Do I need a solicitor if I am going through a divorce or separation?

Many couples, whether they are married or not, can separate amicably and amicable divorces and separations do exist. However, people still need legal advice to ascertain what their rights, potential claims and options are in relation to financial matters and we can help with making sure that any agreement reached is legally binding so that no one can change their minds and come back in the future to take a second bite of the cherry. By having a binding agreement in place, it helps avoid any future potential upset and emotional distress.

Family Law Solicitors are used to dealing with a multitude of cases where sometimes the separating couples are not amicable and they may need more help from us to try and reach a settlement responsibly, whether it’s to do with finances or children (child care arrangements). However it really is not that uncommon that we also help those who have already reached a fair and reasonable agreement in relation to the finances and so we just them help make sure the agreement is binding for the future.

Potential Divorce pitfalls if legal advice is not taken

Some people for example, may choose to do the divorce themselves but we have often had to help a client out of a mess because they have filled out the forms incorrectly, which has just caused them unnecessary stress, delay and has potentially incurred them more legal fees than needed.

There is also the risk with a “DIY” divorce that you miss something out on the form that later down the line effects your rights to claim the divorce costs for example. By instructing a solicitor to do the divorce for you, or even to help you along the way of doing your own divorce, should alleviate any stress that could be caused from doing it completely on your own and it avoids any mistakes being made or potential pitfalls later on.

We often advise our clients that if we take on the responsibility for undertaking the divorce on their behalf, then we are effectively taking the stress away from them by completing all of the forms, advising what each stage means, making sure they claim costs orders when/if appropriate and we can make sure the divorce is completed in a timely fashion which avoids delays.

Potential Financial failings in a Divorce if legal advice is not taken

If legal advice is not taken early on, then either both or one could be at risk of being stung financially and emotionally later down the line. Just because a married couple gets a divorce, does not mean this automatically stops any financial claims from arising in the future. If the finances are ignored and there are assets such as property, money in bank accounts, investments or a pension, then financial claims still remain live/open.

To stop claims from arising in the future then there has to be an overall settlement in relation to the finances and then the agreement is drafted into a legally binding document known as a “Consent Order”. This Order includes a clean break clause which will stop any future financial claims from arising, which may help you sleep better at night!

Potential Financial failings if you are not married if legal advice is not taken

For those who are not married but have lived together or “cohabited” for a number of years, the law is completely different if there are financial issues to deal with. The “common law spouse” is a complete myth. Some cohabiting couples may have owned a house together, or the house could be in one person’s sole name but the other has paid the deposit or contributed financially towards it. The right to claim something financially against an ex-partner is completely different when you have been cohabiting as opposed to being married.

In this case it is extremely important to seek legal advice in relation to financial entitlement rather than listen to potentially the wrong advice from family/friends who may have been in the same or similar situation. In actual fact, every case can be different and it all comes down to the individual facts of the case.

We also strongly advise clients to take legal advice in relation to making or changing a Will when they are going through a separation and also afterwards when they are divorced.

So if you are considering a separation, whether you are married or not, it is vitally important that you get early legal advice as to your rights, potential claims and options available in relation to both financial issues and child care arrangements.

Maguire Family Law is a niche family law practice made up of highly specialised solicitors and so the team lives and breathes family law issues and disputes on a daily basis. We are committed to providing a professional and efficient service, which is cost effective. We offer constructive and pragmatic advice from the outset of any case and come highly recommended by our clients and other professionals that we work alongside with.

If you have any queries about divorce or separation then please either visit our website or contact us either on 01625 544 650 or by email quoting “Smart Financial”. We have meeting rooms in Knutsford, London, Manchester and Wilmslow and offer initial face to face consultations or advice over the telephone and email.