Separating couples - funding options

Separating couples are entitled to legal aid if eligible. Our solicitors has many years experience in successfully advising and representing those who need assistance in achieving a settlement. We can also assist if public funding is not available, for a free initial consultation contact our financial settlement experts on 0333 344 4774.

What if legal aid is not available?

Our solicitors are delighted to be able to offer competitive rates and low cost fixed price packages for those who wish to reach agreement about their assets or for those who are involved in a court application for a settlement. Being involved in the decision making process or any court application can bring a number of uncertainties, not least the question of “how much will this cost?” 

We have a number of fixed fee packages for qualifying situations. These are for specific pieces of work for those who require limited support and for those who reach agreement in addition to fixed fee packages for those who need representation in court proceedings. Our solicitors will advise which of our packages are appropriate for the situation. The fixed amount is what it will cost for each package. There are no hidden costs.

What are the fixed fee packages and what are the costs?

For those who agree and simply wish to apply for a legally binding court order we offer two fixed fee packages dependent on whether there are assets to be divided. One is the Financial Clean Break Consent Order where there are no assetsThis is a fixed fee package of £600. The other is the Financial Consent Order where there is an agreed division of assets. This is a fixed fee package of £1,185.

For those who agree the division of their assets but do not want a legally binding court order we offer a fixed fee for a Separation Agreement. This is a fixed fee of £1,140.

For those how wish to be represented in a court application to resolve a dispute about the division of their assets we offer fixed fee packages if the total assets are no greater than £350,000 (including pensions). These are our Court Application packages which are available in 3 stages and which are dependent upon the stage reached in the proceedings. Our solicitor fees for each stage are £3,000. 

What is not included in the fees?

There are occasions when there may be additional costs which a client may wish to incur, and these are not included in the fixed fee price. For example our fixed packages do not include expenses that may be charged by other professionals to help a client’s case. If other professionals are needed and are important to the case then those additional expenses will be agreed with our client prior to any involvement. This gives our client control over how much money they wish to spend on their case. 

Unforeseen circumstances and complexities.

Any advice or correspondence relating to divorce or dissolution of civil partnership or concerning children.

In situations where there is a need for additional work which is not included within the fixed fee, our clients are immediately advised and no further expense is incurred until a new fee arrangement has been agreed. Variations from the agreed fixed fee will occur if the work needed has changed. If this occurs, our solicitors consider the change and impact upon the fixed fee process and if developments fall outside the agreed plan of action then our clients are immediately notified in writing and retain the choice of accepting a new arrangement.

What is included in the fixed fees?

Financial Clean Break Consent Order (no assets) - £600

This includes the work from the preparation of the Consent Order and Statement of Information for a Consent Order, obtaining the agreement of the couple to the terms of settlement and obtaining the final order. The fixed fee includes:

  • VAT
  • Initial consultation.
  • Preparing court papers.
  • All correspondence with our client, their partner and the court.
  • Working together to finalise the court papers.
  • Obtaining the couple’s signature on the papers.
  • Sending the papers to court and paying the court fee (£45).
  • Receiving the order from the court.
  • Sending the order to the client.

Financial Consent Order (agreed division of assets) - £1,185

This includes all work included in reaching agreement to the preparation of the Consent Order and Statement of Information for a Consent Order, obtaining the agreement of the couple to the terms of settlement and obtaining the final order. The fixed fee includes:

  • VAT
  • Initial consultation.
  • All correspondence with our client, their partner and the court.
  • Some negotiation on limited issues.
  • Preparing the court documents.
  • Working together to finalise the court papers.
  • Obtaining the couple’s signature on the papers
  • Sending the papers to court and paying the court fee (£45).
  • Receiving the order from the court.
  • Sending the order to the client.

Separation Agreement - £1,140

This includes all work included in reaching agreement to the preparation of the Separation Agreement, obtaining the consent of the couple to the terms of the Agreement and finalising the document. Our fixed fee includes:

  • VAT
  • Initial consultation.
  • All Separation Agreement correspondence with our client, their partner or solicitor.
  • Negotiation on limited issues.
  • Preparing the Separation Agreement.
  • Working together to finalise the agreement.
  • Obtaining the signature of the couple.
  • Providing a copy to the couple of the Separation Agreement.

Court Application

Stage 1

This package covers the commencement of a court application and all steps up to and including representation at the first hearing known as a First Directions Appointment. Cost £3,000

What is included in the fixed fee of £3,000

  • VAT
  • Initial consultation.
  • Continued analysis of the case and advice.
  • Corresponding with our client, their former partner, their solicitor and relevant third parties.
  • Starting the court process and paying the court fee.
  • Preparing a Financial Statement (Form E).
  • Working together to finalise the Form E.
  • Sending the Form E to Court and to their former partner.
  • Consulting on former partner’s Form E.
  • Raising any relevant issues concerning the evidence received.
  • Preparing all documents in readiness for the first hearing.
  • Representation at that hearing.

What is not included in the fee?

  • Agreed expenses charged by other professionals to help the case, for example fees for Valuers, Land Registry fees, Accountants and Barristers.
  • Unforeseen circumstances and complexities arising which require additional work or attention.
  • Any additional court hearings.

