There are increasing numbers of people who try to deal with their own divorces. Court paperwork has been simplified over the years to make the process more “user friendly” for parties to “do it themselves”. There are numerous services online which offer “quickie” “cheap” divorces.
As a result of a number of divorce petitions apparently being issued in contravention of the law, the President of the Family Division, the chief family lawyer in the country has recently issued some guidance on the steps that need to be taken if a person finds themselves in that situation.
Before you apply for your divorce, it is worth checking that your petition has been properly drafted and that you are going to be successful in obtaining a divorce.
• You can only apply for a divorce if you have been married for more than a year.
• There is no such thing as a “quickie” divorce.
In a straightforward divorce, the process takes about 4 -6 months.
• If you are applying for divorce on the basis of separation for a particular period, you need to have been separated for the relevant period (and possibly longer).
What a non-lawyer may consider as “separated” is not necessarily the same as the law requires.
• If you are applying for divorce and need the other person’s co-operation for the divorce to progress, then have that in writing before you proceed.
Otherwise you should divorce on a basis that will not require their co-operation.
The effects of finding out that your divorce has been wrongly granted can be devastating. It will prevent you from claiming or finalising a financial settlement. If you have remarried since the “divorce”, then that later marriage is not going to be valid.
It may be worth remembering therefore that whilst it might appear easier and cheaper to do your own divorce, it does still involve some law. Quite clearly there are a number of people, and a number of courts, getting it wrong. Nobody wants to pay legal fees but if it does go wrong, the costs of sorting it out properly will be a lot more. It is always worth obtaining at least some initial advice. From the outset, we will always try to tailor the amount of our input and costs that suits your needs and the circumstances of your situation.
If you require assistance in this area then please do not hesitate to contact us at www.hinesolicitors.com.