Divorce solicitor Kate Brooks answers the question on everyone’s lips, ‘can I get a divorce without using a solicitor?’
People will come and see me and ask if they absolutely have to have a lawyer in order to get divorced and the straightforward answer is absolutely no. You can do your own divorce, it is absolutely the case that you can do that. You can download the forms from the Ministry of Justice website and you can send in your divorce petition.
One of the problems with that is that you may not quite know what you are doing. Some aspects of the divorce I think are quite well known, I think people can research the grounds for divorce and so forth on the internet. But there are some quite difficult questions on some of the forms about jurisdiction or about financial matters that you probably don’t know the answer to. The other thing to bear in mind is the Court is very, very strict about these forms and if you get them wrong, they will actually send them back to you, they may charge you extra money and you may have to have a delay while you serve all the papers again.
So it is a little bit like many things in this life, you absolutely can do it but you may want to get the help of a professional to make sure it is done as quickly and efficiently as possible. One option is very much to have a lawyer to help you perhaps with the financial aspects of your divorce and maybe to ask for their help in making sure all the paperwork has been completed properly so that the divorce itself will go through.
Even if you have managed to sort out your own divorce yourself and get through to a decree absolute, it is very important to remember that unless you have a formal document dealing with the financial aspects of your divorce, technically your financial claims on each other remain open indefinitely so my advice is that even if you have managed to do the divorce yourself, do go and see a family lawyer and record your agreement that you have reached in relation to financial matters or take advice about that.