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Do I need to use a Solicitor for my Divorce?

10 Oct 2018

Whether or not you will require a Solicitor or are considering using a DIY service for your divorce is a personal choice. Hepburn Delaney strongly recommend using a solicitor to assist with your divorce even if you do not require a solicitor for every stage of the process. By seeking some independent legal advice as you embark on the divorce process will ensure that you understand your legal position, what the process is and what you and your family are entitled to.

We recommend clients consider the following as part of the decision-making process:

GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE
You do not have an automatic right to a divorce and there are just five facts a divorce can be based on. Please see our website for further information https://www.hepburndelaney.co.uk/our-services/familylaw/divorce/

The five facts are not always clear, and you may need advice from a Solicitor to be sure.

CONTESTED OR UNCONTESTED
If you and your spouse both agree to the divorce this means your divorce is considered as uncontested and are relatively straightforward.

However; if one spouse is unwilling to divorce, then it will be a contested divorce and a Solicitor will be required to establish whether there are grounds for divorce or not.

Even if your divorce is uncontested, you may need advice from a Solicitor regarding division of property, assets, maintenance payments either to you, your children or both.

CHILDREN AND FINANCES
The most important issues in divorce are those involving children under 18. The issues include child support, parental responsibility and orders for residence and contact. It is important to know that a divorce often isn’t only a divorce, but the time at which financial and children matters are also addressed.

If you are asking the court to make decisions about your finances and your children, then an experienced solicitor can guide you to a divorce settlement that the divorce court will approve, saving time and costs. The court will consider the needs of any children first and will look for a settlement which they consider is being in the best interests of the children.

PROPERTY AND ASSETS
If your divorce consists of a property, furniture and any pets and can be easily divided between you both, then this can be done without a Solicitor. Nevertheless, it is advisable to obtain a consent order to avoid financial claims on each other in the future. Hepburn Delaney can advise on creating a legally binding consent order.

If you own substantial property and assets, then you will want to consult a solicitor to make sure you receive your full entitlement and that the division of property is tax efficient.

COURT FORMS
The person applying to the court for a divorce is called the Petitioner and they will need to undertake most of the work needed for the divorce including completing most of the court forms. If any of the forms are completed incorrectly then these can be rejected by the court. Even if you would like to do your divorce yourself, we would recommend seeing a solicitor to assist with any forms to avoid the forms being returned, which is likely to cause delay and additional cost.

The other person is known as the Respondent and they will also need to complete several Court forms.

At Hepburn Delaney we will complete the forms for you, using the information you provide, ensuring that the forms are fully and accurately completed. This can be more cost effective then completing yourself once time and risk of returned forms are factored in.

LEGALLY BINDING
Whilst there is no legal requirement to use a solicitor it will make the process smoother, fairer and more secure. As a couple you may have decided how to share your assets, including your property, but unless this is drawn up in a legally binding agreement wither party can change their mind later. One of our experienced team will ensure that the agreement is contained in a legal document, which will allow you to plan for the future.

FAIRNESS AND ACCURACY
Crucially a solicitor will explain to you what you are legally entitled to and ensure it is fair to both parties. This risk of a DIY divorce is that any agreement you make without a solicitor may not be fair as you may not realise what you are legally entitled to.

HOW CAN HEPBURN DELANEY HELP?
A divorce can be overwhelming as it often happens at a time which is already stressful or emotional. Our solicitors have significant experience with the divorce process and are therefore able to guide you through the process. We will ensure it is followed accurately and smoothly as possible and that you know what is happening at each stage of the process.

Contact Hepburn Delaney today with any questions you have about your separation, divorce, or finances. We have several packages available to ensure that you have as much advice as you require throughout your divorce. We are here to help you and can be contacted on 01442 219080.