Divorce rules have changed and you could ‘save thousands’ – but there’s a warning

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In England and Wales, if you are the person looking to divorce then you will have to pay £450 to £950 in solicitor’s fees and £550 in a divorce centre fee. Overall this comes to a total of £1,000 to £1,500. Conversely, the one who is served divorce papers will not need to pay a centre fee and their solicitor’s fees are likely to be less, coming to around £240 to £600. David Thompson, a family partner at JMW Solicitors, has advocated for joint divorces to mitigate the potential long-term financial damages posed by the breaking up of marriages.

Mr Thompson explained: “The reality is that few cases involve a divorce but no discussion about finances.

“If there are to be any disputes on financial proceedings then the lawyer obviously cannot act for both in litigation.

“However it could be of significance in mediation where the idea is that the parties with the help of a solicitor who is there as a guide / referee (not someone who advises either party) then the divorce papers could be dealt with and wrapped up within the mediation process.”

Due to contested divorces often leading to tumultuous debates around the splitting up of the couples’ estate, Mr Thomson believes more money can be saved for both parties via a joint divorce.

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Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, he added: “Couples could save many thousands through the mediation route and a few hundred if just divorce proceedings itself with no finances looked at or discussed.

While each divorce is different depending on the case, the expense of lawyers fees often cripple the finances of everyone involved.

On this issue, Mr Thomson said: “Lawyers bill monthly and cases can drag on for months.

“They can end up spending many many thousands when they thought the case was simple and straight-forward as it turns nasty and aggressive and can end up with many court hearings and taking well over a year.”

In order to prevent this, Mr Thomson advocates that couples remain cordial during divocre proceedings in order for everyone to benefit and not lose money.

He explained: “Stay friendly with the ex and try and discuss things round the kitchen table as much as they can and keep lines of communication open, especially because often involves children.”

Alternatively, couples looking to separate can instead go forward with a no fault divorce, which allows both parties to break up without having to place blame.

Earlier this month (April 6), no-fault divorces came into effect and provide couples with an additional option to avoid extortionate court fees.

As a result of this rule change, separations are less likely to be contentious and exes will no longer have to fork out thousands of pounds to go their separate ways.

Menna Cule, a financial planner at wealth manager Brewin Dolphin, outlined how those looking to separate can benefit.

However, she also cautioned on the need of proper legal and financial advice to successfully carry out the divorce proceedings.

Ms Cule explained: “No fault divorce could help make the difficult process more amicable, however ending a marriage and managing a divorce is complex.

“You must not underestimate the importance of taking legal and financial advice to ensure both parties are protected for the future.

“Whilst short-term financial security and practical issues like child-care and property are top priorities, long-term finances and pensions must be properly considered and valued.

“The new no fault divorce legislation will hopefully help reduce the emotional stress of a divorce.

“With some smart advice as well, the financial impact can also be minimised, and your future income needs protected.”

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