6 tips for a cost friendly divorce

6 tips for a cost friendly divorce

As the cost of living crisis continues to unfold, the Bank of England has warned that inflation could hit 10% this year which will mean the consumer prices index will be at its highest levels since the 1980s.

These figures and other similar news stories will understandably be cause for concern for many people, particularly those who may be experiencing divorce or separation as that process will generally involve some cost. There are however a few ways you can help make the separation process easier and avoid incurring unnecessary legal fees which we have suggested below.

 

  1. Communication is key

Providing it is appropriate and safe to do so in the circumstances, keep the lines of communication open with your ex-partner. The more you are able to agree with each other directly, the less need there will be for ongoing involvement from professionals such as family lawyers or mediators. If you are able to discuss matters amicably with your ex, you may only require legal support to formalise what you have agreed therefore limiting the amount of cost involved.

 

  1. Get advice

As soon as you feel able to , take advice from a specialist lawyer so that you know your rights and what to expect. Many lawyers offer an initial meeting at a discounted cost. This can help you decide on the best way forward for you.

 

  1. Work effectively with your lawyer

It can be helpful to have a discussion at the outset about whether there are any parts of the work you might feel able to do yourself and which parts your lawyer can assist you with. At FM Family Law, we are happy to consider offering an unbundled service in appropriate cases which means that we advise in the background whilst you manage the case yourself and decide as and when you require our input. You could also break the work down into sections and agree with your lawyer what needs to be undertaken in advance so the costs are easier to manage.

 

The method of communication between you and your lawyer can also play a key part in the costs involved so if you are conscious about this, explore what method of communication might be most appropriate and effective in your situation. For example, this could be keeping communications to email, discussing issues over the phone or video call, or meeting in person.

 

  1. Consider alternative dispute resolution

Alternative dispute resolution is a way of resolving the issues arising out of your divorce or separation without the need to go to court, which can often involve potentially substantial costs and delay. The main options available include family mediation, arbitration and collaborative law.  We discuss these options in more detail in this article here.  At FM Family Law, we have trained Resolution Family Mediators, collaboratively trained lawyers and extensive experience in resolving matters through arbitration so we can support couples through whichever resolution option suits them best.

 

There is a Family Mediation Voucher Scheme currently running which provides a financial contribution of up to £500 towards the costs of mediation for eligible parties. More information about the scheme can be found here.

 

  1. Establish a wider support network

We recognise that divorce and separation can often be a challenging time and, whilst your family lawyer is available to support you, having a separate outlet for your emotions is important and would be more cost effective.  It will also enable your lawyer to focus their time on advising on legal issues and strategy. We encourage establishing a wider support network and accessing emotional support whether this is from friends and family or a counsellor or divorce coach.  We are able to signpost you to a range of support services should you wish to get more information.

 

  1. Approach the discussions with a more positive mind set

Time is one of the biggest factors that affects the cost of a divorce. The longer the deliberations take, the longer any lawyer you may instruct will be working with you. It is advisable to keep your emotions out of the negotiations as this could cloud your judgement and draw out the process unnecessarily. It can help to speak to trusted friends and family members or access professional support to put those issues into perspective and gain a better understanding as to what might be preventing you from moving forward.

 

If you would like to speak with one of our family lawyers, please contact us here or by phone – Norwich (01603 443333 ), Cambridge (01223 355333).

 

Note: The content of this article is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice. Specific legal advice should be taken in any specific circumstance.

How is cryptocurrency shared on divorce?

How is cryptocurrency shared on divorce?

With cryptocurrency being more widely discussed and readily accessible to members of the public, it is unsurprising that it is starting to feature in an increasing number of divorce cases. We answer some key questions on cryptocurrency to help you better understand this constantly developing technology and what happens on divorce.

 

What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a digital asset created and held electronically in a decentralised system – meaning that no individual or governing body controls or regulates it.  Cryptocurrency is secured by encryption methods rather than by people so transactions are automated. It can be used to pay for goods and services, like traditional currency, however other types of cryptocurrency exist beyond just payment tokens (like Bitcoin and Ethereum) and include asset-backed cryptocurrencies like ‘stablecoins’ and NFTs (non-fungible tokens) which are tokens representing ownership of a unique item, like artwork.

 

How is cryptocurrency different to other assets?

  1. It has no physical form and exists only in the network.
  2. Transactions and accounts are pseudo-anonymous and are not generally connected to any real-world entities so it is more difficult to track than money held in bank accounts.
  3. It is completely decentralised with no server or central authority.

 

How will cryptocurrency be taken into account on divorce?

Cryptocurrency is like any other asset on divorce and will be considered depending on the facts of the case. Both parties are required to disclose their respective financial circumstances to the other to assist with the discussions about how the matrimonial assets should be divided in order to achieve fairness.

This might seem straight forward in principle, but there are a number of unique challenges when dealing with cryptocurrency.

 

What are some of the challenges of dealing with cryptocurrency on divorce?

