There is no objective ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ when it comes to pursuing a divorce. There are many different ways of going about it, from a long separation to a swift dissolution – working with a solicitor from the first moment, to effectively DIY-ing it with only online resources to help you.
And, just as every marriage is different, every divorce will pan out differently. What unites them, of course, is our desire to ensure that the course runs as smoothly as possible, and that we do not encounter any issues now, or further into the future.
It is not imperative that you work with a divorce lawyer, and successful divorces have been achieved without any direct legal advice. But, while it can (and does) work, it is a risk – particularly if yours is not an open and shut case. Read more about the benefits and disadvantages of doing it on your own, below.
Of course, the main reason someone might choose to pursue a DIY divorce is cost. Working with a lawyer represents a significant cost for both you, and your partner – usually thousands of pounds – which can be difficult, particularly as you work to begin two separate lives.
Doing it on your own means that many of the costs are circumvented. You will still need to pay government court fees, which fall in at £550.
Other benefits include the fact that, by ‘working together’ rather than through lawyers, a couple can (hopefully) maintain a civility towards one another that will prove particularly invaluable if they have children together.
Finally, one of the main benefits is the fact that, thanks to the internet, it is easier to do it alone than it was, say, twenty years ago. Advice is readily available, provided your case fits the ‘standard mould’ for divorce.
The main disadvantage is the fact that you will be without expert legal advice, and that, however well-written and well-informed online guides to divorce are, they will never have been written with the specifics of your case in mind. The only way to find advice that pertains to every single aspect of your unique situation is, of course, to reach out to a lawyer yourself.
Even in the earliest days of separation, it may become apparent that the specifics of your case weigh too heavy for you to neglect to speak with a lawyer. If your ex is, say, concealing shared assets to prevent you from taking them, then it is imperative that you have the right help on your side.
If the case needs to go to court – for instance, if you have children or complicated assets – then navigating this world on your own will prove incredibly difficult, and may mean that you miss out on things that are, by rights, yours.
Very few cases will be classed as textbook – even if they seem so in the very beginning.
For the overwhelming majority of cases, working with the divorce solicitor is the best thing you can do for yourself, and for your future. Although not essential, working with a solicitor who is local to you – for instance, those in Gloucestershire should reach out to Divorce Lawyers Cheltenham – will ensure that you keep travel costs down, and that help tailored to your situation is readily available, whenever you need it.