Has anyone used Wikivorce? Has anyone used Brethertons? I have! Review Consent Order

(34 Posts)
Screenwipe Thu 04-Apr-13 12:26:54

I have lifted the sections regarding Wikivorce from my other thread which logs the stages of my divorce. This thread will log how long it takes Bretherton's (the solicitors Wikivorce put you on to) to do the work. All I have asked them to do is a consent order. There are no negotiations, my as-of-today-ex-husband and I,have already agreed everything. So they only need to put our wishes forward.

Confusedmotheroftwo Mon 09-Jun-14 22:16:25

Thanks you for your feedback, it is very helpful. Can anybody recommend a good, efficient and through solicitor that isn't too expensive either.

Also, I have another question, if my husband and I agreed to a divorce, can this go ahead straight away even thought we haven't agreed in child access and splitting finances.

Sorry it's like a mine field and I just don't know where to start with it all.

I don't know much about the law and the research I have done seems to confuse me even further.

I just want to know the the best way to go about things.

tna14 Sun 08-Jun-14 21:55:42

I would not recommend Bretherton's either. Did not go through Wikidivorce, but through a mediator who recommended them. total nightmare, we agreed all our arrangements 18 months ago, still trying to get the consent order right. They make so many errors - it's only me that picks them up - like getting financial details wrong, getting our agreement wrong when it's all set out in writing - and then they charge for making the corrections! take absolutely ages to do things that should take half an hour to sort out, so frustrating, such an awful service

Screenwipe Tue 27-May-14 12:05:15

A DIY divorce is easier if both sides can be trusted. If I was in your situation I would NOT use Bretherton's. It will cost you a lot more than it did me to use a local solicitor as I used Bretherton's, but at least you will be able to talk to someone face to face. Phone around some solicitors in your area, a lot do a free half hour session. It should give you a chance to ask a few questions. Good luck!

Confusedmotheroftwo Sun 25-May-14 19:11:50

I am now so confused and terrified about the whole process. My husband and I have been separated for over two years and I can't get him to sign my share of the former marital home to me. I have resorted now to divorce as the only way to force the sale the house (which he has rented out to tenant and keeps all the proceeds for himself).

What makes me most nervous is the feedback on brethertons. I was seriously considering using them but now not so sure. Particularly because they are not quick to respond. The last thing I need is added stress in dealing with a break up. Is the process any easier using a high street solicitor? Is a DIY divorce easier and shall I get a consent order through a solicitor?

Any help and advice would be most helpful in getting through this nightmare.

peedoff2012 Thu 27-Feb-14 08:16:55

Again I would like to emphasise everyone else's views NOT to use Wikivorce!!

They are a complete shambles.

Brethertons are just as bad. I have had nothing but stress and issues through using them. The staff are very rude, make you feel like you are an inconvenience and also very judgmental.

Like the saying goes, you pay peanuts you get monkeys!!

Suzisweet Mon 27-Jan-14 13:03:22

use this company at your peril! My partner started divorce proceedings last year with these as they already had a legal separation this really should have been easy money for them, paperwork was completed and returned money's paid immediately on request, petition sent to the ex wife which she signed immediately and returned then nothing!!!!!!!!! For weeks !!! So we email again and again and again no replys then yay a replyshock with an attachment of a letter that should have been sent to my partner on the 6/12/13 so he rings them explaining that this letter is seven weeks late and has now delayed his petition and request for directions for trial going to court, he explains very politely that this is unacceptable as we have paid over £4,000 to get married in santorini in May 2014 remembering when we started this process it was nine months from the wedding so plenty of time as the divorce was not going to be contested and a legal separation already laid everything out clearly, he is reassured by the solicitor he spoke to there is no need to worry as the delay was their fault they would push everything through hmm, here was should all laugh out loud !! So he signs said statement to support his petition and sends it registered delivery just in case! To this we receive another email informing us that everything has been sent to court and we await to here from the court however this is unlikely to be for 8 weeks or longer obviously backlog of cases in Rugby if I it takes eight weeks to get a petition looked at or a lot of crime that the courts are dealing with,shock we have rung them again and explained that we simply cannot wait this period of time as to get married in Greece all your paperwork has to be translated and registered with the Greek consulate and then sent on to the wedding venue prior to departure therefore I have one useless wedding dress that cannot be worn in this country my wedding has been ruined and I have lost £4,000 in the process due to the incompetence of this firm, sad i add as a footnote that my divorce was contested by my ex and took less time that this . We wrongly assumed that as my partner had a legal separation this would be a straight forward easy process and therefore we didn't need to throw a lot of money at solicitors fees however I since find out that these solicitors doing these quick divorces we emphasise the word quick here are being subsidised by the government so therefore a pretty lucrative area for any firm to get into I just need to now find out what the term quick means in the service level agreement between this firm and the central government needless to say I will be seeking compensation for money's lost but nothing can repair the damage of a destroyed wedding due to incompetence angry

