DIY Divorces: The considerations

When a married couple make the difficult decision to separate, the vast majority wish for matters to be dealt with quickly and amicably. Some believe that to involve solicitors will unduly complicate matters and lead to an increase in the costs and so revert to online companies for assistance.

Last year ex-footballer Gary Lineker was reported to have divorced using one such company, for around £410. However he no doubt has access to qualified financial advisors and solicitors to resolve the financial side of divorce.

Online companies may get you through the paperwork for the divorce itself but most do not advise you on the legal effects of the forms you are completing, other than to say that it will ultimately dissolve your marriage.

A divorce can, however, affect provisions made within a will or in some cases, may affect your ability to claim certain lump sums from your spouse’s pension on death.

Parties need to have expert advice when dealing with the division of the assets on divorce and this is where DIY divorces may fall down.

The assets need to be divided in a way that is fair depending on the circumstances of each individual case. After whatever has been decided/agreed takes effect, the parties are likely to want a clean break on all financial claims which means that there can be no more financial claims in the future arising out of the marriage.

Ideally this should be prepared by a lawyer to ensure that it is legally binding and does not leave either spouse vulnerable to future financial claims.

If you are considering an online divorce, it is important to exercise caution. Some online divorce services include a review of the divorce documents but you may still need additional legal advice prior to the issue of proceedings, when considering the division of assets or if your spouse contests the divorce.

Dodds Solicitors LLP offer a fixed fee appointment for just £75 plus vat (subject to the complexities of the case) and competitive hourly rates which will be discussed at the first meeting. There is no obligation to continue instructing us after the first meeting and so even if you decide to proceed alone after that, you will have the benefit of knowing whether or not you are on the right path.