Welcome to Intelligent Divorce

The Money and Divorce blog is brought to you by Intelligent Divorce, the new way to get fixed-fee specialist legal advice on splitting your money when you divorce.

Our blog provides illustrated practical guides for those going through the divorce process, plus news on divorce, money and family breakdown.

"I would like to let you know that I found your website so invaluable in my divorce process. I am having to represent myself due to lack of finances and I know for a fact I wouldn't have been able to do it had it not been for your fantastic website. I would recommend it to anyone who find themselves in a similar situation to me." Madeleine

24 April 2012

Divorce legal aid cuts and access to good quality advice

The proposed cuts to legal aid for family law mean that less than 1 in 6 of the number of cases currently receiving legal aid would be eligible under the new eligibility criteria.

In an article on the BBC website today, Citizens Advice estimate that the approximate 250,000 divorce and family breakdown cases that currently get legal aid would  reduce to about 40,000 cases if the proposed changes were given the go-ahead by MPs.

That the proposed changes will go ahead now seems likely, with Ken Clarke, the Minister for Justice, announcing on Tuesday:

"We have moved in key areas beyond where we were and we have to insist that is where we will end," he said.
"There comes a point where we will forget what the object of this is. We do want more of these cases not to be conducted by lawyers financed by the taxpayer engaging in adversarial litigation about where children are going to live, what maintenance should be paid by one party or the other, or what share of the matrimonial home is going to be owned by one party or the other."
There is of course an enormous worry that people who are unable to pay for solicitors privately will suffer. As the legal ombudsman, Adam Sampson, says people may end up paying for poor quality services:
"Inevitably if we see smaller role for legal aid funded work there will be pressure in the market for that gulf to be filled," he said.
"We are already seeing the growth of divorce websites and low-cost, high volume products and that will accelerate. That may make law much more affordable but it carries huge risk with it as well."
The fear of people being stuck with poor quality advice and service is one of the main reasons we set up Intelligent Divorce. We are not staffed by administration assistants or legal executives. Our legal team is headed by a specialist barrister (currently the Treasurer of the Family Law Bar Association), and one of the South’s top ranked family solicitors. All the legal opinions are provided by expert family barristers at 1 King’s Bench Walk, one of the country’s top chambers. Consent orders are drafted by experienced family solicitors - not paralegals or legal executives.
We want to help you divorce intelligently - in an affordable way that not only does not compromise on quality but in fact provides you with legal advice of a calibre you’d be unlikely to be able to afford in a traditional solicitor-led divorce.