This is the question on the lips of many as they embark on their divorce journey.
Joanna Farrand, Partner in the Family Division of Barlow Robbins discusses whether or not you need a solicitor.
Divorce is never an easy process and is rarely an inexpensive one. In these tough economic times it is tempting for many people faced with the prospect of a divorce to try to embark on the process without seeking proper legal advice in an attempt to minimise costs.
Can you really get divorced without a solicitor?
It is possible for a party to manage the divorce process themselves as it is largely administrative now and can be done on-line. Whether you need a solicitor or not, will much depend on how willing a party is to invest the time required to deal with the court process.
When to seek advice from a specialist family solicitor?
Save for the emotional aspect, the divorce itself is rarely the contentious issue; more often than not both parties will accept that the marriage has broken down. It is the practical issues associated with divorce that are more complicated; who lives where, who gets what, what are the arrangements for the children and so on. It is these areas where a quality specialist family solicitor is worth investing in at an early stage.
Even in the most amicable of divorces, it is likely to be beneficial to register any agreements at court in the form of a consent order, so as to not leave claims open for the future. It is important that such consent orders are drafted correctly and use the proper legal language to minimise the risk of ambiguity and problems in the future.
Investing at the outset in some legal advice can pay dividends in the future, whether you instruct a solicitor to handle the full process or not. A good family solicitor will cost money but should also save you money, time and stress in the long run. Not only can they provide advice on the law and processes, they can suggest solutions, give tactical advice, are accustomed to negotiating settlements where possible and dealing with court proceedings where necessary.