Controlling The Costs Of Your Divorce

The Family Law Company by Hartnell Chanot has been serving Fire Service personnel and their families for almost 25 years helping them resolve their marital disputes in a non-confrontational way.

Rachel Buckley, Director and Head of the Divorce and Finance team, gives some tips on the real opportunities available for reducing legal costs.

One of the main concerns for those facing a divorce is the legal costs which can spiral out of control. However, we at The Family Law Company believe that there are real opportunities with reducing legal charges by following and using these tips:-

Write out a list of your own assets, liabilities, pension provision, income and outgoings on a monthly basis. Do the same for your spouse as far as is known to you. Provide this to us at the outset of your case.

  1. Write out a list of your own assets, liabilities, pension provision, income and outgoings on a monthly basis. Do the same for your spouse as far as is known to you.  Provide this to us at the outset of your case.
  2. Write, wherever possible, instead of telephoning; the normal charge for considering a letter is less than the charge for a telephone call. Quite often you will find that the person dealing with your case will have to review the file before answering your query, and it is helpful to have the particular question in writing in your own words on the file.  The same charge is made for telephone calls, whether they are made by us or received by us.
  3. If you only want to arrange for an appointment, speak to your Solicitor’s Assistant; such telephone calls are not charged for. Remember any other matters dealt with within such a call will be charged for but at a reduced rate (unless you have the benefit of public funding when the rate charged is the same).
  4. We would encourage you to speak to the Assistants. They are also very experienced and can often help you without the need for you to speak to the person handling your case direct.
  5. Avoid dropping in to see your Solicitor without an appointment; it is far more cost effective to make a proper appointment, which can be prepared for by the Solicitor handling your case.
  6. Be clear about the message you want to leave when you telephone; a few minutes thought about the message you want to convey can save time and money. If the person to whom you wish to speak is unavailable always leave your telephone number and details of your availability for a return call to be made.
  7. Organise your information before you come to the office; often basic items of information can be forgotten. It helps to make a list of names, addresses, telephone numbers and dates of birth of all relevant people.  If your problem concerns finances, try to bring whatever documents, such as bank statements, or a list of savings accounts, as you think might be needed.  It would also be helpful if you were able to find out any information about your finances you think we may need before coming to your meeting.  This will reduce the need to set you “homework” between sessions.
  8. Visit our website at; a lot of information is available on our website which will save you having to telephone to speak to someone and may well answer the question you have.
  9. Respond promptly to any questions or requests for information you receive from us; this will not only assist us in providing a better service, but will mean that you will not be charged for sending unnecessary reminder letters.

What we can do:

  1. You will receive copies of all significant letters.
  2. Telephone calls are to be returned during the course of the same day if at all possible.
  3. Urgent matters are dealt with on the same day. However decisions as to the level of urgency must be left with the Solicitor dealing with your case alongside other urgent work which may be being handled at the same time.
  4. Our letters to clients and other parties are to be written in plain English, which you are able to understand easily.
  5. Appointments are to be given to clients as quickly as possible bearing in mind Court and other commitments.
  6. We will update you by telephone or in writing with progress on your matter regularly and at least every six weeks unless agreed to the contrary.
  7. We will update you on the cost of your matter every six months and review the costs estimate at that time.
  8. We will keep under review and advise you whether the likely outcomes still justify the likely costs and risks associated with your matter whenever there is a material change in circumstances.
  9. We will advise you of any changes in the law that may affect your case.
  10. We will advise you of any circumstances and risks of which we are aware or consider to be reasonably foreseeable that could affect the outcome of your matter.
  11. We will tell you of any delay and the reason for it.
  12. We will explain the effect of any important and relevant papers.
  13. We will tell you about any significant changes in the likely cost of the matter.
  14. We will discuss with you any risks and the likelihood of succeeding with your case. Sometimes the advice we give and our view of what may happen may be hard to accept.  We understand this and are happy to explain our advice thoroughly.  We are all Specialists in the area of Family Law and will have considered very carefully every aspect of your case.

Our Organisation:

As we are fortunate to have a large Family Law Team with a huge amount of experience we are able to operate a pyramid structure.  This is in order that your case can be run by more than one family lawyer with pieces of work being undertaken by the most appropriate family lawyer.  This way the day to day running of your case can be undertaken by a more junior lawyer and the difficult bits being dealt with by a more senior family lawyer.  You will therefore have the benefit of that senior lawyer’s experience but with the cost of your divorce being controlled.

Our Charges:

Rachel Buckley is a Director at The Family Law Company by Hartnell Chanot. Rachel has over 15 years’ experience in advising members of the emergency services and armed forces. The firm offers a 10% discount to those who are members of the service and offers a first appointment entirely free of charge whether over the telephone or at Rachel’s office.

Rachel can advise on:

  • Divorce
  • Finances
  • Fire service pensions on divorce
  • Children
  • Pre-Nuptial Agreements and Separation Agreements
  • Domestic abuse

Contact Rachel on 01392 457 155,,