Stage 2

This package covers the work necessary to advise the client following the First Directions Hearing and up to and including representation at the second hearing known as a Financial Dispute Resolution Hearing. Cost £3,000

What is included in the fixed fee of £3,000?

  • VAT
  • Continued analysis of the case and advice.
  • Corresponding with the client, a former partner, their solicitor and relevant third parties.
  • Preparing further evidence required by the Court following the first hearing.
  • Working together to finalise evidence.
  • Sending evidence to Court and to the client’s former partner.
  • Consulting on the former partner’s further evidence and raising any relevant issues.
  • Preparing all documentation in readiness for the Financial Dispute Resolution Hearing.
  • Representation at that hearing.

What is not included?

  • Agreed expenses charged by other professionals to help the case, for example fees for Valuers, Land Registry fees, Accountants and Barristers.
  • Unforeseen circumstances and complexities arising which require additional work or attention.
  • Any additional court hearings.

Stage 3

This package covers the work necessary to advise a client following the Financial Dispute Resolution Hearing and preparation of the case for hearing.  Cost £3,000.

What is included in the fixed fee of £3,000?

  • VAT
  • Continued analysis of the case and advice.
  • Corresponding with the client, their former partner, their solicitor and relevant third parties.
  • Preparing any further evidence required by the court following the Financial Dispute Resolution Hearing. 
  • Working together to finalise the evidence.
  • Sending the evidence to the court and to a former partner.
  • Consulting on the former partner’s evidence and raising any relevant issues. 
  • Preparing all documentation in readiness for the Final Hearing. 

What is not included?

  • The cost of representation at Final Hearing. 
  • Agreed expenses charged by other professionals to help the case, for example a Barrister to offer advice or to representation, fees for Valuers and Accountants.
  • Unforeseen circumstances and complexities arising which require additional work or attention.
  • Any additional court hearings.

What additional fixed fees are available?

We are pleased to be able to offer limited pieces of work which are also at fixed cost to provide assistance to those who want limited help.  Experience shows that limited help is likely to be required during the course of a court application.  Although these are specific and discrete pieces of work, it can make a great deal of difference to the case generally.

Preparation of a Financial Statement (Form E) - £440

This fee is for those who are representing themselves in a court application and who do not want to have the involvement of a solicitor through the process.  It is for those who are required to file a Financial Statement or Form E setting out full particulars of their income and assets with documentation in support.  Our fixed fee covers an initial consultation and preparation of the Financial Statement. Our solicitors will prepare the document once all the required evidence in support has been provided and assemble the Financial Statement for swearing. This can then be taken away and used and our solicitors will have no further involvement in the case.  Although this is a limited piece of work experience shows that an accurate and detailed Financial Statement setting out the financial position can make all the difference to the process and the outcome. This package can help and support those who require assistance in the preparation of their Financial Statement but who also wish to limit the costs whilst having the confidence to know that they have complied with the requirements of the court. 

Checking a Financial Statement (Form E) - £120

This fee is for those who have prepared their own Financial Statement or Form E and are representing themselves. It is of assistance to those who wish to have a second opinion and have the confidence to know that their Financial Statement complies with the requirements of the court. There is no need for an initial consultation. All that is required is that the completed Financial Statement together with all the documentation in support is provided.  It will be assessed and checked and then returned together with a report containing any appropriate comments of hints. Although this is a limited piece of work experience shows that accurate completion of the Financial Statement can make all the difference to the process. This package can assist those who want the confidence to know that their Financial Statement has been checked, and for those who wish to limit the costs whilst having the confidence to know that they have complied with the requirements of the court. 

Final Hearings

The final stage of an application to court for a financial settlement is the Final Hearing itself. Very few separating couples who start the court process reach this stage. If this hearing is necessary it is because it has not been possible to reach an agreement within the process. The vast majority of court applications settle with an agreement without the need for a final hearing. 

The hearing is essentially a couple asking the court to make a decision about how their assets should be divided. The hearing involves the couple giving evidence and answering questions put to them. The District Judge having heard that evidence and having read all of the papers prepared within the case will make a final and binding decision regarding the division of the assets. 

Stephensons are able to offer a further fixed fee package for representation at that Final Hearing. The amount of fixed fee depends on the issues in the case and the length of the hearing.  Every case is different.  The fixed fee will be agreed prior to undertaking any work.  Again this will provide a cost effective solution to representation. Going to any final hearing knowing the costs of representation can only help with financial management and take away the stress of costs uncertainty.

How to pay?

Payment cannot be easier.  We are able to accept cash, cheque or payment by card. If payment is by card then it can be taken in the office, over the phone or via our website. 

We ask for payment of the fixed fee in full at the start of the case and at the start of each stage for our packages for court representation.

However for court applications we can accept payment of each stage in two simple instalments. If a client chooses to pay by the instalment option then one payment of £1,500 will be made at the beginning of the stage and the second payment of £1,500 will be made one month thereafter.  

We believe that this simple and uncomplicated management of costs enables our clients to be able to concentrate on their case without the worry of how their case is to be funded.