When anyone is faced with separation, in an attempt to save costs, the option of a DIY divorce may seem preferable however in reality this can very much be a false economy.
Given the current tough economic conditions, it’s inevitable many will try to cut costs and attempt to do themselves what they would previously have paid a professional to do. However, failure to seek out the right legal advice from a trained family solicitor at an early stage could cost more money in the long run.
The completion of divorce papers can be an arduous and time consuming task. The requirement for additional documentation can be forgotten or misunderstood. If the necessary papers are not completed correctly or the additional documentation is incorrect, any application will be rejected by the Court causing further stress, delay and cost.
Of even greater concern, failing to seek legal advice on divorce can in turn mean failing to obtain vital legal advice on any outstanding financial or child related matters.
Where divorce brings a legal end to the marriage and does mean either party is free to remarry if they wish, it does not automatically bring an end to any financial obligations they have to each other or include any legal arrangements for the children.
If, on issuing divorce proceedings, there are any outstanding financial issues such as property, pensions, savings, whether owned jointly or individually, finality should be sought by way of a Court Order.
If any couple are fortunate enough to have agreed a division of their finances in advance of issuing divorce proceedings it is important to ensure each party enters in to a Matrimonial Agreement to be formalised by the Court. Failing to do so will leave either party vulnerable to the other changing their mind and issuing an application for financial relief at any time in the future.
Child contact arrangements will continue to develop and change as children get older irrespective of whether or not divorce proceedings have concluded. Indeed, if issues on child arrangements should arise during the course of divorce proceedings the Court is unlikely to proceed with the application for divorce until these outstanding issues are resolved. Taking legal advice at an early stage can avoid any unnecessary delay.
If you are facing divorce and are worried about legal costs, don’t try to cut corners. Seeking advice at an early stage will equip you with the necessary information moving through separation and will avoid any nasty and often costly surprises further down the line.
Julie Tierney, Solicitor, is head of our experienced family department. Feel free to make an appointment with any of our matrimonial solicitors where, at your initial meeting you will be provided with practical advice on divorce proceedings, the likely cost of issuing these proceedings together with initial advices on all financial issues or child contact matters relating to your separation.