If you are planning to divorce, separate from or split up with your partner, or dissolve your registered civil partnership, it is likely that at some point you’ll need a solicitor to help you sort out your home and money issues. You may be able to sort things out yourselves if you don’t have children, or if you haven’t been married or together for very long, but if you share a lot of assets and can’t agree how to divide them, you may need legal help.
Mediation can help in these circumstances. It provides a neutral third party to help you and your partner make decisions, and is likely to be cheaper than a solicitor.
If you decide you have to see a solicitor, you may only need to see them once, but it’s best to find out where you stand. You will need a family law solicitor, which you can find using the Yellow Pages, or through specialist organisations such as The Law Society or Resolution.
Solicitors’ charges are based on how much time they spend on your case. Remember to get an estimate before you start, but remember that fees may go up as your case progresses. If you instigated the divorce, you may also be liable for court fees. You may be able to get help paying costs if you’re eligible for legal aid – see court costs and procedure, above.