Dangers of a DIY Divorce

02/12/2010

In the current uncertain economic climate you may feel that doing your own divorce is a necessary economy.

However, on a regular basis, Hine Solicitors are instructed by people who have encountered difficulties with the legal process when they have tried a DIY divorce.  Unfortunately the process of rectifying mistakes can often be more expensive for the client than if they had taken legal advice from the very beginning of the process.

Simply ticking the wrong box or deleting the wrong option on a form can have disastrous consequences.

One wife thought that she had applied for a divorce when she had actually applied for judicial separation.  It was only at the end of the court process, 5 months later, that the wife realised that she was still technically married to her husband with no other option than starting the whole process again.

In another case a husband thought he had secured a binding financial settlement with his former spouse, only to discover that this was certainly not the case.  To make matters even worse he had by then fallen into the “remarriage trap”.  This is where someone obtains a divorce and then remarries without making the appropriate application to the Court.  The effect of the “remarriage trap” is that the remarried spouse looses the right to make any financial claims against their spouse from the first marriage, although their former spouse may still make claims against them.

Even in circumstances, where neither party has remarried, to ensure that you and your former spouse are bound by the financial agreement you have reached, the settlement must be converted into an order approved by Court.  If you do not have an approved Court order then your respective financial claims against the other are simply left open. This can have catastrophic consequences if you inherit money or even win the lottery.

Instructing a solicitor to deal with your family law matters does require a financial commitment, but acting “in person” can often be a false economy.

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