Divorce forces decent people to make hard decisions in difficult circumstances. It is a very personal experience and is almost always about much more than the legal principles we are guided by. There is no one size fits all approach to family law. Every family is different so every divorce and every settlement is different. At Cambridge Family Matters, our primary purpose is to help our clients get through to the other side of divorce or separation with minimum damage, disruption and cost.
Most people would like to reduce the cost of their divorce. The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) are encouraging legal professionals to be more transparent about costs but recognise that it is not always possible to fully anticipate all costs when at the beginning of the process. The SRA is also concerned that clients often don’t understand the nature of the work they are instructing their solicitor to do at the outset and can therefore come unstuck, later in the process, when things don’t turn out how they imagined. As solicitors generally bill by the hour, your costs are generally a function of the degree of complication of your case.
As a progressive and forward-thinking company and in our capacity as providers of family law assistance or McKenzie Friend* service, we don’t follow the typical law firm model where ‘fee earners’ and ‘fee targets’ are the focus of the business model or where clients are steered towards the way of working that that is preferred by their lawyer. Instead the interests of your family are clearly and unambiguously the focus of our work, as well as cost consciousness, and we ensure that, first and foremost, we listen to you and understand what you want from the process. We see it as our duty to continually explore ways to make your experience of divorce or separation the least damaging and least costly for all concerned.
We find that in helping parties to work together, encouraging clients to put their children first and steering people towards the right support at each stage of the process, free from any fee earning targets, we offer a procedure that suits more families than conflict and litigation and almost always costs considerably less.
There is plenty to consider before deciding on your best route through divorce or separation. In family law, it is not always the biggest guns who achieve the best outcomes for families. Whether your case is straightforward or requires court appearances, you have a number of options with different price implications to consider.
A careful assessment of your circumstances could indicate that the most appropriate support might involve financial advisers, family consultants, mediators, mediators who can also arbitrate the sticky issues between you, arbitrators or simply a clear and inexpensive explanation of the legal principles which guide your circumstances. Your circumstances might present complicated legal or financial conundrums, in which case a senior lawyer or Direct Access barrister could well be your best and possibly even most cost-effective option.
At our Initial Meeting, we discuss your circumstances with you and will point you in the right direction towards the right professionals for your circumstances, even if that means recognising when we are not the right professionals for you. We strive to offer the appropriate level of support whilst keeping costs to a minimum and suggesting other professional support where appropriate.
*A McKenzie Friend is someone who can help you at Court if you are a Litigant in Person (LiP) and who can help you prepare your case and relevant documents. There are some things that a McKenzie Friend cannot do on your behalf, such as conduct litigation, file Court documents or write letters although they can provide assistance with these activities, for you to then send, yourself. There is a Practice Direction issued by the Family Court which provides the guidelines. Currently, a McKenzie Friend does not need to be legally trained, have indemnity insurance or abide by SRA guidelines. It is a good idea to verify which of these three important areas of legal support, your McKenzie Friend does offer.