Online divorce – making sure you get the financial side right
Since 'no-fault' divorce was introduced last month (April 2022), there has been a 50% rise in the number of applications - many from couples who were waiting until they could end their relationship without having to apportion blame.
A new online service has also been launched which means it's now possible to handle your divorce yourselves for a fee of £593. However, we can do this for you for a small, fixed fee in most cases.
Taking specialist legal advice at an early stage is always money well spent to ensure that you don't miss anything or make a mistake that could back to haunt you later.
What can go wrong with a DIY divorce?
Although it is possible to do all the work yourselves, and it may seem like the obvious thing to do when you both agree on the division of assets, savings and investments, it's important to be cautious.
Making sure that all financial matters - including pensions - have been resolved before applying for the final order (what used to be known as the decree absolute) is vital to make sure you have a legally enforceable settlement for the future.
This is because however amicable the split now, if your relationship deteriorates in the future - for example, your ex has a change of heart or fortune - they could still try to make a financial claim for financial provision or property adjustment. This could happen many years down the line.
Do we really need a financial order if we agree on everything?
Yes. This is because the legal ending of a marriage, however friendly, does not end the financial claims arising from that marriage.
A financial order details how all finances will be divided between you when you divorce. This can include 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 this is 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.
A private verbal arrangement between the two of you does not carry this legal weight.
Get in touch
Having an initial meeting with one of our specialist family lawyers can give you clarity on your position and help you decide what to do.
Wards Solicitors has seven family and divorce law legal specialists and 12 offices across Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset and North Somerset.
Click here to book an initial meeting.