The pitfalls of carrying out a DIY divorce…

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Unhappy couples across Coventry and Warwickshire are being warned against the pitfalls of carrying out a DIY divorce.

The popular method of divorce involves couples downloading, filling out and submitting documentation to the courts themselves, or with limited online help, perhaps limiting their costs to the £550 court fee in a bid to save money.

However Tracy Cross, Head of Family at Coventry law firm Band Hatton Button, has been handling numerous divorce cases that have originated from DIY divorces that have gone wrong, particularly where couples have unintentionally ended up with a defended and time-consuming divorce.

Keen to dispel the myth of conventional divorces being expensive, Tracy said: “Divorces only become costly if couples spend time arguing over how to do the divorce, their share of money and children’s issues; an undefended divorce in itself is a relatively cheap, straight-forward paperwork process that takes around six-months to conclude.

“There are two types of divorce – defended and undefended. In the majority of cases the person receiving the divorce doesn’t want to defend it, but equally doesn’t like what is being said about them, which is where good legal advice should be sought to navigate this issue in an informed, efficient and cost-saving manner.

“Doing a DIY divorce and ticking various boxes without knowing the consequences can be an extremely dangerous thing to do.

“There’s a common misconception that once a divorce is complete all financial claims are ended. They’re not. People need to think about the financial element as a separate process to the divorce.

“For example if a person going through a divorce doesn’t finalise any financial settlement because they don’t have much money now, it may allow their ex-spouse to claim for a share of any pension or money that they come into in the future.

“This is why it is so important for people to employ a solicitor to explain the process and what the consequences of each decision, or lack of decision is.

“Filing for a divorce yourself may save money in the short-term, but paying for sound legal advice up front could save people money in the long run.”