Do I need a solicitor to get a divorce?
Most of us now rely on the convenience of online banking, shopping and communication as part of our daily lives – but what about when it comes to the big things, like getting divorced?
With the government now launching a new scheme allowing couples to apply for a divorce online, it might seem like the convenience offered by the internet has reached a new level. However, if you are considering starting divorce proceedings online, it is important to be aware of the limitations and potential pitfalls of this approach and why working with a solicitor for your divorce is still strongly recommended.
What an online divorce can’t help you with
While applying for a divorce online might work if you and your former spouse have agreed to separate, it will still only take care of the legal process of ending your marriage.
What it won’t do is help you reach a financial settlement, work out arrangements for any children you have together or deal with any other practical issues resulting from your separation.
A solicitor can provide a range of options to help you sort out these issues, including providing mediation or other non-confrontational dispute resolution services. This can allow you and your ex-partner to amicably agree the details of your separation without the need for court action, saving you time, money and unnecessary conflict.
If your divorce does end up in court, a solicitor can help you prepare your case and represent you in court, giving you the best chance of achieving a fair outcome.
The dangers of cutting corners with online divorce
There are a growing number of companies offering to assist with online divorce that are not solicitors. While these firms may offer attractive fees and the promise that they will help your divorce go ahead quickly, they often cut corners and lack the expertise to foresee all of the potential issues that can occur during your divorce or arise later.
This leaves you open to the possibility of mistakes being made or key issues being overlooked. As a result, you could be leaving yourself at risk of future claims against you by your ex-spouse, with the potential to end up costing you a lot more in the end compared to the cost of paying for a specialist divorce solicitor upfront.
Making sure all eventualities are considered
Many companies offering online divorce will also not consider and/or fail to advise you of the risks of divorcing when you have no binding financial agreement in place i.e. a court order stating the details of your financial settlement with your former partner. Even if you reach an agreement voluntarily, it is still wise to have a solicitor apply for a Consent Order from a court to make that agreement legally binding, providing certainty for the future.
Having a legally binding financial agreement in place can be vital, for example ensuring the future wellbeing of your loved ones if you pre-decease your ex-spouse or if they marry again, have children with someone else etc.
How our divorce solicitors can protect you while making your divorce smoother and less stressful
At Atkins Hope, our highly experienced divorce solicitors offer a personal, empathetic service to make the process of ending your marriage as simple, straightforward and stress-free as possible.
We have an in house mediator and experienced family solicitors to help you with all of the practical details, making sure every aspect of your divorce is taken care of and that your rights and the wellbeing of your loved ones stay protected. Our goal is to provide you with complete peace of mind that everything has been handled properly, allowing you to make a clean break and move on with your life.