I have read this article about a divorce App which claims that it will assist in lowering costs on divorce.

I am a Family Lawyer at Fox Law. I have 13 years’ experience dealing with many divorces some extremely acrimonious and some concluding amicably. The bottom line is that if there is lack of agreement between the parties and reluctance to reach a resolution, which will ultimately involve a compromise, then high legal costs will be unavoidable. Litigation will remain the only way to determine intractable issue. As many cases in Northern Ireland involve relatively modest assets that barely cover the cost of re-housing two individuals with their families the legal costs eat away at the lion’s share of the assets that could be put to better use in the longer term. Is the intractable issue really worth lining the pockets of Lawyers? Some people seem to think so at a point in time!

It should come as no surprise that Lawyers run a private business and therefore cannot do things for free. Legal firms employ many people in the private sector and pay taxes. Pro bono work on family matters forms part of daily practise for every family lawyer yet is very rarely applauded clouded by the exorbitant fees charged for divorces. This article although not explicit recognises the key ingredient in keeping costs down being amicable communication. Not all Lawyers insist on litigation yet all lawyers are tarred with the one brush. The current trend is on early resolution with the input of Family Lawyers key to legitimate negotiations based on legal principals and guidelines. Family Lawyers are the only people experienced to guide you through this and a good Family Lawyer will attempt to resolve issues; litigation being the last resort.

There is no magic formula for resolving intractable issues. These issues can take an acute hold on any reasonable sensible person at any time and steer an uneasy course. It always surprises me that some people would prefer the decision as to the appropriate division of their hard earned assets to be made by a total stranger, the Judge, than by themselves and to pay substantial legal costs for that honour.

I consider it a failure when I have to take a case to a contested hearing as it is out of my hands and I am unable to predict the outcome Lawyers do not have crystal balls. It is much better for me as a family Lawyer to have people walking away after paying my costs satisfied and feeling that they have got value for money. When litigation is necessary the feeling of getting value for money decrease exponentially.

As a Family Lawyer I have an overriding obligation at all stages to advise my Client of the cost implications pre and post litigation. This informs my Client for the decision that they will have to make during negotiations. It is my Client and my Client alone that decides on the outcome of their case after listening to my advice which includes cost implications.

Litigation is costly that has been a constant in divorce practise. It has been the ultimate driver in the need for changing divorce practise. It is no magic formulae but good common practical sense that to avoid substantial costs then discussions leading to resolution without court are the only way and for that you need a good Family Lawyer.

EMMA FOX
Family Lawyer
Collaborative Lawyer
Mediator

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