Family Law FAQs

My marriage is in trouble and I need to know what options I have?

Your options are as follows:

a) Counselling

If you think there is a chance of saving your marriage – it may be sensible for you and your spouse to attend counselling. The counselling at best may assist you to save the marriage. At worst, it will at least enable you and your spouse to identify the issues that have led to the breakdown of the marriage.

b) Separation Agreement

You could enter into a Separation Agreement. A Separation Agreement is really a halfway house between being married and being divorced. It sets out the arrangements that need to be made between you and your spouse with regard to where you are going to live, the provision for the children and the financial arrangements to be made between the two of you. Having said that, such an agreement is not necessarily binding upon the two of you.

c) Divorce

This is the process of actually applying to the court to dissolve the marriage. The marriage itself is a legal union between you and your spouse. The act of divorce is to dissolve that legal union so that you are both single people again.

If the divorce is agreed – the proceedings should take no longer than 5 months to get to the final Divorce Order (Decree Absolute).

How much is it going to cost?

The short answer to that question is that it depends upon the issues in the case, the amount of money involved in the case and also whether or not you and your spouse are able to agree about the matters at issue between the two of you. We have had cases involving modest assets which have been resolved quickly and at minimal expense to the parties.

On the other hand, we have also had cases where the assets are rather more substantial, where the issues are more complicated and, as a result, the costs are higher. It is fair to say that if both parties are open handed and provide their financial disclosure honestly and comprehensively to their spouse (and vice versa) and providing that both parties are reasonable in their requirements – the costs are inevitably much lower than cases where the parties are less than forthcoming about their true financial circumstances and where they seek to contest every single point in the hope that it will provide them with a better settlement.

Am I entitled to Legal Aid?

It is the Government’s intention that Legal Aid for divorce will be restricted even further. The bottom line is that Legal Aid is unlikely to be available at all for financial disputes between divorcing spouses unless either party has been violent towards the other. Having said that, we do not act for clients on a Legal Aid basis. We are able to refer Legal Aid cases to other solicitors in any event.

Can I do the case myself?

The short answer is yes.

A number of people conduct their own divorces and financial claims through the courts.

However, that is not always the wisest course of action for the following reasons:-

a) Procedurally, litigants in person are always at a disadvantage to spouses who have legal representation. An unrepresented litigant in person is not generally aware of the technical aspects of the case. This can be crucial to the type of Order that the court might make at the end of the day.

b) The law is also complicated in certain aspects. Litigants in person, no matter how well read they might think they are, seldom properly understand the approach of the court.

In summary, it is possible for a spouse to conduct his or her case before the court. Having said that, it is not recommended.

Do I have the right to choose which particular lawyer from the practice I want to represent me in the case?

Yes – we have both female and male lawyers. Further, their hourly rates vary and this enables a client to tailor the case to their particular requirements in terms of not only the personnel but also the costs.

Can I arrange a fixed fee interview for a full advice?

Yes. We can agree a fee beforehand which is payable upon the receipt of the full written advice from us. We will quote a fee for meeting with us and for providing a full advice with regard to your rights in respect of the marriage, the children and the financial aspects of the case. We will take details about the background to the case, the up to date financial circumstances and all other relevant matters. We will provide a verbal advice at that meeting.

We will follow that verbal advice up with a full written advice.

Do you have wheelchair access?

We have full wheelchair facilities and we are able to conduct meetings on the ground floor for the convenience of the client.

What is your standing in the field of divorce law?

Please refer to our testimonial pages.

We are also recognised by the two prominent legal commentators (The Legal 500 and Chambers) as one of the foremost practises in the Midlands. There are links to both legal commentators in the links section of our website.

What is your win/lose ratio?

A lot of divorce lawyers would say that there is no such thing as a win or a loss. They would say that these cases are problems that need to be resolved in the best possible way for both parties although the client’s interests must be uppermost.

We agree with those sentiments although we make the point that our record in achieving the client’s requested outcome is a good one.

Within reason, we will fight as hard as we need to fight to put the client’s case across powerfully and in the event of court proceedings, to brief the very best Barristers and to prepare comprehensively for the hearing itself.

Do you have any negligence claims against your insurance policy?

The practice has been in existence since the 1st May 1995 (a period of approximately 17 years) and there are no claims against our policy.

Where does your work come from?

Our work comes from referrals made by previous clients and from other professionals including solicitors, accountants, the medical profession, the business community and the farming community.

What if I have a complaint about the firm?

It is our sincere hope that you will be more than happy with the service you receive from the firm.

Should you have a complaint we shall first try to resolve it to your satisfaction through our internal complaints procedure.

If we are unable to settle your complaint using our internal complaints process, you have a right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman, an independent complaints body, established under the Legal Services Act 2007, that deals with legal services complaints.

You have six months from the date of our final letter to you in which to complain to the Legal Ombudsman.

Legal Ombudsman
PO Box 6806
Wolverhampton
WV1 9WJ

Telephone: 0300 555 0333
Email address: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk
Website: www.legalombudsman.org.uk

Alternative complaints bodies (such as ProMediate www.promediate.co.uk) exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and our firm wish to use such a scheme.

For online options see https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/odr/main/index.cfm?event=main.home.chooseLanguage

Our email address is johnhooper@johnhooper.com


Request a callback