Screenwipe Wed 13-Nov-13 14:41:50

HELPME40 and d1a1d1cross. I have another thread on here logging the stages of my divorce in real time. I didn't use Wikivorce or any other solicitor for that. I applied for my divorce myself in January. For me, the divorce process was simple. On the 4th April we were divorced. I only used Wikivorce for my consent order.
Your divorce can take longer if you think you have to agree on finances and get your consent order sealed along with getting the decree absolute all at the same time. I know some people hold off on applying for the absolute until the finances have been sorted. As being divorced was my main concern, I didn't worry about the consent order until nearing the end of my divorce process. Someone also advised me not to apply for the absolute until my consent order had been sorted but as neither of us were asking for money off each other, it didn't really matter. The truth is, you can even apply for a consent order after you are divorced if you don't want to use the divorce itself as a negotiating tool. Unless you are wanting to stake a claim in your STBX's pension pot, then it has to be done before the absolute.
I don't know what either of your personal circumstances are but I really do feel for you both.

d1a1d1cross Wed 06-Nov-13 12:42:54

Strongly NOT recommended. I was advised to use Brethertons for a wikivorce by a third party. When getting divorced your mind is elsewhere so I naturally put trust in a solicitor. My experience. They do not reply to emails. EVER. They do not reply to phone calls, even when you make their secretary promise. EVER. They make continuous excuses as to why they have not done the work you are paying them for, such as "we are very busy." The simple solution is that you do not take on the work if you cannot provide the service. Their work is shoddy, (bad advice, did not advise correctly on property issues and errors on the paperwork) and whilst with the benefit of hindsight I should have checked up their reviews on here, I did not. It has got so bad that I my estranged wife and I have had to communicate on the matter, and are actually in agreement about one thing, and that is that Brethertons are totally useless. I have called and called, and complained to as many people in the company as is possible. They all say "yes, we are sorry, we value bla bla bla, and we will look into it." Please take your time and find a good solicitor.

helpme40 Tue 05-Nov-13 10:41:10

I too am using wikivorce via the berks at Brethertons. I applied for divorce in January this year. we are now in November and still not even the Decree Nisi has gone through!!! They said it would take 6 to 8 months.

This has caused me far too much anxiety and distress. They returned documents twice for me to sign and return saying the court had rejected them but even a non-degree holder like me could tell they had made errors as well! I think they deserve to be sued for causing stress and anxiety to numerous people through incompetence. The divorce is a very straight down the line case of adultery which the other party has admitted to.

ProphetOfDoom Tue 23-Jul-13 16:31:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KenNorman Tue 23-Jul-13 16:02:16

aloha2013 thank you for your feedback – I’m really sorry to hear about the mistakes made and the continuing delays that you are experiencing. Please can you get in touch with me, (we have over a thousand files open and I am unable to identify which of our clients you are) as I would I’d like to look into your case. Thank you.
Ken Norman, Key Client Manager, Brethertons LLP, 01295 661535 kennorman@brethertons.co.uk

aloha2013 Sun 21-Jul-13 13:27:54

I would like to add something to this in regards to the order I purchased via Wikivorce. The problems I had unfortunately were completely to do with Brethertons Solicitors. They were awful from day one. I did my divorce myself, but felt I needed some sort of professional service to do my consent order due to the property involved.

It took Brethertons 4 months just to even draft my order. This was despite it being simple (just one property involved, no pensions/savings, no children). During this period I emailed many times, received no response. Every time I rang I couldnt get through to them, there was no one answering the phone on the number I had. In the end I complained to Wikivorce who gave them a kick up the backside. When I did manage to get through, their excuses ranged from they had staff off sick, or that they had a huge workload and too much to do and my order was sitting in a pile waiting to be actioned along with loads of others. Hardly makes you feel valued!!!

