A new ‘fully digitised’ online divorce application service was recently launched as the latest initiative in the government’s family law modernisation programme. This new service is intended to help couples to manage their separation as simply and efficiently as possible, and to reduce strain on the family courts. However, as with any kind of DIY divorce process, there are pros and cons to be considered, and this kind of service may not be the best choice for everyone.
Everyone’s circumstances are different, and some cases may be far too complicated to be handled without the expert advice of a solicitor, as DIY divorce services tend to be most suitable to those with very straightforward needs. For those with children or financial issues to consider, however, DIY options are unlikely to provide the necessary support to ensure that your rights are adequately protected.
Due to the lack of legal aid and delays in the family court, increasing numbers of people have been turning to DIY divorce in recent years, but this has raised concerns for many family law professionals and organisations over the difficulty litigants may face in negotiating the often complicated intricacies of the process. For example, at the end of last year, we reported on the growing confusion over legal terminology by DIY divorcees, where minor errors resulted in unnecessary stress, time, and fees. In other cases, couples hoping for a cheap ‘quickie’ divorce have discovered that the DIY process is just too limited to meet their needs, ending up having to deal with further litigation in the future.
It’s important to understand that there is no such thing as a ’quickie’ divorce, and whether you choose a DIY option or not, it is always best to seek advice from a solicitor before you enter into the separation process to make sure that your chosen method is going to suit your requirements.
For those without children or complicated financial issues who are looking for a simple solution to an uncontested separation, an online divorce service may well be a practical option. But for those with more complex circumstances, there are several other avenues that may provide better support and ensure that you negotiate the process properly. For example:
- Fixed-fee legal services can help you to budget for each stage of divorce, helping to keep the costs manageable and predictable.
- Mediation can help you and your ex to come to a mutually beneficial decision out of court, saving you time, expense, and stress.
- Arbitration can help you to sort out financial disagreements and keeps the process out of court, allowing you greater privacy and flexibility.
- Collaborative Family Law can help you to make your children a priority throughout the process, working together with your ex to make a co-parenting plan for the future.
No matter what your situation, the best place to start with separation is by trying to come to a practical agreement with your ex about how you want to proceed. The more you can agree on a preliminary basis, the quicker and easier the process will be. If there are no contested actions or complicated issues such as custody of children, division of property, or financial settlements, then a DIY option could be an effective way forward. But if your circumstances are more complex, it’s always best to have the knowledge and advice of an experienced solicitor on hand to help you negotiate your separation.
For more information and guidance on the different methods of separation available, please get in touch with our family law team at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01628 634667 to arrange a free 45-minute consultation at one of our Thames Valley offices. We cover the whole of Buckinghamshire and Berkshire, including Beaconsfield, Gerrards Cross, High Wycombe, Maidenhead, Marlow, and Windsor. Let us take the weight off your shoulders and help you find the best way forward for your situation.Tags: arbitration, collaborative family law, digital divorce, divorce, DIY divorce, mediation, quickie divorce