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Crowdfunding your divorce

Crowdfunding your divorce – good or bad idea? 

Online crowdfunding has exploded since it’s humble beginnings back in 1997 when the British rock-band Marillion used the then fledgeling internet to raise $60,000 so they could tour the US.

Today, crowdfunding has been behind some of the most successful and some of the most bizarre ideas (over £30,000 was raised in 2014 to crowdfund a potato salad), but can people use it to fund a divorce? 

Well, actually, yes. Some online platforms ( US site Plumfund for example) have had a dedicated divorce category for several years. Whilst a glance at the website revealed a lady seeking to raise  £300 to give to her ex-husband so he could divorce her. 

However, it is worth noting that the crowdfunding public’s uptake to pay for someone’s divorce lawyer looks pretty minimal. 

Alternative ways to fund your divorce 

To understand the issues people face paying for legal representation, we must go back to 2013 and the cut in Legal Aid funding for the majority of family law cases.  This dramatic reduction meant that for most people, their only option is to fund their case privately. 

As a result, some people have had to either represent themselves, which is fraught with difficulties as people try to navigate complex family law or look at new ways to pay for a family lawyer. 

I have worked with several clients where family and friends have stepped in to lend a helping hand, and you can get a short term loan or credit card to cover the costs. 

When the case involves a financial settlement, another option is to take out a litigation loan which would ultimately be repaid from the final settlement awarded.  However, if you are facing a legal battle over your children, a litigation loan is not an option as there is no settlement pot at the end to repay the loan.

As the financial pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic continue and enquiries for divorce climb (in January at Stowe, we reported a year-on-year enquiry increase of 54%) will we start to see more people looking at creative ways to fund their legal fees?

The pitfalls of crowdfunding your divorce 

Apart from the lack of success of previous crowdfunding a divorce campaigns, there are other serious considerations that should be paid before looking at this option. 

To start, it will require a great deal of time and energy to create and manage the campaign when your focus probably belongs elsewhere. Dealing with a divorce or relationship breakdown is already a very emotionally demanding process without adding this to your plate. 

Successful crowdfunding requires social media engagement and putting information into the public domain, which could have serious consequences on your case.  For example, your ex-partner may not be too happy about details being shared, and it could create additional conflict. 

It also has worrying implications if a case was to go to court, particularly cases involving children. Understandably, child law cases are strictly private. The names of the parties involved and specifics about what is happening in the proceedings cannot be disclosed to the public unless it is with the court’s permission.

If this information was shared on a crowdfunding site, and the parties involved became identifiable, this could be considered a contempt of court. The consequences of which can be imprisonment or a fine. 

Considering these implications, any decisions to use crowdfunding needs to be thought through and discussed with a lawyer first.

The right legal representation 

Family law is very complex, and the decisions made can have far-reaching effects on you and your family futures. Getting the right legal representation can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case.

Below are some useful resources on funding options and tips on managing the costs of your divorce. 

Get in touch 

For further information on funding your divorce contact our Client Care Team to speak to one of our specialist family lawyers.

Gabrielle is a Senior Associater in our Altrincham family solicitors office . She advises clients on all elements of a relationship breakdown including financial settlements and making arrangements for children.

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