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Anita Swift

I can issue divorce proceedings on my own, I don’t need a solicitor … do I?

You have decided to divorce and you are wondering whether you can deal with the divorce yourself to save the cost.

Can you? The answer is probably yes, you can. The process itself is relatively straightforward and HMCTS have moved it online to simplify things further.

However, the question you should really ask yourself is – should you …?

Due to the apparent simplicity of the process, we are finding that more and more people are now choosing the DIY option when it comes to divorce. However, we are also finding an increased number of problems. The main examples are:

  1. People are getting through the process to a point, and then finding it difficult to obtain a decree because something has gone wrong, legally or procedurally. In the end, it can often cost more to rectify these problems than it would to have instructed us in the first place. It usually always adds delay, too.
  2. In circumstances where someone has successfully completed the divorce process online, and then later wishes to instruct us to deal with financial settlements, there can sometimes be problems because of what was said in the divorce petition. Some of these errors can be fatal – one example involved someone finding out that they could not actually make a claim at all, for anything. Other less severe examples involved people who had to spend more and tax extra procedural steps to be able to make a claim for finance and property – in the end, again, costing more overall.
  3. Divorcing fundamentally changes your legal status and can substantially affect your entitlement in the event your ex-spouse pre-deceases you before financial arrangements are formalised.

Even though the process itself is online and apparently simple, divorcing is still a legal procedure which requires careful handling to ensure all the relevant things are thought about and all the relevant legal criteria are met. Almost always, it is necessary to consider the wider picture before ploughing on through it. Depending on how you approach it, you may cause yourself the kind of problems described above which can be self-defeating.

We offer a fixed fee for divorce (£600.00 inc VAT) and can ensure that you receive tailored advice which protects your interests. We can also offer advice on Wills at the same time so that you can make informed decisions which may not only affect how your estate passes, but also your ex-spouse and children.

Speak to a family solicitor today on 0191 296 1777 to arrange an initial, free, no obligation 30 minute consultation to find out more. We can offer appointments by telephone, video call or, if necessary, face to face in a Covid secure environment.