A limited number of family lawyers are now providing a service whereby a couple can use one lawyer to advise and assist them with getting divorced or separated.

Recent changes to legal regulations mean that a single lawyer is now able to advise both parties where there is a common interest and approach between them to reach a settlement regarding their finances and the arrangements for their children.

If you’re interested in using the same lawyer for a divorce or separation – contact our team of experienced family lawyers who will be talk you through the process.

Why can a couple now use the same lawyer during a divorce?

For decades, each party in a divorce who require legal advice had to instruct their own lawyer to act on their behalf. This very notion of protecting one party’s interests often causes a deepening sense of division at a time when it’s important to align and resolve issues, helping to move towards a more amicable separation – especially when there are children involved. Regardless of the issues in the parental relationship, children need to know that it is not their fault and that they can still have a relationship with and spend time with each parent.

Due to professional regulations, historically lawyers have been prevented from acting for both parties during a divorce or separation, an approach which has the danger of exploiting the differences between a separating couple, rather than building on a commonality.

Happily, family law has evolved. Firstly with the introduction of no fault divorce, followed by the welcomed change that one lawyer can now act for both individuals of a divorcing couple.

What are the benefits of couple using the same lawyer during a divorce?

Many couples can reach a substantial level of agreement on the future arrangements for their children and their finances upon separation. It has long been a cause of concern that each individual would then have to instruction an independent lawyer, incurring additional time and costs to incorporate their agreed terms in a legally binding document. Now with the option of a couple instructing one lawyer to achieve that, it can reduce the acrimony and increase the chances of a more harmonious separation. Additionally, using one lawyer for a divorce has cost benefits, both emotionally and financially.

Furthermore, using the same lawyer can often speed up the divorce process, helping to minimise the impact on the family during a stressful time. It can also preserve privacy for the couple, considering the ever-increased transparency of legal proceedings before the court.

Should all divorcing couples now use the same lawyer to separate?

Sadly, not all couples are able to reach an agreement together. At Moore Barlow, we will undertake an assessment as to couple’s suitability to embark on the process and will offer options and other processes that may be more suitable. It would not be deemed appropriate in circumstances, for example, where it is apparent that there has been domestic abuse or where one or other party is not willing to commit to the openness and transparency required in the process. In such circumstances, relying on the court powers may be the only option for those parties.

How much does it cost to use the same lawyer when getting divorced?

The below infographic explains the process and connected costs at each stage when getting divorced using the same lawyer. Both individuals will follow an eight-step process with a fixed-fee of £12,000 plus VAT.

See a full details of our costings here

Additional support and expert advice can be added on at additional cost, but we will discuss each potential add-on with you at the relevant time. Often, this extra support is not required and there’s no obligation to use them.

At the initial joint meeting we will discuss how the costs will be funded, and payment would need to be made in advance of each step in the process.

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Introducing Accord

Family law has evolved. Did you know that a couple can use one lawyer to separate and resolve divorce, financial and child arrangements?

Moore Barlow calls this service Accord.

Find out more

Is it quicker for a couple to use the same lawyer when getting divorced?

As the same lawyer is acting for both individuals, it’s often a quicker process than the traditional divorce route. Using the same lawyer when getting divorced or separated could take between 5-6 months.

It is a one-to-eight step process, albeit it can be tailored to each couple and some steps may take longer where the financial circumstances are more complicated or expert evidence is required to assist a couple reach agreement. In your first joint meeting we will set an agenda agreeing a timetable for each step that is realistic and ensures an efficient and timely process is undertaken.

What happens if you no longer agree? Can you get our own separate legal advice?

If at any stage we consider that the process of using the same lawyer is no longer suitable for you as a couple, we will inform you both of that decision and invite you to take independent legal advice.

The financial disclosure provided in the sessions will be information you can rely on in any future proceedings. The discussions that take place with regards to options and outcomes is treated “without prejudice” and cannot go before court other than at a Financial Dispute Resolution hearing unless a binding financial agreement has been achieved.

If a conflict does arise, we can suggest a different pathway for each.

What’s the different between this and mediation?

When a couple uses the same lawyer for their divorce, the lawyer can advise on the disclosure each has provided and on the options for settlement that are appropriate for their circumstances. In mediation the mediator is a neutral third party who manages, guides and facilitates discussion between the parties but the mediator is not able to give advice.

Contact Moore Barlow

If you and your ex-partner are separating, please contact our team of experienced family lawyers who will be talk you through the process and assist you and your partner achieve resolution together.

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