Public funding ('legal aid') for people wanting to get a divorce has not been available since April 2013. The Law Society is the professional body that represents solicitors in England and Wales. In November 2017 the Law Society published some research showing that there is a clear statistical link between obtaining early legal advice in a divorce matter and resolving it sooner.
According to the Law Society:
'The research shows that, on average, 1 in 4 people who receive early professional legal advice had resolved their problem within 3-4 months. For those who did not receive early legal advice, it was not until 9 months after the issue had first occurred that 1 in 4 had resolved their issue.
This analysis has found that, between an issue arising and the problem being resolved, people who did not receive early advice were 20% less likely than average to have had their issue resolved.'
As a result of this research, the Law Society is calling on the Government to reinstate legal aid for divorce cases arguing that it is a false economy not to do so.
Another interesting piece of research by Scottish Widows reveals that some seven in ten couples do not take account of or consider pensions during divorce proceedings. This can leave women, in particular, struggling in later life in relation to pension provision.
A fascinating insight is that the research shows that more married people are worried about losing a pet during a divorce settlement that sharing a pension! A touching sentiment, perhaps - but not very practical when retirement age is reached and Fido has no doubt long since gone.
It is fair to say that it is unlikely the Government will reinstate legal aid for divorce any time soon. However, these two pieces of research demonstrate that early legal advice can help decrease the time that the process takes and may also substantially increase the settlement that a divorcing spouse receives if pension provision is taken into account.
Link to the Law Society's research.
To discuss this or any other divorce related matter, contact us.