Seeking advice from a divorce lawyer could save you heartache in the future
Divorce is often a costly exercise. Hardly surprising then that those going through formal separation are keen to save money wherever possible.
An increasingly popular method is the do-it-yourself divorce, which offers couples a quick split for supposedly less than £70, although the court fee itself is £550
While you could save a few pounds in the short term, there may well be significant financial consequences further down the line.
Indeed, for the vast majority of separations, going it alone is a very risky choice.
Usually, paying a little extra for a solicitor – who will probe deeper into your needs, both present and future, to ensure that you are making the right decisions – is money very well spent.
For instance, if you do not have a formal Financial Order drawn up and signed by both you and your ex-spouse and confirmed by the court, either one of you could make a claim on each other’s future earnings, long after the divorce itself has been finalised.
That could mean that you are forever looking over your shoulder if, for example, you receive a financial boost after your divorce.
Evidence suggests increasing numbers of former spouses are claiming for a slice of their ex-partner’s recent business successes, lottery wins or inheritance windfalls – and if the correct procedure has not been followed, there is little in the way of legal armoury to defend yourself.
Complications surrounding child arrangements/custody, property and pensions, which can further complicate the matter, emphasise the need for expert guidance from the outset.
As well as leaving yourself vulnerable to post-divorce claims from your former spouse, there are other risks that come with DIY divorces, including:
– Failure to complete the process properly, leading to additional delay, or ultimately meaning that if you decide to remarry you could be accused of bigamy;
– A lack of understanding as to the value of joint assets, leaving you with less than you are entitled to.
Helen Stuart, a partner and divorce expert at Gotelee, said: “The cost of seeing a solicitor in the early days can save you a considerable amount later down the line.
“While you may be able to undertake some of the straightforward matters of a divorce yourself, I would always say, think, take legal advice, and, for a relatively modest amount of money, you might save yourself an awful lot of heartache in the future.”
"The friendliness of Sally Pryke making me feel at ease during the whole process"
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- Dale Fiddy - Portobello Developments Ltd