Do I need a lawyer for a divorce?
No, you do not need to instruct a lawyer for a divorce in the UK. However, when your circumstances are complicated, it is often a good idea to hire one because of the security and reassurance that it brings.
Can I get a simple divorce without a lawyer?
Yes, you can get a simple divorce without a lawyer. In April 2022, no-fault divorce was introduced in England and Wales. This means that a two-year separation period or grounds for divorce no longer need to be established in order to petition, meaning you do not need to give reasons for ending the marriage. This naturally makes the divorce process more straightforward.
Also, the other party can no longer contest the divorce (unless there are legal reasons to do so) which makes the process less complex and does not allow room for prolonged discussions.
Additionally, if you share very few assets and have no children, then you may be able to get a simple divorce without a lawyer. This is also true if you can come to an amicable agreement with your spouse on the terms of the divorce.
When should I use a divorce lawyer?
It is advisable to use a divorce lawyer in complex situations, such as when you share children and sizeable matrimonial assets with your spouse. In such cases, a mutual agreement can become significantly more difficult.
Similarly, if you are worried about the divorce process or you prefer it to be handled by a professional, it is worth instructing a solicitor for peace of mind.
Additionally, if there is some animosity in your relationship and a lack of positive communication, or if you are the victim of domestic abuse, reaching an agreement without the intervention of a lawyer can be hard.
What can a specialist divorce lawyer do for you?
A specialist divorce lawyer will be able to advise you of all the options available to you, to better protect your interests when reaching a divorce settlement. A good divorce specialist will give you ongoing support throughout such a potentially stressful and difficult process.
A lawyer will ensure the protection of your financial assets and help with the division of shared assets. This will be especially helpful in situations where your spouse is in a financially stronger position than you. A lawyer will also be able to assist you if your spouse decides to hide assets for instance.
Sometimes spouses cannot amicably reach an agreement with regard to child arrangements. A lawyer can assist you with making decisions regarding physical and legal child custody, contact, and child maintenance.
Although you do not need a lawyer for a divorce in the UK, in the long term it may be less expensive, and can give you the reassurance that any risks will be identified to achieve the best possible outcome for you.