Average legal costs of a full Judicial Separation?- Dublin Circuit Court

RayDublin

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Hi,
Im currently going through a court judicial separation, initiated by my wife in recent months (we did try mediation 1st, but my wife wanted to go the legal route).
I have a number of questions, but focusing here specifically on legal costs, as it seems to be hard to get much transparency on the whole process & likely costs;

1- What do people know is around the average cost on each side of a full circuit court separation in Dublin?
2- Is in mostly the norm in Ireland that each side pays their own legal costs?
3- Is there an alternative to using solicitors and barristers, if the other party brings a Circuit Court Judicial Separation on you, or do you have no real choice in this large expense?
4- Legal aid qualification unlikely if over €4k savings or a car, right?
5- What if you don’t have or don’t want to spend circa €20k/€30k of savings on solicitors or barristers?
6- If you don’t have this in savings or assets, how does your legal team actually get paid?
7- Is the legal fee payment normally at the end of the process, unless you change legal team midway?
8- Does the whole process work out much more expensive (how much % approx?) if you switch legal team during the process - post court affidavit filings?
9- Is it more expensive to go through a Judicial Separation in Ireland v the cost in the UK?
10- Is there any real independent scope to debate the extent of the bill and works, if the legal fees are not broken down in a transparent way on the bill?

Please response with the question number answers, if easiest to read in the thread.
Thanks
Ray
 

NoRegretsCoyote

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Anecdote alert.

I know of a very straightforward divorce which cost about €7k in 2012 for one party. No kids or animosity and just an agreed split of the assets.

A counsel (junior) was needed for the hearing which added a fair bit. This wasn't compulsory but was strongly advised.


Payment was a the end. Most solicitors will work out a payment schedule with you if you don't have the cash up front.
 

Susie2017

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A relative used a local solicitor in Maynooth. Cost was less than 5 k. But ex husband agreed to all of the requests for maintenance, signing out of mortgage etc very early in proceedings. They had everything sorted in under 9 months. They didnt do mediation. If you could id imagine it would cost even less.
 

Thirsty

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I'm not sure anyone can answer all your questions with any degree of certainty. You really need to set up a consultation meeting with your solicitor.

One thing I can tell you for certain, the more you involve your legal team in the process, the more you will pay in legal fees.

In regards to Q9 if you are both living / working in Ireland, you have to bring proceedings here.
 

Bronte

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My parents seperated legally, with both signing a binding legal separation document in the one law firm (not allowed now). As it was mutually agreed it was just the cost of drafting the document that cost something. Very cheap actually. If a couple are willing to sit down and talk out the issues there is no reason they both can't write up a legally binding document between them and then get it witnessed by a solicitor.

Paying 30K each is pure madness.

And it's more likely that a separation is better for both parties than a divorce as you can preserve marriage rights and inheritance rights.
 

mf1

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1- What do people know is around the average cost on each side of a full circuit court separation in Dublin?

Between 10 and 25K plus VAT - each party.

2- Is in mostly the norm in Ireland that each side pays their own legal costs?
Broadly, each side pays their own costs

3- Is there an alternative to using solicitors and barristers, if the other party brings a Circuit Court Judicial Separation on you, or do you have no real
choice in this large expense?

DIY- but generally not recommended- at least by the lawyers.

4- Legal aid qualification unlikely if over €4k savings or a car, right?
Check with Legal Aid.

5- What if you don’t have or don’t want to spend circa €20k/€30k of savings on solicitors or barristers?
DIY- but generally not recommended- at least by the lawyers.

6- If you don’t have this in savings or assets, how does your legal team actually get paid?

They won't take you on- why would they do the work if there is no prospect of being paid?


7- Is the legal fee payment normally at the end of the process, unless you change legal team midway?

Usually- especially if there is a property to be sold that will release funds.

8- Does the whole process work out much more expensive (how much % approx?) if you switch legal team during the process - post court affidavit filings?

