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Family Law

What happens if I have no money to pay a solicitor to help with my divorce?

Divorce proceedings

What happens to?
The most commonly asked questions from couples separating or divorcing

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

If you are considering a divorce, a major concern is likely to be how you will pay for legal advice.

At a time when finances are often already under considerable strain, fears about potential costs of legal fees puts many people off obtaining early legal advice.

Paradoxically paying for legal advice can save you money. A solicitor will help you to understand your entitlements enabling you to make informed decisions and ultimately achieve a better settlement.

Some of the funding options available include;

Legal Aid

Legal Aid for divorce is now only available for a limited number of extreme cases. if you can prove that you are a victim of domestic violence, and subject to meeting certain criteria regarding your income, you may be eligible for Legal Aid.

Help with Court Fees

If you have a low income, are in receipt of certain state benefits and have little in way of savings you may be able to get help with your court fees.

Funding from your partner

If your spouse has greater assets and or income, then s/he may agree to meet your legal costs. This can be appealing when you might otherwise need to take out a loan to fund your case – which would reduce the resources available for division. A persuasive letter from a solicitor can be of assistance with such a request.

Legal Services Provision Order

If your spouse does not agree to pay your legal fees, it is possible to apply to the court for an order that your spouse meet your legal costs. This would only be applicable in a small number of cases. We will be able to advise you whether this would be appropriate in your particular case.

Maintenance

If you can demonstrate a shortfall in your income whilst the divorce proceedings are ongoing, your spouse can be ordered to pay interim maintenance until the divorce is finalised. It is known as ‘maintenance pending suit’ which differs to any maintenance which is paid after the divorce, known as spousal maintenance.

Sears Tooth Agreement

In certain cases you may be able to enter a Sears Tooth Agreement with your solicitor. Under this arrangement your solicitor funds your case and you commit to paying your legal fees from the divorce settlement.

Borrow Money from Family

Family members are sometimes willing to help. This can often be the cheapest method of borrowing money. You can agree to repay the loan from any financial settlement. It is important that you have a legal document in place setting out the terms of repayment or there is a risk that the Court might ignore the loan when considering how to divide the assets.

Litigation Loans

Specialist loans to cover legal costs are becoming increasingly popular. It is essentially a personal loan to meet your legal costs. The loan is repayable out of your eventual settlement.

It is essential to make a decision on how you will fund your divorce at the earliest opportunity. Our solicitors at Samuel Phillips can explore the various funding options with you at your first appointment. This will enable you to make an informed decision on a funding option that will work for you.

Contact us

To speak to one of our specialist solicitors, please do not hesitate to contact us today by calling 0191 232 8451 or if you prefer, you can email familydepartment@samuelphillips.co.uk in the strictest of confidence.

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