested or uncontested.
• Whether your divorce involves a financial settlement and, if so, the complexity of the settlement.
• Whether you require divorce mediation.

Divorce centre fee

No matter what the circumstances of your divorce and the route you take when filing it, you will be required to pay a fee of £550 to the divorce centre to cover the cost of court fees upon applying for your divorce.

Solicitor fees
It is possible to fill out and apply for your divorce without the help of a solicitor to save yourself some money. Bear in mind though that this can be a stressful and complicated process which could prolong the process of getting divorced. If your divorce requires a financial settlement, then you will also require legal help with this.
On average, using a solicitor to apply for a divorce costs between £1000 and £1500.
This cost will increase if you and your partner cannot come to an agreement about finances.

The hidden lifestyle costs of divorce
The hidden costs of divorce are those associated with getting your life back on track after the divorce has been finalised.

The extent of these costs will depend on:
• Whether you owned property together.
• Whether you have any children.

Some of the hidden costs of divorce to plan and prepare for include:
• Moving house.
• Buying a new property.
• Redecorating.
• Child maintenance.
• Buying a new vehicle.
• Childcare costs.
• Buying new furniture and electrical goods.

For help or advice with filing for a divorce quickly and efficiently, give our team of solicitors here at Lund Bennett a call on 0161 927 3118.

How long does it take to get a divorce?

If you and your partner have decided to get a divorce, you’ll probably want to get things settled as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Unfortunately, getting a divorce can sometimes be complicated and the timescales for getting one can vary significantly.

How long it will take from filing for a divorce to receiving your decree absolute is dependent on several factors including:

How quickly you reach an agreement
If you and your partner reach a straightforward agreement, then this is called an uncontested divorce. Uncontested divorces are usually much quicker to settle than contested divorce.

If you cannot reach an agreement about the terms of your divorce, then you will be required to attend mediation followed by court if the dispute still cannot be resolved. This can cause the process to drag on and take much longer than an uncontested divorce.

Whether any children are involved

If you and your partner have children, then it may take longer to iron out all the terms of your divorce relating to custody and child maintenance payments.

How many assets are owned
The more assets that you and your partner own, the more complicated and time-consuming the process of dividing your assets is likely to be. Just some of the assets that will need to be considered include property, savings, pensions, and vehicles.

How busy the Court of Administration’s processing centre is
Even if you come to an agreement quickly and fill out and return all documentation promptly, if the Court of Administration’s processing centre is very busy and have a backlog of work, this can hold things up.

Average timescale for a divorce in the UK

Once an agreement has been reached and a divorce has been filed for, the average time to receive a decree absolute is around 12 months.

For further help or advice with divorce law or beginning divorce proceedings, give our team of family law solicitors here at Lund Bennett a call on 0161 927 3118.

What evidence can be used during divorce proceedings?

During divorce proceedings you will be required to give evidence to support all information and claims you make.

When applying for a divorce, you will need to provide proof that your marriage has irretrievably broken down for one of the following reasons:
• Adultery
• Unreasonable behaviour
• Desertion
• Two years separation with your spouse’s consent; or
• Five years separation, whether your spouse consents or not

The evidence and documentation you provide will be used to prove your grounds for a divorce and help to fairly divide assets and make important decisions regarding custody and maintenance costs for any children involved in the case.

Types of evidence that may be required to support your case

Financial
• Bank statements
• Tax returns
• Salary information
• Details of property owned
• Details of assets owned
• Details of any debts

Children
• School records
• Your child’s medical records

Reasons for divorce (eg. domestic violence or adultery)

• Photos
• Text messages
• Social media posts and messages

As well as physical documentation and evidence, you may also provide evidence verbally through your own testimony and witness testimonies by friends, family and experts.
Hearsay is not acceptable as evidence.

What should not be included as evidence?

• Confidential documents/letters obtained without permission.
• Private emails, social media messages and text messages obtained without permission.

Intercepting confidential letters or communications and hacking into a person’s private digital accounts is illegal, so any evidence obtained this way cannot be included in proceedings.

You can, however, include any physical or digital communications that you have received yourself.

All of your evidence should be given to your solicitor during the preparation of your case so that it can be included in your exhibit list and properly introduced during the court case.

For further help or advice with divorce law or beginning divorce proceedings, give our team of family law solicitors here at Lund Bennett a call on 0161 927 3118.

What is mediation?

When a dispute cannot be resolved, mediation can be used to help all parties involved to communicate effectively and reach an agreement.
Mediation is a process whereby a professional third-party mediator sits down with all parties involved in a dispute and helps them to discuss issues constructively to reach an agreement amicably without involving the courts.

Most of the time neither party really wants the dispute to go to court, as it can be a costly and time-consuming process.
Instead, mediation can be used to successfully resolve most non-criminal disputes, including those between family members, neighbours, business partners, landlords and tenants.

Mediation is most commonly used to resolve conflict that arises after a divorce or the dissolving of a civil partnership. Mediation is very useful for helping couples going through a separation to come to an agreement about living arrangements for children, child maintenance, and other financial issues.

Benefits of mediation
Better control over outcome – When a dispute goes to litigation, the courts make the final decision on the outcome. Mediation allows you the opportunity to work together to come to your own decisions.

