If you do an internet search for ‘DIY divorce’ or ‘quickie divorce’ you’ll be bombarded with a hundred different options claiming you can speed through the separation process with nothing more than a couple of signatures and a few hundred quid. While this is obviously very appealing to couples wanting to split as fast as possible, when you look at these deals realistically, what you actually end up with is a myriad of extra hidden fees, and a separation process that does not meet your comprehensive needs or protect you from litigation in the future. It’s very likely you’ll find out your ‘quickie’ has actually caused more issues than it resolved, cost a lot more than you intended, and means you’ll have to seek further legal help down the line.
However, if you’re looking for a quick(er) way to separate, there are various options available to you to help speed up the process:
Co-operation and preparation:
In all cases, coming to a mutual agreement with your ex about the terms of your separation is the best way to ensure things go as smoothly as possible. Before you begin the process of dispute resolution, discuss the main issues you’ll need to cover (eg: children, finances, property) and make some preliminary decisions if you can. Then, once you’ve decided on the method of separation, you’ll be able to work through each stage with the minimum of fuss.
Similarly, having all the appropriate documents and details in order early on helps to speed up the administrative side of separation. Speak to your solicitor about what is required and use their expertise to keep on top of the process at every stage.
When you apply to the court for a divorce you must also cite grounds for divorce which include: adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, or living apart for at least two years (if you are both in agreement regarding the divorce) or five years (even if one party disagrees with the divorce). Choosing either of the latter two options obviously means waiting longer for the divorce to be finalised, but can drastically simplify and reduce the duration of the actual process. In any case, the more combative your negotiations are, the longer your separation is likely to last.
Arbitration is a method of dispute resolution which does not require you to go to court. Instead, you and your ex appoint a family arbitrator who reviews your case and makes a decision based on your situation. Most people who use arbitration also hire their own solicitor for legal advice. Arbitration is private, flexible, and often much quicker and cheaper than a court-based separation. However, it is not suitable for resolving children’s issues.
Mediation is another alternative that allows you to resolve your differences out of court, this time with the guidance of a family law mediator. Like arbitration, mediation is generally faster and cheaper than a court divorce. Unlike arbitration, a decision is not made on your behalf – instead, you and your ex are expected to collaborate together with your mediator to come to a mutual agreement. Mediation is particularly suited to parents who are looking for a practical and amicable solution to co-parenting their children after separation. Mediation can also help to resolve financial and property disputes.
Collaborative Family Law:
A third option for those wanting to avoid court is collaborative family law – a quick and effective way of resolving relationship disputes through amicable cooperation. With this method of separation, both you and your ex appoint a family lawyer and meet together to discuss your situation and come to an agreement. Like mediation, collaborative family law can be especially useful to couples with children.
In most cases, if you want a ‘quickie’ separation, the best thing to do is work collaboratively with your ex and seek an out-of-court method of dispute resolution like mediation, arbitration or family law. To discuss your options, speak to an experienced family lawyer at Frances Lindsay & Co who will be able to advise you on the best solution for your situation.divorce solicitor Beaconsfield, divorce solicitor Maidenhead, divorce solicitor Thames Valley, DIY divorce, quickie divorce