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Waughs Solicitors

serving east grinstead since 1968



Waughs Solicitors Divorce

FAMILY

Pre-nuptials and Cohabitation

We advise on and prepare Pre-nuptial Agreements prior to marriage or civil union and Cohabitation Agreements for couples who wish to live together, rather than marry.

Family breakdown

Family breakdown and divorce is said to be one of the most stressful experiences in life. We advise and support our clients through this difficult process, with a professional, yet sympathetic and understanding approach.

We deal with all issues arising from the separation of unmarried couples, the separation and divorce of married couples and the termination of civil partnerships. These issues include what is to happen with the family home, the division of other capital, property and assets, the possible tax implications of a family breakdown, pension rights, welfare state benefits and wills.

Children

Most importantly, we focus on the long-term interests of any children involved. It is very often children who suffer the most as a result of a family breakdown and their future care and welfare is paramount. We advise both parents and grandparents in relation to children issues and deal, for example, with formal Residence and Contact Orders, removal of children from the country and maintenance issues.

Protection from Violence

If a relationship has deteriorated to the point where aggressive and violent behaviour is used by one party, we can assist the other party by obtaining an Injunction Order to offer some protection and prevent such behaviour.

Mediation

We try to minimise the bitterness in family disputes and advise on mediation as an alternative to going to Court, as a way of resolving these disputes.

(We do not offer a Legal Aid service.)

Both Martin and Pam have been practising Matrimonial Law for over 30 years, and have dealt with a very wide range of cases.

Costs

In relation to our costs, we refer you back to the hourly charging rates on this site. 

In respect of fixed fee work:

For Petitioners

1. If you are the Petitioner, for a fixed fee divorce where the divorce is uncontested, we offer a fixed fee divorce for £600 plus VAT (£720 inclusive). This includes the preparation of the Divorce Petition, the supporting documentation for the Court and dealing with each step of the divorce procedure up to and including Decree Absolute. In addition to this you will have to pay a Court fee (currently £593) unless you are eligible for an exemption of part, if not all, of the Court fee due to your financial circumstances. To assess whether you may be eligible for Court fee exemption/remission please refer to Form EX16 and guidance notes EX160a.

For Respondents

2. If you are a Respondent, we can offer a fixed fee of £325 plus VAT (£65) for uncontested matters up to decree absolute. You will not have to pay Court fees unless the Petitioner seeks a costs order against you or you agree to pay them.

3. We also offer a fixed fee hour long initial consultation for £150 plus VAT on Family Law and relationship issues. We are able to provide you with guidance and options available to you, given your particular circumstances, and the way in which we can be of assistance in achieving the outcome you desire. Please note there may be further fees if you require legal advice to review paperwork you may have. We will provide you with a letter confirming our advice following the meeting, together with any relevant information sheets we feel applicable.

What is not included in the fixed fees?

• Amending the petition following issue or acting for you if the petition is defended.
• The cost of getting a copy of your marriage certificate if you do not have the original.
• The cost of organising a bailiff for personal service or for applying for deemed or substituted service of the petition if necessary.
• Any advice relating to financial settlements or children **
• Protracted non-routine negotiation.
• Representation at Court in relation to the divorce. This is very rarely necessary.
• Enforcing an order for costs against your spouse or defending a claim for costs made against you.
• Completing a fee remission form.

** We are very happy to advice on these aspects as they may need consideration as part of the breakdown of the marriage. The additional cost will depend on the complexity of your matter and you own circumstances. Advice on such matters will be charged at an hourly rate which we can discuss with you at our first meeting.

As a matter develops we can give you clear estimates as to what the overall costs will be.

Family law matters can be diverse and complex. At one end of the scale, for a straightforward consensual divorce with only a small amount of matters to be resolved between the parties, our estimated fee for carrying out the work or where we are assisting a party in simply implementing the agreed Order could be as little at £600 plus VAT. At the other end of the scale, we can be dealing with a case that concerns not only the procedural step of a divorce, but also the associated work as well, ie, a financial remedy application which would include complex financial disclosure requirements – especially if there is a business involved – across to or including disputes regarding the children. The range of fees in these instances can be from approximately £1,500-2,000 plus VAT up to, potentially, £20,000 plus VAT depending upon the nature of the matter and how far through the divorce procedure issues are contested.

Disbursements

In matters of divorce, the present Court fee to commence a Petition is £593. To commence a Financial Remedy application within the Court (after mediation has not been successful), there is a £275 fee. Applications may need to be required within the proceedings – such as enforcement for the provision of further financial information, and the specified fee for an application or notice is £167.

The costs of mediation can vary enormously depending upon the type of mediators used and the timescale over which the mediation takes place. This can be anything from £100 for a mediation meeting up to significantly higher figures for a mediation that may take place over a lengthy period of time with complex matters.

In respect of Court fees within the Family Court, please refer to form EX50 which is available on You Gov that sets out HM Courts and Tribunals Services fees and, in certain cases, how they are calculated. As advised in our Costs and Fees page HMCTS do occasionally increase the disbursements they charge.

New legislation is due to come in to force in Spring 2022 providing for "no-fault" divorce. Under the new system it will no longer be necessary to give any reason for the breakdown of the marriage and all that will need to be done to start the divorce process is for one or both of the parties to file with the Court a statement saying that the marriage gas broken down irretrievably. If the statement is only filed by one party the other will no longer have the opportunity to defend.

Under the new system the divorce will take a minimum of six months to complete and depending on whether financial remedy proceedings are needed to help resolve the finances of the marriage the time taken to complete matters may be up to twelve months or more. If the financial settlement can be agreed either directly between parties through mediation or with assistance from solicitors and those terms of agreement are presented to the Curt as a consent order then if filed via the Court portal consent orders are taking approximately 4-6 weeks to be determined by a District Judge.

For more information please telephone Martin Groat or Pam Dorrington on 01342 323545 or email us at enquiries@waughs-solicitors.co.uk

Family Law Panel Logo

 

Pam Dorrington is a member of the Family Law Panel, which is a specialist panel of family lawyers, approved by the Law Society.