I FINALLY received the draft order only to find it was full of spelling mistakes - addresses, even names were incorrect. Sent it back with amendments. Again was sent the draft with the SAME mistakes. SO had to send it back again. Each time it took them an extra 3 weeks to actually make the amendments.

After all this was done I eventually received an email saying it had been sent to my ex. A month later, he is yet to receive the paperwork. I am not convinced it has been lost in the post. My feeling is that either Brethertons have sent it to the wrong address (especially considering the problems mentioned above) or that they havent actually sent it in the first place and it is still sitting on someones desk, having being forgotten about.

I am purely sick of this all now and just wished I'd gone elsewhere. Brethertons clearly need to sort themselves out, they have clearly take on too much work and dont have the resources to complete it all.

I have no idea when my consent order is likely to be completed. I can only hope it is completed by the end of the year.

QueenQueenie Fri 28-Jun-13 21:47:34

op the "original" sealed order, endorsed by the District Judge will be on the court file.

Screenwipe Fri 28-Jun-13 14:36:08

Reply received as follows:

The matter is now resolved and there is no further documentation to receive from the Court.

To confirm, the Consent Order is ‘sealed’ and therefore becomes effective. It is not a necessity that the district judge signs the Consent Order anywhere. The main concern is that the Court has sealed the document by way of their ‘stamp’ on the Consent Application and also on the Consent Order.

That's it then. All done and dusted!

mumblechum1 Tue 25-Jun-13 08:42:58

Screenwipe, letters from the court aren't signed, normally. The consent order is validated when it's sealed on the front page and the judge's name and date are endorsed.

Can't comment about anything else, but it sounds as though there's nothing wrong with your order.

Screenwipe Tue 25-Jun-13 08:36:40

On the 20th June I received an email from Brethertons with an attachment. My consent order has been sealed and returned to them. I did reply to her just to double check - the letter from the court which says "here is the sealed consent order" isn't signed, then the consent order which has a total of 4 pages, states the judges name and has the court rubber stamp on the first two pages, not the last two and hasn't been signed. I have asked if this is correct. I haven't had an answer yet but hopefully I will in the next couple of weeks.

So regarding timescales ...

If it hadn't have taken Brethertons 4 and a half weeks just to send me their terms and an incorrect application for consent order and then another 5 and a half weeks to send me a corrected application for consent order .... my consent order would have been sealed at the end of April!

If I had do go through exactly the same situation again, would I use Wikivorce and Brethertons again??

Yes.

I do not feel for something so simple our local solicitors can justify the price they charge.

I do however agree with <notgettingany>. Just because you are paying someone, it doesn't mean they are going to get it right. You have to check their work and chase them. This would apply to any solicitor and not just Brethertons.

NotGettingAny Fri 14-Jun-13 07:54:47

The experience has taught me to trust myself and not assume paying someone else with more experience guarantees anything.

I then went onto paying a lot of money (£200 hourly rate?) to a sol who also cocked up. Nocake helped me dispute that bill and they accepted fault.... (No peanuts involved that time but still got a monkey)

New sol.... She was bloody fabulous. Really helpful and I will use her time and time again.

So I guess you get duds in all walks of life

Wiki was free and brilliant
Online sol was cheap but useless
Local sols charged a fortune but were useless
Local sol also charged a fortune but were ace

Anyway enough of me grin

NotGettingAny Fri 14-Jun-13 07:47:27

Hi screenwipe

I am the poster nocake refers to <waves>

Here is the thread

Couple of points
Wikivorce were great in providing me with enough information to do my own divorce. I paid court fees and nothing more for the actual divorce. I thank the wiki site for this - really great work

Consent order - Ian is right on a couple of points: it was a different firm, wikivorce provide a fabulous service to low income people needing help.

He's incorrect in his comments about the child maintenance in my situation. I was referring to the child maintenance that is covered in the consent order and is enforceable for the first 12 months. I know that after this, only CSA can enforce. The point was that my CO was written in a way which made it in unenforceable at all! CSA would not get involved because I had a CO and they will only get involved after the 12 mths is up. So I was left in a no mans land with useless CO and not able to use the CSA. Eventually the CSA recognised that my CO had been badly written and agreed to help but by then I had lost months and months of money at a time when I needed it.

