How practical is a DIY Divorce? Would money saved now by doing your own divorce cost you heavily later on? For most people the answer is that a Do It Yourself Divorce is quite possible especially if:
• You and your spouse have agreed everything. This will include property and financial matters, arrangements for any children and that the marriage has come to an end.
• You are fully aware of the families and your spouse’s income assets and liabilities and these are straightforward.
• You are satisfied that you and your spouse will be able to work together in the best interests of the children.
You must also have the time available to deal with the paperwork and the temperament to handle what can be an emotional exercise.
Even where there is not complete agreement on everything it might not be necessary to go running to a lawyer. Apart from costing money at a time when finances are going to be under strain it can be the same as squaring up for a fight. Far better to consider mediation or to call in a friend or relative who you both trust to help you reach an agreement.
Where there is anger or the possibility of deception a DIY Divorce is best avoided. If you are not able to talk and discuss issues with your spouse in an unemotional, civilised, business like fashion you are going to need to call someone in to do this for you. If your spouse is hiding money or likely to transfer assets out of your reach it is probable that you will need a lawyer to help you make application to the court.
Online divorce services are very good at preparing the documents to petition for divorce. The cost is not great and if you have a busy life it can make sense to have the court papers prepared for you. They will also be able to answer any questions on the procedure and some are able to prepare further documents such as financial consent orders. In the main however they are not able to advise on the merits of a proposed settlement and should not be relied upon if things become acrimonious between you and your spouse.
Employing a lawyer is going to be expensive but it can be money well spent. A lawyer can act as a shield between you and your spouse and will be aware of issues which may not have occurred to you. They will be able to advise on the sort of order a court is likely to make should it go that far. You will get advice on questions such as whether a court would take into consideration a possible inheritance or likely promotion (or redundancy) of you or your spouse. First appointments can be free and you may well get some useful free information.
If you decide to take on a lawyer you will need to decide how much or how little they are to do. It makes sense to obtain an early decision on what would be a fair settlement of finances. It can also make much sense to have a lawyer on call when necessary. It is only where you feel vulnerable and where there are considerable assets that usually the full services of a solicitor will be necessary.