Dangers of the online divorce

Category: News

Cracks in strained relationships can widen with the pressures and expense of Christmas and the first working Monday of the year has been dubbed “divorce day” as some couples decide to split and make enquiries about the process of divorce.

There are many websites offering an online divorce and when some sites offer a divorce for as little as £37 and say that it could be completed within a matter of weeks, it is easy to understand why people are tempted to choose this route, rather than approaching a specialist family lawyer.

The sites offer different levels of service with the cheapest option commonly being the provision of documentation that can be found on the government online divorce site free of charge. The advertised fee also does not include the Court fee for a divorce of £550 or explain that, for some people, a fee remission can be obtained reducing the Court fee that is payable.

Some websites promise a quick divorce, “within a matter of weeks”. Although the procedure for divorce is fairly straightforward, it does take some time, and there may be very good reasons not to finalise the divorce as soon as you are able, for example to preserve pension rights during ongoing negotiations or proceedings.  Even when both parties co-operate fully it is unlikely that a divorce can be concluded within less than three months.

It is not uncommon for people who have just separated to be keen to get divorced and move on with their lives as quickly as possible, not least because it is a painful experience. There is a place for a DIY divorce, particularly when a couple have not been married for long and/or have no children or joint finances but, unless there is complete co-operation between the parties, there are still points along the way that can cause difficulty without specialist guidance.

What online services will not provide is the essential advice about all the other issues that come with separation, including how finances are divided, where each of the parties will live and the arrangements for the children. It is important that both parties have the time and individually tailored advice to make informed decisions. The choices made during this very emotional and difficult time will impact on both parties’ futures.

It is important to remember that bringing an end to a marriage does not automatically bring an end to financial claims that can be made by either party. A sealed Order from the Court is required to do this. This is an area where specialist legal advice is invaluable.

If you would like some advice about the process of divorce and matters surrounding your separation, then please contact our Family Team for an initial appointment on 01752 827030.