Intelligent Divorce separates finances from emotion, saves a huge amount of money and allows you to retain your own generated wealth
With the legal fees of even a relatively straightforward divorce costing in the region of £20,000 (or even £40,000 if it ends up in court), it’s no surprise that many unhappy couples are trapped in a dead marriage by their financial situation – either they simply can’t afford to pay the costs or they don’t want to erode their assets in legal fees. www.intelligentdivorce.co.uk is a new alternative that can help couples make the break by providing cost-effective, high quality legal advice about their financial situation - so they can agree a fair split of their assets that reflects what would have happened in court - whilst saving tens of thousands of pounds in legal costs.
The idea, pioneered by two of the UK’s leading family lawyers, will no doubt be a particularly appealing option for the "squeezed middle", who have some assets (such as equity in the home, pensions and ISAs ) but who cannot afford to dissipate 10%-20% of that wealth in legal fees.
In a traditional divorce much of the time charged by a solicitor is spent gathering information about a couple's finances. This task can now be completed by the clients themselves, using the step-by-step guidance on the Intelligent Divorce website. Once the full financial picture is clear, couples using the ‘co-operative’ service will get a legal opinion from an experienced family law barrister as to what a court would view as a ‘fair’ split. The couple can then use this advice, along with the tools on the site, to agree an amicable and legally fair division of their assets. Equally, where one half of a couple uses the service on their own, they can use the barrister's opinion as a cost effective way to settle with their ex-partner, knowing that they are negotiating based on professional knowledge.
The cost for an individual to obtain bespoke legal advice from a barrister about their case (the ‘solo’ service) is fixed at £780 (incl VAT). The co-operative service is fixed at £1,630 (incl. VAT) for a couple, which includes the drafting of a consent order (the legally binding version of the couple's eventual agreement), and help filing their divorce in court* – a huge saving compared to the traditional lawyer-led routes.
According to the site’s founders, James Roberts and Mahie Abey, there are several clear benefits of using this route: “Intelligent Divorce’s service is ‘fixed cost’, unlike using lawyers where legal costs can easily spiral beyond the initial estimate. It is these ‘unknown costs’ that lead many couples to sit tight unhappily whereas the best route for them is to agree an amicable split. The timescales for the process itself can also be reduced dramatically, from around a year if the couple go to court, to just 2 months to complete the process via our site.”
Legal advice is provided by a pool of 40 family law barristers at 1KBW, one of the leading teams of family law barristers in the country.
www.intelligentdivorce.co.uk was launched in September 2011.
*Court costs to issue the actual divorce = £385
Notes to Editors
About Intelligent Divorce
Lawyers James Roberts and Mahie Abey are the founders of www.intelligentdivorce.co.uk
Mahie Abey has been a practising lawyer since 1993 – specialising in matrimonial finance – and came up with the idea for Intelligent Divorce as a result of his work, he says:
‘Couples and individuals quite often go to solicitors as a reflex reaction. Every year I saw couples on good terms who didn’t know that there was an alternative. I wanted to say ‘go away, sort it out yourselves’ and yet I knew that almost without exception divorcing couples need to feel they have gone through the appropriate process. After all, usually couples have had no previous experience of divorce and their only knowledge is second hand from friends and, more often than not, incorrect.
‘Intelligent Divorce separates finances from emotion, saves a huge amount of money and allows you to retain your own generated wealth rather than diminishing the pot. It is also very useful when one party has no idea about the family finances.’
James is a family law barrister practising at 1 King's Bench Walk in London who specialises in matrimonial finance (i.e. splitting finances on divorce). He continues to be recommended in Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500 (the leading professional directories) as one of the best barristers practising in this field at present. He is Treasurer of the Family Law Bar Association and sits as a Recorder (part time Judge).
Abey is a partner and Head of Family Law at Dawson Hart solicitors in East Sussex and specialises in matrimonial finance. He is recommended by Chambers and Partners as one of the leading family solicitors in the South of England. He is a member of Resolution and a trained mediator and collaborative lawyer.
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