Confidential – Going to court can potentially become a very public process. Mediation goes on behind closed doors and is entirely confidential.

Informal – Taking a dispute to court is a lengthy, formal and intimidating process. Mediation sessions are informal and usually take place in a neutral venue of your choice.

Cheaper – Mediation is generally a much faster and cheaper process than litigation. Whilst mediation will usually cost just one fixed price, the price of taking a dispute to court can be very unpredictable and easily run into the thousands of pounds.

Less damaging to relationships – Going to court can be a stressful process fraught with conflict which can ruin relationships. Mediation focuses on helping parties to communicate calmly and effectively to repair and sometimes even rebuild relationships to reach an amicable agreement.

To find out more about the mediation services provided by our team of family law specialists here at Lund Bennett, give us a call on 0161 927 3118.

Who decides where a child lives after their parents separate?

Any separation can be difficult, but one that involves children can be particularly challenging and emotional.

The biggest decision that couples with children will need to make if they separate, is the children’s living arrangements.

Where possible, it is always easiest and less stressful for everyone involved if the family can come to an amiable agreement together.

However, this is not always possible. In instances where parents do not agree on where a child should live, they may need to seek help from one or more of the following:
•A solicitor specialising in family law.
•Mediation.
•The Family Court.

No matter which route you take to help decide the best living arrangements for your children, the welfare of the children is always considered first and foremost.

Family law solicitor
A family law solicitor will be able to advise you on all avenues open to you and provide you with sound legal advice and guidance.

Mediation
Mediation is a process guided by a trained, impartial, third-party that allows the two parties to have a constructive discussion and hopefully negotiate an outcome that all parties are happy with.

The Family Court
If an agreement still cannot be reached, then it may be necessary to apply to the Family Court for one or more orders to be made. A child arrangement order will decide who the child will live with, who they will spend time with, and when. In some cases, it may also be relevant for the court to issue a specific issue order or a prohibited steps order.

Lund Bennett are family law specialists based in Altrincham and Manchester. For legal help and guidance regarding disputes about child living arrangements, mediation services, or help applying for a court order, get in touch with our team of specialist solicitors by calling us on 0161 927 3118.

Divorce Rates Fall to New Low

According to figures released by the ONS, heterosexual divorce rates in the UK have fallen to their lowest point since 1973.  

The last time divorce rates were as low as they are now, Britain was about to join the EEC which was later renamed the EU and Elvis Presley was still performing. Fast forward to 2018 and divorce rates are once again down significantly with 8.4 divorces per 1,000 heterosexual couples. This marked a 5.6% decrease on the previous year.  

In total there were 101,669 divorces of heterosexual couples in 2017, which was 4.9% less than the year before. So does this mean people are suddenly more likely to stick together or is this just a statistical anomaly? According to the ONS the reason there are less divorces is simply down to there being less marriages.  

People are increasingly more likely to cohabit that get married. Compare this to 1973 when cohabiting would still have been largely frowned upon and these latest figures can be put into perspective.  

It is too early to tell if there is a more positive trend towards heterosexual couples staying together rather than opting to divorce if marriages become strained. In fact, among older people, divorce rates have actually gone up.

Getting A Divorce If You Have Children

One of the biggest concerns for parents contemplating a divorce is what will happen will happen to their children. From who gets custody to maintenance payments, the whole process of coming to an agreement can be difficult for both parties.  

If you are in this position then one thing you will be relieved to hear is that children are not included in the divorce case itself. Matter concerning the children are treated separately nowadays and cases are often quite straightforward. 

In some cases divorced parents can resolve what happens with the children themselves without having to go through lengthy court battles of the kind you might have seen on tv or in the movies. Arrangements for the children are now made via family courts under what is called a child arrangements order while housing and maintenance payments are dealt with again separately as part of financial relief proceedings.  

Even before any of these cases are brought before the courts there will be a mediation process to try to resolve any outstanding issues before going to court.  Family based arrangements can be made between ex partners to sort out child maintenance without the involvement of third parties which is often far less stressful than having to involve others.  

What Can You Expect from Family Mediation?

Inevitably there will be lots of families dealing with all the issues surrounding divorce as we enter the second month of the year. January is peak season for divorce in the UK when couples have decided enough is enough following the uneasy truce that Christmas often brings.  

Divorce doesn’t just involve the couple themselves, however, there is also the potentially large impact it will have on other family members and children in particular. This is why it is vital that agreements are made on what happens after divorce.  

As we all hear about daily with the UK’s ‘divorce’ from the EU uncoupling and untangling years of cooperation and shared assets involves a lot of compromise and negotiations. For families, maintenance and support are often the first things that spring to mind, but there are also the smaller issues that can be no less important. Who gets the pets for example or where will children go to school?  

All of this of course can often be sorted out with some negotiation which is covered under the umbrella term of mediation. Mediation is not there to judge or be judgemental, it simply provides an opportunity for all concerned to maintain some control over what will happen. Once a case gets to court it will be down to the judge to decide and this can sometimes lead to a lot of unsatisfactory outcomes and an expensive legal bill at the end of it all.