The Christmas and New Year period are traditionally thought to be a happy time when family and friends reunite, but it can add to the pressures when a marriage is in trouble. Couples who feel their marriage is nearing an end may find themselves putting matters off until the New Year for the benefit of their children or their parents.  Alternatively, they may think it is best to get Christmas over with first.

Since April 2018, separating spouses can complete the divorce process on-line, without the need for solicitors.  According to the BBC, 13 people filed for divorce on Christmas Day 2018 in England and Wales.  In total, there were 455 online divorce application submitted to HM Courts & Tribunal Service Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day.  26 people submitted applications on Christmas Eve, 23 on Boxing Day and 77 on New Year’s Day.

So why should you use a solicitor if it’s that easy?

  1. You’re good at filling out forms. How difficult can the divorce petition be?  A common mistake is relying on the wrong or multiple ‘grounds’ for divorce.  If that happens you will have delayed the process and may even have to pay a further fee.
  2. That’s not the only reason to get a solicitor to complete the petition. It’s 15 pages long!
  3. So you’ve completed your petition and got your Decree Absolute through in super quick time and you didn’t use a solicitor because you wanted to save money. But what about finances?  A good solicitor can advise you about the often serious implications of divorce on, for example, pensions and inheritance.  Not getting this advice before the divorce may cost you further down the line.
  4. Even if you can agree the terms of a financial settlement between you, getting the language right on the Order will prevent any problems down the line.
  5. This is hopefully the only time you will be getting divorced. Solicitors deal with this every day. They are used to spotting the tricks where one partner has tried to hide assets.  They know the types of delays you may encounter and how to deal with them.  They can also look out for costs order applications and might be able to negotiate these early on.
  6. If your ex is generally uncooperative, this can affect the chances of getting the divorce through at all. Your solicitor can help you navigate the process regardless of obstacles put in your way.
  7. Children are an especially emotive subject. If you cannot agree where they are to live, when contact should happen, or who pays what for the children, then your solicitor can provide specialist advice.
  8. Nobody really wants to go to court. It’s stressful, time-consuming and costly.  A good solicitor can provide objective and clear advice about methods of alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation, which will save money and stress in the long-term.
  9. If your separation is not amicable, or even if it is but you want to avoid the descent into arguing, your solicitor can manage the communication with your ex. You will still be responsible for providing instructions to your solicitor; they will just manage the communication.
  10. You can try to move on during the process. You will receive regular updates from your solicitor, but will not have to worry about paperwork and deadlines. What better reason can there be?

If you need family law advice this year, contact our family law team today.

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