How can I pay for my divorce/family law case?

In 2013, the government stopped providing legal aid for divorce and children cases (except in cases of domestic violence issues).  So what funding options are there left for people needing financial assistance to resolve their family legal disputes?

We have put this guide together as a non-exhaustive list of suggestions if you are struggling to fund your family law case.

  1. Loans can be obtained from a number of possible sources – however, as with any financial arrangement, it is important to check the terms for each option carefully:

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    1. Litigation loan providers: Check the terms very carefully and be aware of levels of interest charged.
    2. Bank Loans: These are available from most high-street banks but again make sure you fully understand the terms and repayment conditions. 
    3. Soft loan from family or friends: Make sure any loan from family or friends is evidenced in writing with clear terms of repayment. This is particularly important in financial cases as otherwise it may not be counted as a liability when deciding how finances should be divided.
  2.  Cash-in investments for example shares,bonds or ISAs.

  3. Re-mortgaging your property can free up some spare cash.

  4. Domestic Household Insurance: Check your policy documents.

  5. Credit card Agreement: Check your terms and conditions.

  6. Trade Unions: Speak to your representative.

  7. Budget: making adjustments to your existing spend, however small, can significantly free up the amount of cash you have available.

  8. Funding options offered by solicitors:
    1. A Sears Tooth Agreement:  This is only available in cases that contain some have some financial element.  In this instance, the firm will secure their legal costs against any settlement you receive, for example, your equity from the sale of the family home.
    2. Fixed Fee: This is offered for certain types of work, for example uncontested divorces but you must be clear as to what it does and doesn’t cover.
    3. Unbundling: Carefully agreeing with the solicitor exactly what work they will undertake and what you will do yourself so as to minimise cost. You must both be very clear about the boundaries and expectations.Find out more about Unbundling and representing yourself here.

9. A Legal Services Order: can be made within financial matters so that one party has to make a payment on account of the other’s legal costs but the test is stringent and you must have explored all other possibilities.

10. The Bar Pro Bono Unit: provides free legal advice and representation in court from volunteer barristers. Your case must be referred to the uni by a solicitor or advice agency such as CAB.

Contact our team of expert family solicitors to discuss your needs. Call our team on 0117 929 0451 or email.

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