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What to do if you need a divorce lawyer and have no money

There is no denying the fact that divorce is an incredibly painful experience for all involved. The associated financial aspects do not make things any easier. The costs involved in a divorce can be substantial as evidenced by the fact that divorce and separation is a whopping £1.7 billion industry in the UK! Some of the main costs involved in this process include legal fees, living expenses, moving expenses and the costs associated with dividing property. 

It’s worth noting that it might be possible to get a divorce in the UK without the involvement of a lawyer or the court if you and your partner agree you want a divorce, and the reason why. If you don’t agree, the process will take more time and costs will be significantly higher. In such a case, it is likely that you will need to involve a lawyer. Their fees can be quite high depending on the issues that need to be addressed.

So, what can you do when you need a divorce lawyer but have no money for one? Your first thought might be to seek legal aid, but unfortunately, it is no longer available for divorce proceedings in the UK. However, do not lose hope; there are several other options worth looking at that can help you in this complicated situation.

Take advantage of mediation 

Though legal aid for divorce costs is no longer available, you can get aid for mediation. A mediator can help you and your partner reach agreement on several issues, such as property, money and children, instead of going directly to court and fighting over these issues with the help of your lawyers. The less your lawyer needs to represent you, the lower the costs.  

To find a family mediator or a legal adviser with a legal aid contract, you can use the Legal Aid Finder. The mediator will assess your situation and tell you whether you qualify for legal aid. Alternatively, you can also use the Legal Aid Checker provided by Civil Legal Advice to find out whether you are eligible for legal aid, or you even call them directly at 0345 345 4 345. Another other option could be to use the Law Society’s website to find a legal aid solicitor who will then apply for legal aid from the Legal Aid Agency.

Get funding from your partner

To hasten the process of divorce, one partner can pay the legal fees of the other. If you cannot pay the fees yourself, talking to your partner and convincing them to pay can get things settled quicker.

Alternatively, a court can order your partner to pay your legal fees through a Legal Services Payment Order (LSPO). However, it can only do so in special circumstances, such as when there is a substantial income disparity between the two of you. If you meet this threshold, you can consider applying for an LSPO.

Find a lawyer who will agree to be paid after the divorce

If, during your marriage, you and your partner have managed to acquire significant assets, you might be able to find a lawyer who will agree to receive their fee once assets are divided at the conclusion of the divorce. However, keep it in mind that not all legal firms offer this type of service and those that do will not offer it to all clients.

Borrow money from friends or family

More often than not, the people close to you are concerned about your future and will want to support you in your divorce. Some might have no qualms giving you a loan to facilitate the divorce process. It goes without saying that such a loan will be cheaper than one from a bank.

If you take a loan from friends or family, it’s a good idea to get a formal agreement drawn up to ensure the court takes the loan into account when considering a settlement.

Get a 0% credit card or low interest loan

A different option for paying your legal fees is using a 0% interest credit card. There are several good 0% credit cards available in the UK at the moment — you can shop around to find the card that offers the most favourable terms for you. If your credit score is good, there’s every chance you’ll be approved for one. It would be best to use the card strictly for your lawyer’s fee and other legal costs. 

You can also take out a loan to cater for your divorce lawyer’s fee. Look for a low interest loan with favourable repayment terms. Currently, there are lending companies in the UK like Novitas who specifically cater to people seeking loans to fund legal proceedings including divorce. 

Key takeaway

A divorce can be very painful for all involved, and things can get tricky if you need a lawyer to help you with the process but don’t have the money for one. However, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone and that support is available in a number of forms that can make a difficult situation just a little more manageable. If you explore all options carefully, you might just find a way that can work for you. Good luck!

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