Funding of family law fees
FeeSynergy is regularly asked by legal firms if our fee finance facility can be used for family law fees. The simple answer is no; FeeSynergy only provides commercial finance – the financing of family law fees is a specialist area of finance that falls into the realm of consumer finance and is therefore subject to the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009.
The leader in this specialised area of finance is ASX listed financier Plenti Limited. Plenti is well-known in legal circles as a responsible lender providing affordable finance to clients to pay divorce related legal fees. We asked Plenti’s Head of Legal Finance, Leigh McBean about the service they provide.
A common problem
“How will I pay for my divorce” is a common question asked of many accountants, lawyers and financial planners. Husbands and wives regularly turn to their trusted advisors for guidance and support during this time, yet unfortunately the options given are rarely suitable.
People can’t easily borrow from friends or family; very few lawyers are happy to be paid later; the bank is unlikely to advance any credit, particularly to a stay-at-home parent with no income, or to those already with considerable borrowings, and certainly not if the former partner does not consent; and using credit cards is not ideal with high costs and regular repayments required.
These matters are all made worse if the person’s former spouse has access to funds through income or family, yet the other party does not, leaving them at a considerable disadvantage. How do they pay their way?
And what help can you provide clients when they ask you for your advice on what to do?
There is an alternative
Plenti Legal Finance exists to solve this very problem. They provide regulated consumer loans specifically to people in family law proceedings. The loans are lines of credit that clients draw down upon over time to meet the ongoing costs of legal fees, barrister’s invoices, valuers, accountancy fees, and any other costs connected to the family law proceedings.
All interest, fees and charges are capitalised and repaid at the very end of the matter, with no repayments required until the end as well. This provides the perfect relief to those without income, and also to those with income but who wish to ease the financial pressure.
How does it work
Clients apply to Plenti via an online application form. Plenti then engages with the client’s lawyer to determine whether the loan would be suitable for that client. There is no commitment from the law firm, and the client obtains the benefits of all the consumer credit protections under the NCCPA.
Total cost to the client is approximately 11% p.a. and the loan is repaid at the same time the client comes into money via their property settlement. The loans are usually secured via a caveat over property.
If you would like to let your clients know this service exists, simply give them the Plenti Legal Finance website, and your clients can then apply directly from the website. Plenti also has a ‘Guide for Borrowers’ brochure which can be found on the website or you can obtain a copy by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org