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Lawyers are often criticised for the level of their charges and accused of a lack of transparency in relation to costs generally. Last week the Solicitors Regulation Authority published a report indicating that some divorcing couples are struggling to assess whether their lawyers are providing value for money and providing transparency in relation to costs.

Here at Grayfords, we pride ourselves on being completely transparent and up front in relation to costs before they are incurred whilst also keeping our clients fully informed of any developments on their case and the corresponding costs consequences.

We also recognise the importance of providing our clients with a variety of options and a variety of solutions tailored to meet their needs and preferences.

For example, for some their preferred bespoke option may not, necessarily, always be the cheapest option since they may wish to fight or pursue certain points on principle in the full knowledge of the costs consequences of doing so.

However, for many being involved in divorce proceedings is stressful enough which can only be exacerbated by the necessity of having to pay for the process.

Successive cuts by successive governments have led to an increasingly shrinking publicly funded system.

Some people choose to act in person in the hope of avoiding costs entirely. However, since family law is an increasingly specialised area this is, for many people, an impossibly stressful option and only an extreme last resort.

For most people their preference is to instruct specialist solicitors, like us at Grayfords, but how do you keep those costs to an absolute minimum?

1. Give clear and accurate information in the instructions to your solicitor. It helps to prepare for a meeting or a telephone call, much as you might with your doctor, dentist or financial advisor, for example.

2. Provide clear and transparent disclosure in financial proceedings so that any questions arising from the disclosure can be kept to a minimum.

3. Don’t be afraid to consider with your solicitor the results of a costs/benefit analysis of what you want to achieve in the proceedings, how possible that may be under the relevant law and what the costs consequences may be of doing so.

4. Finally, always consider with your solicitor alternatives to litigation such as, for example, constructive negotiations on a “without prejudice” basis or mediation with a fully accredited mediator.

In addition to reducing costs, each of the above can have the significant benefit of enabling matters to be dealt with as consensually and amicably as possible which is especially important in proceedings concerning children.

Nobody enters into a relationship in the expectation that it will fail nor with the aim of paying legal fees to extricate themselves from it in the future.

This is just one of the ways in which we, at Grayfords, can help our clients to make informed decisions and to tailor make a solution for them at what may be the most difficult time in their lives.

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