When you’re separating the bills double to support two households so it can be very tempting to do a DIY divorce.  But before you decide to tackle the process yourself, make sure you know about the pitfalls.

A ‘cheap’ divorce

Look online and there are lots of websites offering quick and easy divorces for well under £100.  However, regardless of the cost of filing a divorce case, there are nearly always court fees.  You may not actually appear in court – and there’s usually no need to do so – but there is a fee (currently £550) that EVERY divorce petitioner must pay to the court.

So even a ‘cheap divorce’ isn’t as cheap as some websites would have you believe.

Financial certainty

The divorce proceedings don’t include financial issues – and getting these agreed is essential before finalising your divorce.  You may think there is little money in the relationship and that there’s no point in going to court to divide an empty bank account.  However, you may not have taken into account pension funds, life policies or the need for ongoing maintenance.

Even if there are no assets now, it is important to draw a line in the sand and to protect any assets you acquire in the future, e.g. an inheritance.  This can only be done by obtaining a court order providing for a clean break between you and your ex-partner and this does not come as standard within the divorce proceedings.

Each case is different and there may be complex issues to resolve to protect your future.  You need expert advice to ensure you get what you need for yourself and your family.

Why a solicitor makes a difference

Most family solicitors offer fixed fees so you know what you are paying for in advance.  They know the right questions to ask to explore things you may never have considered.

The divorce process can be a stressful and anxious time and a good solicitor can reduce your stress, reassure you and answer all your questions.  It takes the pressure off you and lets you get on with your life.

Often divorce petitions are rejected because mistakes are made in the information that is submitted.  When you do a DIY divorce, there may be things you don’t know about the requirements for a divorce petition.  Certain issues must be worded correctly to ensure the court has the information to make the decision you want.  If you don’t get these right at the beginning, it can cause real problems later on.  If things don’t go smoothly for any reason, you need someone who knows how to deal with it.  If the other party doesn’t respond to the petition or contests proceedings you need to know the next steps.

If you’ve started with a DIY divorce, at this point you’ll need expert help to move things on – and most DIY divorce services don’t have the facility to pick up the pieces half way through.  It can end up being much more expensive in both time and money if you suddenly find that it’s not as simple as you thought it would be.

There are a few cases where a DIY divorce is appropriate, but these cases are a small minority.  If you have children, need to sort out financial matters or think your partner might not be co-operative in the divorce process, it is wise to take advice from an experienced solicitor at the outset.

If you’re not sure what the right approach is for you, we offer a fixed fee initial consultation where you can ask questions and get some advice so you make the right decision and don’t end up in trouble.  Call us on 01245 221699 for more information or to book your consultation.