The rise and pitfalls of the DIY divorce

You are Here:

The recent cuts to legal aid in divorce cases coupled with the current tough economic conditions has prompted a surge in couples who have decided to do it themselves in order to save as much money as possible. Who can blame them? It makes sense to keep costs to a minimum. Afterall, how difficult can it be?

For some, the DIY route may be a feasible option, but for many of those who go through a divorce without any legal advice, it might lead to trouble in store later on. In fact there is a case due to be heard in December 2014 in the Supreme Court (the highest court in the country) some 18 years after the parties were divorced – proving that if not handled correctly, divorce cases can have serious long-term implications.

The divorce itself is generally the easy part but it only legally ends the marriage. Where there are children and financial issues to consider the process may not be so straightforward.

You may well be able to agree matters between yourselves and decide exactly how you want to divide up the matrimonial assets. However it is risky to assume that your partner will stick to their word. Verbal agreements won’t hold up in court and making an informal arrangement between yourselves may not work to your advantage in any event. This highlights why it is so important to secure any agreement in a properly drawn up legal document or court order. Most people are unaware that this doesn’t happen automatically when you divorce.

Without a formal agreement there is nothing preventing your former partner pursuing you in one, two or even five years down the line.

For example, fast forward three years and say one party has inherited a large sum of money and the other party decides they would like a share of it. That scenario is perfectly possible, particularly if the marriage was a long one, they have children and needs justify it. The beneficiary of that inheritance could be ordered to pay their former partner a percentage of the money. It certainly doesn’t seem fair does it?…. but it is what can happen if you fail to sort out the finances properly when you separate and divorce.

Key points to remember:

  • Bear in mind that getting a divorce is likely to involve more than just terminating your marriage. It is often the practical aspects of divorce, involving money and other assets, that are more difficult to resolve.
  • By instructing a lawyer, you can secure a fair agreement that will give you security and peace of mind for the future.
  • If your separation is very straightforward then a DIY divorce may be an option for you but ensure you seek legal advice beforehand in respect of related matters such as finances and children. If you don’t, the attractive £99 price tag may in fact cost you much more in the long run.

For an informal, confidential discussion about this subject – or if you’re considering a DIY divorce and want to understand the risks more clearly – please contact me on 01273 646907 or by email ([email protected]).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Top of page