The pitfalls of a ‘DIY divorce’

Posted: Wednesday October 30 2019

By: Anthony Ball

With headlines promoting ‘cheap’ and ‘quick’ divorces many people are tempted to complete the process themselves however, at a time when emotions are running high and where life may seem as if it has been turned upside down, a ‘DIY divorce’ can be a risky strategy to take which can potentially be littered with pitfalls.

The pitfalls of a ‘DIY divorce’

For couples with no children, assets or for those able to separate perfectly amicably this could be a realistic option however, for most couples, separation is not straightforward and involves, if not resolving, arrangements for their children and ensuring that fair financial outcomes are achieved and meet the needs of the family.

During the process, decisions may need to be made and challenges will be faced in relation to issues that have never otherwise been thought about.  In these situations, without the right support, the outcome can be disastrous with long-term implications.


Here are five reasons why couples should consider seeking legal advice from a specialist family solicitor:


1. Ensuring that even straight forward arrangements are enforceable in the future and that are legally sound can require expert input. The devil can be in the detail or lack of!

2. A DIY financial agreement may not include all the assets or liabilities; it may not deal with them fairly; or it may be impossible to implement resulting in expensive and lengthy court proceedings.

3. Not all divorces are straightforward and not all divorces are the same. Situations that often arise are not always foreseen at the beginning of the process. Having the benefit of a specialist family solicitor to anticipate and overcome those problems at the outset can save both time, money and stress.

4. Many people who conduct their divorce believe that everything is finalised once they have their ‘Decree Absolute’ and having shared what there was of the marriage. They often overlook the importance of having a court order that prevents any further claims being made against them in the future.

5. The law is technical, and the court procedures are complicated. Mistakes can be very expensive to rectify if the wrong tactical approach is taken. Solicitors can easily explain complex legal terminology, processes and be aware of changing case law that can be applied in specific circumstances.

The above illustrates just some of the potential pitfalls of trying to handle a divorce by yourself. Most are unforeseen when you begin the process although a good family solicitor will be able to anticipate, explain and give advice on the best options to overcome them to ensure the best possible outcome for you and your family.

# The pitfalls of a ‘DIY divorce’