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Online divorce – don’t forget to sort the money side out.

Online divorce – don’t forget to sort the money side out.

The introduction of ‘no fault’ divorce and a simplified process of applying online are slowly beginning to haul the divorce process into the 21st century – however, it’s still vitally important to sort out your finances before the final paperwork is signed.

Although online DIY divorces are increasingly popular, up by almost 300% since 2018, recent research shows that the number of applications for pension sharing orders – which allow a couple to divide their pension funds on divorce – has fallen by 35%.

Resolving all financial matters – including pensions which can be incredibly valuable assets – before you apply for the final order is crucial to ensure you have a legally enforceable settlement for the future.

The danger of not covering all the financial bases soundly and securely is that an ex-partner could try to make a claim for financial provision or property adjustment many years after your divorce.

This is why taking specialist legal advice at an early stage is always money well spent to ensure you are aware of all the financial remedies available to you and that your online divorce application does not miss anything out or contain a mistake that could come back to haunt you later.

Why should I use a solicitor for my online divorce?

However amicable the divorce, and even if you think you don’t need a financial agreement, a solicitor can give you clear advice on exactly what you need to do when it comes to the division of your assets, savings and investments.

The legal ending of a marriage does not end the financial claims arising from that marriage neither does a verbal agreement between the two of you.

As family law expert, Baroness Shackleton, said in a House of Lords debate recently: “There is no use in having a divorce if the money is not sorted out; the house has to be sold and the children are caught in conflict.”

Why do I need a financial order when I divorce?

A financial order details how all finances will be divided between you when you divorce including agreements in relation to the sale or transfer of the marital home, ongoing maintenance, the division of pensions and lump sum payments.

A judge in the Family Court can then approve this and once it’s done, neither of you – except in rare circumstances – can return to make a financial claim in the future. This is also known as a ‘clean break’ agreement.

What are the dangers of using a ‘quickie’ online divorce service?

A fast-growing area of the unregulated high street market, firms offering ‘quickie’ divorce services have increasingly popular.

Many of these organisations are not law firms and are unregulated which means you have nowhere to go for redress if something goes wrong.

After a growing number of complaints, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating possible breaches of consumer law and potential risks to customers including:

  • Misleading claims about the simplicity of the process and the costs involved leading to customer confusion about exactly what they are being helped with and what they are paying for.
  • Shoddy and inefficient service such as using the wrong forms, entering the wrong details, sending papers to the court late and poor communication.

Alongside online-divorce, the CMA is also investigating will writing and pre-paid probate plans.

What are the benefits of using a solicitor for your divorce?

Solicitors are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, a professional body which makes sure that solicitors and law firms are following the rules and sticking to strict ethical and professional standards.

Wards Solicitors’ Family Law team can help you with an online divorce – making sure it’s done properly and with all the protections of using a regulated lawyer in place – for a small fixed-fee in most cases.

It’s particularly important to make sure all financial matters, including pensions, have been resolved before applying for the final order (what used to be known as the decree absolute) to ensure you have a legally enforceable settlement for the future.

Get in touch

Wards Solicitors is endorsed as a South West leading firm in the independent Legal 500 list for 2024 having received overwhelmingly positive testimonials from clients.

Our Family Law Team wins praise as a recommended service area with head Alison Bradley highlighted as an ‘expert in the sector’.

We offer, where appropriate, a free initial half hour consultation (could not link to this on our site due to technical difficulties 18/10) to explain the divorce process clearly, outline all your options and help you make a plan going forward.

In addition, we have a range of divorce fixed fee packages we can discuss with you at your consultation.

    Book a free 30 minute consultation

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