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Do I need a solicitor for my divorce?

Our People - Loretta Orsi-Barzanti
10 October, 2022

You may not need a solicitor, but if possible, you should at least get advice from a solicitor before starting divorce proceedings. With the help of a divorce solicitor you will ultimately save time, find the process a little less stressful and benefit from their knowledge and experience.

Then again, the internet is a place where seemingly everything is possible, including getting a divorce. The online divorce tool on the court website is being used more often by more people and the DIY divorce is on the rise. However, online divorces may not be right solution for everyone.

Why use a divorce solicitor?

A divorce solicitor can speak to both your partner and their solicitor on your behalf. They can represent you in court and speak on your behalf, so you don’t have to. Above all, they will try to get you the best outcome.

8 reasons to use a solicitor when you divorce

  1. Knowledge and Experience
  2. Saving Time
  3. Costs might be cheaper than you might think
  4. Reducing stress
  5. Your questions, answered
  6. Avoid a stalemate
  7. You want to defend the divorce proceedings
  8. There are financial matters involved

1. Knowledge and Experience

Chances are, that when you are getting a divorce, it is something that you have never done before. Divorce solicitors will have been involved in hundreds, if not thousands of cases. When you visit a solicitor, you are paying for their knowledge and experience. Essentially, the knowledge to get it right, first time.

Divorce lawyers will extract information from you that could become issues in the future, which you might not have thought about, like pensions, inheritance and sorting out arrangements for any dependent children. You can, with the benefit of legal advice, then decide about how best to proceed. 

2. Saving Time

Over and over, I have seen clients issue divorce petitions on their own without having seen a solicitor.  On many occasions they have included incorrect information on their applications which has meant that they must start again. This inevitably makes the whole process much longer.

Solicitors can usually see you quite quickly. They will be able to promptly complete all the forms and send them to court for you. In addition, because they are experienced in their field, there are fewer reasons why your application is returned and so, overall, your divorce will be dealt with faster and more efficiently.

One of the main problems arises when the Acknowledgement of Service is not returned. Your solicitor will be able to provide you with options on how to progress your divorce if the Acknowledgement of Service becomes an issue.

3. Costs may be cheaper than you might think

Visiting a solicitor can be expensive. However, seeing a solicitor may be cheaper than you think.

For example, if you are a victim of domestic violence and you are on a low income, there is every chance that you will qualify for FREE legal advice under the Legal Help Scheme operated by the Legal Aid Agency. This means that you DO NOT have to pay for legal advice and assistance on your divorce.

If there is a financial application within your divorce, then there may be circumstances where you might have to repay your fees, but this would be at a reduced rate when compared to a solicitors’ normal private hourly rate.  

If you don’t qualify for Legal Aid, fixed fees are often available. For example, here at GN Law, the cost of a divorce, if you are the applicant, is a fixed fee is £895 + VAT. With that you will receive an advice session, a full letter of advice, and all the work associated with your divorce, from start to finish, will be taken care of for you by your solicitor.

4. Reducing Stress

The divorce process can be incredibly stressful, especially if your ‘ex’ is being difficult. Using a solicitor means that matters will be much less stressful because your solicitor will be dealing with everything for you. Contacting your ‘ex’ will be for your solicitor to do, rather than for you. You also do not have to worry about whether what you are doing is correct or not.

5. Your questions, answered

You will likely have a plethora of questions when you are getting divorced. Having a solicitor who has experience in divorce means that when you have a question or something is playing on your mind about the divorce, you have someone who you can turn to who can answer those for you. 

6. Avoid a Stalemate

If your ‘ex’ is less than happy to allow your divorce to go through, then you will need the advice of a solicitor to help you get round this. A divorce solicitor can help avoid a stalemate and break any deadlock that maybe holding up the divorce process.

7. You want to defend the divorce proceedings

If you are considering defending divorce proceedings, you will certainly need a solicitor. Defending divorce proceedings is highly technical and if done incorrectly may land you in trouble. With the advent of the new divorce rules, the reasons you can defending a divorce are minimal, so you will definitely need to get advice to see if this could be successful for you.  

8. There are financial matters involved

If there is a financial aspect of your divorce, I would recommend seeing a solicitor before starting your divorce. This is because there are a great number of financial ramifications associated with divorce and you will want to know how this will impact on you moving forward. This may also include things like hidden assets or information, which a divorce solicitor can help uncover.

If divorce proceedings have already started and you have, for example, been asked to go through financial disclosure or complete a Form E to get the financial side of things underway, you will need to understand how this interacts with the divorce itself. Many people underestimate the importance and consequences of not filing a Form E in divorce proceedings.

Of course, you may feel entirely comfortable dealing with your divorce yourself, and that is completely fine, but if you are unsure about getting a solicitor or just don’t know how to proceed please feel free to contact one of our specialist Divorce Solicitors for free initial consultation or get in touch on 020 8492 2290.

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