Anyway legal ombudsman got involved. My CO fee to the legal firm was refunded and I was given 6 times that amount to correct some other basic mistakes in the CO. I didn't need the stress and regretted using them

In regards to the 'pay peanuts get monkeys' remarks. Our CO was very straightforward and had it been written without these really basic mistakes, it would have met our needs. Tbh my order (with corrections) could be used as a template for anyone with a simple settlement ...why the sols couldn't do the same is beyond me! My biggest mistake was assuming that using a sol meant I didn't have to double check their work.

I wrote my own divorce petition and completed all of that with advice from Wiki. Recently I have needed some legal work and new sol has looked over my divorce paperwork to make sure it is correct. She said she'll offer me a job (tongue in cheek) because its watertight and perfect for meeting my intentions.

Screenwipe Wed 05-Jun-13 15:12:03

Hello Linda. I would rather not contact you until everything has been tied up. Not for any other reason than I decided to write this log as an honest account of what happens if you decide to use Wikivorce and how long things take. I undertand that some things are out of Bretherton's hands, for example you can't help it if it takes the courts 10 weeks to do something.

Babybarrister. The reason I decided to start this thread was to log my experience of using Wikivorce so that if anyone else wants to use them they can make an informed decision. If I had decided to use my local solicitors and pay £600 I would have still started this thread but it would have been about them. Not everyone can afford the high cost option and as my ex and I are best mates I was prepared to gamble and use them.

Ian. I know that things take time but it shouldn't take 4 weeks for terms of business to be sent out. Also the letter I received said I would be kept up to date with things - I haven't. I have had to chase for updates and although they might know what they are doing and how long things take, I don't. Again this is the point of this thread. At least if someone else is in the same situation as me they will have a rough idea of how long it takes to reach each stage.

Screenwipe Wed 05-Jun-13 14:51:07

9th May 2013 - received amended consent order with apologies for errors... and "Upon your approval of the documentation I will then write to your husband for his signature of all the documentation." <rolls eyes, shrugs and sighs>... So anyway, my ex and I both signed the consent order and I mailed it off.
21 May 2013 - Not heard anything so emailed asking if the consent order had been mailed to the judge.
30 May 2013 - reply received with a Form A attached for me to complete, with a note saying that one had been put in the post for my ex to complete. Form A is a "Notice of intention to proceed with an application for a financial order". I was quite concerned when I read it as the boxes were ticked saying that I was applying to the court for an order for maintenance, a lump sum order, a property adjustment order and a bunch of other things. So I actually phoned Bretherton's and was told that this form has to be filled in to dismiss future claims. I was told that on this form, I was the applicant and my ex is the respondent, whereas on the one that they have mailed him, he is the applicant and I am the respondent. So I filled in the bits and signed it.
31 May 2013 - the ex's form arrived. I am showing as the applicant on this one too but hey-ho. The letter that came with it says the consent order has the effect of dismissing your future claims and therefore you need to make the application before they can be dismissed. So, he completed and signed it, then I mailed them to Brethertons.
4 Jun 2013 - I actually received an email from Brethertons confirming receipt of the Form A and the fact that it has been sent on to the court, that this next process could take up to 8 weeks, so not to expect to hear from them for 8 weeks.
So, next update will be in 8 weeks unless something interesting happens between now and then.

justicefirst Fri 24-May-13 17:57:32

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Wikivorce Wed 15-May-13 13:31:54

Hi,

My name is Ian - I started Wikivorce 6 years ago after a very difficult divorce - between me and my ex we spent thousands of pounds with solicitors and endured half a dozen court hearings over a period of 2 years.

Wikivorce has one simple aim - and that is to help people going through divorce however we can. We are supported in doing this by funding we have received from the UK government and two social charities.

I am posting to respond to a few of the issues highlighted in this thread.

Screenwipe - Your file is held with Brethertons, I have no access to it and so I cannot answer specific questions about your case. I'm sorry if things are progressing a little more slowly than you would like, but I am sure that if you contact Linda she will help to resolve the issues and delays in your case.

