The pros and cons of handling your own divorce

Understanding the process of divorce can be complex and emotionally taxing.

With the introduction of no-fault divorce laws in England, more couples are considering handling their divorces themselves.

Even in seemingly straightforward cases, the drawbacks of a do-it-yourself (DIY) divorce significantly outweigh any perceived benefits.

Advantages of a DIY divorce

While some may see the benefits in a DIY approach, as cost savings, simplicity, and maintaining privacy and control, these are often outweighed by the risks and complexities involved.

It is essential to note that even in the more seemingly straightforward divorce scenarios, the risk and long-term implications of a DIY divorce can be significant.

Disadvantages of managing your divorce

DIY divorces are often perceived as a straightforward option, yet they entail numerous potential pitfalls and risks with lasting consequences.

  • Legal intricacies: The complexity of divorce is vast. A lack of legal expertise can lead to serious mistakes or oversights in the drafting documentation and implementation of legal processes.
  • Child-related concerns: Decisions involving children require careful legal consideration. Without professional advice, arrangements may not adequately address the child’s best interests and orders are not automatically made in divorce proceedings.
  • Risk of unfavourable outcomes: Without legal guidance, you might overlook critical aspects like financial settlements or Inheritance Tax implications. This oversight could result in unfavourable outcomes that affect your future.
  • Emotional toll: Divorce is inherently emotional and managing it on your own can add to the stress. Having a solicitor can provide a buffer and a source of objective advice during this emotionally charged time.
  • Time-consuming: DIY divorces often demand a significant amount of your time, especially if disputes occur. Consulting a solicitor can help speed up the process, ultimately saving you valuable time and reducing stress.
  • Future legal challenges: Mistakes made during a DIY divorce can lead to future legal problems, requiring more time and expense to resolve.

When to consider legal advice

Legal advice is crucial in various situations, including complex financial matters, child welfare considerations, contentious relationships and international elements.

The role of a family solicitor

A family solicitor offers invaluable benefits beyond legal knowledge, they provide a holistic approach to your unique situation. They can offer:

  • Expert legal knowledge: Specialist solicitors are well-versed in family law and can navigate complex legal systems efficiently.
  • Objective advice: During an emotionally charged process, they provide objective, unemotional advice.
  • Protection of interests: A solicitor will advise that settlements are fair and protect your long-term interests.
  • Support and guidance: They can guide you through every step of the process, providing clarity and support.

While handling your own divorce might seem appealing, it is crucial to be aware of the potential pitfalls.

Complexities can arise unexpectedly, and the emotional weight of the process should not be underestimated.

Consulting with a family solicitor can provide peace of mind and ensure that your interests, and those of your family, are fully protected.

Every situation is unique, and professional legal advice is invaluable in navigating the complexities of divorce.

For help and advice with family and relationship matters, please get in touch with Alison Green, Head of our Family and Relationship Team at Mackrell.Solicitors on +44 (0) 20 7240 0521 or at

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Alison Green
Alison has more than 25 years’ experience assisting clients with Family and Relationship matters. Her expertise covers matrimonial work, including divorce and the associated financial and children issues; pre and post-nuptial agreements; co-habitation disputes; civil partnership agreements and the breakdown of civil partnerships.