Can one solicitor do a consent order for both sides? Yes if you are absolutely agreed.
This is a question I am so often asked.
Can one solicitor help both sides with a consent order in a divorce? Yes, in some circumstances this is possible.
Yes if you are absolutely agreed.
The Law Society and Solicitors Regulation Authority now recognise that there are situations in which there are benefits for clients in instructing one solicitor to prepare a consent order rather than two.
Costs are generally reduced when only one solicitor is involved. The process of gathering information is generally quicker as well.
I have a service that is specifically designed to help couples who have reached an amicable agreement on the divison of their assets, to submit a consent order to the court.
Special conditions for taking instructions from a couple jointly.
I can only accept instructions to prepare a consent order from a couple jointly when
- you have an absolute agreement;
- you don't need to take any separate advice on the terms agreed; and
- you are happy to send the paperwork to the court yourselves.
Undue influence or duress
I have to be satisfied that neither of you is putting the other under any pressure to agree to the terms of the consent order.
In some circumstances it can be difficult to tell, particularly where communication is mainly via email. One indication may be where one party is receiving significantly more than the other as a share of the assets of the relationship. However this is not always the case.
In situations where there is a significant departure from an equal division of the assets, I will always ask for the reasons why this has been agreed. If appropriate I will let you know any concerns I may have about the likelihood of the order being refused by the court. If I suspect that one of you is under pressure I will not be able to help you any further.