Do I Still Need A Solicitor For My Divorce?
With an increasing number of divorcing couples going down the DIY route, the Court Services has introduced new and more user-friendly forms for petitioners to complete.
Does this mean the end to using solicitors in divorce cases?
The answer really depends on how confident you feel about dealing with the divorce process yourself, how much time you have on your hands and how complex your case is.
For a straightforward undefended divorce, you are not expected to appear before a Judge and the whole process can be dealt with by the Court as a paper exercise. If a divorce becomes defended or there are problems over service of the papers or you have an ex who is not prepared to play ball, things can become trickier and the process can become more involved.
More often than not a divorce is not just about formalising the end of a marriage. Decisions will need to be made about who the children should live with and how assets, property and money should be divided. This is when the role of a solicitor becomes more important. We make sure that you do not sell yourself short in terms of what you settle for and that you make the best decisions around your children.
Reaching a financial settlement may involve solicitors or engaging in mediation. A good solicitor will be looking to try to settle your case from the get go as promptly and as cost effectively as possible. We want you to save money by encouraging you to volunteer your financial information and to be transparent in your dealings with each other. The earlier we know what there is to share, the quicker we can enter into negotiations to settle your case without going to court. If the press to be believed, there are solicitors out there who want you to spend your money and will try to prolong the process. Not us at Chapman and Pieri. We never do and would never do so. We view court proceedings as very much the last resort.
Sometimes however there can be no choice but to go to court; negotiations are stalling; you have reached an impasse; money is being spent on negotiations that could be better spent getting the court to help with a settlement. More often than not, a court case does not go all the way to a final hearing. We now have a very helpful dispute resolution hearing which involves the Judge taking off his “judicial hat” and replacing it with a mediation one and telling a divorcing couple how the case is likely to be decided if it goes all the way to trial. Listening to what the Judge has to say at this stage in the process can be really useful in helping a divorcing couple iron out their differences, explore compromises to pave the way to a concluded agreement which is something that here at Chapman Pieri we always actively encourage from the outset.
The litigation process can be expensive and we, at Chapman Pier are always mindful of that. We want you to maximise your settlement without expending too much precious time or money.
Also, a good point to note is that in the vast majority of cases, we would be advising that you do not apply for your Decree Absolute (this is the decree that dissolves your marriage) until you have reached an agreement on the financial aspects of divorce especially if there is a property and/or pension involved.
So, whether you embark on the divorce route on your own and/or you realise along the way on the way that you need professional advice and guidance, the you should not hesitate to give us and call to discuss if we can help on 020 888 9850.