29 March 2022

Do you still need a solicitor with an online divorce?

By Maria Endall, Family Solicitor, Hayes + Storr.

The fact that divorcing couples can now apply online for their divorce and from April 2022, won’t need to prove fault for the breakdown of their marriage, will make it easier for the tech-savvy to apply for a divorce without the need for a solicitor.

But what about the financial implications of getting divorce? Who gets the house, or the tenancy? How are you going to ensure that pension assets are shared equally? What about the family car you spent so long saving or paying for? And if there is a business, how do you fairly take that into account? Do you even know the full extent of your spouse’s finances?

It is important to know that, even after you have obtained a final order in the divorce (currently still known as the decree absolute), yours and your spouse’s claims for financial relief arising out of the marriage will remain open – unless you also get an order from the court stating how the property and finances are to be split. The new online divorce process will not tell you how to do this, as splitting the matrimonial finances must be dealt with separately.

This is why you will still need advice from a solicitor. Couples who think they have sorted out their finances once they’ve separated, could be doing themselves out of a fair and proper settlement. Alternatively, if you think you’ve got away lightly and still managed to walk away with the lion’s share of your assets after the divorce, you’re still open to having a claim made against you in the future unless you get a court order making the split of the assets binding and enforceable.

Involving a solicitor to help you sort out the matrimonial finances needn’t upturn what was otherwise an amicable separation and divorce, or cost the earth. Family solicitors at Hayes +Storr are members of Resolution, a family law organisation set up to help families resolve their legal matters as amicably as possible. We will negotiate amicably on your behalf and recommend mediation when appropriate, but we will also make sure that you fully understand your legal rights and entitlements and do our best to secure a fair settlement.

If you need any advice on family law and would like to arrange an appointment, please call 01553 778900 or email maria.endall@hayes-storr.com.

This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published. Always seek our specific advice.