If a law firm handles a divorce application on behalf of a client, it is now mandatory for the firm to use the government's online process for the application rather than submitting paper forms. Recent government figures demonstrate that using the online portal is reducing the average time to obtain a divorce to 20 weeks, which is a significant reduction from the average of 60 weeks for paper applications.
Anyone going through the pain of a divorce will understand the need for the divorce process to be as smooth as possible.
It is not necessary for someone applying for a divorce to use a lawyer. A party can still represent themselves in the proceedings.
However, what many divorcing couples fail to appreciate is that obtaining the divorce, that is the dissolution of the marriage or civil partnership, is only part of the story. Often the most controversial and difficult part of the process is agreeing the financial settlement between the divorcing couple. Many parties may feel that getting specialist legal advice is money well spent particularly if the finances are difficult or involve a number of assets or young children.
If the parties can agree on how to divide money and property, they should apply for a consent order to make it legally binding. This means that the court will approve the agreement between the parties. What people fail to realise is that if the agreement is not legally binding, a court cannot enforce it at a later date if problems arise. This means that one party could come back and argue for a greater share of the joint assets years after the divorce has gone through.
If the parties cannot agree how the assets should be split, then an application to court should be made to obtain a financial order. Unsurprisingly, this route will take longer and is more expensive than if the parties agree.
To discuss this or any other matrimonial matter, please contact us.