Our specialist family lawyers understand that divorce can be a very difficult time, emotionally and financially, for everyone involved. With that in mind our specialist military divorce solicitors have come up with some straightforward tips which can help keep your legal costs to a minimum.
Be prepared for your initial meeting
In order to save time incurred by your solicitor in obtaining basic information from you, it would be helpful for you to prepare a written note of the circumstances leading up to your situation. Be sure to include:
- Your full name and address
- Contact details
- Your date of birth
- Your spouse’s full name
- Details of any children, name, date of birth etc
- An estimated breakdown of your family’s finances – this should include information about any property owned, together with its value and outstanding mortgage or other charges against the property, details of pensions, savings and any other investments such as shares or endowment policies. Be sure to list any other debts which you might have too.
Make sure you provide your solicitor with your original Marriage Certificate, or if you do not have this, the local Registry Office can provide you with a certified copy.
This is a substantial Court form in which you provide details of the finances of your family. It will save your solicitor’s time, and therefore costs, if you attempt to complete as much of the form as possible yourself and provide documentation to support the information you insert. You should be careful to follow the notes, which set out which documents you should provide.
Obtain a pension valuation
As a member of Her Majesty’s Forces, one of your largest assets is likely to be your military pension. Along with other financial assets, your pension will be included as a family asset which will be available for division between you and your spouse. You will need to get a current valuation from AFPAA. You can write a short letter direct to them, together with a Form P to be completed by them, to save costs. Their address is:
Veterans UK Pension Division
65 Brown Street
Acquire documents yourself
It is vital to obtain documentation supporting your financial position. It will therefore be beneficial if you obtain the following:
- Valuation of your family home – estate agents will often provide you with a free market valuation and we therefore recommend obtaining 3 valuations from local agents.
- Early redemption statement for your mortgage
- Three of your latest payslips
- One year’s worth of bank or building society statements
- Your P60 and last three wage slips
- Proof of any outstanding loans or other debts – in particular credit card bills and agreements for loans or other finance, together with redemption statements for any such agreements.
- Documentation relating to any other assets, such as life insurance policies or share certificates etc.
- an estimate of how much income you require currently and will need in the future
Reply quickly to letters and requests
Keep down the charges your solicitor will make for each telephone call or letter out by responding promptly and in full to any letter or request for information.
Failing to provide your solicitor with important information within deadlines can lead to you having to pay some of the legal costs of your ex!
Enquire with your solicitor what else you can do yourself
Don’t overwhelm your lawyer with phone calls
Whilst any responsible family lawyer will always be happy to answer your questions, and it’s important for you to understand what’s going on, do bear in mind that your lawyer will be charging on the basis of how much time they spend with you. So every time you call, you are adding to your legal bill.
Do ask relevant questions but think twice before calling if you want to keep your costs down.
Consider Family Mediation of Collaborative Law
Although these are quite different methods and each requires a separate qualification, both have the aim to achieve a settled resolution to the family separation whilst avoiding the expense of going to Court.
Both methods often result in faster, more cost effective solutions.
Our team includes a jointly qualified family mediator/lawyer, and, here at Bonallack and Bishop, we are big fans of mediation – but only if the client suit it.
For specialist advice on Military Pensions and Divorce – contact us now
Whether you’re still serving in the Army, Royal Navy or Royal Air Force and whether you are based at home or abroad, or whether you’ve since retired from the Armed Forces, we can help.
- Call us now locally on  422300 or FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 for FREE initial phone advice
- OR e-mail us using the contact form below