From those who have used the service:
"Many thanks to you and the team at ID for helping us through the whole process, because compared to many others that I have talked to, the advice guidance and support from ID has really helped to minimise the stress and cost of the legal process, and I personally really appreciated the calm, reassuring and knowledgeable voice that you provided.
Best wishes for the future, knowing that you will help a lot of other couples reach a less stressful solution.
I will be recommending ID to anyone I meet in a similar situation."
Ms J.D., Birmingham (customer using the co-operative service)
“My thanks to you and your team for providing a clear and comprehensive service from start to finish. The advice on your website and the responsiveness to our questions has been exceptional.
The online tools and step by step process have worked really well for us, with the co-operative service giving clear visibility at every step for both the divorce and the consent order process.
The ability to do everything online and still receive prompt advice was exactly what we hoped for, making it very easy for us to fit around our busy work schedules.”
Ms S.B., Preston (customer using the co-operative service)
"We didn't want to waste our limited money on solicitors to negotiate our divorce yet we wanted to reach a fair and legally considered agreement.
Intelligent Divorce guided us through each step of the process, with professional and friendly help at the end of a phone line whenever needed.
The fixed cost covered the divorce itself as well as the financial settlement and the whole process was very efficient.
We avoided court hearings whilst still getting advice from an expert barrister, and we reached a fair, legally binding agreement.
Divorce is stressful but Intelligent Divorce made the financial and legal side of our divorce as free of stress as possible."
Ms A.B., Totnes (customer using the co-operative service)
"A thoroughly professional and well thought through service.
I was very pleased with the hand-holding it provided."
Mr M.S., London (customer using the co-operative service)
"I feel that it has given me a fair (to both parties) and comprehensive assessment, and a very useful tool to take forward to mediation negotiations.
The website was straightforward and easy to navigate.
My telephone conversations were friendly, reassuring and extremely helpful.
The predetermined fee was in my opinion good value and a good concept.
I would recommend the service to any person seeking advice in similar circumstances."
Mr P. A., Warwickshire (customer using the solo service)
From the press or other sources:
"Intelligent Divorce, based in Uckfield, East Sussex, is another law firm offering fixed prices, with a deal that is, in effect, a halfway house between full lawyer representation and an automated website. Its fee is £719, but it also offers a co-operative service for a couple, fixed at £599 each.
Founder Mahie Abey, who first practised family law in 1993, set up the website before legal aid ended. He says: 'There has been a lot of publicity about legal aid stopping but the reality was that it was difficult to get, and only a handful of firms in our area offered it. We had not done a legal aid case in 15 years. But in 2011, with legal aid still in place, we realised many could not afford solicitors but needed legally sound advice at a manageable price.'
The result was a website which mixes a DIY approach with hand-holding from case managers, who are trained but not necessarily legally qualified. 'We put ourselves in a position where we can advise because we know the family finances. The client does the hard work but we are there to help,' Abey says. But he admits Intelligent Divorce is intended for couples who can still communicate with each other. 'It's not for those who are spitting and hitting, who absolutely hate each other. But most divorces are straightforward. Other than the celebrity-style cases, the really big bills go to those who have taken their marriage break-up as the precursor to all-out war.'
Guardian Money: How to cut the costs of getting divorced (read the full article)
"The 'charge-by-the-hour' regime adopted by many high-street legal firms has come in for criticism given that costs can range from between £100 and £500 an hour plus VAT. 'Charging by the hour is simply not in the customer's best interest,' says Roger Ramsden from Saga Legal Services.
That said, while all of this may make for gloomy reading there are options for those looking to divorce without breaking the bank.
There are now a host of new services available to divorcing couples including Intelligent Divorce which offers a fixed-cost alternative to paying for a solicitor; this service includes legal advice from specialist barristers. The cost is £599 for one person or £499 each for a couple.
'Our service allows couples who are still communicating with each other to take control of their own divorce settlement, avoid the lengthy court process, and save on unnecessary solicitors' fees,' says Mahie Abey, a family lawyer from Intelligent Divorce.
The Independent: Divorce to be yet more expensive as legal aid ends (read the full article)
“There are … a number of online services offering a halfway house, with access to legal advice without paying through the nose. For example, IntelligentDivorce.co.uk charges a fixed fee of £499 plus VAT per person for co-operating couples; it helps with the paperwork and arranges advice from an impartial family law barrister to decide whether ongoing maintenance should be paid and if any pensions should be split. Once both parties are in agreement, this is turned into a legally binding consent order, drafted by solicitors.”
The Independent: You could find trouble in store later on if you end things cheaply with a DIY-divorce (read the full article)
"There is a pioneering new online service out there called Intelligent Divorce and I think it's probably a stroke of genius. Intelligent Divorce is an online service for divorcing couples (or for one half of a divorcing couple) which enables them to access high quality advice from a specialist family barrister at a reasonable price, without paying solicitors rates for the grunt work of gathering information…
The information on the site is well thought through and clearly explained for non-lawyers. There is a very useful Guide which is worth reading even if you don't ultimately use the service. The functionality on the site is excellent – I trialled account creation, inputting my information (don't tell my husband) and testing out how it worked – it was very intuitive and well designed. Stage by stage you input your personal and financial information and circumstances which is collated by Intelligent Divorce before being passed on to the lawyers for advice. You pay a fixed fee, which is clearly explained and in return you get an advice from counsel for what seems like a very competitive rate….
It is a non-confrontational way for both of you to get some good advice for a very reasonable price. I would be very happy to get advice from counsel at 1 KBW for about £800 all in…."
Lucy Reed, Barrister, St John's Chambers on Pinktape.co.uk - well respected legal blogger, winner of the Family Law Readers' Commentary Award 2012 and author of the bestselling Family Courts without a Lawyer (read Lucy's full post)
"It is a good illustration of how to combine on-line services with personal support."
Roger Bamber, Mills and Reeve – Winner, Most Innovative Family Lawyer of the Year, Family Law Awards 2011 – in his lecture at the major family law conference of the year
"You can keep the involvement of lawyers to a minimum by going down the DIY route with a divorce. Intelligent Divorce is one firm that offers this sort of service. Here's how it works: first, you follow the step-by-step guide on the website to get a full financial picture. At this point, you will then receive some advice from an experienced family law barrister to get an idea of what a 'fair' division of assets would be. You can then use that information to come to an agreement on how to settle your assets."
Lovemoney.com (read the full article)
"[T]he site's service provides legal advice and mediation from a team of barristers as part of their service, which gives couples the peace of mind of knowing how a court would view the agreement they've reached. The service doesn't break the bank either at just over £1,600 for a couple….
….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."
London Mums Magazine (read the full article)
"More intelligent way to divorce finally arrives"
Parents Café (read the full article)
"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."
yourwellness.net (read the full article)