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DIY divorce

A divorce is the legal process which dissolves a marriage. Many people choose to deal with their own divorce without any, or only limited, legal advice – dubbed DIY divorce. 

Can and should you do a DIY divorce?

You can carry out the divorce process on your own. All of the relevant paperwork can be obtained from the Judicial Greffe and from the Gov.je website, but there may be financial risks in doing a DIY divorce as explained below.

A person may feel that a DIY divorce is appropriate in their circumstances when there are very few assets, or if they have reached an agreement between themselves. There are, however, many factors that need to be considered including the division of assets between the parties and other financial matters.

Finances can become complex, particularly when there are assets of significant value and/or minor children of the marriage or children still in further/higher education and it is important that financial claims are not left outstanding. So whilst it may seem like the affordable and easy route to do it yourself, the wish for a cheap and quick divorce can be a financial disaster and financial complications may start to appear shortly after your divorce, or even many years later. Once the divorce is finalised, any financial complications may not be easy to resolve and could result in expensive court proceedings.

It is always best to seek legal advice – at least initially – so that you can be advised of your rights as a spouse and understand the consequences of any decisions that you make.

What are the risks of a DIY divorce?

  • No advice on the division of assets, any financial proposals made and what would be a fair settlement.
  • No advice on any relevant legal arguments regarding assets that may be ring-fenced such as inheritance, pre or post acquired matrimonial assets. 
  • No advice on your rights, entitlements and the possible consequences of any decisions that you make.
  • No guidance and advice throughout the financial disclosure process to ensure that the correct information is disclosed.
  • No help and advice on filling out any forms ensuring that they are completed correctly and thoroughly and that parties state anything that may have serious implications in the proceedings.
  • You will have to draft any legal document yourself such as Consent Order which will be legally binding so they must be drafted correctly ensuring that there are provisions protecting your rights and entitlements.
  • No advice on any relevant trigger events, time frames or cut off points for lump sums, spousal and child maintenance, transfer of properties and any other financial arrangement which will provide protection for the payor and/or the payee.
  • You will have to attend court on your own and will receive no support from a lawyer. This can be a very daunting experience.
  • You will not receive guidance through the process and you may be vulnerable to being pressurised into reaching an agreement that you may not be happy with. A wish to have the divorce finalised quickly should not trump the need to resolve finances fairly.

If you are considering a DIY divorce but would like to find out how a lawyer can help, we offer free 30 minute appointments for initial enquiries. We offer a transparent fee structure so you can be sure what each stage of the divorce process is likely to cost, if you follow our advice! Please contact Viberts’ family law team on: +44 (0) 1534 632248.

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