Do I need a family solicitor to deal with my divorce?

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With online services now becoming somewhat the 'norm', separating couples often wonder: 
"Do I actually need a solicitor to deal with my divorce?" 

Whilst it is possible for individuals to deal with the divorce themselves this is not advisable. Although finalising the divorce is seen by many as the only objective, there are often a number of other associated issues that need to be dealt with alongside this.

I realise that the initial response from the majority of readers will be that this is just a self-serving response from a solicitor looking to avoid losing a potential client. Although I accept that this undoubtedly a factor, I would point out that if an individual had a medical condition that they spoke to a Doctor about, they would not then suggest that they dealt with their own treatment after the initial consultation.

Whist I admit that this example has been deliberately exaggerated to suit my purpose, it does bluntly illustrate the point I am making. People approach specialists because they lack the necessary expertise to deal with the issue in question themselves. It just seems to be the case that when it comes to family law issues, individuals often feel that they can deal with this area of law themselves.

Why DIY?

One fact is that individuals do not like paying solicitors at the best of times. However, in other areas of law, such as when you are buying a property, it is a necessity and something you can budget for but when it comes to dealing with a divorce, this can be completely unexpected.

In these circumstances, it means something has gone wrong for that individual on a personal level and they are now faced with the additional concern of having to meet an unexpected expenditure by getting someone to help them deal with their problem.

Therefore, despite my glittering personality, I appreciate that the reality of the situation is that a client does not really want to be having a meeting with me in a professional capacity and that paying for a family solicitor is essentially a 'distress purchase'.

Even for the best salesperson, this would be a difficult pitch. Therefore I can completely understand why someone would try and save some money by dealing with the divorce themselves but, in the majority of cases, this would be a false economy and could end up costing the individual more money overall.

Issues you can't solve alone

When dealing with a divorce, the actual divorce is only one part of a larger picture. The individual will have created financial claims as a result of getting married and these will need to be dealt with by obtaining a Court Order. Also, you have children together then future arrangements will need to be put in place for them.

Family solicitors can help you not only deal with the procedural side of a case, but also:

  • Provide guidance through the whole process, sometimes a shoulder to cry on when you need someone independent from the situation and take away much of the stress.
  • Advice regarding the various options available to resolve matters where amicable, and avoid contested Court proceedings – effectively ensuring the solution meets your family circumstances.
  • Understanding of how best to deal with a Judge, if the matter unfortunately becomes contested – providing you with knowledge so we can negotiate the case.
  • Advise you on appropriate settlement options and, in the majority of cases, negotiate a better settlement for you.
  • Help take the emotion out of what is likely to be a highly emotive situation and provide clear advice as to how to proceed at any given stage.
  • Through experience of dealing with other divorces, identify all of the issues that may impact upon you and ensure you can make the necessary informed decisions to deal with these.
  • Help where you may need additional assistance, such as putting you in contact with other professionals (be it a financial advisor or a counsellor) so you are supported as fully as possible.

If you are able to deal with all of the above and progress the proceedings yourself then by all means feel free to deal with the divorce proceedings yourself. However, for everyone else, whilst I understand that instructing a family solicitor to deal with the divorce is never something you want to do, the valuable advice you will receive will be crucial in the long run.