10 Reasons Why You Need A Family Law Solicitor To Check Your DIY Divorce Petition

1.     Is a DIY divorce petition worth the risk? Every year countless petitions are rejected by the Court, and anxiety and delay are experienced.

2.     Doing it yourself means you miss out on expert legal advice regarding financial issues and children. And a family solicitor can help if you are at loggerheads by guiding you towards an amicable agreement with the help of mediation or collaborative law

3.     It doesn’t have to be expensive to speak to an experienced family law solicitor. But please make sure you find a solicitor who offers “Pay As You Go Advice“.

How Hard Can It Be To Get A DIY Divorce Petition Right?

4.     Why do DIY divorce petitions get sent back by the Court? A common problem is service. Perhaps you don’t know the respondent’s address, or failed to check the process server’s statement of service is correct, or named the co respondent but failed to serve them. You might have forgotten to ask for your costs to be paid. You might have overlooked the option to apply for a financial order. Or you might simply have forgotten to tick a box.

5.     When it comes to applying for a financial order, you may think it’s a simple “Yes/No” answer. But are you sure you know all your legal rights? You don’t want to miss out on a fair share of the pensions, or the business, or to be left with your ex’s debts. You could end up regretting your DIY financial agreement for the rest of your life.

6.     Even if you have an agreement about the finances there can be serious implications if you don’t have a Court order recording it, because your ex can change his or her mind, or can come back for more. And did you know it’s risky applying for a Decree Absolute (which brings your marriage to an end) before you have a Court order?

7.     Legal definitions in the divorce petition can be confusing. Your “habitual residence” or “domicile” may not be immediately clear to you because both can change over time and according to your particular circumstances. If you are an international family this can be a complication.

What’s The Worst Thing That Can Happen to a DIY Divorce Petition? 

8.     Your DIY divorce petition can fail completely because you haven’t chosen the right reason for your DIY divorce, or not given sufficient detail. In my last blog I talked about the recent case of Owens v Owens which says the Court can refuse a divorce if the Respondent defends and the petition isn’t strong enough, particularly in the case of unreasonable behaviour.

9.     If you belatedly discover you’ve ticked the wrong box, or if you want to strengthen your DIY divorce petition, the only option is to apply to amend it. But amending a petition is not only costly – an extra £95 Court fee – it’s time consuming and fiddly too.

10.   Finally, you may be in agreement about the children but there’s no option to record this in the petition. It may be worthwhile having a word with a family law solicitor, particularly in the case of international families. Otherwise you might find yourself accused of child abduction (an imprisonable office).

Contact us on 01962 217640 for a free telephone consultation on this or any other family law issue

JUST FAMILY LAW are specialist divorce and family law solicitors offering personalised legal solutions.

Visit our website just-family-law.com

The topics covered in this blog post are complex and are provided for general guidance only. If any of the circumstances mentioned in this blog might have application to you, you should seek expert legal advice.

“Owl” by Mark Coleman on Flickr

“Eagle Owl” by M Shattock on Flickr

“Owl” by Chris Page on Flickr

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