Funding Your Legal Fees
Many of our clients are understandably concerned about how they will fund their legal fees. As specialist divorce and family lawyers we know all too well the anxiety and concern that our clients experience.
At FLiP we are happy to discuss flexible pricing arrangements with our clients. Rest assured that our specialist divorce and family lawyers will support you with advice of the highest quality, delivered with empathy and care, regardless of the pricing arrangement that we agree between us. Other sources of finance, as outlined here, might also be available.
It is crucial that you have a plan in place to pay your legal fees that will enable you to see your case through to the end. Paradoxically, this can shorten the case as it can encourage the other party to engage with the process to achieve a settlement.
A variety of approaches may be adopted to cover legal fees: our client may begin by funding the legal fees themselves: later they may get informal assistance from a friend or family member or their former partner may agree to cover their legal fees. Sometimes they may need to take out a loan to cover their legal fees.
Here we outline some of the options which might be available to you to fund your legal fees.
The Main Options →
You may have your own income or savings to pay your legal fees as and when they are billed.
Family or friends
If a member of your family or a friend agrees to cover your legal fees, you might find it helpful to tell them how long the case is likely to take – you will need to speak to your lawyer at FLiP about this. You might also want to get an assurance from your friend or family member that they will give you reasonable notice if they intend to stop the financial support – to give you a chance to set up alternative arrangements.
You might also want to agree what information, if any, the family member or friend will be given about your case, so that they can make informed decisions about the support they will offer. If the money is being loaned rather than given to you, you should document these arrangements properly to increase the chances of the loan being recognised in the financial court case as a debt that you have to repay. Clear obligations need appropriately clear documentation if we are to persuade the court that they should be respected.
Lawyers like Family Law in Partnership are not licenced to give advice on the commercial funding options available to you. But there is plenty of information online for example here. You should always consider taking advice from an IFA or financial planner on your funding options.
There are a number of finance houses which specialise in providing loans to fund litigation or family law cases. Your lawyer at FLiP can provide the names of firms whom we regularly deal with, if required.
Other side pays voluntarily
If you don’t have the money to cover your legal fees but your former partner does, they might agree to pay your legal fees for you. This is particularly the case where otherwise you might have to take out a commercial loan at a high interest rate to fund your fees with the result that the loan reduces the resources available for division. However, it is unusual for a former partner to give an open-ended commitment to fund legal fees and care is needed to avoid advancing to a critical stage in the case, only to find that your former partner has stopped paying your bills leaving you stranded. You will probably want to have a back-up arrangement too.
Interim financial provision
If your former partner does not volunteer to cover your legal fees with the result that you might not be able to pursue your case, the court can require your ex to meet your costs. A separate hearing will be needed to assess the detailed requirements, for example:
- Whether you have run your case in a reasonable way, making an effort to settle and so on
- Whether your lawyers offer a “pay at end” (as opposed to the usual monthly billing) arrangement. This is now rare but it would be a bar
- Whether commercial lenders have been approached for assistance (see above).
Interim financial provision, however, has a number of drawbacks:
- Usually, costs are not met in full
- Historic or pre-existing costs are not necessarily covered
- There can be significant costs in pursuing the application
- There will be a wait whilst the hearing date is obtained and your own costs might rise whilst you pursue this claim
- Usually funding is only offered up to the end of the 2nd stage hearing in financial cases (the Financial Dispute Resolution) and a further application may then be needed if agreement cannot be reached.
On the other hand, obtaining interim financial provision can be a reminder to all parties of the overall impact of costs and it can encourage settlement discussions.
We have some of the very best London divorce lawyers and family mediators along with specialist arbitrators, family consultants and counsellors. There’s no one better to handle your case.
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