The Truth About DIY Divorces
The Law Of…DIY Divorces
Let's face it, times are hard. With the future of the UK's economy hanging in the balance over Brexit, families are having to find new ways of trying to save money.
And for couples who are splitting up, this means cutting corners when it comes to getting a divorce.
Jenine Abdo, Solicitor in Family Law, takes a look at the rise of DIY divorces and why they're not as straightforward as they look.
Limited Grounds For Getting A Divorce
There's currently 5 grounds on which couples can get divorced in the UK:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- Living separately for over 2 years
- Living separately for over 5 years
Couples also choose to end their marriage on mutual terms, but one of the biggest problems is that the law currently doesn't recognise this as one of the grounds on which you can file for divorce. This means that to avoid being stuck in lengthy legal battles, some couples might look for more creative ways of bringing the process to an end, such as making accusations against their ex-partner. But, making a false allegation against your ex-partner could lead to even more trouble and heartache, especially if you have children.
DIY Divorces – Taking The Stress Out Of The Process?
One of the reasons why couples are turning to DIY divorces is that on the surface they look quick, cheap and stress-free. This, however, is misleading and not the reality of the process.
"Clients frequently come to me in tears when they're in the middle of getting a DIY divorce" Jenine explains.
"It's usually because they don't understand the financial element involved – such as dividing assets – or their ex-spouse has wanted to get a quick divorce and hasn't been honest and upfront with them."
Although there are many flaws in the process of getting a DIY divorce, the fact that it's becoming more popular shows that the current legal system isn't fit for the modern age. Back in 2015, a No Fault Divorce Bill was introduced to deal with this issue but since then it hasn't managed to progress past the House of Commons.
"Whilst DIY divorces initially seem attractive to couples who are looking for a seemingly simple and cheap way of splitting up, divorces finalised without legal guidance can often cause couples serious problems later down the line."
"Individuals representing themselves tend to miss out on addressing the more technical issues involved with divorces, such as not applying for financial orders from their spouses. This can cause a lot of trouble if and when they decide to remarry, as their ex partners can lodge financial claims after their divorce has been finalised."
"There's also a greater potential for partners to deceive their other halves about the state of their finances, especially if they don't want to share their assets equally. For example, some individuals might not honestly disclose their investments and total assets – including pensions – meaning that their partner receives a less-than-fair settlement."
"Similarly, couples splitting up who have children will also need to determine how much child support will be allocated for their child – or children. There's a possibility that without legal intervention this can be calculated wrong or the parent caring for the child doesn't receive enough support."
"Contrary to what people think, the majority of family practitioners want matters to remain as amicable and easy as possible for all parties, especially when children are involved. Being represented by a solicitor doesn't mean that matters will turn nasty or become more complicated."
"Whilst a lot of people might think that the price of a divorce is sky high, we offer a range of affordable options that cater to your needs."