The use of large up-front fees and disproportionate deposits has already resulted in significant cost consequences for one care provider.
Judges are well aware of this and it has long been possible to apply to the court for interim maintenance against your other half which includes an element of support in paying your legal fees. More recently you can apply for a Legal Services Order – a payment towards your legal costs. Both of these options require some level of spending before you get off the starting blocks.
So what are the alternatives? There are the usual range of financial institutions offering unsecured lending - but at a price. Putting it on your credit card is an option, but an expensive one which can get out of control. Family and friends may kindly offer. This can cause an awkward dynamic and the court might treat this as a ’soft’ loan and not taking it into account as a liability that you must repay. In a very few cases solicitors are willing to wait until the end of the case to be paid, known as a Sears Tooth agreement, but in today’s tough economy these are few and far between and provide no security for certainty of repayment.
To the rescue a new product is now on the market; the "litigation loan” has arrived. At surprisingly reasonable rates of interest, and secured only on the anticipated successful outcome of your case, these provide a real option for the asset rich but income poor spouse. Most people have an expectation of a fair share of their house at the end of the case so it is available to a wide range of people who are prepared for this loan to be secured on their eventual share of the litigation proceeds. With advances made to your solicitors in tranches as your case proceeds but only with your authority so that you can keep abreast and in control of the costs being incurred this keeps both you and your lawyer happy, you knowing you are being properly represented and your lawyer knowing they will be paid for their work as they proceed on your behalf.
Elizabeth Wyatt is a partner and divorce, family and matrimonial law specialist at Anthony Collins Solicitors.
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