How Does a Fixed Fee Divorce Work?

15th February 2016

A fixed fee divorce works in the same way as any other divorce would work, but the fee you pay for your divorce is a fixed cost. In addition, there are a number of other requirements attached to a fixed fee divorce.

The way a divorce works is that someone has to initiate the divorce process and this person is called the Petitioner. Once the other person has received the divorce petition from the Petitioner, they need to respond to it and this person is known as the Respondent.

So, a divorce has a Petitioner and a Respondent. In order to get a fixed fee divorce the divorce must be agreed by both parties and not contested. Most divorces in England and Wales are not contested; in fact 99% of all divorces move forward without being contested.

Depending on the circumstances of your divorce, if possible, it is best to discuss the divorce with your ex-spouse so they are aware of the situation and they are expecting the divorce petition to arrive, otherwise this is likely to be an unpleasant shock. However if, your relationship has broken down to the point where any form of communication is very difficult, this may not be an option.

Fixed Fees Divorces

Fixed fee divorces can be used for all divorces and whilst most divorces are complex from an emotional perspective, the divorce process itself is relatively simple. What adds some additional challenges to a divorce case is the financial settlement and the details about the arrangements for the children. Whilst these do not form part of the divorce process, they are part of the necessary details of your settlement following a divorce and it is often better to agree the details on these elements before finalising your divorce, usually between the Decree Nisi being issued and the Decree Absolute being granted.

This could allow you to agree to a clean break order if you do manage to agree all the details of the financial settlement prior to your divorce, providing there are no ongoing maintenance payments being made for your ex-spouse or your children. This means that you and your ex can be completely severed from each other financially, which means there can be no future claim for financial support beyond what is agreed.

Should you decide to get divorced using a fixed fee divorce service from Co-op Legal Services, we will have an initial telephone consultation with you to discuss your circumstances in detail. This will enable us to prepare the necessary documents to get your divorce started. During this conversation we will get all the information we need to begin the divorce process for you.

Getting divorce advice without the jargon about your financial settlement and the arrangements for your children will help you to understand your rights and responsibilities and provide you with the clarity you need to move forward with your divorce.

Hourly Rate Work

If during the initial conversation we both find that there are elements of your divorce that are too complex for a fixed fee divorce, we are happy to blend the fee structure for you. This could result in the straightforward parts of your divorce being completed on a fixed fee basis, with the other, more complex parts being completed using our fixed hourly rate service, ensuring that you complete your divorce in the most cost effective way.

Our Divorce Solicitor hourly rates start from £180 including VAT per hour and we will provide you with a written quotation for the work you need. This could include things like your ex-spouse living abroad, your divorce being contested or paperwork being ignored and not returned as the legal process for dealing with issues of this kind is much more involved.

DIY Divorce

A fixed fee divorce is not the same as a DIY divorce. A DIY Divorce pack will provide you with initial advice and include all the forms you need to submit to complete your divorce. It is important to understand that the DIY Divorce pack fee of £118.80 including VAT does not include the Court fee (currently £410) to complete your divorce and apart from initial legal advice when buying the pack, you won't receive any additional support because this is a do-it-yourself divorce pack.

Whilst this is a low cost option, if you have shared property and children with your spouse, a DIY Divorce will probably not give you the legal support you need to get the best possible outcome in your financial settlement.

If you are unsure about the complexity of your circumstances and you would like to discuss your divorce, call Co-op Legal Services on 01618558357 or contact us online and we will help you.

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