Family Fixed Fees

GUIDE TO DB LAW FAMILY FEES

We have introduced fixed fees for family work in appropriate cases. Please call us to discuss.

FIRST APPOINTMENT – £75.00 plus VAT.

We will spend up to an hour with you.  At this meeting, we plan to:-

 Identify what you need help with  Discuss the options available to you and answer any questions you have  Advise you about the likely costs of any particular action, discuss whether one of our fixed fee packages would be suitable; discuss whether a referral to mediation would be helpful and identify whether Legal Aid may be available to you.

The fixed fee first appointment does not cover the cost of any follow up work following the meeting.  If you would like us to confirm our advice in writing, or enter in to correspondence with your spouse or former partner, we can discuss any costs involved at the first appointment. If you decide that you would like us to take matters further for you, we can discuss whether the following fixed fee options may be appropriate for you. Alternatively, some clients may decide to run the case themselves. Do talk to us about this as we can work in a flexible way with you by offering advice and assistance when you need it.

Divorce and Dissolution of Civil Partnership – £375.00 plus VAT and Court fees. (Currently when the Petition is issued and obtaining the Decree Absolute the cost will be £550.00 ).

This fixed fee gives you the peace of mind of knowing exactly how much your Divorce or Dissolution of your Civil Partnership will cost from the initial appointment.

What is not included?

Sometimes, additional work is necessary, which is not included in the fixed fee.  Before carrying out any additional work, we will discuss this with you and give an estimate of the likely cost and it will be charged at an hourly rate, which will be set out in our initial terms letter.

 Dealing with your Divorce if it becomes defended or amending the Divorce Petition after it has been issued by the Court  Any additional Court fees that become payable, for example, if we have problems serving your spouse and need to apply for Bailiff Service  Further disbursements, for example, obtaining a copy Marriage Certificate if you are unable to supply one  Advice or correspondence relating to a financial settlement, or the arrangements for your children

The Divorce fixed fee purely relates to the work necessary to end your marriage or Civil Partnership.

Fixed fee acting for Respondent in undefended Divorce proceedings -£190.00 plus VAT

This fee includes representing you at all stages from the initial appointment until the Decree Absolute or Final Order.

What is not included?

 If you wish to defend the proceedings  Making an Application for the Decree Absolute in the event that your spouse fails to obtain this  Attend Court if you wish to oppose an Application for costs made in the Divorce Petition  Advice or correspondence relating to a financial settlement, or the arrangements for your children

 

FINANCIAL AND PROPERTY ISSUES

We offer a range of fixed fee options that cover a variety of circumstances.  We will always discuss whether a fixed fee option is appropriate in your case and explain the various options available.

By offering fixed fees to cover different stages of the process, this helps clients to focus on the benefits of achieving a settlement wherever possible at an early stage of proceedings and to weigh up the benefits of proceeding to the next stage, against the costs that will be incurred.

Advice during mediation and about the agreement you reach  – Fixed Fee £300 plus VAT

If you have chosen to enter mediation, your Mediator may recommend that you take advice about a particular question that arises during the mediation process, or you may feel that you want to take advice before making any particular decision.

If your mediation is successful, the Mediator will prepare a “Memorandum of Understanding” and a Statement summarising the financial information that has been exchanged during the mediation process, which forms the basis of the agreement reached.  Your Mediator will recommend that you seek legal advice about the Memorandum of Understanding and this is not legally binding until you have done so.  Usually, it is recommended that the Memorandum of Understanding is recorded in the form of a Consent Order, which will be sent to the Court to approve as part of the Divorce proceedings, or alternatively in a formal Separation Agreement, where there are no proceedings.  Your Mediator will not be able to prepare these documents.

We recognise that often people have negotiated an agreement between themselves, without entering formal mediation and we are also able to offer advice on any such agreement at the same fixed fee.

What is included in the fixed fee?

 Meetings or telephone conversations to discuss things which come up during the mediation process  A meeting to discuss your Memorandum of Understanding on the basis of the information available to you at that time  Advice about any important points which may have been overlooked  Advice about the “merits” of the agreement you have reached and whether there are any points you should consider re-negotiating  A letter to your spouse or his/her Solicitor, confirming the terms of the agreement reached  A letter or email to you confirming the advice we have given to you

What is not included?

 Investigating whether the information on which the agreement is based is, in fact, accurate  Obtaining further information or clarification of your financial circumstances or about the circumstances of your spouse/ex-partner or requesting documents etc. to confirm the information you have been given  Attempting to re-negotiate information you have been given  Attempting to re-negotiate the terms of the agreement you have reached or to negotiate agreement on points which have been missed  Drawing up a Court Order or negotiating a Separation Agreement, confirming the arrangements you have agreed. Preparing a Consent Order

Fixed fee – £400.00 plus vat and Court fee (currently £45.00) which will be reduced to £250 plus vat and Court fee where you have opted for the Fixed Fee Advice in Mediation package

When you have reached agreement, whether in mediation or by discussion/negotiation with your husband or wife, the agreement should generally be properly recorded in a formal Court Order that is sent to the Court for the Judge’s approval.  If this is not done, any agreement reached may not be legally binding and the financial issues could be re-opened in the future.

