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The danger of DIY divorce

7th September 2016 - Thea Dunne
The danger of DIY divorce

With divorce as with all other aspects of modern life, people are increasingly turning to online services. In recent years a plethora of DIY divorce websites have sprung up offering separation packages for couples hoping for speedy and amicable divorces. Though bound by the six week legal minimum time period, many promise separations within a matter of months.

The appeal of low-cost, expedited divorce is clear. Many couples without children or assets feel their arrangements could be kept simple, and the solicitors kept out. They cater to those seeking a simple formal split unencumbered by complicated financial divisions and childcare arrangements.

Problems arise however when divorced spouses come back for more. Incomplete issues, outstanding financial claims, any loose threads unbound by a court order all too often return to haunt erstwhile partners. They might then discover to their horror that matters werent quite as final as they had thought.

It is crucial to remember that in English and Welsh law, there is no time limit on divorce or dissolution that will bar you or your partner from making a claim for financial provision. In Scotland however a divorce reneges on your ability to claim. Furthermore the promises in budget package divorces that Google might yield may omit hidden and court costs. Whatever a couple chooses, doing their homework at the start should be their first step.

A divorce should provide a resolution that leaves both parties feeling secure. Taking the time to think carefully through the implications for both parties need not brew ill-feeling but rather empathy and common sense. Even if you conclude that neither of you wants to claim against each other, binding that decision in a court order will allow you both to finalise proceedings and move on with your life.

Another solution offers itself in the form of arbitration. It is private, quicker, cheaper, and with professional legal assistance, thorough. Though it may not be an option for the less straightforward cases, it could be a boon for many fearing a Dickensian battle dragged out more slowly in the public courts.

Certainly there is too much red tape around divorce in the UK, making inevitable separations all the more distressing. Though pre-nuptial agreements would assist in straightforward, respectful splits, these are too slowly making inroads in the British public. Choosing to end a marriage or civil partnership is often deeply upsetting and it is admirable when people rely on goodwill in separation arrangements. However dispensing with rigour and professional expertise is not the answer.

If you would like more information pertaining to this article, see our guide to divorce and read why is it never too early or too late to take expert advice?.

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