You may have recently read in the news about the number of people applying for a divorce over the Christmas//New Year period.
This week (Monday 7th – Sunday 13th) is also often referred to as “Divorce Week” whereby Solicitors receive a lot more enquiries about family law matters than any other time of the year.
Whilst it is correct that you can obtain a divorce online, there are still court fees that have to be paid for and yes you are effectively cutting out the Solicitor’s fees. A divorce online might be the right way to proceed for some, but what about if the other party does not agree to a divorce, defends the divorce, and what if there are financial matters or children issues which need to be sorted out? An online divorce application is not going to sort out those additional matters.
Only yesterday in a national newspaper article, there was a warning that ex-wives are losing out regarding pension splits following a divorce, emphasizing the need for divorcing women not to focus only on property. Again, pensions will not be considered where you apply for a divorce online and thus another reason for seeking specialist legal advice on what is the right course of action of you and the right financial outcome
A divorce (the final document known as a Decree Absolute) merely brings the marriage to an end and nothing more than that. The most crucial part of any separation/divorce is to try and reach an agreement regarding the children and, further, financial matters to avoid court intervention and the most important document in divorce proceedings is in fact a Financial Order even if there are no financial matters to sort out. This is because of a case known as Wyatt v Vince  UKSC.
In the case of Wyatt v Vince in 2015, the parties had been divorced for several years and the husband went on to accrue considerable assets which he thought were safe from any claim by his ex-wife. As the parties did not have any assets at the time of the divorce and did not seek legal advice, they did not secure a financial clean break from each other. This is an oversight that cost the husband dearly as his ex-wife did eventually seek legal advice and made an application to the court for a share of the wealth he had accrued after the divorce. Her application was successful and her settlement far outweighed what it would have cost the husband to obtain legal advice at the time of the divorce and obtain a clean break financial order.
The online Divorce process will not get you that most crucial document, the Financial Order. Thus, before you proceed with any “DIY Divorce” yourself, whatever your circumstances, you would be well advised to seek legal advice to ensure that you are proceeding in the right way.
Thomson & Bancks are willing to discuss the options with you and advise you of the best course of action. Fixed fee appointments are offered so that you can ascertain the best course of action for you before you do anything further.
Chrys is an experienced Solicitor, specialising in Family Law; relationship breakdowns, divorces, financial matters, Children and cases involving domestic violence. She is accredited by the organisation “Resolution”, certified to assist in Financial Provision and Children Law work. Details of the organisation Resolution can be found here.
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