Get instant answers to all the common questions.
How do I get started?
It’s very simple – you can contact us by telephone, email, website or even over social media. Or if you prefer to speak to someone in person, particularly in confidence, feel free to call into our office where we will be happy to chat to you about your issue.
What will the first appointment cost?
In short: nothing at all. We see your first appointment with Leeds Divorce Solicitors as a means to find out your basic circumstances and talk about your options, covering anything from initial separation from your partner or spouse to child concerns, any financial settlement issues and much more. The appointment is free and has no time limit. During the meeting we will explain our fees and confirm the initial advice given in writing, and it is at this point you will be asked to sign documentation that you agree with our advice and fees before we begin work on your case.
Will I have to pay any of your fees in advance?
You won’t have to pay any of our fees before we get started on your case. Our first consultation is completely free of charge. The only time you will incur costs at the outset is if you ask us to issue court proceedings straight away – then you will be required to pay whatever court fees are required.
Who will I deal with first?
For your initial free appointment you will speak – either in person or via email/telephone – to one of our specialist solicitors. This solicitor will deal with your entire case, as long as you are happy and consider that you and they will form a good working relationship. If you have been recommended a particular solicitor by a friend or family member then you will be able to work with that specialist from the outset if you wish. The only time this will change is during any periods of sickness or holiday, when either a paralegal or different solicitor will assist to cover your case for this short time.
How experienced are you?
Leeds Divorce Solicitors have over two decades of experience, focusing solely on divorce law and family matters. Our CEO, John Archer, has been practising in this field for well over thirty years and uses this wealth of knowledge to mentor all solicitors who join the company. Our team consists of twenty-five solicitors, all of whom are recognised by legal organisations as being experts in divorce matters, with specialisms in topics such as financial resolution, mediation, civil partnerships, children’s well being and even international pre-marital agreements. We consider ourselves to be an incredibly safe pair of hands, and will work to obtain the best possible outcome for you.
What is the legal process?
There is a lot of legal jargon used during cases, but everything will be explained to you in as simple terms as possible so you completely understand where you are in the process and what the solicitor is doing for you. Typically, a divorce will see three written applications to the court at particular stages of the case, but this number may increase if there are complications with, for example, finance division or your spouse defending the divorce. You are rarely asked to attend court in divorce cases, but on occasion – if, say, there is a dispute about costs or share of finances – you may be required to attend.
Do I have to attend mediation?
In order to resolve disputes – for example, over children – without resorting to the court, mediation is used as an alternative. Mediation has been around for some considerable time and is often a very effective means of settling disagreements that would otherwise prove very costly to divorcing couples. Your case will be sent to a mediator for assessment (a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting, or MIAM) if there are hiccups along the way, however you cannot be forced to mediate. It is purely voluntary, and both parties must be in agreement to attempt to resolve issues via mediation.
How can I help to win my case?
Preparation is key – for example, if you believe there will be an issue around the children or contact post-divorce then it would be helpful if you could compile a full account of relevant or significant events, dates and visitation/sharing arrangements that you already have in place. Finances are often another sticking point, so it would suit you well to collate any and all information pertaining to your financial situation. This includes salary details, loans, mortgages, property value, investments and anything else you consider relevant.
Will I have to attend court?
Very few people have to attend court during a divorce. It is viewed as a last resort after all other attempts – be they via solicitor or mediation and so forth – have failed. There are some exceptional circumstances, for example if there are significant difficulties in relation to finance division or custody of children, but all of this will be explained to you in full detail prior to making any application to court or if you instruct us to issue proceedings.
What am I eligible to get?
We do not like to make projections as there can be a number of factors at play. Once the divorce nears finalisation, the court will take into account a large amount of criteria before making a decision over division of finances. These will include the value of assets, number of dependents, both your incomes, debts, and future earning potential. However the first consideration is always for the welfare of the children of a relationship.
What about my finances?
Lots of people worry about this issue, in particular how they will manage post-divorce and how they will provide for their children. Leeds Divorce Solicitors will guide you through every step of the process and offer practical advice so you are clear about what will occur. Finance division always takes place during a divorce or dissolution, but the court will look at each party’s financial situation in forensic detail before reaching a conclusion. It is possible, via mediation or through Collaborative Lawyers, to reach an early agreement between each spouse in relation to finances, meaning there is no need to go to court and prolong the divorce.
I'm worried about our children. What will happen?
Leeds Divorce Solicitors are committed to working towards the interests of children in divorce and separation cases. Our expert team of solicitors, which includes Children Panel members, will aim to achieve the best outcome for both you and your children, while remaining fair and amicable in what can often be an emotional process. In a similar procedure to finance division, our Collaborative Lawyers can organise meetings where each spouse can come to a mutually agreeable conclusion in relation to the children which removes the need to go to court. Similarly, mediation is an oft-used option.
What if I am in a civil partnership?
We have successfully dealt with numerous Dissolutions of a Civil Partnerships and every form of mediation, meeting and court proceedings is available to couples wishing to end their Partnership. Ending the Civil Partnership is almost identical in method to that of divorcing, however unlike divorce you cannot use ‘adultery’ as a factor. All four other issues – two year separation, unreasonable behaviour and so forth – still apply. Like divorce, each partner does not have to attend court as long as there are no complications regarding finance or children.
How do you get paid?
Unlike with, say, criminal law cases, with divorce cases the judge will not make a cost order against either party. This means that, most of the time, you have to pay for the fees of your solicitor. There can be occasions when this is not the case and one spouse can be ordered to pay costs, for example, but this will be outlined to you in more depth during your first appointment.
I'm worried it will be expensive. What options do I have?
Instructing a solicitor to assist with your divorce is not as costly as you might think. Leeds Divorce Solicitors have a range of payment options to make the process as painless as possible. These include an hourly rate on a ‘time taken’ basis, fixed fees (either lump sum or instalments), end-of-case lump sum or pay as you go. We are completely flexible and happy to proceed with whatever method works best for you. When you have your first appointment the solicitor will provide you with full details of your options, and it is then that you can make your decision as to how to proceed. No monies are requested during the first appointment, which is free of charge.
How do I fund my case?
When you take your first free appointment with Leeds Divorce Solicitors we will show you how the divorce process works and what costs you are likely to incur along the way. This will be set out in writing for your appraisal. From this, you can make an informed decision as to how you wish to pay for your case and how you are likely to fund it. There are a number of ways to pay, from fixed fees to final lump sum payments, and a number of companies – such as litigation loans companies – that you can speak to for further advice.