Articles

Published by: Ben Twitchen

The perils of DIY divorce

With the internet becoming the first source of information for many people going through a medium or low asset divorce, there is an increase in the use of DIY divorce kits.  The DIY kit offers the promise of a divorce free from solicitors’ fees, form filling and Court hearings.  They seem too good to be true and the reality is that we are already starting to see what will become a flood of cases involving serious problems caused by the inadequacies of the DIY divorce kit.

People that have been enticed into this option without having supplemental legal advice have missed an opportunity to divide their assets on separation, while the arrangements can be relatively straightforward.  The DIY divorce kit does not formalise the division of the marital assets, it simply helps people move from being married to having a Decree Absolute and able to re-marry.  This leaves the potential for an awful legal and financial mess in the future over issues that are skipped in the DIY process. These include division of pensions, reallocation of death in service benefits, division of joint assets and liabilities, cancelling or protection of maintenance claims, arrangements for child maintenance and university fees for children, protection from claims on bankruptcy, critical illness etc.

Without a formal division of the assets, if one spouse were to come into a substantial inheritance, win the lottery etc, they would be vulnerable to a claim from the other even if many years had passed since their DIY divorce.  Likewise if one spouse fell upon hard times, got into debt, suffered serious physical or mental illness etc, they might be able to claim against the other for assistance, even if they had been living apart for many years. There can be further problems over sharing assets on death if proper arrangements have not been put in place.

Avoiding these pitfalls can be straightforward and does not have to involve contested Court proceedings.  At Taylor Walton we can offer a fixed fee of £500 plus VAT for a divorce suit, which is as cheap as any full service internet option.  In addition, we can advise and assist with formalising the division of the assets and help reach an amicable solution recorded in a binding Consent Order, giving both parties a clean break and protecting them from the risks of claims or complications in the future.

 

Taylor Walton Solicitors offer FREE Initial 30 minute consultations with our Family lawyers (in return you will be invited to make a £20 donation to charity).