100% plus switching solicitors is very often a bad sign- as in, client refuses to take advices


9- Is it more expensive to go through a Judicial Separation in Ireland v the cost in the UK?

No idea- this is an Irish site.


10- Is there any real independent scope to debate the extent of the bill and works, if the legal fees are not broken down in a transparent way on the bill?

Yes- DIY- but generally not recommended- at least by the lawyers.
Please response with the question number answers, if easiest to read in the thread.
 
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Northie

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Bronte I agree paying 30K each is pure madness but unfortunately in some cases, my own included, its the cost of trying to draw a line under a relationship.

In an ideal world, if only we all lived in one of those, both sides can sit down and reason out a sensible agreement. I think it takes a certain maturity on both sides to realise that no one wins and the aim is to come up with the best compromise that will allow both sides to move on and where kids are involved allows the best possible relationship moving forward.

OP - having very recently come out the other side of judicial separation proceedings I would highly recommend that you do what you can to return to mediation. If there is no compromise and a court hearing is what it ends up taking, you (and your wife) have no real control on what solution will be presented to you. In essence what the court does is put all available assets in a pile and divides it to provide for both parties. I believe if both of you can see it from that point of view you might find mediation more beneficial.

In relation to your questions:

1- This is really dependent on how engaged both sides are, ie how much chasing your solicitor has to do to get the other side to respond or vice versa. It also depends on how many days of hearings you end up with - this is where it really adds up. Your solicitor should have given your an estimate of costs and an hourly rate. In my case from the date I engaged the solicitor to final payment it was 2 years and 3 full days in court. I am assuming my ex had similar legal costs to me and were in the region of 25k each.

2- Yes each side pays their own

3- While you hear about people taking on separation themselves, after my experience I would recommend not going that route. I'm quite organised and semi experienced with law\legislation but its incredible emotive and stressful and you want someone who will treat it as a job.

5- I certainly didn't have the assets but at the end of the day it was worth it to have a judgement that we both have to abide by.

6- If you engage a legal team its your responsibility to pay them and they have to be paid.

7- In my case there was an initial payment up front, staged payment through the process for work done, staged payment ahead of court and final payment after the hearing.

Again I would repeat my advice to look at mediation again, I would also strongly suggest finding someone who knows you and can provide a calm and reasoned sounding board. It can be easy to be caught up in the emotion of it all and what you "want" or "deserve". Its important to try and step back from that and look at what a practical solution might be. However I appreciate its particularly hard if you are doing this but the other side isn't.
 

Thirsty

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"legal separation document "

Would not recommend a separation agreement; it has little real legal value. Far better to get a JS/ Divorce.
 

Bronte

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"legal separation document "

Would not recommend a separation agreement; it has little real legal value. Far better to get a JS/ Divorce.
No idea what you mean here. It's a legally signed document. It set out who would get what and who would pay what. Mutually agreed. Both my parents knew that they were not going to waste money going to court.

The only real reason to get a divorce is if you want to remarry.

Paying family assets of 60 K is plain stupid if you can avoid it.

What the OP should do is write down what he is willing to agree to. He can use on here as a sounding board as to whether he's being reasonable. And bet anything following the advice on here is what he'll end up with in a court ordered JC.

OP ought to try and figure out why his wife decided to go the JS route, what actions of his led to this path. And I say that with zero accusations.
 

RayDublin

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Thanks, so far. It has been very insightful to date.
Unfortunately, 2 kids involved in our case and complex, due to lots of the overall family wealth in the family home.
I personally would really rather avoid a full court hearing, as it does appear it is likely to be about around €30k costs each side- which is totally mad.
-Is it a fair estimate to say that in an average judicial separation, total assets are approximately split 50:50?..
The complexity here arises when 1 party wishes to keep the family home where most of the wealth is, but has no money to buy the other out. ie. my wife. It is a lot harder to strike a deal that stacks up easily for both parties.
I am considering now just conceding the family home for the sake of the kids to my wife before a fully court battle, erodes a chunk of our overall monies. With the asset mix this would be at least 60% my wife: 40% remaining for my if keep my pension etc.
However, it then still leaves unsolved issues such as cost of rent elsewhere... a family home too large for 1 adult.... paying the ballooning legal bills if the house is not sold to cover it all. Mine are already surprisingly sizable already, €15k legal fees (documents filed & 2 half days in court so far).
 

