Counting the cost: online divorce v. family lawyer

When no fault divorce came into effect last year, it also heralded new opportunities for separating couples to file for divorce online.

So, why should separating couples choose to use a family lawyer rather than divorce online? LGFL Managing Director and family lawyer Rita Gupta explains.


Couples who wish to file for divorce can now start the process online. The applications form itself is relatively straightforward, but the information you fill in on your online application could have far-reaching consequences for your futures both as co-parents and as individuals.

The governmental online divorce process only covers the dissolving of the marriage itself. It does not cover provision for children or division of finances, which are usually the contentious areas for divorcing couples. The government online divorce also doesn’t offer you any advice or help on other aspects of divorce apart from the official process.

Online divorce actually consists of various online forms which are not altogether straightforward to complete They also use legal terms you may not be familiar with. Sadly, even the smallest of errors on these forms can be hard to correct once you press the “Apply” button.

By taking legal advice from a family lawyer in advance of divorcing, you can understand the implications, the process, and the long-term impact across all aspects of your lives. The advice you receive will also be tailored to your individual circumstances. You can consider the upfront costs of specialist legal advice as an investment in the future, to ensure you get the best outcome from your divorce for you and your family.


No quickie divorce

The legal divorce process in England and Wales has exactly the same time scales whether you apply online yourself or take advantage of the experience and advice of a family lawyer. There is no such thing as a quickie divorce, as the statutory divorce timeline will apply in all cases.


No need to go to court

One of the main reasons cited by couples for an online “DIY” divorce is that it won’t involve a court appearance. In reality, there are no real grounds for contested divorces. Similarly, if matters such as children and finances are a matter of mutual consent and agreement, it needn’t go to court at all. Much of these issues arise from the misunderstanding that parties have when they use the term divorce.


Talk to a real person

You may find online providers who will manage your divorce process for you, for a fee. Whilst the official divorce application forms are managed by the government, it’s important to remember that the online “provider” sector is not officially regulated. So those dealing with your divorce case at some provider services may not be qualified family solicitors, or have expertise. They will not be able to tailor their services or advice to your particular case should your circumstances be complicated.

At LGFL, your first contact with us is usually a one hour reduced fee consultation where we can discuss the unique circumstances around your divorce. We then can offer specific, tailored legal advice to plan the best way forward possible for your family. You also have the reassurance that our long-established family law firm is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.


Help, I’ve pressed the button!

We are seeing an increasing number of clients who have already applied online and who then realise getting a divorce is much more involved than they first imagined. At LGFL, we can help you take your divorce forward even if you have “pressed the button” and support you throughout the whole process.

At LGFL, we have the knowledge, expertise and professional capacity to sort and advance all your divorce documentation when you may not have the time, energy or understanding yourself.


Professional, empathetic support when you need it most

Divorce can be an emotional rollercoaster, and knowing that your family lawyer is fighting your corner can help you to divorce with much less stress and worry. Our pragmatic and empathetic approach helps us devise strategies to achieve the best outcomes for you, and especially any minor children.

We are also passionate about transparency. As our client, you will always know what is happening and why, and how much you will be charged for our services. We know that our legal fees will always cost more than online divorce services, but it is an investment in you and your family’s financial, emotional and parenting future for years to come.


Human and intelligent, not artificial intelligence

An experience family lawyer also has something an online form or ‘chatbot’ will never have - intelligent empathy. Our experience of helping hundreds of divorcing couples means we can be both smart in finding solutions that minimise your risk, and also be empathetic towards the emotions and stress in your particular divorce circumstances.


Do you need our help?

Contact us to book your initial one hour reduced fee consultation with us. This gives you plenty of time to discuss your situation and receive valuable legal advice, in complete confidence and with no obligation. The majority of divorcing people who come to LGFL for an initial hour of advice do decide to engage us, for a better divorce experience with less hassle and full professional support.

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