‘Quickie divorces’ and online divorces have recently been in the news due to an increasing number of complaints to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). These complaints have been around misleading claims about the alleged simplicity of the process, prices, and what precisely was covered.
There is the potential for confusion with many clients now representing themselves in the divorce application but this does not mean they are doing the finances without a solicitor. With most clients, provided they have the time and are comfortable using a computer/tablet, they are able to complete the divorce application themselves online. The dealing with the financial aspects of divorce would then usually run alongside of that process.
If you do the divorce application yourself there is no need to use a ‘quickie divorce’ or ‘online divorce’ because you can do it direct through His Majesty Courts and Tribunal Service website. However, we would recommend you speak with a solicitor before you do so because if you make a mistake it can be expensive to rectify, and there are potentially significant consequences if you conclude the divorce without having dealt with the financial aspects.
We would always recommend that you instruct a solicitor to assist with the financial aspects of divorce though. If you use a ‘quickie divorce’ or ‘online divorce’ service to deal with the financial aspects, then in our experience proper instructions are not taken at the outset, which then leads to the Court Order not covering all of the issues the parties needed it to cover. By the time the parties realise that, it is too late. It is very difficult and expensive to get a Financial Consent Order varied after it has been sealed by the Court.
Even though things may seem straightforward, there are likely to be issues that would only be picked up by an experienced lawyer who has taken the time to speak with you and knows what questions to ask. Any issues can be addressed at the outset and incorporated into any Consent Order before it is submitted to the Court which is much more straightforward and less expensive than trying to rectify it after it has been sealed. A straightforward financial Consent Order probably costs less than people would expect, and of course you are only charged for the actual time your lawyer has spent drafting the document and advising you, which experience suggests is money worth spending.
For information or advice about getting divorced, contact our family team today.