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What are the problems with DIY divorces?

View profile for Jess Birch
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January often sees more enquiries from those considering separation or divorce. These days, there are numerous websites offering information about ‘DIY divorces’ and, particularly after the costly December period, it certainly seems enticing and cost effective. Whilst it makes sense to keep costs to a minimum, you could find there is trouble in store later on. Here are just some of the problems with DIY Divorces:

  • If there are any mistakes it could cost you more in the future. For example, without legal advice, even straightforward divorce forms can be sent back from the court numerous times if there are any mistakes. A simple error can often postpone an unhappy marriage by a few extra months. As well as delays, there are other risks. Take the Form E for example, a court form that you are required to complete within financial proceedings ancillary to divorce. Not only is it 27 pages long, a small error could be construed as contempt of court.
  • Divorce is not just about legally bringing the marriage to an end, the finances also need to be divided. A solicitor can help you to reach an agreement with your spouse or guide you through the complicated court process if this is not possible. However, court will always be a last resort and it is important to try and reach an agreement.  
  • Even if the financial matters are agreed, it is important to have that agreement drawn up by a solicitor and approved by the court at the time of the divorce. This is to avoid future dispute and ensure that no claims are left open for either spouse to make in the future. Click this link to read about a divorced couple who did not do this and are now in a dispute at the Court of Appeal 10 years after the divorce.
  • What about pensions and joint property? In most marriages, pensions and property can be the most complicated and valuable aspect to deal with. It is very important that they are divided fairly and couples trying to do it themselves without legal advice can often find themselves out of their depth. 

I therefore recommend that you seek independent legal advice to guide you through this difficult stage in your life.

All of our divorce and separation lawyers at Birkett Long are members of Resolution, an organisation committed to dealing with divorce, relationship breakdown and family issues in an amicable and non-confrontational way. If you need any advice, please get in touch with a member of our Divorce and Family team.