Do you need a lawyer or solicitor to get a divorce?
Can you get a divorce without a solicitor?
Most people believe you can only get a divorce by going through divorce lawyers or solicitors, but you can in fact get a divorce without instructing a lawyer or solicitor. There is no legal requirement that you must have a lawyer do it for you or to say that you must get legal advice. However, in reality it is a little more complicated.
This blog aims to walk you through your options to help you decide what is best to do in your own divorce situation.
Who can get a divorce?
First of all it is worth checking that you are eligible to get a divorce as there are several different ways to end marriage or civil partnership. You can get a divorce if:
– You have been married for over a year
– Your relationship has permanently broken down
– Your marriage is legally recognised in the UK
Some people may also prefer to try and resolve matters through mediation rather than getting a divorce.
When do you need to consult a divorce solicitor?
In many cases, when the divorce decision is amicable, there may appear to be no real need to engage a divorce solicitor.
However, there are several situations where it is vitally important that you do seek legal advice from a divorce solicitor or lawyer before beginning the divorce process. These include:
– You have a potentially difficult ex-partner (they may be withholding or refusing to disclose information, hiding assets or are abusive).
– If you have financial issues to resolve, including where there are debts, mortgages, a home, pensions or multiple assets to divide.
– If there are children involved and child disputes are likely to arise.
How to get a divorce without a solicitor?
The majority of the divorce process is paperwork-based, therefore it is relatively straightforward to fill out and sign, if both parties are willing.
You can apply online or by post for DIY divorce at a cost of £593 (this is to cover the court fee), although there may be help available to cover these costs if you are on benefits or a low income. There may be other court fees associated with your case, you can see some of these here.
You and your partner only need make one DIY divorce application between you. You can send the divorce application together, or as an individual.
Before completing the documents it is important that you discuss the following important issues with the other party:
– How any money and savings will be shared and if there needs to be a financial settlement.
– Where any dependent children that you share with your partner will be living.
– What happens to your home.
No fault divorce process
No fault divorce was introduced during the reformed Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act in 2020, but came into effect from May 2022. It enables couples to get a divorce or civil partnership dissolution regardless of blame or fault for the breakdown of the relationship. whereas before, there always had to be a reason cited for the relationship breakdown, for example, unreasonable behaviour or domestic abuse.
Disadvantages of a DIY divorce
Yes a DIY divorce can be much cheaper, saving you money on the costs for the divorce proceedings. However, there are some pitfalls that you should be aware of before deciding to take on your divorce without a solicitor.
Firstly, without proper legal advice, parties often have little idea of their financial entitlement upon divorce which can lead to disputes down the line. A lawyer can ensure there is no financial claim made long after the divorce has taken place.
It is important to obtain a consent order to make any division of assets legally binding, to do this you will need a solicitor or an online consent order service.
Mistakes during the divorce paperwork can be difficult and expensive to rectify, a solicitor can mitigate the likelihood of any paperwork errors.
If your ex-partner ignores the paperwork it can be difficult for you to proceed on your own.
How a divorce solicitor can help you
A divorce solicitor or family solicitor isn’t just there to help you carry out the paperwork for your divorce. They can assist in a wide variety of elements surrounding divorce proceedings:
– They can help explain the divorce process and are there to walk you through the whole thing.
– They can discuss other options you may not have thought about such as mediation (you can read all about mediation and how it works in our previous blog) or dispute resolution and potentially help you make decisions with you ex-partner without having to go to court.
– They can provide initial legal advice as well as ongoing legal advice throughout the process.
– They are able to start the divorce process by filing the necessary forms.
– If you have to go to court, your solicitor will present your case, explain what you need to do and what any decision means for you.
How we can help at Woollcombe Yonge
Our divorce solicitors are especially trained in all aspects of family law and serve Plymouth and the surrounding areas. Our family law solicitor, Will Giles, is specially trained in both mediation and collaborative law. This means he is able to help you reach an amicable agreement with your ex-partner without having to go to court.
Please do get in touch if you would like assistance with a divorce or to find alternative ways of resolving divorce, separation and children issues. Will can be contacted on 01752 827912 for a free initial conversation.
Navigating the Divorce Process: Choosing Between Divorce Solicitors, the Collaborative Process and Mediation
Family mediation – can my children be involved in child arrangements?
Everything you need to know about family mediation and how it works
Collaboration within divorce process
No Fault Divorce – Article 2
"As a family we found the service provided to us was delivered with ’empathy’ and was in fact ‘outstanding’, we would most certainly recommend Woollcombe Yonge to friends.”