Divorcee danger: the perils of online and DIY divorce

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A quickie divorce for £99? It’s an appealing headline and one that might make you think twice about instructing a solicitor. After all, how tricky can it be to manage your own divorce?

With prices such as these, it’s easy to see why so many are tempted to explore the DIY divorce route.

Why are people so tempted by a DIY divorce?

In reality, the changes to the legal aid system have pushed the cost of divorce and separation sky high for many. Coupled with current tough economic conditions, it’s inevitable that many will cut costs and try to do themselves what they would previously have paid a professional to do.

Does this mean that an online, DIY divorce is a good idea? It can work for some. If you and your former partner are communicating, you have no children, no financial assets to split and your divorce is uncontested, then yes, the DIY route may be a viable option for you.

But what if your separation is less amicable? Do you have children to consider, for example? It’s in these situations that the DIY process can be riddled with risks.

We look at what you need to be wary of when considering a DIY divorce.

Hidden divorce fees

What you see isn’t always what you get. A £99 divorce? It’s highly unlikely.

So what’s excluded? Firstly this figure doesn’t include the court fees to start the divorce or dissolution. Nor does it cover the decree absolute or final order. Including these immediately brings the cost up significantly.

Many firms use rock-bottom prices to promote their divorce packages so it’s important that you take the time to understand just what fees are, and aren’t, included in yours.

Short-term thinking

Understandably, most people seek professional advice regarding their financial entitlement on divorce. However, to do this, you’ll need to provide accurate information to a solicitor in order for them to provide advice based on your unique circumstances.

You may have agreed matters between yourselves and know exactly how you want to proceed in relation to splitting your matrimonial assets.

But it’s risky to assume that someone will be good on their word; that’s why it’s so important to ensure that any agreement you make is secured by a proper written agreement or court order.

Verbal statements won’t hold up in court and making an informal arrangement between yourselves may not work to your advantage. Without finalising financial matters through the court, there’s nothing to stop your former partner pursuing you one year, two years or even five years down the line.

Always consider the long-term and ensure that any agreement you make is secure. These costs will not be included in a £99 fixed-fee online divorce.

Not considering the ‘bigger picture’

Let’s be honest, separation is difficult. Whilst you may be tempted to split quickly and cheaply, sometimes it’s worth taking a little longer to consider what you want and to do things properly.

Always bear in mind that getting a divorce is likely to involve more than just dissolving a marriage and it’s often these practical aspects of separation that are harder to resolve.

By instructing a solicitor, you can secure a sensible order that will give you security and peace of mind for the future and will ensure that arrangements are in place for your children.

So should you consider an online or DIY divorce? If your separation is straightforward, then you might consider it. But make sure you seek legal advice for related matters, such as finances and children matters.

Otherwise your divorce won’t cost you £99. In fact, it might cost you much more than you ever imagined.

Further information

If you have been considering a DIY divorce but now think better of it and would like to speak to our specialist family law solicitors in Bristol about divorce or separation, call us on 0117 325 2929.

Alternatively, complete our online enquiry form and a member of our team will get back to you.


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