Seeking advice from a divorce lawyer could save you heartache in the future
Divorce is often a costly exercise. Hardly surprising then that those going through formal separation are keen to save money wherever possible.
An increasingly popular method is the do-it-yourself divorce, which offers couples a quick split for supposedly less than £70, although the court fee itself is £550
While you could save a few pounds in the short term, there may well be significant financial consequences further down the line.
Indeed, for the vast majority of separations, going it alone is a very risky choice.
Usually, paying a little extra for a solicitor – who will probe deeper into your needs, both present and future, to ensure that you are making the right decisions – is money very well spent.
For instance, if you do not have a formal Financial Order drawn up and signed by both you and your ex-spouse and confirmed by the court, either one of you could make a claim on each other’s future earnings, long after the divorce itself has been finalised.
That could mean that you are forever looking over your shoulder if, for example, you receive a financial boost after your divorce.
Evidence suggests increasing numbers of former spouses are claiming for a slice of their ex-partner’s recent business successes, lottery wins or inheritance windfalls – and if the correct procedure has not been followed, there is little in the way of legal armoury to defend yourself.
Complications surrounding child arrangements/custody, property and pensions, which can further complicate the matter, emphasise the need for expert guidance from the outset.
As well as leaving yourself vulnerable to post-divorce claims from your former spouse, there are other risks that come with DIY divorces, including:
– Failure to complete the process properly, leading to additional delay, or ultimately meaning that if you decide to remarry you could be accused of bigamy;
– A lack of understanding as to the value of joint assets, leaving you with less than you are entitled to.
Helen Stuart, a partner and divorce expert at Gotelee, said: “The cost of seeing a solicitor in the early days can save you a considerable amount later down the line.
“While you may be able to undertake some of the straightforward matters of a divorce yourself, I would always say, think, take legal advice, and, for a relatively modest amount of money, you might save yourself an awful lot of heartache in the future.”
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