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The Pitfalls of Applying for a Divorce Without Legal Assistance

The Pitfalls of Applying for a Divorce Without Legal Assistance

Carolyn RichardsAuthor: Carolyn Richards. Associate Solicitor, LLB (Hons).

Carolyn is a specialist family law Solicitor and offers a free initial interview to give general advice and guidance and to discuss the options available to you.

One of the questions I often get asked as a family lawyer is, ‘can you get divorced without using a solicitor’?

It is possible to apply for a divorce using the Court Service’s online procedure. However, doing so without the benefit of legal advice and assistance can cause more problems than it solves.

When applying for a divorce, there is a standard form that needs to be completed.  Mostly the form requires basic information about the couple and the reasons for the divorce.  On the face of it, this can be completed without any difficulty. However, there are parts of the form where care needs to be taken to make sure that financial matters can be dealt with.

Financial Claims

When a couple are married, there are a whole range of financial claims that they can make against each other, when the marriage comes to an end.  They can make claims in relation to income, savings, property and pensions.  Those claims remain in place, even after divorce.  Unless and until they are dealt with by way of a Court Order within divorce proceedings.

Even if there is no property or savings, most people now have pensions. These pensions are an asset in a marriage that can be shared. It is always worth taking legal advice as to whether or not a Court Order should be obtained to dismiss all the claims that can be made by the couple.  This is what is commonly known as a “clean break” .

Claims Made After a Divorce

Claims can be made after the divorce has been obtained. So technically it would be possible for one party to make a claim against the other. If, for example, the other party had inherited or won a lot of money.  Of course, every case is different and it is important to obtain legal advice in relation to your own situation.

One such problem that can occur is known as the “remarriage trap”.  Although financial claims can be made after a couple are divorced, the ability to make those claims comes to an end upon remarriage.  So, for example, if a wife obtains a divorce and then remarries, she would no longer be able to make a claim against her former husband. In respect of any assets they had within their marriage, including pensions.  This would be the case if she was the Respondent in the divorce proceedings (her former husband had applied for the divorce). Or indeed if she had applied for the divorce but had not completed the divorce application form correctly.

It is important to get legal advice and assistance to obtain a divorce. To make sure that everything is dealt with properly. So you do not lose out on a valuable financial settlement or you are left vulnerable to future claims being made against you.  It is equally important to get advice whether you are the person applying for the divorce or the other party (the Respondent).

Get in touch

Hart Reade are here to help you in Eastbourne, Meads, Hailsham and Polegate.  All departments are fully operational and ready to progress matters quickly.

If you would like to get in touch with Carolyn or one of our other Family Law Solicitors about  any family matter, including The Pitfalls of Applying for a Divorce Without Legal Assistance, then please call 01323 727321. Or alternatively, please fill in the form below and someone will be in touch. Carolyn is a specialist family law Solicitor and offers a free initial interview to give general advice and guidance and to discuss the options available to you.

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Please note that this article does not constitute legal advice. You should always speak to a legal professional to discuss your circumstances and consider your options.