Bishop & Sewell

To save on costs, people getting divorced are sometimes tempted to avoid using solicitors, but is this a wise decision?

When going through a divorce, even one which is largely amicable, the process can be emotionally challenging. A divorce will involve a fundamental change to living arrangements and daily routines, particularly for families with children. A person’s judgement can become clouded if they are only able to see things from their own standpoint. While divorce therapists and coaches can be of immense support emotionally, expert legal advice is essential.

Sometimes, even the most amicable of separations can sour very quickly, simply because people are not aware of the law and how it should be applied. They may focus on the lesser issues and pay less attention to what should be at the heart of a settlement.

To deal with a situation constructively, people need a certain degree of knowledge so that they are aware of their legal position, what should be a fair resolution and what options are available to help deal with any issues.

Obtaining a divorce is relatively simple and something that people can usually deal with without legal help, but this will only address the dissolution of a marriage; it will not deal with the financial side, nor will it address any issues concerning children.

On divorce, the courts have extensive powers to rearrange a couple’s financial affairs. It can order the transfer of assets, payment of lump sums and maintenance. Quite often certain assets are overlooked – such as pensions – and even if they aren’t, their value may be underestimated.

Issues concerning children may be financial, such as the level of maintenance that should be paid, how any school or university fees are to be met, and how the children are to be accommodated. There will be non-financial issues to be addressed, such as how they should split their time between including arrangements in terms of birthdays, Christmas, and holidays. Other issues may involve communication and dealing with any differences over religion, education and health care. The impact of a parent’s separation on children can be profound, particularly if matters are dealt with in the wrong way to start with.

Parents may be able to agree these matters between themselves but frequently they need assistance or a formal structure to address these constructively. Quite often parents will find that there are disagreements or that they struggle dealing with or engaging the other parent. Others may feel that it is impossible to address such issues with the other parent and the prospect of doing so fills them with dread.

A good family solicitor is not out to create problems whatever the public perception of lawyers may be. They are there to ensure that matters are dealt with properly and ensure that their clients avoid pitfalls along the way. They will explain what is needed to ensure their client’s financial position is protected and that they are not exposed to future, unexpected claims.

If you are contemplating a DIY divorce, it pays to at least have an initial consultation with a specialist family lawyer. They will offer guidance as to what needs to be done before any potential damage is done. At least then, if you still decide to go it alone, you are at least doing this with your eyes wide open.

Contact our Family Team

Bishop & Sewell’s Family lawyers have the knowledge and experience to guide you through these challenging times and have rankings in the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners for their expertise.

If you are affected by similar issues or would like to have a related discussion in confidence, please contact a member of the Family team direct or email or call us direct on 020 7091 2869.

The above is accurate as of 13 May 2022. The information above may be subject to change during these ever-changing times.

The content of this note should not be considered legal advice and each matter should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Category: Blog | Date: 6th Jun 2022

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