The internet has proven to be immensely helpful in the realm of household DIY, with YouTube videos for self-assembly furniture or demonstrations of decorating techniques. But doing things yourself is not without risks – St John Ambulance has reported that around 200,000 people are admitted to accident and emergency departments across the country following a DIY-related accident each year.
In 2017, the government introduced a new online form for couples to apply for a divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership, with some journalists hailing this as an opportunity to avoid appointing a solicitor.
However, it is worth remembering that a marriage or civil partnership is a contract to look after each other for life ‘in sickness and health’ and for ‘richer and poorer’. Unravelling this, like any other contract, requires legal expertise particularly when you consider that your future financial security might be at stake for many years.
Helen Morgan, family law expert with Mooney Everett Solicitors in Ormskirk and Liverpool explains that ‘every family’s circumstances are unique, and the decisions that must be made as you formalise your separation will have implications for many years.’
It is important to bear in mind that arrangements for children and decisions on how your finances should be split are not included as part of the divorce process and will therefore need to be dealt with separately. This can be a difficult area, for example if one spouse tries to conceal assets or dispose of them in a way to avoid sharing them. A solicitor will help you to achieve a fair settlement.
You also need to be sure that the way your children will be cared for is fair and workable, with the best interests of your children at the heart of the agreement.
In some situations, a court order may be needed, for example in the event of harassment or domestic violence.
‘Ensuring that your family is provided for financially is a lot more complicated than re-painting your bathroom,’ says Helen. ‘It is too important to risk getting it wrong.’
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.