What is included in the fixed fee?

 Preparing the Court Order in consultation with your husband/wife’s Solicitor if they have one  Explaining the Order to you in writing to ensure that you understand it fully and that it reflects the agreement reached  Dealing with any negotiations about the drafting of the Order with your husband/wife’s Solicitor  Dealing with any correspondence from the Court.  Sometimes the Judge asks questions or requests further information before he is prepared to approve the Order

What is not included?

 Attending Court.  It is very rare for the Court to require an attendance before approving a Consent Order where this has been properly drafted  Completing Pension Sharing Annexes where necessary.  (A supplement of £50.00 plus VAT is charged for each Annexe)  Any charges raised by third parties e.g. pension providers where a Pension Sharing Order is made  Implementation of the Order.  This may require the transfer of the matrimonial home or other property and Assignment of Endowment Policies.  Any implementation work can generally be offered at a fixed fee  Advising whether the proposed Order is appropriate for you. FINANCIAL PROCEEDINGS

Where you have not been able to reach an agreement in mediation, or by discussion with your husband/wife, you may want to seek assistance from us to negotiate an agreement.  This will generally involve obtaining financial disclosure from your spouse; trying to resolve matters in correspondence with your spouse, or their Solicitors and perhaps arranging a “round table meeting”.

We may be able to agree a fee for this, depending on your budget, complexity of the issues involved and the degree of co-operation from your spouse.  We would expect to agree a fee with you not exceeding £1,000.00 plus VAT and any disbursements, such as Valuers fees.

Whilst our objective is always to help you reach a fair settlement in a reasonable period of time, it is sometimes necessary to issue proceedings to help achieve this.  Once an Application for a financial Order has been made, there is a framework and timetable for achieving resolution of the dispute, which involves completing and exchanging formal financial disclosure documents (Form E).  We are able to offer the following fixed fees:-

Fee for making the Application to the Court and representation at the first Court hearing – £1,000.00 plus VAT (plus Court fee – currently £240.00)

What is included in the fixed fee?

 The Application for the Court  Completion of your Form E and exchanging this with the other party  Considering the other party’s Form E with you  Identifying the relevant issues and any additional documents or information that may be required  Preparing the Chronology and Statement of Issues required for the first Court appointment  Advising you on any proposals made; helping you to formulate your own proposals and negotiating with the other party’s Solicitors in correspondence  Representing you at the first Court appointment; negotiating with the other party on your behalf at Court and if negotiations are successful, preparing a Consent Order

Note

If your case settles without the need for an attendance at the Court appointment, we will reduce our fixed fee by £250.00 plus VAT, although there will be the separate charge for preparing a Consent Order set out above

What is not included?

 The Court fee (currently £240.00)  Dealing with any Application that might be made, for example, for an Injunction preventing disposal of assets or interim maintenance  Any charges made by third parties for providing information such as Valuers Reports; Pension Reports and Accountants Reports  Any unforeseen circumstances which result in additional work, for example, protracted negotiation or correspondence or complex issues

 

Representation following the first Court appointment and up to preparing for a final hearing.  Fee – £1,500.00 plus VAT

What is included in the fixed fee?

 Preparation of documents following Directions from the first Court appointment, which may include drafting Replies to Questionnaire raised by the other party  Attending to any Directions made by the Judge at the first Court appointment  Continuing to negotiate on your behalf, advising you on any proposals received and helping you formulate your own proposals in light of any additional information received  Preparing for the Financial Dispute Resolution appointment, including preparation of a full Case Summary; Schedule of Assets and Liabilities; updated Chronology; Position Statement and costs estimate form  Representing you at the Financial Dispute Resolution appointment and negotiating on your behalf at Court.  Very often an agreement is reached at this hearing and, if so, the fee will include the preparation of a Consent Order What is not included?

 Any charges payable to third parties for providing information as above  Any unforeseen circumstances which will result in additional work, for example, protracted negotiation or correspondence or complex issues  Representation at Court by a Barrister.  If the case is particularly complex and a Barrister is required at this stage, then a further disbursement will be payable for the Barrister’s fees, which will be discussed with you before a Barrister is instructed.  It is rare that we would recommend instructing a Barrister at this stage Representation at a final hearing. Fee – an additional £2,000.00 plus vat.

