Here at Newtons Solicitors, our experts understand how challenging going through a divorce is. Aside from the heartbreak, hurt, and often trauma, parting couples also have to deal with the legal aspect of their situation, which needs particular concentration in do-it-yourself divorces.
So, if you want to go down the DIY divorce route, we want to best prepare you for what you need to do to make this scenario as smooth as possible.
What is a DIY divorce?
In a DIY divorce, a married couple decides to carry out a divorce with minimal help from a legal expert. The process involves obtaining the relevant forms, attending court, and paying essential fees.
Why do some people opt for do-it-yourself divorce?
There are many reasons why ex-couples may choose to go down the DIY route when it comes to divorce.
- Low cost
Divorce can be very costly. By cutting out the costs of legal expertise, DIY divorces can keep fees to the bare minimum.
- Set your pace
When carrying out a DIY divorce, you can fill in the essential documents in a period that works for you. You have more control over timing when implementing this type of divorce, although you still have to wait for a court to deal with your case.
Possibly the most apparent reason why individuals choose to carry out a DIY divorce is that they provide couples with simplicity. Divorce can be very daunting in itself, and hiring a solicitor can feel intimidating if you don’t know where to start.
Should I do a DIY divorce?
Here at Newtons Solicitors, we know that the stages of divorce can be complicated and overwhelming. This is why we’ve outlined the steps for securing a DIY divorce below.
- Consider if getting a DIY divorce is right for you
Firstly, you need to consider a few things to ensure you can carry out a DIY divorce. For example, you must have been married to your ex-partner for over a year before undertaking this process.
Furthermore, is your situation complicated or straightforward? If you are confident that you and your ex-partner can sort out any finances, child arrangement orders and possessions by yourself, this could be the process for you. However, if there are any complications, seeking expert advice can save you a lot of heartache down the line. It is always useful to seek advice as to your entitlements before proceeding with a divorce.
- Gather the documentation
If you and your ex-partner have agreed that getting a DIY divorce is the right decision, you will need to gather the necessary documentation. This includes a divorce application, a copy of your marriage certificate, and court forms. You can even apply for divorce online.
- Pay the fee
You will also need a payment card to pay the court fee. If you are struggling with low income, you could access help paying this fee by applying for assistance with court fees.
Possible risks of doing it yourself
Whilst DIY divorces may sound like the simple solution you are looking for, you must consider the downsides and potential risks tied to this process.
- Paperwork errors
It’s incredibly easy to find the paperwork to apply for a DIY divorce online. However, this doesn’t mean it is as straightforward to fill it out correctly without expert assistance. Individuals aren’t always aware of the legal implications of making mistakes on this paperwork.
- Added fees
While many people opt for a do-it-yourself divorce to keep costs low, there are sometimes hidden fees to look out for. The payment will usually only cover standard paperwork, and you may find yourself needing to pay for legal advice, court fees, mediation and other things to finalise your split.
- Financial claims
DIY divorces don’t ensure your future financial protection, meaning you may have to carry out additional steps to secure your position. Without a proper financial agreement, a Consent Order, your ex-partner has the potential to apply for provisions from various claims arising from your marriage following divorce. This is particularly the case if one side of the party comes into a lot of money.
To stop yourself from being vulnerable to future financial claims, you should seek professional legal advice on top of your DIY divorce.
In 2022, Newtons represented a client who did not properly finalise his financial agreement with his ex-wife; ten years after their divorce, the ex-wife put in a claim for half of all marital assets, including the client’s business. She was granted a lump sum of £2.25 million, alongside the former matrimonial home and some rental properties. It could all have been avoided if their original agreement had been legally binding.
To avoid being at risk in a DIY divorce, it’s critical for you to have a legal expert by your side at every step of this challenging journey.
Thus, if possible, ensure you reach out to our experienced and highly knowledgeable team to review your divorce application, provide detailed advice, and ensure your interests are best protected. Whether you’re struggling to divide property or worrying about financial settlements, we can ensure that you secure a settlement that works for you and your future self.
Here at Newtons Solicitors, we take pride in putting our clients first and guiding them with the advice they require to assist them in this difficult time. No-blame divorces can simplify the separation process, but our team’s direction may still be critical to help you make the right decisions. If you decide to instruct a solicitor to make the process simpler and avoid any legal errors, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Divorce and Family Law team today.