Divorce is a stressful time, and it can get messy and drawn out when there are disputes and ill-feeling between ex-partners.
On the other hand, if you part on good terms with your ex, you might think you don’t even need a lawyer as you trust each other to keep your word and negotiate together.
However, this is not a decision to take lightly. Money is typically involved and if you have children, visitation rights can get complicated and very emotional.
We’ve designed this guide to help you with your divorce and to outline the benefits of using a solicitor.
Whether you need a solicitor as a respondent
The main reasons for needing a solicitor in divorce
How a solicitor can help you with your divorce
Do I need a solicitor for a divorce?
The short answer is no, it is not a legal requirement to get help from a solicitor for your divorce. Whether you decide to appoint a solicitor or seek legal advice is up to you.
There are many reasons, however, to get a solicitor if you are going through a divorce.
Some of the most common reasons for deciding to appoint a solicitor to assist you are that they will:
Save you time;
Likely save you money in the long run;
Provide you with expert legal help, thus reducing your stress.
Many people use online resources to manage their divorce and it’s true that there are tools available that you can use, such as the online divorce tool on the Gov.uk court website. With increasing numbers of divorces today, more people than ever are going through divorce without legal help.
This method clearly isn’t for everyone and probably won’t suit acrimonious divorces or separations where assets are involved and childcare needs to be considered. If you choose not to get a solicitor, you may have to represent yourself in court.
To look at it from another point of view, there’s a reason family law practices exist, and solicitors specialise in this field. Looking for legal help with divorces is extremely common and many people find it eases the burden of a divorce.
Do I need a solicitor for a divorce if I am a respondent?
A respondent is the legal term that describes you if your ex-partner started the legal proceedings that kick off a divorce. Again, it is your choice whether you decide to appoint a solicitor or not, but there are good reasons to.
If you appoint a solicitor, they will act on your behalf by managing the paperwork, and they will also communicate with your spouse, the other legal team and the court once the process has begun.
Respondents are responsible for acknowledging the Divorce Petition. This is the legal document that your ex-partner would complete. It is the formal application for a marriage dissolution.
Following the completion of the divorce petition, the court will send you a copy of the application by email, along with a follow-up letter. The email will include, the completed divorce application, the Notice of Proceedings, and the Acknowledgment of Service.
You will then have to complete and return the Acknowledgment of Service to the court within 14 days of receipt of the application. To make absolutely sure you understand everything clearly, and complete documents accurately, a divorce solicitor is highly recommended to help and guide you in completing this document before it’s filed with the court.
7 reasons to use a solicitor for a divorce
1. Save time
Probably the biggest culprit when it comes to divorce proceedings dragging on is where someone is not using a solicitor and are filling in applications and documents incorrectly. Usually, this means that applications have to be started from scratch. This will increase the time it takes to complete proceedings.
You shouldn’t have to wait to long to see a divorce lawyer if you are worried - in fact at Lawhive, we can give you a free case assessment, get you advice quickly and offer legal support online.
If you do want to save time and get things finalised quickly, you might want to consider a clean break order.
2. Save money
You might be considering not taking legal support because you think it will be too costly, however the costs of getting a solicitor for your divorce can be cheaper than you realise.
Additionally, using a solicitor will mean you don’t make any costly mistakes and can help you negotiate financial settlements with your spouse.
And, if you’re concerned about hidden fees, you can get legal advice and support for a fixed fee, which is independent of any settlement included in your divorce.
Using their knowledge and experience, solicitors will ensure you don’t miss any small details that can be costly down the line. These can include pensions, savings, inheritance and childcare solutions for looking after your dependent children.
Divorce is most likely something you have never experienced before, however specialist solicitors have gone through this process countless times and understand the finer details involved in getting divorce proceedings right the first time. This is crucial: it means you’ll be able to rest easy and move on with your new life with confidence.
4. Reduce stress
Undoubtedly, you’re already stressed thinking about what the future holds, and you might not want to add to your already long to-do list by arranging your own divorce.
With their experience and the fact you’ll know they can save you money and get the process over and done with quickly, appointing a solicitor will take care of everything for you. This can be a huge weight off your mind especially if your ex is presenting challenges.
You won’t have to contact your ex-partner to start with, which can make the whole process much easier and less emotionally charged.
5. Get your questions answered
You’ll be overflowing with questions at this time, so why not give Google a break and speak with a legal expert that has the knowledge to deal with your specific case?
Rather than constantly turning questions over in your mind and getting no closer to an answer, or worse coming to a wrong conclusion, if you appoint a solicitor, you will have someone on hand to answer your questions as soon as they begin to trouble you.
6. Keep things moving forward
Your spouse may not want the divorce to go through quickly; they could have any number of reasons for wanting to delay proceedings or hitting the pause button.
With a solicitor by your side, you can avoid pauses and hit the ground running. A legal expert will suggest routes forward to prevent proceedings from getting stuck in side issues.
How can a solicitor help with a divorce?
It depends on how comfortable you feel with handling things by yourself.
It’s worth evaluating the fact that people who look after their own divorce proceedings themselves do often fail to submit forms correctly or underestimate the importance of forms, such as financial disclosures.
Form E is particularly important: it is used to begin financial arrangements. The Financial Disclosure, Form E, needs to be completed by both you and your spouse when you’re applying for a financial order. It also applies if you are applying for financial relief after a divorce overseas.
It is important to understand how Form E relates to divorce and this, amongst many other small details, is something a divorce solicitor can help you with.
Get help from divorce specialists at Lawhive
If you’re looking for help from a solicitor on getting a divorce, whether you’re an applicant or a respondent, tell us about your situation and get a free assessment from our legal assessment team. Our lawyers and solicitors are on hand to help you get fast, affordable advice online for fixed fees.