Having a nightmare with solicitors? You’re not alone!
A friend of ours is having a terrible time with her divorce. Her solicitor forgot to submit an important piece of documentation at the right time and as a result her Legal Aid application was turned down because it was incomplete. The solicitor didn’t apologise, let alone try to put things right.
Every stage has been like pulling teeth, with our friend having to remind and chivvy the solicitor along and wait weeks for them to send the simplest letter – haven’t they heard of email?!
The process is costing her a lot more than it should as well as taking an age. Our friend has decided it’s less stressful to start from scratch and do it herself. She says she doesn’t feel she can trust her solicitor to do a proper job.
Worse still, Legal Aid stops next March and, as someone with no spare cash whatsoever, she’s working against the clock. She has lost a couple of stone, looks worn out, can’t sleep or eat and is very worried about the money side of things. Luckily she’s an administrative wizard and very organised… which is more than you can say about her solicitor!
So can you circumvent the whole dratted lawyer thing, cut the faff and just get on with it?
Applying for a DIY divorce in England
Under English Law there’s no legal requirement for a lawyer. You’re allowed to represent yourself in court for a divorce or any other legal matter.
Your first stop is your local County Court, where you pick up the divorce forms. The court staff can’t give you any advice. You’re on your own. But just like conveyancing, it isn’t rocket science. It’s just a complex admin job. You need to spend time learning the ropes and be aware it’s entirely down to you if something goes wrong. Our friend trusts herself more than her solicitor, so she’s perfectly happy to go it alone.
Can you be dispassionate?
If you think you’ll either fall apart or lose it in courtroom, or any time during the procedure, think twice. It’s very important to be cool and calm and state your case clearly and unemotionally. You can always practice self-hypnosis or meditation, get help from a hypnotherapist or learn other ways to keep calm under stress.
The money bit
Our friend has to submit a financial statement and it’s the one thing she’s feeling less than confident with. So she has gathered all the information she needs and is taking it to a local accountant who has agreed to create what’s needed for her. She found them by emailing five accountants for a quote and picking the firm she most liked the sound of – those who came across as human! They’re a lot cheaper than a solicitor, they’re experts in the money side of things and they work suitably fast, all of which is good stuff.
There are some excellent DIY divorce services online, some of which offer a half-way house service that’s part DIY, part advice from experts. Quickie-divorce.com offer divorces from £37 and personalised service divorces from £67. They promise no forms, no court and no solicitors fees, which sounds as though it’s well worth investigating. It seems like a fantastic deal when our friend has already borrowed thousands to pay a solicitor.
The good old Co-op do fixed price divorces and separations. And there’s plenty of good, sensible advice online as well as books on DIY divorce to refer to. Type ‘DIY divorce’ into Amazon and buy the books you need second hand on Amazon marketplace.
(Thanks to http://www.sxc.hu/profile/creationc for the free image)