How to pay legal fees when you separate if you were cohabiting

Money Advice Service

If you separate and you’re not married or in a civil partnership you don’t have to go through a formal legal process. But if you decide to take your partner to court for a share of the home you’ve lived in or because you can’t agree how to divide joint assets or possessions, you will have to pay legal and other fees. If you can’t pay them from your savings or income, you may have to look at other options.

Paying your solicitor’s fees

Before you think about making a claim against your ex-partner, work out how you would pay for any legal advice. If you can’t afford it from your savings or income, you should think carefully about whether court action is the best option. In some cases, the cost of taking action may be even more than any financial benefit to you.

If you don’t have savings or income, there are several ways you can borrow money. But think carefully before you borrow and don’t take out a high-cost loan. This could be hard to repay, especially as many people face extra costs when they first separate.

Find out more in our guide Can you afford to borrow money?

Borrowing from family or friends

You may be able to borrow from family or friends and it may be cheaper and much easier than borrowing from a bank, building society or other loan provider. You need to be sure you can pay the money back. If you can’t, it could harm the friendship or family relationship.

Read Should you borrow from family or friends?

0% interest credit card

A credit card that charges 0% interest on purchases means you pay no interest on your spending for a limited time – typically three to 12 months.

The longer the 0% interest deal runs for, the longer you have to pay off the money you’ve spent on your card without being charged interest.

You will normally only qualify for these cards if you have a very good credit rating. You should only borrow what you need and you should try to pay off what you’ve borrowed as quickly as you can.

Read Choosing and applying for a credit card.

Personal loan

You may be able to take out a personal loan from a bank, building society or other loan provider. The amount you may be able to borrow and the interest rate will depend on your own circumstances and the lender you apply to.

The interest rate and monthly payments will be fixed and the loan will run for a set term. However, you can normally make extra payments to pay off your loan more quickly without incurring large early repayment charges.

Read more in Personal loans.

Credit unions

As an alternative to a bank or loan provider, you may be able to borrow from a credit union – a community saving and loans provider owned and run by its members.

The interest they can charge is limited by law, so it will be much cheaper than other short-term loans, such as a doorstep or payday lender.

Read more in Borrowing from a credit union.

Other funding options

Check your home insurance policy, which may include cover for legal expenses.

If you belong to a trade union, it may provide support for legal fees.

If you have children and are going to court over them, you may be able to apply to the court to get your ex-partner to contribute to your fees.

Your next step

How to protect your finances during separation

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.

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Some important information about Rest Less Money

We want you to understand the positives, but also the limitations of using our site. We operate in a journalistic manner and therefore all information, guidance or suggestions provided are intended to be general in nature, and you should not rely on any of the information on the site in connection with the making of any financial decision.

When we set out to build Rest Less Money, we wanted to be a trusted place where you could find helpful information about financial matters affecting the over 50s. As a free to use resource, we try hard to provide the best information we can, but we cannot guarantee that we won’t occasionally make mistakes. So please note that you use the information on our site at your own risk, and we can’t accept liability if things go wrong.

Key things to remember when using Rest Less Money:

We do not offer financial advice – As a journalistic site, it’s important to know that we do not provide financial advice. You should always do your own research before choosing any financial product so that you can be certain it is right for you and your specific circumstances. If you are in any doubt, please seek professional financial advice from a regulated financial advisor.

No Liability – please note that you use the information on Rest Less Money at your own risk and we can’t accept liability for how you choose to use the information given on our site. We will often provide links to content or products and services available on other third-party websites. These are provided purely for your convenience and we cannot be held responsible for any content, or any of the products and services offered on any website that we link to.

 

Accuracy of Information – We try to make sure that all the information provided on Rest Less Money is correct at the time of publishing as we want it to be the most helpful resource possible. Sadly, we are not perfect however, and so we can make no guarantees as to the completeness, accuracy, adequacy or suitability of the information available on the site.
Whilst we work hard to try and provide accurate information, deals and prices can change, so whilst they may be correct at the time of writing, providers may subsequently decide to alter them later – so always double check first.

A final note on the Rest Less Community Forums – always remember that anyone can post their opinion on the Rest Less Community Forums, so it can be very different from our own opinion and may not be factual or well researched. Always be wary of any content posted on the forums and be sure to do your own research and due diligence on anything suggested. 

We hope you find Rest Less Money a useful resource and we would welcome your feedback at [email protected] on how to make it even better. For more information on any of the above you can read our full terms and conditions.

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