You can get all sorts of information on the internet, including representing yourself in your divorce, but things are rarely as simple in reality as reading a couple of ‘how to’ blog posts and becoming an expert. What if you disagree about the children or your finances? Slogging it out between you without having that independent expert on hand to guide you through the process can be soul destroying. There are many benefits to using a divorce solicitor: they will probably save you time, take the stress out of the situation, and provide you with their wealth of knowledge and experience. Read on to find out more about what they can do to help you through your divorce.
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Why should I use a divorce solicitor?
There are many reasons you should use a solicitor to help you through the divorce process. They can negotiate a financial settlement with your ex or your ex’s solicitor or discuss matters involving the children; they can represent you in court and speak on your behalf. Above all, they will endeavour to get you the best outcome.
The top reasons you should use a divorce solicitor include:
Experience and expertise
Most people who get a divorce will not have gone through the process before, so this is something new to them. But divorce solicitors will have been involved in hundreds of cases. Divorce solicitors will tease information from you that could be used in the future that you have not previously considered, and with the benefit of legal advice, you can then decide how best to tackle the issues.
When litigants issue their own divorce proceedings without having obtained advice from a solicitor, it is common for them to fill out forms incorrectly, leading to their case being delayed. Solicitors can promptly complete forms correctly, meaning there are fewer reasons your application will be returned. This will make the process faster and more efficient.
It might be cheaper than you think
If you are a victim of domestic abuse and on a low income, there is every possibility you will qualify for legal aid. For those who don’t qualify for legal aid, fixed fees are often available. To find out what services are available in your area, you should contact your preferred solicitor or take a look through our extensive directory.
The divorce process is extremely stressful, particularly if your ex is being difficult and obstructive. A solicitor takes the sting out of everything because they deal with things for you. Contacting your ex is something for your solicitor to do. Also, you don’t have to worry about what you are doing is correct.
Answering your questions
When separating or getting divorced, you will probably have many questions you want to ask. Having a solicitor on hand who is experienced in dealing with divorce means that you have someone you can turn to for support and answers.
Avoiding a stalemate
If your ex is frustrating the proceedings, then you will benefit from the advice of a solicitor to help you get things moving. They can help avoid a stalemate in the first place and break any deadlock that could be stalling the process.
You want to defend the divorce proceedings
The reasons for defending a divorce are narrow, so you will absolutely need advice if this is the way you want to proceed. Defending proceedings is extremely complex and technical, and if done incorrectly, could land you in trouble.
Financial matters are involved
If your divorce has a financial element, you should seek advice from a solicitor. This is because there are many financial implications associated with divorce and you will need to know how these will affect you and your situation in the future. This could also include issues such as hidden assets or information, which a solicitor could help reveal. If you have been asked by your ex’s solicitors to provide financial disclosure or complete a Form E, you will need to understand how it intersects with the divorce. Many people underestimate the consequences and importance of not providing full disclosure in their Form E, and can become overwhelmed with the volume of documents required as evidence.
What are the dangers of not using a solicitor for my divorce?
It may be tempting to tackle the divorce yourself, but in reality, there is a real risk of losing thousands of pounds by making a fundamental mistake or agreeing to a financial settlement that is to your detriment. No matter how amicable your break up seems, proceeding without obtaining legal advice could be a mistake, so instructing a divorce solicitor who will look out for your best interests avoids these issues.
Other considerations include:
- Divorce is often associated with having to attend court, which can put people off from instructing solicitors. In reality, only a very small proportion of cases will end up being determined by the court, as the emphasis is always on using mediation methods to resolve matters. Most solicitors consider court as a last resort, although this may not be an option if you cannot agree. It is in these circumstances, having someone in your corner who knows the law inside and out is crucial.
- Without a thorough understanding of your financial situation, there is a real risk you could suffer significant financial loss. This often manifests as an unfair division of assets or by unintentionally taking on more debt. Therefore, it is vital when dealing with matrimonial assets that financial ties are severed to avoid the possibility of earnings or assets being claimed by your ex in the future. In the 2015 case of Wyatt v Vince, an ex-wife received a pay-out 20 years after the divorce from her multi-millionaire ex-husband.
- What is often not considered by unrepresented people is what should happen with their pension. If pensions are not dealt with correctly, you could find yourself at a real disadvantage on retirement.
- Incorrectly disclosing your finances can have a real impact on your case, and the courts are likely to take a very dim view. Questions that need particular consideration include:
A solicitor will be able to get answers to all these questions and ensure you get what you are entitled to in any financial settlement.
- One of the greatest dangers of dealing with a divorce yourself is the potential permanence and repercussions of the decisions you make. Once a divorce is finalised, modifying, or reversing financial arrangements can be complicated and expensive. So, it is vital to understand the decisions made during divorce proceedings can have long-term implications. If financial settlements are not carried out correctly, your ex could apply for more money further down the line, if you come into an inheritance, for example. An experienced solicitor will make sure your divorce will end in a fair, full, and most importantly, final settlement, so that you can move on safely in the knowledge that your ex cannot return for a second bite of the cherry.
Is a divorce solicitor needed in every case?
Sometimes, in more straightforward divorce cases, involving solicitors may inflame matters and complicate things. It will not usually be necessary to obtain legal advice:
- If a couple does not have significant shared assets in the case of an amicable break.
- If a couple does not have any children together. Or they do, but have reached an amicable agreement.
It is important to include a ‘clean break’ clause in any consent order to prevent an ex claiming in the future.
How do I know if I need a divorce solicitor?
If you have significant assets, cannot agree with your ex the extent of the matrimonial pot, or cannot agree how it should be divided up, it will be sensible to consider instructing a solicitor. Particularly if one party is in a much stronger financial position.
If the divorce is extremely acrimonious and you are unable to be in the same room, let alone talk to one another, then it will often be advisable for solicitors to step in. Additionally, if children are involved, this can complicate matters, especially if you are not in agreement about the arrangements.
An experienced divorce lawyer will not only be able to handle all the documentation and explain the process, but they can also engage in negotiations with your ex or their representatives. They can provide advice on achieving the most beneficial outcome, identify any potential issues, and implement preventative solutions.
Of course, you may feel completely happy dealing with your divorce yourself, and that is fine, too. But if you are unsure about getting a solicitor or are stuck on how to proceed, find the nearest divorce solicitor to you for further help.
The information on this website is to be considered a guide and is therefore not legal advice. You use this information with the understanding that Wiselaw does not accept liability for any direct or indirect losses as a result of anyone relying on or acting upon the information on this website. Whilst we endeavour to provide accurate information, Wiselaw does not accept liability for any errors or omissions on this website.