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Is DIY divorce a good idea?

If you and your spouse both agree to end your marriage, it might seem like paying for a solicitor to help you get divorced isn’t really necessary. In these circumstances, the idea of a do-it-yourself divorce can be appealing – just fill out some paperwork, send it to the right place and then you can both move on with your lives, right?

Unfortunately, even when both spouses are happy to end a marriage, sorting out the details of the separation can be complicated and the process for doing this can quickly be come very time-consuming, frustrating and acrimonious.

It’s important to understand that a divorce solicitor does more than just help you sort out the paperwork, they also have the experience and expertise to make sure the whole divorce process is as fast, smooth and free of conflict as possible, while ensuring your interests stay protected.

What is a DIY divorce?

To start divorce proceedings in England and Wales, you can simply download the relevant forms, fill them in and submit them to the court. You will also need to fill out a separate application for arranging a financial settlement. For both of these, you will need to pay a fee, although people on income support may be exempt, depending on the circumstances.

In theory, you can fill these forms out yourself without the support of a solicitor, however, if you get any of the details wrong, it can hold up your divorce and end up costing you more time, money and stress to sort out. There are also a number of key issues a solicitor can assist you with, helping your divorce to go ahead faster and with less stress and avoiding many of the problems that can end up costing you more if not anticipated and planned for.

The benefits of using a solicitor for your divorce

A solicitor who specialises in divorce can help you in a number of ways to ensure your divorce goes ahead quickly, smoothly and cost-effectively, while keeping any potential for conflict to a minimum and making sure you get a fair outcome.

Making sure you include sufficient grounds for divorce

As there is no such thing as a “no fault” divorce in the UK, you have to demonstrate that your marriage has irretrievably broken down to be allowed to divorce. You will need to cite the grounds for your divorce, which must be sufficient to convince a court that your marriage is truly beyond repair.

In most cases, the grounds used are “unreasonable behaviour” i.e. that one of both parties have acted in such a way that it is no longer reasonable to expect the other to continue to live with them. Knowing what sort of behaviour will be considered enough to satisfy a court that the marriage is truly over can be tricky – for example, simply no longer being in love is not considered sufficient.

An experienced divorce lawyer will be able to advice both parties on what the requirements are to satisfy a court, helping you to ensure that your divorce will be accepted. They can also help both parties agree what types of behaviour they are willing to agree to, ensuring neither is likely to object and hold up the process.

Agreeing a financial settlement

Even if your finances seem simple, it can be easy to fall out over exactly who gets what. Where there are more complicated issues to consider, such as investments or a family business, making sure this is sorted out correctly to prevent future conflicts can be very hard to do without expert legal advice and support. There are also a number of issues people often fail to consider, such as your spouse’s entitlement to a share of your pension.

A divorce solicitor can help you make sure that all eligible assets are considered and accounted for and give both parties peace of mind that the financial details of the divorce are fully sorted out and won’t lead to further conflict later on.

Making arrangements for children

If you have children with your ex, this is often the most difficult issue to sort out. Deciding where they will live, what contact each parent will have with them and all other related issues can be highly emotive and contentious.

This is where a solicitor trained in mediation or collaborative law can make a real difference. They will be able to help you both discuss your concerns and priorities and work towards a mutually acceptable solution that protects both of your rights as parents, while ensuring your children’s best interests come first.

Crisp & Co’s divorce solicitors in London and the South East have many years of experience helping people to get divorced quickly, cost-effectively and with minimal conflict. Our sensitive but practical approach, focused on non-confrontational methods, makes getting divorced as straightforward as possible.

Talk to our expert divorce lawyers now by calling 020 3797 4952 or use the enquiry form below and we will get back to you promptly.

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