Tracing and disclosure

Due to the pseudo-anonymous nature of cryptocurrency, separating couples could exploit this added layer of privacy to try and hide assets. It is possible to instruct tracing agents to locate digital wallets (where individuals hold cryptocurrency) if basic details are available but this service will involve additional cost so a decision to instruct needs to be carefully considered.

Securing assets

The courts have the power to issue an emergency freezing injunction to secure assets if they are at risk, and this would equally apply to securing cryptocurrency. However the effectiveness of this type of order against cryptocurrency will be limited because there is no centralised body or regulator to administer it, unless the assets are being held on an exchange (like Coinbase or Binance).

Valuation

It is not unusual for assets such as properties or shares to be re-valued during the course of negotiations, however the cryptocurrency economy is extremely volatile making it particularly challenging to value cryptocurrencies at any one time as the price can fluctuate wildly.

 

If you would like to discuss the issues addressed in this article then please contact us here or by phone – Norwich (01603 443333 ), Cambridge (01223 355333).

 

Note: The content of this article is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice. Specific legal advice should be taken in any specific circumstance.

Laura Clay-Harris elected as Norfolk Resolution Chairperson

Laura Clay-Harris elected as Norfolk Resolution Chairperson

FM Family Law are delighted to announce the appointment of Laura Clay-Harris as Chairperson of Norfolk Resolution.

 

Resolution is a community of family justice professionals who work with families and individuals to  resolve issues in a constructive way. Norfolk Resolution is a branch of Resolution that leads the delivery of Resolution’s work in that area of the country. The Norfolk Resolution committee runs training, networking and social events, and promotes Resolution across the region.

 

Laura has been actively involved in the Norfolk Resolution committee since joining in February 2020 as Membership Development Officer.

 

On this exciting new appointment Laura comments:

 

I am looking forward to working alongside the rest of the Norfolk committee to help the local family law community get the most from Resolution.  Watch this space for some exciting training and social events coming up!

 

Congratulations Laura!

FM Family Law offers free mediation intake sessions during Family Mediation Week 2022

FM Family Law offers free mediation intake sessions during Family Mediation Week 2022

FM Family Law are proud to be supporting Family Mediation Week this year which runs from 17 January to 21 January 2022. This is a great opportunity to raise awareness of family mediation and the many benefits it can bring families experiencing separation.

Mediation is a forum for discussing and resolving issues with your spouse/partner away from lawyers and away from court. The role of the mediator is to remain neutral, facilitate and support your discussions, as well as help you explore various options. Family mediation can be a great option for resolving issues arising out of separation and ensure that couples can take control, make decisions together and build a positive future for them and their family.

In support of Family Mediation Week, FM Family Law are excited to announce that we will be offering free mediation intake sessions for both participants throughout January providing they are booked during Family Mediation Week (17 – 21 January 2022), subject to availability. Full details and terms below.

We have four Resolution Family Mediators at FM Family Law: Fiona McLeman, Sue Bailey, Christina Hale and Karen Fox.

If you would like to enquire about booking your free mediation intake meeting please contact us:

(Norwich) Jenny Humphrey on 01603 443333 / jenny@fmfamilylaw.co.uk

(Cambridge) Kate Smith on 01223 355333 / kate@fmfamilylaw.co.uk

You can read more about our mediation service here.

2021: 10 years of FM Family Law

2021: 10 years of FM Family Law

Throughout 2021, FM Family Law has been celebrating our 10 years of excellence in family law.

In celebration of our 10th anniversary, our Norwich and Cambridge offices have each donated in support of their chosen local charities:  Cambridge – Blue Smile (www.bluesmile.org.uk): a charity promoting a whole school approach to mental wellbeing, including one-to-one counselling and therapy for children aged 3 to 13. Norwich – The Daisy Programme (www.daisyprogramme.org.uk): a charity supporting men and women living with or who have been affected by Domestic abuse. Both charities are extremely worthy causes and we are pleased to be able to support them in offering essential services to those that need it most.

A decade of excellence in family law has also given us the opportunity to look back on our achievements over the past 10 years. We hope you enjoy this countdown from 10.

10      10 years ago in April 2011, FM Family Law began business from a standing start of 1 lawyer.

9        FM Family Law is now a company of 9 (Carla Morphett and Laura Clay-Harris having joined in 2021).

8        No 8 Thorpe Road is where we started our journey in Norwich with the lovely people at no 8 Thorpe Road.

7        FM Family Law has 7 specialist family lawyers.

6        6 years ago Sue Bailey opened the Norwich office of FM Family Law.

5        5 years ago FM took on rooms at 72 Thorpe Road and now  occupies the whole premises.

4        We have 4 family mediators.

3        We have 3 collaborative lawyers

2        2 months ago, we were awarded the Norfolk & Norwich Law Society Excellence in Individual Client Services Award.

1        We have 1 trainee – Laura Tuddenham who qualifies under the CILEX scheme in Summer 2022

 We look forward to the next 10 years of excellence in family law.