Couples can now appoint one lawyer between them to handle all aspects of their divorce, including child and financial arrangements.
This can help keep the process as amicable as possible, as well as make it faster and more cost effective.
But how does the One Couple One Lawyer process work? Here, our trained mediators and expert family lawyers Kirstie Law and Desmond O’Donnell answer your questions.
Is sharing a lawyer suitable for all couples?
No – with family law, there are a range of ways to resolve a case, including mediation, collaboration and arbitration, and it is for the individual couple to decide which method is best for them.
How do I know if One Couple One Lawyer is right for me?
The process starts with an initial meeting, to explore the various options and discuss openly which process you would like and will suit your unique needs.
How does the One Couple One Lawyer process work?
The process is relatively straightforward, as laid out in our infographic, which you can view here.
Can we change to this process if we already have lawyers?
Provided we as a firm have not acted for either of you in connection with the divorce, or for you both as a mediator, then yes, you can change to this process.
How does the One Couple One Lawyer process differ to mediation?
A mediator has to be impartial and should not give a couple legal advice. This process enables the lawyer to openly give the couple advice and if an agreement is reached, to draw up a consent order to make the agreement binding.
Will I have the opportunity to take independent advice if I want to, using the One Couple One Lawyer process?
Yes, both parties have the opportunity to take independent legal advice if they wish, as part of the process. We may also recommend involving a barrister to give an early neutral evaluation or assist with proposed settlement terms, if appropriate.
How long does the One Couple Once Lawyer process take?
This depends on how complicated your finances are and how able you both are to commit time for meetings etc. As a general guide, where a couple are co-operative, we would expect matters to be concluded within approximately three to four months.
How much does using the One Couple One Lawyer approach cost?
It will cost approximately £2,000 – £4,000 plus VAT each but we will give you more of an idea of the specific costs in your particular case, at the first joint meeting. The cost for the initial joint meeting and both individual sessions will be in the region of £500 plus vat each. Our costs estimate will be in respect of our fees and if other professionals are involved including barristers, accountants, pensions advisors, counsellors etc, then their fees will be in addition to our fees.
If I start the One Couple One Lawyer process but then feel it is not right for me, may I change?
Yes, if the process does not feel right for one or both of you, we will talk to you about alternatives including mediation, collaborative law and arbitration.
What if we can’t come to an agreement using the One Couple One Lawyer process?
We would then help you to decide which alternative means of resolving issues would be best in your case.