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Family Law

DIY Divorce Could Cost You Dearly

DIY divorce can be very time-consuming and stressful. And it can also be very damaging financially, especially if you're a woman. Learn why here...

DIY Divorce Could Cost You Dearly

Do I Need A Solicitor To Get Divorced?

In theory, ‘no’, but you’ll find that a DIY divorce can be extremely time-consuming and stressful. And even worse, it can be very damaging financially – especially if you’re a woman.

You risk not getting a fair share when your property, savings, other assets (and liabilities) are divided. You risk losing out significantly.

Trying to get divorced on the cheap is a false economy. Women in particular are losing out, according to latest research by the University of Bristol. The Fair Shares study was funded by the Nuffield Foundation, an independent charitable trust.

So if you want a fair financial settlement following your divorce, you would be well advised to instruct a good family law solicitor. Your former partner may already have already done so.

What The Fair Shares Report Said

Equal division is not the norm when it comes to sharing pension pots, says the Fair Shares report:

  • only three-in-10 of those with assets to divide received around half the net asset pool
  • only one-in-10 divorcees with a pension yet to be drawn had made any agreement for pension sharing
  • at least a third of people didn’t know the value of their own pension – let alone their spouse’s pension.

Here’s how we see it as highly experienced divorce solicitors

Pensions are very complex: without expert advice, it’s all too easy to make the wrong decision. And divorce will only make the situation even more complicated.

So trying to wing it without the right legal or financial advice is a very risky strategy – especially given that pensions are designed for a phase of your life when you can no longer afford to take big risks.

Peace of mind comes with good legal advice – and when it comes to pensions, you’ll also need guidance from an independent financial adviser with specialist experience in this convoluted area of investments.

Why It Pays To Instruct A Good Divorce Solicitor

Here are some potential pitfalls that you may experience if you attempt to handle your divorce without getting good legal advice…

Incomplete Or Incorrect Documentation

You may not be aware of the specific documents required for divorce proceedings. Incomplete or incorrectly filled-out forms can lead to delays or even dismissal of the case.

Cuts to Legal Aid have forced more people to go to court without a lawyer. These ‘litigants in person’ often inadvertently delay legal proceedings because they have no experience of the system. The overburdened courts try to help them as best they can, but the situation is far from ideal for all concerned.

Inadequate Child Custody Arrangements

You may struggle to create effective and comprehensive children arrangements if you don’t understand the legal implications. This may lead to disputes and additional legal proceedings later on.

Imagine not being able to see your children enough in future because you didn’t get the right legal advice. You could miss watching them grow up – simply because you tried to save a few pounds by Googling everything.

Failure to Address Financial Matters

Without legal advice, you may overlook important financial considerations such as spousal maintenance, property division and pension sharing. This could result in an unfair financial settlement.

Never forget – getting divorced involves two processes:

  • Divorce – the legal ending of the marriage. This is the less costly part.
  • Division of finances, assets and liabilities – this is where it can get expensive. Particularly if you don’t get a fair settlement – or accidentally leave a loophole that allows your former partner to come back for more money in years to come. You need a full and final agreement that is not open to challenge.

Failure to Consider Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

A family law solicitor can guide you on alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation, which can help to resolve issues more amicably and cost-effectively than going to court. Keeping your divorce out of court saves you time and money. It also ensures that you remain in control at all times. You – not a judge – will be the one taking the important decisions about your children and your future life.

Not Understanding Your Legal Rights

You may not fully understand your legal rights and entitlements. This lack of awareness can result in you accepting an unfair settlement or making concessions that are not in the best interests of you and your children.

Procedural Errors

Court procedures can be complex, and without legal assistance you may struggle to navigate them. Procedural errors can lead to delays and additional costs.

Emotional Distress

Divorce is usually emotionally charged. This sometimes makes it difficult to remain objective. When you’re at a low ebb and feeling overwhelmed by the whole situation, a good solicitor will be there for you, supporting you with sound legal advice to help you take decisions that are in your best interest.

Lack of Knowledge on Legal Precedents

A solicitor has knowledge of legal precedents and case law. These can be crucial in building a persuasive case. Without this knowledge, you may miss opportunities to strengthen your legal position.

Ignoring Legal Timelines

There are specific timelines and deadlines in divorce proceedings. Failing to adhere to these can result in adverse consequences – such as the case being struck out.

Overlooking Hidden Assets

Your former partner may try to conceal assets from you. Over the years, we’ve seen all the various tricks that the other side can pull – and we have the experience and expertise to counter them to ensure you get a fair financial settlement.

Without this professional assistance, you may struggle to identify and account for all the marital assets. This can lead to an unfair distribution of property and finances.

Get Expert Legal Advice On Divorce

For expert legal advice on divorce and resolving finances, contact Coles Miller Partner Richard Perrins, Head of the Family Department.

Richard is an experienced family law solicitor. He qualified as a solicitor in 2009 and was made a Partner at Coles Miller in 2017. He has experience in handling County Court and High Court applications.

Richard’s areas of expertise include divorce, dissolution of civil partnerships, children arrangements, finances and property, separation, mediation and dispute resolution, surrogacy/fertility law, LGBT law, cohabitation agreements, and pre-nuptial agreements.

He is based at Coles Miller’s Broadstone office.

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