Many people use the threat of going to court as a means to getting their way in divorce. The courts in England and Wales are considered to be the fairest in the world when it comes to getting a good result to the less wealthy partner. Often the wife, who gave up her career for the family, benefits from a court that values her input to the family.
However, unless there are substantial assets, going through a court divorce can cost a lot more than its worth. The legal fees can make a huge impact on the couple assets.
To avoid going to court, a consent order can be drafted, which is a mutual agreement to how your marrital assets are to be divided when the divorce is complete. The consent order will need to be sent to court for approval. This is to confirm all the marrital assets are divided equally. The consent order will provide both parties with the knowledge that a clean break exists. This prevents the other party from making an additional financial claim against the other.
Whats involved in a court appearance?
People often think that their legal representative will handle everything, and all they need to do is make an appearance at court. Maybe in movies, the emotional divorcees make a dramatic entrance, spend 5 minutes shouting and then make an equally dramatic exit.
This is not the case, you will be required to produce all the documentation to back up your case. This will involve bank statements, house evaluation, pension valuations etc. All of these take time and effort to gather. Tracking down every policy can be stressful and time consuming.
Once the documents have been gathered, they will then need to be presented to your legal representative. Your legal representative will make copies of the documents for the exchange with your partners documents. When you both have all of each others documents, they are checked over by the legal teams. Both are looking for hidden money, undervalued property, unreasonable financial requirements. This takes a lot of time by a solicitor charging in excess of £200 per hour. Fine if you are rich and can afford somebody to do this for you. But when money is tight, it can be a cost you cannot afford.
The two legal teams will then negotiate on your behalf to come to an acceptable division of assets. If an agreement cannot be reached, then you will have to go to court where a judge will get involved. A judge will be the abritrator between the two parties to come to a final decision on how the assets are to be divided. This will involve each legal team making offers to the opposing representative. If one party will not accept the opposing offer, then the judge may get involved to offer advice. However, it will still require each party to make a compromise they may not like. The longer, the disgreement continues, the legal costs mount.
Whats the alternative?
If your marriage has come to an end, and you want to divorce amicably without the fights and arguments, then a consent order will save you huge amounts on legal fees. A consent order requires both parties to come to an agreement BEFORE going to court. A judge is required to approve the order, but given the correct advice, your consent order should be just a case of rubber-stamping. The court cost for a consent order is just £50. Considering, it cuts all future financial links to your partner, this is really a must-have when completing your divorce.
If you require advice on how best to proceed with your divorce, please contact us on 0800 177 7702