Costs relating to family services

What you can expect

In relation to family work, Taunton Solicitors offer a free initial consultation to a maximum of one hour (with the exception of child support cases), so that we can go through the background of your issue, provide initial advice and guidance and provide a tailored costs estimate more specific to your particular circumstances.

This firm does not undertake any legally aided work.

The following paragraphs set out some guidance on the costs that you could expect to incur.

DIVORCE

The costs of a divorce are relatively predictable.  The court issue fee is currently £550 (unless you qualify for fee remission).

An undefended divorce in which we act for the petitioner will usually involve up to 3 hours’ work.  Based upon an hourly rate of £250 plus VAT, the legal fees total £900.  The overall total is therefore £1,450 and it may be possible to recover some or all of those costs from the Respondent. 

Acting for a Respondent in an undefended divorce will usually involve up to 2 hours’ work based upon an hourly rate of £250 plus VAT, the likely cost is £600.

FINANCIAL SETTLEMENT

It is much harder to predict the costs of dealing with the family finances on divorce.  Much will depend upon the extent and nature of the family assets and the needs of each party, compared to those assets and incomes.

Before reaching a financial settlement, it is important that both parties are fully aware of the assets (including pension assets), liabilities, incomes and likely future expenses of each other.  It would be usual for each party to spend approximately 3 hours in preparing and exchanging that information, before negotiations take place.

There are various ways to reach an agreement.  Ideally, the parties can find an acceptable solution between themselves.  Sometimes, in order to do so, the parties attend mediation.  Solicitors can advise each individual during the course of mediation or upon the terms of a proposed agreement following mediation.  In the absence of agreement, there may be negotiations through solicitors.  If such negotiations break down, an application can be made to the court.  An agreement may still be reached during proceedings (often at the financial dispute resolution stage) or there may be a final hearing when an order is imposed by the Judge.

Typical legal costs where an agreement is reached at an early stage (directly or through mediation) and submitted to the court in a consent order would be approximately £1,000 to £1,500 plus VAT (that does not include the costs of mediation itself).

Typical costs where an agreement is reached following negotiation between solicitors would be approximately £2,500 plus VAT.

Typical costs where an agreement is reached at the financial dispute resolution hearing would be approximately £5,000 plus VAT.

Typical costs of proceedings that proceed to a final hearing would be £10,000 plus VAT.

These figures do not include court fees or the fees of experts, where they are required to value property or other assets or to advise on the division of pensions.

PRE-NUPTIAL AGREEMENTS, COHABITATION AGREEMENTS, POST-NUPTIAL AGREEMENTS & SEPARATION AGREEMENTS

At whatever stage of your relationship you need an agreement to clarify the rights and responsilities of each party, the underlying principles behind such agreements are similar.  It is essential that both parties are fully aware of each other’s financial position and the relevant assets that are to be subject to the agreement.  Each party will need to take independent legal advice.

The complexity of each agreement will depend upon the nature of the assets involved.

As an approximate guide, the cost of drafting such an agreement will be in the region of £500 to £750 plus VAT.  The cost of advising upon an agreement that has been drafted by another solicitor will be in the region of £350 to £500 plus VAT. 

CHILD ARRANGEMENTS

In many cases, parents agree between themselves where children are to live and how much time the children will spend with each parent.

When there is a dispute, the first step is to refer both parties to mediation, to try to seek a resolution that is acceptable to both and in the best interests of the children.

If mediation is unsuccessful then applications can be made to the court.  The costs of such proceedings are unpredictable, depending upon the stage at which a final order is made.  Very often, an agreement will follow the recommendations made by CAFCASS (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service).  Sometimes there is no agreement and an order will be imposed by a Judge following a hearing.  There are usually at least two hearings during the process, sometimes three or more. 

Typically, the costs of proceedings that settle after the CAFCASS report would be in the region of £3,000 plus VAT.

Typically, the costs of proceedings that go to final hearing would be in the region of £8,000 plus VAT.

These costs do not include court fees and can vary considerably depending upon circumstances and the nature of the issues in dispute.

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2 Tangier Central, Taunton TA1 4AP

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