Whilst most cases settle at, or before, the Financial Dispute Resolution appointment, sometimes this is not possible and the case will be listed for a final hearing when the Judge will hear evidence from both parties and make a decision.  The case typically lasts for a full day and requires a significant amount of preparatory work.  We often advise instructing a Barrister to represent you at the final hearing.

What is included in the fixed fee?

 Attending to any Directions made at the Financial Dispute Resolution appointment  Arranging for any Reports that may be required, for example, Surveyors Valuations; Pension Reports and Accountants Reports or obtaining updates as necessary  Continuing to negotiate on your behalf and advising you on any proposals made  Instructing a Barrister to represent you at the final hearing, to include preparation of instructions and sending off relevant papers to the Barrister  Preparing documents for a final hearing to include dealing with preparation of the Court Bundles; Case Summary; Chronology and Statement of Issues

 

What is not included?

 Any charges payable to third parties for providing information as above  Any unforeseen circumstances which will result in additional work, for example, protracted negotiation or correspondence or complex issues  The Barrister’s fee is not included in the fixed fee. A quote can be arranged for the Barrister’s costs of representing you at the final hearing and at a Conference before the hearing.  Attendance of a member of our firm at the Court hearing or conference with the barrister..

 

CHILDREN MATTERS

Please note that Legal Aid is available to parents or other people with parental responsibility for Court proceedings involving the Local Authority, whether as an Application for a Care Order or Supervision Order.  In these circumstances, Legal Aid is available without reference to your income or capital.  Legal Aid may be available for other people involved in these proceedings, such as grandparents.

In proceedings that do not involve the Local Authority, we offer the following fixed fees:-

Pre-Court proceedings – Fixed fee – £300.00 plus VAT

What is included in the fixed fee?

 An initial interview  Sending a detailed letter setting out your instructions and what we are going to do for you  Sending out correspondence to the other party or their Solicitor  Making a referral to a Mediation Service.  Before you issue a Court Application, you will usually be required to attend a meeting with a Mediator and a form FM1, which the Mediator will issue, is required by the Court when you start proceedings  Sending out a letter to you confirming the outcome of mediation  Advising you in a meeting or correspondence about how to progress matters

What is not included?

 Any expenses or disbursements, for example, fees payable to Mediators  Any unforeseen circumstances which will result in additional work, for example, protracted negotiation or correspondence or complex issues

Children Act Application to the Court and representation at the first Court hearing – Fixed fee – £600.00 plus VAT (plus Court fee – currently £200.00)

What is included in the fixed fee?

 Preparation of the Application to Court and obtaining your approval to this  Issuing the proceedings with the Court and serving the documents on the other parties  Attending the Court hearing on the first appointment; advising you and representing you at that hearing, including negotiation with the other party and their Solicitor  Confirming the outcome in writing

What is not included?

 Any disbursements  Any unforeseen circumstances which will result in additional work, for example, protracted negotiation or correspondence or complex issues

Representation following the first hearing and up to preparing for a final hearing – Fixed fee – £1,000.00 plus VAT and disbursements.

What is included in the fixed fee?

 Preparation of documents following Directions from the first hearing.  This is likely to include the preparation of a formal Witness Statement and possible consideration of a CAFCASS or Expert Report  Correspondence with you regarding the progress of your case and continuing to negotiate with the other party  Representing you at a further Review or Directions hearing

What is not included?

 Any further expenses or disbursements  Any unforeseen circumstances which result in additional work, for example, protracted negotiation or correspondence or complex issues  If more than one Review hearing is required, an additional bolt-on fee of £250.00 plus VAT will be charged for each additional hearing

Preparation for a final hearing once the final hearing date has been fixed (but not including representation at that hearing) – An additional £1,000.00 plus VAT and disbursements.

What is included in the fixed fee?

 Continuing to correspond with you; advising you regarding the progress of your case and negotiating with the other party  Instructing a Barrister to represent you at the final hearing; preparing Instructions to the Barrister and sending the Barrister all relevant documentation  Preparation of documents in readiness for the final hearing to include preparation of the Court Bundles

What is not included?

 Any expenses or disbursements  Any unforeseen circumstances which result in additional work, for example, protracted negotiation or correspondence or complex issues  The Barrister’s fee for the final hearing.  A fee will be agreed with the Barrister, which is dependent upon the nature and complexity of the case.  A meeting will usually be arranged with the Barrister before the Court hearing  Attendance by a member of our firm at the hearing or meeting with the Barrister.

 

MISCALLANEOUS FIXED FEES

Change of name for an adult – £75.00 plus VAT

Change of name for a child (where the other parent consents) – £130.00 plus VAT

Living together Agreement – £250.00 plus VAT

Prenuptial Agreement – £450.00 plus VAT

Separation Agreement – £450.00 plus VAT

Parental Responsibility Agreement – £150.00 plus VAT