On the 1 April 2013 section 22ZA of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 came into force. This section will give the Court a new power to award interim lump sums for the purpose of funding legal fees in divorce, nullity, judicial separation, dissolution or financial relief proceedings.
So if you are struggling to pay your legal fees and you are not eligible for Legal Aid is this an option?
Unfortunately section 22ZA is very much a last resort for funding. You would need to satisfy the Court that you cannot reasonably afford to pay your legal fees, you cannot reasonably secure a loan to pay your legal fees and you are unlikely to be able to secure the services of a law firm by entering into an agreement with that law firm that they recover their fees at the conclusion of the case. To make this application you need to explore all other available options first. If you have explored all those options and you are now clearly being prejudiced by a lack of funds to pay legal fees in comparison with your spouse/partner then an application under this section may be the way forward.
Please also note, this application needs to be made within existing proceedings so you will need to have started your case off.
Carol Toulson is a specialist divorce solicitor in Holmes & Hills Solicitors’ Family Team. Holmes & Hills offer expert advice on divorce and separation to clients from their offices in Braintree, Halstead, Sudbury, Tiptree and Coggesall.
Holmes & Hills Solicitors