The divorce itself, and dividing the finances upon divorce, are separate processes, albeit that they run in parallel. In the event that a divorce is undefended and there is no jurisdiction dispute at the outset (regarding where the divorce should take place), the divorce process generally incurs minimal costs, since in those circumstances it is a simple three stage procedure, dealt with on paper. The significant costs arise when sorting out the finances upon divorce.
If one spouse has all of the marital funds held in their name, or under their control, there are a number of options available to enable the other party to a divorce to fund their legal fees. In the first instance you can ask your spouse to meet them. If they will not do so, you may be able to secure private personal lending, for example from a friend or relative (drawing up a loan agreement to record the arrangement), or private funding from a bank. However, repayment on a monthly basis, likely to be required in the latter scenario, may not be affordable. The other option, therefore, is to secure specialist litigation funding.
Litigation funders will lend money to cover your legal fees based on the level of assets involved in your case, and depending upon the nature of those assets. Vardags can assist in preparing the loan application to the funders on your behalf, setting out the asset base and putting your case forward. Provided that the application is successful, the litigation loan is drawn down in tranches, and is only repaid at the conclusion of your matter from your settlement (rather than on a monthly basis as your case progresses). Before you enter into a loan agreement with a litigation lender, it is a pre-requisite that you obtain independent legal advice on the terms of the loan, which will be set out in relevant loan documentation.
In the event that you are unable to secure litigation funding (i.e. if the lenders are unwilling to lend based on the assets involved) then you can apply to the court seeking an order that your spouse meet your legal fees. This is known as an LSPO order (a legal services provision order). You must, however, be able to show that you have exhausted the options above first.
Vardags know various established litigation lenders, who have different criteria for lending. In the event that a party to a divorce wishes to pursue litigation funding in order to meet their legal fees, Vardags can set out the various options available from the funding market (including interest rates and terms), and can assist in preparing the application form on your behalf. Vardags also has extensive experience with applications for legal services provision orders, and can advise on the best way in which to put your case before the court.
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The information on this website is intended as a guide and does not constitute legal advice. Vardags do not accept liability for any errors in the information on this website, nor any losses stemming from reliance upon the statements made herein. All articles and pages aim to reflect the legal position at time they were published, and may have been rendered obsolete by subsequent developments in the law. Should you require specialist advice, tailored to your situation, please see how Vardags can help you.