The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act will lead to the introduction of Legal Services Orders (LSOs) which are set to change the nature of short term maintenance payments for divorce and family law cases.
At the moment, during any divorce or civil partnership dissolution, the court can exercise a right to issue a Maintenance Pending Suit (MPS). This essentially means that one party is told to pay a certain amount of maintenance for a short period of time to the other party in order to help them with legal costs. This must be paid until long term arrangements are established through an out of court settlement or a court hearing.
One might wonder why someone should have to support their ex-partners legal costs. It is because courts and judges believe firmly in the idea that both litigants should be given equal access to legal advice. Therefore, it is not considered fair if one party has the means to instruct a divorce lawyer when their opponent cannot gain access to the same legal expertise. As a result an MPS can act as a leveller by ensuring that the partner in the weaker financial position can receive monthly support for legal bills.
LSOs will come in effect at the start of April and will enable family courts to order a lump sum payment from the wealthier party to the worse of party in order to cover legal expenses. LSOs will not only apply to court proceedings, they can be used for disputes being settled by family mediation or collaborative law as well. Our divorce law solicitors believe that the LSOs could be very effective in cases where one partner has vastly more financial resources than another (especially if one partner is unemployed).
In addition, whilst it was previously difficult for courts to demand the sale of assets such as the family home in order to fund legal fees, they will now be able to do so.
Call 01722 422300 to learn about different funding methods for your divorce
If you are undergoing a divorce or civil partnership dissolution you may wish to find out more about how LSOs will affect you. If you choose our expert divorce solicitors we will be able to advise you on the best ways to fund your divorce, so:
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