Cut Price Divorces – A Good Idea?Posted on 27th September 2013 by Goodwins Family Law Solicitors
A quick search of DIY or cheap divorce through any search engine will result in many
attractive ads suggesting that getting a divorce can be cheaper than ever before. These range from very small amounts such as £37 up to the higher end of the spectrum – £200, to rival that of any solicitor’s fee. With this in mind, a cut price divorce can seem like a very attractive option, particularly if you are under financial constraint.
Many websites will try and hook you with cheap promises of fast divorces, however there are some essential steps which cannot and should not be bypassed regardless of circumstances. At a core level there are 3 essential steps you must take to obtain a divorce, the first being an application to the court to obtain permission for the divorce. This involves filing a petition which states the reason for the dissolution of the marriage. This can then be approved by the court resulting in a decree nisi, to show there is no reason you cannot divorce. Following this you must apply for a decree absolute to legally end your marriage.
In pursuit of a cheap divorce, many couples bypass essential steps. For example, without court approval regarding the division of assets both in the present and future tense, you could be spelling financial ruin in the future. Court approval will ensure that the way you split your assets will be legally binding and ensure there are no further claims made in the future. For example, if you won the lottery 5 years after the divorce and did not obtain court approval declaring any future assets are solely yours, your ex-partner could still claim a proportion of that money.
In the same vein, a cut price or DIY divorce is not advisable if you and your partner cannot decide certain issues out of court, such as financial support and child care. Divorcing without proper legalities can cause many problems further down the line; this could be anything from claims to new financial windfalls to the acquisition of assets which have nothing to do with the marriage but your spouse may still have a claim to.
It is possible to save money on your divorce without engaging in any sketchy internet services using a few simple tactics:
Keep the lines of communication between you and your spouse open – using your solicitor as a channel for communication can rack up unnecessary costs that would otherwise be avoided if you could talk to each other directly. This can include volunteering information about income, assets and debt, as you can discuss how to deal with this fairly or at the very least gauge your partner’s opinion on the matter.
This will help you to ensure a decision regarding assets, child care, and shared property is dealt with outside of court, thereby avoiding costly legal fees. Whilst this may not always be possible, and there will be details you need to discuss with solicitors present, discussing issues independently could save you from essentially paying your solicitor listen to you and your spouse argue. Any conclusions you come to can then be discussed with your solicitor to ensure the outcome is in your best interests.
Whichever route you choose to take when obtaining your divorce, the help and advice of a specialist family solicitor is invaluable – you need not spend hours in their office, but obtaining some simple help and advice when it comes to filing for divorce could save you time and money in the long term.
For a specialist family solicitor in the London area, please take a look at our Matrimony & Divorce page.