DIY Divorce: Is this a good idea?
Is there such a thing as a DIY divorce? Can you apply for a divorce without appointing a lawyer?
The answer, simply put, is yes.
If you’re happy to handle your own divorce, you can collect the necessary forms from the local family Court or via the Court website, although you need to be aware that the family Court staff are unable to offer legal advice.
What you should know if you’re planning a DIY divorce:
- obtaining a divorce does not automatically address issues regarding the matrimonial finances or issues regarding the future care of children.
- obtaining a Decree Absolute in divorce proceedings – the final step where the Court declares the parties to be officially divorced – will NOT close the door on financial claims or achieve an automatic financial “clean break” between yourself and your spouse. Financial claims can remain live for many years, long after the pronouncement of the Decree Absolute.
How to arrange financial matters in a DIY Divorce
If you are planning a DIY divorce without assistance from a family lawyer, you should proceed with caution if there are financial issues to be addressed and resolved. If you’ve already discussed and agreed financial matters with your spouse, consider having a “Consent Order” drawn up detailing the terms of your financial agreement.
What is the purpose of a Consent Order?
A consent order details any agreements you and your spouse have reached about your financial affairs ahead of your divorce. A Consent Order can be lodged with the Court for approval in the divorce proceedings and, once approved, the financial settlements set out in it will be made legally binding. This means the content of the Consent Order can be enforced through the family courts.
Even if you and your spouse have reached a financial settlement, either party could bring a further claim in the future unless your agreement is detailed in a Consent Order approved by the Court.
When should you appoint a family lawyer to handle your divorce?
- If you feel that you don’t have the time to oversee divorce proceedings
- If you don’t feel confident enough to handle your own divorce and would like advice and support along the way
- If you and your spouse can’t come to an agreement about your marital finances or your children
- If you want to ensure that all matters arising from the breakdown of your marriage have been dealt with, and that you won’t be left exposed to future problems.
As family lawywers, we specialise in all aspects of family law and can assist you with any issues arising from your separation. If you have decided to end your marriage, and don’t want to handle your own divorce, you should consider seeking legal advice as soon as possible. Call us on 01908 082442 or complete the contact form for an initial consultation!