Since the introduction of the “no fault” divorce law in April 2022, there has been a gradual rise in couples seeking to complete the divorce process without the assistance of legal advisors, in what is commonly referred to as a ‘Do It Yourself’ divorce. However, cutting costs by taking on the divorce process yourself may actually end up costing you more further down the line.
Firstly, whilst the process to apply for a divorce is more straightforward than previously; as with many official documents, it’s easy to make mistakes or miss important parts which can lead to potential errors and delays in your divorce coming through. Perhaps more importantly, omitting to tell the court that there are financial matters to be dealt with could be fatal.
There is also a common misconception that once a DIY divorce is completed, that’s it. However, financial matters and child arrangements are unfortunately not automatically dealt with within the divorce process. Separate steps are needed to officially finalise these. If financial matters are not dealt with in the form of a financial settlement, it could lead to claims made against you by your spouse at a later date; impacting significantly on your finances, whether that be in terms of property, business interests, pensions or inheritance.
After a divorce, you may decide to remarry without realising this could potentially cause you to lose financial claims against your former spouse. This is commonly referred to as the “remarriage trap” and has caused issues for many couples who have completed a DIY divorce without expert legal advice from a professional.
For my part, I am often asked to help in situations where a person had not taken legal advice and ended up agreeing to a settlement which is far from fair, or in circumstances where you may be entitled to much more.
Whilst on the face of it, a DIY divorce might look like a more cost-effective way of separating from your spouse; without guidance from a professional with many years of experience of the process, it may end up being a worse decision, particularly financially, than seeking expert advice from the outset.
A legal professional can not only advise you on the paperwork and steps to take throughout the process, but can also provide the strategic support and reassurance that you don’t get with a DIY divorce. Having an expert who can also signpost you to additional services including mediation to resolve disputes, provide financial advice post-divorce, and not forgetting our private client service to update your will, means that we help you to deal with all of the challenges you face at this difficult time and achieve solutions that are right for you.
To speak to a member of our family law team at Farleys please call 0845 287 0939, contact us by email, or use the online chat below.