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  • The Ministry of Justice recently launched an online divorce service which allows couples to file for a divorce online without the need of a solicitor. The legal terminology has also been simplified to make the process easier. With the introduction of the online divorce service, it may be difficult to assess whether it is better to use the online divorce service or to instruct a solicitor to handle your divorce proceedings.

    Family Law expert and associate solicitor, Chris Brown discusses the benefits of consulting a solicitor to carry out your divorce proceedings. Firstly, it does not have to be an ‘either or’ scenario and, having taken legal advice at an early stage, you may well decide that you are able to proceed with the divorce yourself. It is important to be aware though that the online divorce service will only bring about an end to your marriage/Civil Partnership, it will not deal with issues relating to your assets or finances, nor will it deal with the arrangements for any children. For example, you may need to come to an agreement on issues such as who your children will live with and who will have ownership of the shared property. These types of decisions cannot be taken lightly and depend on each individual’s situation. 

    Whilst there is plenty of information out there, particularly on the internet, about how these issues can be resolved, unfortunately, the vast majority of that information is unreliable because each case turns on its own specific circumstances. A solicitor is able to advise on each individual’s situation to help their client achieve the best possible outcome for them. They can also inform them about their rights, and present all of the options that are available to them in relation to finances and children.

    Additionally, due to the limited knowledge and advice given by online divorce services, you can easily make the wrong decisions. As a result, it could cost you more time and money if your divorce has been poorly managed as you may have to seek professional advice to resolve these issues. Therefore, the cheapest and fastest option is not always the best option. 

    It is better to instruct a solicitor for initial advice at an early stage so that you can assess how complex your situation may be. You can then decide whether to proceed with an online divorce service or to continue with a solicitor. Alternatively, you may decide to proceed with the divorce yourself online and take advice from a solicitor in relation to the property and finances and children. 

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