should you use a solicitor for divorceIf you and your husband are getting on well, or you have a limited budget, you might think it’s a good idea to want to sort the divorce yourself, without instructing a solicitor.

A DIY divorce will be cheaper than using a solicitor in the short term, but may infact be more expensive in the long run. If you do not know what share of the assets you are entitled to, or what would constitute a fair settlement you may end up agreeing to a lower figure than a solicitor would advise.

When emotions are running high it is often difficult to think rationally. This is where your solicitor’s advice and input will be invaluable. Also be aware that if there is an in balance of power in the relationship between you and your husband, that will probably lead to a settlement in favour of the party who is the stronger character.

Since the majority of my clients are women who do not deal with the finances on a regular basis, I believe it is big mistakes to go through divorce proceedings without having experienced professionals review your suggested settlement. Someone who will tell you whether they think it is the most appropriate settlement for you.

A financial planner will help you answer the question: “What sum of money do I need to be able to lead the life I want to lead after divorce without running out of money?” Agreeing a settlement is only ½ the picture. What you need to understand is what lifestyle that settlement will buy you.

The other important thing to be aware of is that even once you’re divorced, either party can come back to make a financial claim against the other, until the rights are dismissed by a court order. So, consider what would happen if you were to come in to a sizeable inheritance in the future or even a lottery win. If there is no Court Order in place your ex husband can come back and request to re-negotiate the divorce settlement based on current circumstances.

Until you have a Consent Order your finances have been deemed to not yet be finalised, and either party can return to court to reopen discussions at a later date. This right exists without any time limit.

Do not assume that using a solicitor will result in a long drawn out legal battle in Court. There are a number of routes you can use, other than court, to ensure the process can be as straightforward and cost effective as possible.

photo credit: flickr/age 3 141592