Have you separated and are unsure about what to do next? Do you simply not have the funds readily accessible to pay for a family lawyer? Would you like to know about the different options that may be available to you? If you answered yes to any of the above, then this post is for you!
At Martens Legal we recommend that separated couples seek legal advice and formalise their family law matters as soon as possible. Why? Because waiting can in many cases increase the cost, time and complexity of a matter.
Interim Property Settlement
If there are assets such as cash in the bank that are available to divide relatively easily, then the separated couple can negotiate an agreement to use part of those assets to meet each of their legal fees. This is the most common scenario we see in our family law matters.
We can offer our clients the option to pay our fees via credit card. This option may suit people who can obtain a credit card with an interest free period and who are confident that their matter will be resolved within that time. Then they can simply repay the balance off over time or repay the full amount in a lump sum payment once their property settlement is complete. There is a one-off small credit card processing fee payable with this option.
For those who are opposed to using credit cards, at Martens Legal we can also offer our clients the option to pay our fees via a direct debit instalment arrangement over an agreed period of time, rather than the whole amount upfront. No interest or ongoing fees are charged except for a one of $30 fee to set up the direct debit arrangement.
Pay At The End
Another option that may be possible is for our legal fees to be paid at the end of a matter. This is usually the case when parties are cash poor but asset rich. For example, no cash is available but they have equity tied up in property or other investments. Commonly, those properties and investments will be transferred or sold as part of the property settlement, which means there may be a balance of cash to be divided between the parties upon the transfer or sale.
Sometimes one party will have complete control over the relationship finances and assets. This may mean that the other party is at a disadvantage and has no funds to engage a family lawyer. In this situation, the disadvantaged party should seek urgent legal advice as to their options, which may include spousal maintenance.
Sometimes parties have little to no assets or income, and in this case, they may be able to seek free legal assistance from organisations like Legal Aid Queensland. Parties must make an application to Legal Aid and meet certain requirements. Legal Aid will usually only assist parties in relation to parenting matters, not property.
There may be many options available to you in order to engage a family lawyer to help with your separation. It will depend on your individual situation as to which option will be the most suitable.