The fear of costly divorces has tempted many to take advantage of new online £50 ‘DIY’ divorces, where no solicitors are involved. It’s only natural to want to avoid unnecessary legal bills and save money, but could these no-frills divorces actually end up costing more in the long run?
DIY divorcees report spouses ‘coming back for more’
One family lawyer, Victoria Walker from Simpson Millar, has warned that her practice has seen a surge of spouses asking for more money after the divorce has been finalised, and sometimes being successful in their claims.
Walker explained to AOL Money:
"With no legal expertise to hand, thousands of couples made the fatal error of assuming that all ties were cut once the divorce was finalised. That's sadly not the case and the ghosts of marriage past are now coming back to haunt them in rather costly and unpleasant dramas."
Had a windfall? Make sure you’ve severed all financial ties to your ex-spouse
Over the summer, Simpson Millar has encountered many cases where a couple has been through an online divorce without any financial agreements in place. They may simple have legally separated without any thought to financial arrangements, or have signed a consent order. Following the divorce, perhaps many years down the line, one party has then been contacted by their ex-spouse after coming into a large amount of money – with their former partner putting in a claim for a share of the cash. Ms Walker offers some examples:
"Former couples who haven't signed an agreement regarding their finances during the divorce risk having to share any wealth and fortunes accrued since then. We have seen examples of former spouses coming back to claim half of the other person's recent lottery win, inheritance or business success. Legally, they are entitled to do that if the couple didn't make formal financial arrangements at the time of the divorce – a rather unpleasant surprise for some."
Other DIY divorce risks
As well as leaving yourself vulnerable to post-divorce claims from your former spouse, there are other risks of DIY divorces that separating couples need to be aware of. These include:
- Not completing the process properly – the last thing you want is to re-marry and end up being accused of bigamy!
- Not understanding the value of joint assets – so you end up with less than you are entitled to
- Using the online divorce process when your case isn’t suitable
On this last point, if you’ve got complicated financial or family affairs, it is virtually impossible to negotiate an agreement everyone is happy with using the DIY online divorce process. You absolutely need an expert to help you. If this sounds like your situation, get in touch with leading solicitors in Liverpool Tracey Miller.