DIY Divorce… Should I attempt it?

By Carlin Peton

DIY Divorce… Should I attempt it?

It is becoming more common for people to issue and deal with their own divorces. The process can involve obtaining the relevant forms from the internet such as from government websites and completing the forms themselves.

However, this process is only really suitable for a small proportion of people such as in cases where the assets of the marriage are fairly simple, they have a good relationship with the other spouse and everyone is on the same page and is in agreement.

Be aware however that even the most fairly simple of cases can turn hostile and bitter, especially where money and dividing assets is concerned.

Where Can Things Get Complicated?

Many people may attempt the actual ‘paper transaction’ of the divorce process themselves but there is still the financial side to consider, which although related to the divorce is a separate issue, which involves dealing with the assets in the ‘matrimonial pot.’

A spouse, for example, may be able to obtain a Decree Absolute (a final divorce order) by completing all of the necessary forms from the internet. But the financial matters still remain unresolved which could include dealing with obtaining a Clean Break Order so that all future financial claims can be closed down. Many people don’t realise that just getting the Decree Absolute doesn’t automatically close down the financial claims against the other person and vice versa.

What’s the Risk?

There is also a risk that a spouse may not be aware of all of the financial claims open to them which could leave them financially vulnerable after the divorce which could include maintenance and pensions claims. There may also be risks with obtaining the Decree Absolute before the financial matters are resolved.

A DIY divorce which goes wrong when dealing with the financial matters can make the situation even worse which leads to more stress and can leave a spouse in a worse position financially. It could also mean that further costs will have to be incurred on solicitors’ fees who may have been instructed at a later stage to rectify the situation. Therefore obtaining professional legal advice should be considered at an early stage as seeking out advice early can help ensure that all legal requirements are being adhered to and to ensure that people are aware of exactly what they are entitled to.

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