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Family Law Blog

Comment on divorce & family law 

Beware divorce advice sites


Divorce advice has many traps for the unwary.

A national newspaper last week highlighted the advantages of site WikiDivorce in assuring those with questions about the legal separation process have a forum in which to ask questions. (With This Website I three divorce - The Times, June 4 )

While I do agree that sites like these and the many others can be useful as a starting point for investigations into the process, it is dangerous to suggest that they are a reliable source of information to be acted upon.

The clear distinction should be made to the public that the internet is a source of information – open for anyone to comment on or to relate their own experiences – rather than a professional source of advice. Anyone considering a divorce or legal separation must take expert legal advice from an experienced lawyer.

The intricacies of pensions, tax, recent cases and changing laws are not easily interpreted by an unqualified internet contributor. And even if the facts are correct, how they apply to a specific couple can be significantly different. Each case is unique and needs to treated as such.

It is not like reading a review of a specific type of television online and then buying that model on the basis of what you have read. The TV will behave in the same way each time. A divorce will not.

Woolley & Co is a virtual law firm which leans heavily on the internet, email and our website. However, we never recommend someone proceeds without speaking to one of our lawyers directly first.

Andrew Woolley
Divorce lawyer


Loading comments...

Although each divorce case is different there are many similarities. Wikivorce provides an opening to divorcees to vent their emotions in a safe place and get reasoned response from those who both care and understand.
There’s no suggestion that it be used as an alternative to seeking legal advice, indeed to help their subscribers Wikivorce have a weekly surgery hosted by a family law barrister to answer questions.
Below from the Times article it states quite clearly that the information on the site should not be construed as legal advice.
  “Although the site sells one fixed-price divorce service and advertises legal advice for more complex cases, its raison dêtre is to offer free advice and support via its members, and to build up an open library of applicable casework. Volunteering lawyers and barristers correct legal advice that is not accurate, although Wikivorce points out that the information on its site “should not be construed as legal advice”.”

By Jackie Walker on Monday June 8, 2009

Agreed. the information on the web serves as a fantastic resource that allows people to make the right decisions as to what kind of lawyer they will need. it does not replace legal advice….

By James Andrews on Wednesday June 17, 2009

Yes, don’t ever look at such sites if you are just having small quarrel or disputes. They can exaggerate normal things in marriage.…

By jonathan on Thursday July 9, 2009

What do you think?

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