"You pay peanuts - you get monkeys" - this has been mentioned a couple of times. It is true that the £139 we charge for a consent order is a lot less than the £600 to £800 that a typical solicitor might charge. But I don't think our price is too low - its just that local solicitors charge too much because historically they have been able to get away with it.

We can charge much less because:
- our costs are partly met by government and charity funding
- Wikivorce/Brethertons have dedicated systems and staff in place and are geared up to specialise in uncontested divorces whereas a local solicitor may be a "Jack of all trades" and only do 1 divorce a month amongst all their personal injury claims and employment disputes.
- Wikivorce is a social enterprise and is not interested in making huge profits for shareholders

For £139 you get the services of a dedicated and professional family law team within a highly rated law firm - and the aim is to deliver a good quality of service at a fair price.

Nocake - a couple of comments about the "incorrectly" drafted consent order that you mention. Firstly I don't believe that the solicitor in that case was Brethertons. Secondly, the real problem faced by your friend is that Child Maintenance in England and Wales is enforced by the CSA not by the courts. A Consent Order can at best govern Child Maintenance payments for a maximum of 12 months after which enforcement reverts back to the CSA. Some women enter into Consent Orders where they agree to the husband having a lump sum (from the house) in return for what they believe is a "guarantee" of future child maintenance payments at a high fixed monthly level - for example £600 a month. The problem is that after 12 months the husband can stop paying the £600 a month and go to the CSA to be reassessed - often at a much lower rate - say for example £150 a month. It is important to know that Child Maintenance is essentially enforced by the CSA whereas Spousal Maintenance is enforced by the courts. You need to be very careful about whether maintenance in your order is worded as Child Maintenance, Spousal Maintenance or Global Maintenance.

PlentyOfPubeGardens - I apologise if any of our advisers was rude to you or gave you the wrong advice. We are not perfect by any means, and after a long day of speaking for 8 hours to a couple of dozen divorcing people the job can become stressful. I myself answer the phones and I must admit to being short with people on occassions. But I know each of our advisors personally and they are all highly dedicated, experienced and knowledgeable. We are not solicitors and so cannot offer legal advice on the phone - but our advisers have all been in a divorce advice role for at least 12 months full-time - and have a range of experience and qualifications from family mediators to legal executives to mackenzie friends.

I guess my overall message to anyone reading this thread is not to write Wikivorce off because of a few negative experiences/comments.

Wikivorce helps 50,000 people a year through divorce. Divorce is a very stressful experience and its very rare that both parties to a divorce are happy with the outcome.

Many people on low incomes have nowhere else to turn to for support since the government's recent cuts to Legal Aid.

A great many people are have been helped by Wikivorce - you can read some of their customer feedback here.

babybarrister Tue 14-May-13 22:13:10

It cost you £139 FFS- I agree with Xenia, pay peanuts, get monkeys ....

Plumbers cost £70ph and have lower overheads

Consent orders may actually be very difficult to get right

LindaJones Tue 14-May-13 09:07:18

Please accept my apologies for the obvious disappointment you experienced with the drafting of your Consent Order. Your feedback is extremely important to us. Please can you get in touch with me, (I cannot identify which of my clients you are) as I would I’d like to undertake a thorough investigation into your case. Following that we can ensure that this service meets the standards that you, future users and we rightly expect.
Linda Jones, Partner, Family, Brethertons 01788 579579

Screenwipe Thu 09-May-13 09:36:53

I chased Bretherton's and yesterday received a reply saying that they need the original signed copy of my statement of information and consent order.
I referred her back to my email of 2nd April where I pointed out errors on my consent order and where I asked for a corrected one to be sent to me. I wonder if I hadn't have chased, would she have been in touch? I doubt it.
I didn't point out the fact that when I emailed her the signed statement of information I did actually ask whether they needed the original in the post and that she never replied.
Also she said that once they have received my original signed copies they will post them on to my ex for him to sign. If they had looked they would have found that he has already signed .... WE STILL LIVE TOGETHER, which has also been noted on previous correspondence. I am not kidding, ours is the simplest of consent orders. So far I would not recommend them to anyone in a rush or to anyone needing help and advice with their consent order. They are only suitable for people like me, with time to kill.

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