DIY divorce: do you need a lawyer?

Here at Cartridges Law we hear more and more of people writing wills and applying for probate by themselves, and even taking a DIY approach to divorce or separation, without hiring a specialist lawyer.

And in theory, that’s fine; there are many DIY divorce kits easily downloadable from the internet, and plenty of websites and chat rooms full of advice from divorcees who are ready and willing to help you on your way.

However, there are some genuine pitfalls that we often see, in cases where people have tried to take things forward without hiring a specialist family law solicitor to help and advise them. All too often, they end up needing to use a lawyer later on in the process, by which point it can be unnecessarily complicated and can end up costing more money in the long run.  

Pitfalls of DIY divorce

One of the most important things to remember, and something that we wrote about in our ‘How to have a Good Divorce‘ blog recently, is that divorce can be tough whatever your circumstances, and that clients need to think about the bigger picture and not just what’s right in front of them at that moment. Emotions run high, and it’s absolutely vital, especially where children, houses, pets and any joint possessions are concerned, to think about the longer term. Something that your lawyer can help you to do from the outset.

Anita Laws, one of our team specialising in divorce and separation, says: ‘Divorce can be a really complicated process with lots to think about. Whilst we do understand why people want to try to do it themselves, it’s important to remember that a solicitor has probably seen every type of divorce and separation imaginable and can help clients to predict likely scenarios. Just because you have an amicable relationship with your ex-partner now, throw family, changes in finances, property or a new partner into the mix, and things can swiftly change course.’

Anita says that hiring a lawyer can provide you with the necessary advice in relation to obtaining the financial orders needed to prevent any claims being made on your finances in the future, something that she sees all too often, and sometimes years after the decree absolute has been granted.

‘Couples going through the process themselves are often understandably in a hurry to move on to the next stage of their life. Completing the divorce application themselves, and without a full understanding of the full process, could mean that they are not necessarily dividing their assets fairly. This can leave them in a very vulnerable financial position in the future and it means that their ex-partner could try to make a claim if a final financial order is not made.

There really are so many things to think about in a DIY divorce. We’d strongly advise speaking with a lawyer and we offer a free 30-minute consultation with a member of our team to help you to decide whether to hire us to act on your behalf. Contact us to make an appointment. You can use the form below, telephone on 01392 256854, or email