Since the government’s withdrawal of legal aid cuts for divorcing couples in April 2013, the sector has seen a significant rise in the number of so called “DIY Divorces”.
With self-representation being a hot topic, all divorcing spouses must be aware of the pitfalls of proceeding without legal advice. Take for example the internet search yielding a result of fixed fee divorce for £99. Sound too good to be true? Well, sorry to be cynical, but it usually is! There are many hidden costs involved in getting that divorce. The court costs alone add up to nearly £600 and that’s before even considering the financial implications of divorce.
Services offering fixed fee divorces for such low sums do not assist with the financial aspects of separation. Doing it yourself, the financial implications of divorce can be severe if either overlooked or dealt with without having first sought advice.
All financial claims are opened in the divorce Petition. If, for example, this is filled in incorrectly to begin with, a court cannot make any ruling regarding the division of assets unless a court application is made thereby manufacturing costs which could have otherwise been avoided. Claims can even be missed. What about pensions? How to deal with those? Have you agreed a financial settlement between yourself? Be wary of relying on a verbal agreement too, they have no weight in court. Making an informal arrangement between yourselves may not work in your favour.
Further, if you do not finalise your financial arrangements through the court, you may well find yourself in a situation many years after the divorce facing a court application from your ex spouse seeking further payouts.
So, whether you decide to divorce online or Do It Yourself, always seek legal advice before taking that first step otherwise you may find your divorce costing considerably than £99.