In short, the answer is “no”, you do not need a solicitor for your divorce. It is perfectly possible to go through the divorce process without the aid of a solicitor.
For many, the decision to go ahead without a lawyer is motivated by money. While attempting to save money on legal costs can seem like a logical step, particularly if money is tight, it is important to be aware that it is not without its risks. Any short-term savings on legal bills may well be lost in the long run.
Making mistakes on the divorce petition now can have consequences later
Although the divorce petition can seem relatively straightforward at first glance, it can be helpful to seek legal advice before completing it. Otherwise, if you make any errors, these could potentially have consequences further down the line.
The divorce itself is only one element of the process
As we touched on above, the divorce itself is really only one part of the process.
If you have children, you may also need to consider child arrangements: issues such as who the children will live with and how often the other parent will see them will need to be determined and often this is less than straightforward.
In addition, there is the financial settlement. This is the part of the process which often takes the longest. Depending on the complexity of a couple’s finances, negotiations around how assets will be split upon divorce can take many months. If an agreement cannot be reached, and other out-of-court methods such as mediation do not work, it may then be necessary to go to court to ask a judge to decide. This can significantly prolong the process and increase the costs.
Getting the right legal advice as early on as possible in a divorce, can give you an idea of what a fair financial settlement could look like in your circumstances. This can inform negotiations and get them off to a good start. Conversely, without legal advice, both parties could begin financial negotiations with unrealistic expectations and it could take much longer to reach an agreement – or even result in the need to go to court.
Consider your options carefully
The choice between acting as a litigant in person and saving money, or instructing a solicitor and incurring significant costs, may not be as straightforward as it first appears.
A specialist family lawyer can provide you with legal advice relevant to your circumstances which can not only help you to ensure that you are fully aware of your rights, but can also provide you with the knowledge and information you need to try and resolve your divorce, child arrangements and the financial settlement, constructively and without animosity.
A solicitor can also advise you of all of the options available to you, which could help you to reach an agreement without commencing costly court proceedings.
Get in touch today to book your free consultation with one of our specialist family solicitors to discuss how Grayfords may be able to help with your divorce.
Neil Graham, a Partner at Grayfords, comments as follows: “The availability of the Government online portal and the enactment of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 introducing no-fault divorce means it is now much easier to navigate the divorce process itself without having to instruct a solicitor though it is often still advisable to do so if there are arguments around the costs of the process of if there is more than one country in which the divorce might take place. Resolving the financial aspects alongside the divorce, or resolving any disputes affecting children, can be more difficult or complex and advice should generally be sought from a specialist family lawyer at the outset in order to avoid difficulties at a later stage. Although not appropriate in all cases, mediation can often be a cost-effective and consensual way of resolving disputes but advice should still be taken from a specialist family lawyer on any proposed solution. We are always happy to help at Grayfords. The resources below may also be of interest and assistance.”