Thirsty

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"..set out who would get what and who would pay what. Mutually agreed"

Not to comment on personal circumstances, but if one party decides to act the maggot, the 'agreement' is worthless & the other party would have to go to court to get the relevant legal remedy. So, in my view, you might as well get the JS in the first place and have the orders in place. Getting a JS doesn't have to be adversarial.
 

RayDublin

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Hi,
Thanks for some of the responses.

-Just on the Mf1: “Q6- Solicitor wont take you on if they there is no prospect of getting paid”.

A-There is no credit check, so they are taking a bit of a gamble surely on the Court outcome?..
I don’t have enough cash to pay the legal bill. The only asset with lots of money is the family home (which my wife and I also, hope she retains). My wife brought the legal action because I was looking a part money buy-out to leave her the family home – its our big/main asset.
Ironically and sadly, the legal bills may end up resulting in the sale of the home, as I cant see any other way the solicitors are going to all get paid. Does this not mean that both legal sides will ultimately be looking for a deal that is not aligned with either clients desires, as they basically want to get paid? Misalignment of everyone interests..

I have suggested a deal with my wife asap to avoid this, but it takes a lot of time and the bills are mounting… She has no cash for legal bills either and we have other complexities we don’t agree on, alternative accommodation cost for me/ living logistics etc.

-Lack of overall legal process transparency and fee transparency:
Ive been unfortunately unhappy so far on legal fees, works done and level of non-transparency.
There have been a number of instances already involving misscommunication between my solicitor and barrister, lack of commitment to expressing an actual legal view (sitting on fence), large delays and lack of detail on fees breakdown.

Q)- It is not at all clear what the alternative is to racking up a large legal bill, that I am challenged to pay at best?
I cant change solicitors, as you say, because it crystallises the bill and will be even more expensive to switch.
DIY JS- seems to be not much detail out there on how achievable this is or advisable?...
Any experiences ?...
Legal aid- you need I believe to have less than €5k assets or savings to get it.

Surely there is an alternative to racking up a big bill, but also get legally separated?
(I cant imagine Im alone out there in not wanting to not liquidate the family home, just to get a legal JS agreement signed?)

-If Im not happy with the level of legal service Im receiving, how easy is it to get this independently assessed (by someone who is also not in the legal money ring)? I cant complain to my solicitor about it, as they may quit the job and then the bill needs paid. I heard of this if you query their works, there is a bit of a threat to quit, or "find someone else", practice.

- There seems to be no forum out there to review and rate legal practices? They do vary in quality..
There is a review site for most other things these days..
 

Bronte

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So you're both going to have no home in order to pay the legal bills because you wanted your wife to pay you money, which she presumably doesn't have, out of the notional equity in the family home.

If you left her in the home and did nothing legally would you both now be better off.

Of course a judge might rule she stays in the home and you both pay the legal bills each out of your current incomes. Which is highly likely as a) there are children and b) she is female.

Personally I'd prefer the 60 K and rising in my own pocket.

By the way where did you think your wife would get the amount of equity you want?
 

MangoJoe

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Shocked that 30k each is not uncommon in terms of spending when couples are separating.

For either of the parties involved 60k invested in their new house and life would be a handsome start......
 

Thirsty

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"...course a judge might rule she stays in the home and you both pay the legal bills each out of your current incomes. Which is highly likely as a) there are children and b) she is female."

Without all the facts its hard to say what is 'likely'.

The overriding concern is that children are properly provided for.

The gender of the primary carer does not impact on the decisions judges have to make.

But one way or the other decisions and choices have to be made.
 
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