The new financial year sees the end of legal aid for divorce cases except in exceptional circumstances. Family solicitors are going to have to consider the impact of this in every case when giving divorce advice. We all know that divorce can be a painfully expensive business and this now applies across the whole of society rather than just to those in the middle to high income brackets.
A knock on effect of the demise of legal aid will mean that more people will choose to represent themselves throughout the divorce process without the services of a family law solicitor. This can be risky as, particularly when dealing with financial divorce settlements, there are a loopholes and pitfalls that the ordinary citizen will just not be aware of. There are very real concerns amongst divorce solicitors that people representing themselves will inevitably cause delays in the court system and where only one party is represented by a solicitor, this could cause them increased costs if the situation is improperly managed.
Resolution is a professional body whose members are family lawyers who subscribe to the code of practice which promotes a non-confrontational approach to family law and consideration of the cost benefit in every step taken on behalf of a client. Take a look at the Resolution website http://www.resolution.org.uk/ for more information. In my view, the Resolution style of family law practice is and always has been the most productive and fairest approach. In this new landscape of restricted public funding, I hope that more divorce solicitors adopt the Resolution mindset. Our Slater Heelis family law team are all members of Resolution and we have three accredited Resolution Specialists. We share the same values and offer a common approach to the challenges that will arise out of this change in government policy on public funding.
If you are considering getting a divorce and are worried about the costs, call one of our divorce team to discuss your options. We offer sensible solutions to minimise the costs such as free initial consultations, fixed fee divorces, mediation, ‘behind the scenes’ advice and a McKenzie friend service. Call our family team on 0161 969 3131 and we will help you decide the best option for you and your family.