The Guardian says divorce could break the bank after legal aid changes next year

An article published in The Guardian on 14th April 2012 states that nearly all family law advice will be removed from legal aid scheme, leaving poorer partners struggling to afford a lawyer.

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The article outlines the case example of “Cathy” who is all too aware of the difficulty in paying for a divorce case after she split from her merchant banker husband Paul (not their real names) five years ago. At the end of a 14-year relationship, she was working two days a week as a nurse and looking after their two daughters, then aged four and two.

It took two years from when she first saw a lawyer to the estranged couple signing a deal. Her lawyer initially advised that her legal costs could be as much as £10,000; they eventually came in at five times that amount.

The government is steering people towards mediation as a more cost effective alternative

While the justice secretary, Ken Clarke, is cutting back the legal aid scheme, he is planning to increase funding for mediation services by two-thirds.

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