Our Divorce and Family Law Team are available on 01225 462871. Alternatively, you can email them, or complete the Contact Form at the foot of this page.
DIY divorce can seem attractive, particularly these days with what appear to be simplified court forms and the availability of an online application process. If matters are amicable between you and your spouse, there may be a fear that involving lawyers will not only prove expensive, but also make everything much more contentious.
The reality is that many people who pursue a DIY divorce discover that it ends up costing them more in both the long and the short term.
Divorce forms can look deceptively straightforward, but you may discover that a simple error means your petition is rejected by the court, leaving you to begin the whole process from scratch. And websites offering to help you with a DIY divorce for a modest, fixed fee typically provide absolutely no advice, whether tailored to your needs or otherwise. In one well-publicised case, a husband who used such a service discovered to his cost that he was not divorced after all. This only came to light after he had ‘remarried’, leading to his conviction for bigamy.
DIY divorce financial settlement
Something that is often overlooked about divorce is that it only deals with what lawyers refer to as the legal ‘contract of marriage’ itself. It still leaves outstanding the issues of the divorce financial settlement and arrangements for any children. Taking advice is highly recommended because you need to fully understand your legal position before discussions begin regarding your home, finances and children.
In the absence of a formal financial settlement, it’s open to either party to make an application to the court, even many years later. In another well-publicised case, an ex-wife successfully sought a large financial settlement 20 years following her divorce from a husband who had subsequently become a multi-millionaire.
Also, divorce does not resolve any issues regarding children, specifically with whom they should live and have contact. If arrangements for the children cannot be agreed, it will be necessary to apply to the court for a Child Arrangements Order. If arrangements for children cannot be agreed, you will need to explore mediation as an option before you can make an application to the court.
Flexible legal advice and representation
If you are concerned about legal costs, these days most family lawyers can work very flexibly with you in terms of how much or how little input you require from them. It’s not uncommon for a client to take initial advice, before undertaking some of the subsequent work themselves, seeking further advice or representation on an ad hoc basis. Call our Divorce and Family Law Team on 01225 462871 to find out more.