No, but that’s over-simplifying it.  You can do it online – BUT you could be making a big mistake.

If you enter ‘DIY divorce’ in the search engine you’ll see all kinds of offers.  But such offers can be misleading.  For example, a company that is offering a divorce for £37.  This isn’t even possible as the court fee of £550 is payable regardless of whether you represent yourself or instruct a solicitor to act on your behalf.

But, more importantly, where there are children and joint assets, such as a home, savings, investments or even a pet – trying to do it yourself could mean ending up with less than you are entitled to or storing up problems for yourself in the future.

Things to consider

Divorces that have no joint finances to settle are rare.  Whether that’s dividing things up fairly, deciding how future pensions will be distributed or simply ensuring that neither party can make a claim in the future.  If you don’t get it right, you could be giving away a substantial amount unnecessarily or leaving yourself exposed to future claims.

When you have children there are so many issues to consider from where they live, whom they live with, their school, co-parenting, financial support and more.  A solicitor can help to ensure you don’t forget anything and guide you through the process of agreement.

If you don’t get it right and have to go back to court at a later date to put things straight, there will be additional court fees and the cost of a solicitor to argue your case, quite possibly more than you would have paid if you had used a lawyer in the first place.

When emotions are running high, a solicitor can offer support, guidance and ensure you know what you can – and should – claim.  This will help to reduce your stress levels and usually helps things to go more smoothly.

The costs

Apart from the statutory court fees, mentioned above, you will have your solicitor to pay.  Some people are worried that this will rapidly eat up any savings and may run into thousands.  In many cases that’s not the case and solicitor’s fees are usually in hundreds rather than thousands.

Many solicitors will give you a fixed rate, especially if you are aiming to use the collaborative approach.  Most will provide a fixed fee consultation to give you an idea of what is likely to be involved and some guidance on costs.  If you are considering dealing with things yourself, our advice is to take advantage of this kind of service before going ahead, so you know what’s involved and can then make an informed decision about how you should proceed.