Pay As You Go Support
If you are looking to keep the costs down, we provide cost effective support in the background of your case.
Whether you are ..
- negotiating in mediation,
- looking for guidance over issues you can't settle,
- seeking arbitration,
- are already in the court system without representation, or
- have instructed a barrister to advise and present your case at court through the Direct Access scheme
.. we provide the cost effective background legal administrative support, as and when you need it.
Help To Draft Letters
If you are negotiating by correspondence, either via a solicitor who is representing your former spouse, or simply because this is the easiest manner of resolving your family matters, we can help you draft letters to the 'other side' solicitors, to financial institutions (requesting financial updates), to the courts regarding court applications and scheduling of hearings or to your former spouse, in relation to negotiations.
It is always worth being careful about what you put in writing and an understanding of the rules of legal prejudice are advised before putting negotiating positions in writing.
Help To Write Parenting Plans
You can come up with your parenting plan through mediation or you can come to us to help you draw up the agreement you have already reached between yourselves.
Either way, we can help you road test your agreement, sharing our experience of family arrangements, our knowledge of frequent pitfalls and our understanding of the difference between putting the well-being of the children at the centre of considerations rather than putting children in the middle of parental conflict.
Help To Draw Up Legal Documents
It is certainly possible to file for a divorce without obtaining any legal support or advice.
It is also possible to put together your own Consent Order to cover finances, if you have worked out your agreement and you are both happy with it. You can complete the process using the court forms which can be found on the HMCTS website.
However, because divorce is such an emotional experience, and because you can't always know what you don't know, it is always wise to road test your decisions with a legal professional before doing this. We provide you with the legal context relating to your circumstances but we can also draw up a brief that you can take to a barrister or solicitor, thus minimising the cost of gaining legal advice regarding what you have decided, before finalising matters.
We can help you draw up applications to court and fill out court documents, such as:
- Application for a financial order or Form A
- Completing the Form E, financial disclosure form
- Child Arrangements application
- Urgent Child Arrangements applications; urgent court hearings where custody has been interrupted
- Communications with court
We can also help you to draw up court documentation for hearings, such as:
- Court statements
- Position statements
- Skeleton arguments
- Court bundles
Once you have come to an agreement, we can help you to write up your Consent Order.
Help to Write a Brief for Early Neutral Evaluation / Private FDR
We can help you put together your brief for early neutral evaluation, sometimes known as private judging. This process can help you settle issues that you are struggling to resolve, without having to go to court. It is a process in which an experienced lawyer gives an indication, as strong and as detailed as the disclosure at that early stage allows, of what would be the outcome if the matter were to be finally adjudicated in court.
It is modelled on the in court FDR (Financial Dispute Resolution) hearing at which the judge is required by the rules to predict what would happen if the matter were to go to a final hearing. These hearings are very successful at settling cases at court but are limited by the time the judge can commit to reading the documents, by the lack of choice of judge (who might not have direct experience of the matters at issue) and by the lengthy time delays of the court processes. By seeking early neutral evaluation, you can retain control over decision making in your case but achieve a helpful steer in relation to how the court process would deal with your matter.
We help you choose the person best suited to conduct your early neutral evaluation, largely based on their experience of matters similar to yours. These are often senior lawyers with considerable experience, often lawyers who also sit as local judges. As with the court FDR hearing, this route to settlement has a high rate of success in resolving sticky matters.
Help to Write a Brief for Arbitration
Arbitration is a relatively new concept in family law in the UK.
In family arbitration you and your partner appoint an arbitrator, who will make a decision that will be final and binding between you both. You can use arbitration to resolve any financial or property disputes as well as some child-related issues, arising from family relationships.
Family arbitration enables couples going through family breakdown to resolve disputes more quickly, confidentially and in a more flexible and less formal setting than a courtroom. It is also much less costly than going to court.
The same arbitrator will deal with all stages of the case from start to finish and you and your partner have the major say in how the proceedings are run. This could include, for example, choosing the venue, whether to meet face to face or through writing only, or whether to use the arbitrator for the whole process or just parts of it that you are stuck on.
The flexibility and the fact that you will get a final decision much more quickly can make arbitration more cost-effective than court.
If you are interested in arbitrating any matters that you cannot resolve yourselves, we can help you to put together all of the necessary documentation and to research which arbitrator might be best for your circumstances. Arbitrators can specialise in financial matters, family matters or both.
Help To Write A Brief For Your Barrister
Legal advice can come from lawyers or barristers. Rather than pay for ongoing legal advice through the instruction of a solicitor, we can help you put together a brief for a specialist barrister, who can give an opinion about your circumstances and the strength of your case, should you decide to take it to court. This can help you to assess the sense of going to court in your circumstances and what the issues would be that a judge would want to consider.
We can help you to put together your brief. Thus, you will be able to keep your high end legal costs to a minimum. After this point, you can decide whether to instruct a Direct Access barrister for court, a senior lawyer for further, ongoing advice and negotiation or whether you can go it alone or use our lighter touch support in your negotiations, having decided that court might represent too risky an option.
Litigant In Person Support
If you need to make an application to court for financial or children matters but are not instructing solicitors and/or do not intend to instruct a barrister for court, we help you at each stage of the process. We help you to understand court processes and protocols and we can point you to relevant areas of law.
We offer our family law assistance (McKenzie Friend) support service to you for your court appearances. We help you to organise your documentation, draw up court papers, put together your court bundle and help prepare you for Court. We can attend court with you as support but, unfortunately, we cannot speak on your behalf in court, at least not without applying to the court in in advance of the court date to ask for permission. This is called a right of audience.
Direct Access Barrister Support
Members of the public are now able to instruct barristers directly, through the Direct Access Barrister Scheme. If you feel you need to apply to court, require legal representation at court but want to keep costs to a minimum and therefore do not wish to instruct solicitors as well, you are now able to instruct a barrister directly for court hearings, seek his advice upon instruction and then conduct the background paperwork, yourself.
In order for this scheme to work, you are required to be able to make applications and write appropriate letters yourself. If you would like help with these discrete tasks or if your barrister has indicated that your case is too complicated to qualify for the Direct Access Scheme without any legal support, you could consider turning to use our services, which will usually be much more cost effective or you can instruct solicitors and the pursuant higher costs.
Support With Children's Services Involvement
If you find yourself in a high conflict divorce in which Childrens’ Services have become involved due to allegations or Child Protection concerns - relating to your divorce or to your earlier family life with your children, we can attend meetings with social workers as your supporter to help you to understand what is happening in these meetings and also to help you make your own representations during these meetings.