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What are the dangers of a DIY divorce?

For the most part in today’s society, we are all very busy people. We want everything and we want it now. As a general rule, the public is feeling the squeeze as the cost of living continues to rise and so the temptation to grab a bargain where you can is almost insatiable, especially if it means you can grab that bargain from the comfort of your sofa at home.

But what about doing your own divorce online in order to save some hard earned cash?

In this article, we reveal why getting a DIY divorce isn’t worth the hassle, as well as some of the perils and pitfalls of a, ‘do it yourself divorce’.

Why shouldn’t you do it yourself when it comes to a divorce?

Much like treating an illness, where you go to a doctor who has spent years training and learning how to deal with all manner of illnesses, in order to discover the process to ensure you receive the right treatment for your symptoms, a divorce requires a professional who knows the complicated processes involved when going through a divorce and ending a marriage properly.

In order to successfully end a marriage without any major complications, there are a number of vital administrative steps that must be completed in a very specific way before a decree absolute (the final divorce certificate) can be obtained.

An experienced solicitor such as a member of the Thorneycroft Family Law team is trained to spot any errors and can ensure that your divorce goes as smoothly as possible.

Beware court forms, legal terminology and more

There’s a reason that it takes several years for a solicitor to become fully qualified, it’s because the law is complex.

If you are thinking that a DIY may be an option, we would strongly advise against it.

Court forms must be 100% accurate in order for their submission to be recognised, and as they are filled with complex terms and subjects, therefore those with an untrained eye are at risk of having their forms returned which will incur increased costs as well as potentially lengthy delays in the divorce process.

Whilst there may only be one legal ground for divorce, (that the marriage has irretrievably broken down), to successfully obtain a divorce the person applying for the divorce (aka the petitioner) must satisfy the Court. about at least one of the following facts:

  • The other person in the relationship has committed adultery
  • The other person has behaved unreasonably
  • The other person in the relationship has deserted for 2 years
  • The petitioner and their partner have separated for 2 years and both parties agree to the divorce
  • The petitioner and their partner have been separated for 5 years

With cheap DIY divorces looking like a much more cost-effective option for many, however, the terminology and administrative elements of a divorce can be complex and the petitioner can find it difficult to establish which of the 5 facts mentioned above would be most suitable for their circumstances.

Adultery and unreasonable behaviour are two of the most common reasons for divorce, however, they are not always straightforward to establish. Our team of family law solicitors can help you establish which of the five facts best suit your individual circumstances as well as ensuring that you aren’t confused by the divorce process.

The hidden extras

As with many purchases these days, the advertised price isn’t always the true cost.

This is especially the case with online DIY divorce packages. What many kits don’t advertise is the fact that in order to start a divorce a court fee is payable, this fee currently stands at £550 and in cases where the spouse or partner do not cooperate, an added cost is payable so that the person can be personally served with the court forms.

Make sure your finances are in order

The main thing with a DIY or online divorce package is that it only deals with dissolving the marriage. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Much more important is the financial side of the breakdown – sorting out the house, pensions, maintenance and the like. Getting a fair outcome is vital and if you are not going to sell yourself short or store up future problems, you need professional advice from an experienced family lawyer about how the law applies to your individual circumstances.

Even if you reach an agreement, most people think that receiving the decree absolute is a sign that their ex-spouse is out of their lives forever and are ineligible to pursue any financial claims against them.

However, this isn’t the case. Often those who complete a DIY divorce are unaware of this and are met with surprised when they receive formal legal proceedings from their ex, requesting a share of their house or assets.

In order to ensure that this doesn’t happen, it’s important to include a solicitor from the beginning of the divorce proceedings. Our team of family law solicitors can help you ensure that your settlement is fair and appropriate and that a financial clean break is included in your divorce court order, meaning that you are fully protected.


In summary, whilst a DIY divorce may look appealing from a financial point of view, you are likely to be faced with mounting costs and delays should even the smallest mistake be made. Importantly, it will only sort out part of the problem, leaving unanswered vital questions about the financial consequences of the marriage breakdown.

To avoid any nasty surprises it’s important to contact a solicitor as soon as you have decided to pursue a divorce.

Our solicitors have a wealth of family law experience and will provide you with the highest standard of customer care during your divorce.

Over many years of dealing with divorces, our team has come to the knowledge that no two divorces are the same. This allows us to provide you with compassionate and professional assistance to ensure your divorce goes as smoothly as possible, allowing you to focus on the next stage of your life after marriage.

If you would like an initial consultation to discuss your divorce or any other legal family matters you can call us for free today on 0800 1979 345 or you can complete our online enquiry form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.