The Financial Implications Of DIY Divorce
The Law Of…Avoiding The Pitfalls Of Filing Your Own Divorce
There has been a steady increase in divorces since 2015, with some people seeking cheaper alternatives to consulting a divorce specialist. While filing for your own divorce online or through the post may seem like a simple way to get the job done for less money, there are numerous factors you should consider before trying to handle your own divorce. If things go wrong, you may end up facing huge, unexpected costs in the long run.
John Pratley, Head of Family Law, explains why you should always consult a solicitor for a divorce.
What Is A DIY Divorce?
We live in a time that gives us the freedom to do just about anything online, from buying products to hiring services, so it's no surprise that you could potentially apply for a divorce online too. People who choose this option are usually looking for a fast resolution to a separation with reduced costs.
Before online divorces were available, it was possible to complete a divorce through post. You would fill out a divorce petition form, include a cheque to cover the fee, and then post both to your nearest regional divorce centre. Online divorces are now a digital version of this.
The question is, with both of these seemingly quick and easy resources at your disposable, is filing for your own divorce a good idea? The simple answer is no.
There are multiple factors to consider when completing a divorce, many of which will require assistance from a family solicitor. Trying to go your divorce alone could result in additional costs that an expert could have helped you avoid or mitigate.
The Law Is Complex
So why should you seek the help of a solicitor? Well, court procedure, severing financial links, re-distribution of assets, immigration advice and final settlements are just a few complex aspects of divorce law.
A divorce can have multiple grounds, each one affecting the way it needs to be handled legally.
You could be divorcing on grounds of:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- Living separately for more than 2 years
- Living separately for more than 5 years
Failure to understand what each of these grounds means will more than likely lead to errors in paper work, causing the divorce to be held up in court or the forms returned. Also, if you fill in the divorce petition incorrectly you can seriously inhibit your ability to sort out your finances afterwards.
Solicitors are required to train for years to understand the intricacies such as these, allowing them to provide you with specialist support to resolve your divorce in the best possible way. Without this experience, you are seriously risking your assets.
You're Only Paying For The Divorce Papers
The fees attached to filing for your own divorce may seem low without the litigation costs attached, but don’t be fooled by the cheap price tag. The fees advertised often only cover the cost of the divorce papers themselves, with nothing else included.
Any arrangements that need to be made for children involved will not be included and will have to be dealt with separately at a later date. Making arrangements for a child often brings about legal proceedings that can send divorce costs soaring.
Most divorces also require a financial order, which is a document that dictates how assets will be split or what arrangements are to be made for care of the child, if applicable. These are very technical documents which you need a solicitor for as you can’t realistically expect to get them right if you do them yourself. They also need to be signed and sealed by a judge, a process which can incur additional costs.
You Are Risking Your Future Wealth
Without the above mentioned financial order your ex-spouse could make a claim on your finances at a future date.
For example, should your parents die and leave you an estate, if you do not correctly sever financial ties during the divorce you could leave yourself open to the risk of your ex-spouse claiming half of it.
A solicitor's involvement is imperative when drawing up these documents to make sure that this doesn’t happen.
There Can Be Lengthy Delays
What should have been a straightforward divorce case could end up being held back for months if errors are present in the paperwork. The court may have to return the documents numerous times if they are not completed correctly.
Without the specialist legal knowledge a solicitor provides, it is very easy to fill out a divorce petition form incorrectly.
Simpson Millar Can Handle Your Divorce The Right Way.
We understand that a divorce is an emotionally turbulent time, and it can be tempting to want to get it out of the way as soon as possible so that the healing process can begin, but this is not the best course of action.
Our divorce law specialists can help you get the divorce that’s right for you, free of complications that would be difficult to navigate alone. Call us today on our Freephone number or through our online enquiry form.