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has anyone managed a divorce without solicitors??

11 replies

brimfull · 08/09/2006 00:16

My friend is splitting from her dh and would prefer to do the whole thing (besides the actual divorce papers) without solicitors.
They have 3 children 14,16,17yrs,huge mortgage.
Do you think this is feasible?

OP posts:
acnebride · 08/09/2006 00:23


I divorced in 2000 but that was before children. Even in that very short, childless marriage, I understood that the judge hearing the case would have to be satisfied that both parties had received adequate legal advice in order to agree/judge/pass (whatever it is they do) the case without calling us into court. There was, however, no requirement on us to follow that advice (I certainly didn't).

In such a complex situation I would think that proper legal advice would be pretty essential. Why does your friend wish to avoid it - cost, chance of escalating nastiness etc? Both good reasons - go to CAB and ask maybe about mediation - if the couple managed pretty much to agree what they wanted beforehand with proper mediators, the solicitors could come in as additional advice rather than leading the way.

HTH - probably not, looking at it!

brimfull · 08/09/2006 00:32

thanks acnebride,yes it's both cost and the nastiness she wants to avoid.I know she has been looking at the cab website so the mediation thing sounds like what she's on about.I am sceptical that they'll beable to do it myself.I don't want her to be left with nothing as she gave up her career to bring up the children and the usual building a georgous home etc.I don't want her to walk away with bugger all just to get it over and done with.

OP posts:
pandagirl03 · 08/09/2006 10:18

hello my dp has just had his divorce after many years of messing about by his ex. i really think she should get some legal help with it especially as there is a house and children involved. dp never had a house but they still asked if he wanted anything from the house even many years after. and they will not finalise the divorce until all arrangements for the children are statisfactory with the court. bearing in mind dp never had a house or any money ties with his ex, and the arrangements for the children had been sorted the divorce still took 8 months. i would think very carefull about doing it without legal help.

sorry if thats alot of babble, hth.

jabberwocky · 08/09/2006 10:20

Ohhh, NOT a good idea. No matter how distasteful it seems, getting legal advice is just the smart thing to do. And, whatever she thinks about it now, more than likely it will get at least a little nasty by the time it's all over with - if not a lot nasty...

brimfull · 08/09/2006 14:31

right so she'll need a solicitor,how did you find yours and how do you know you're getting a good one?

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zazas · 08/09/2006 14:45

Well I divorced from my ex with no lawyers involved. We went through mediation which was fantastic as they put the children first and helped us to focus on what was important for them and their future. We only had about 4 sessions and they helped with all the financial side of things and we had a mortgage / pension / cars / debits etc etc and they were able to offer advice and help us reach an agreement that was OK for both of us. There was still anger and bitterness and blame but they dealt with it so well and were so supportive to both of us that we didn't feel any sides were taken. I can't remember how much each session was but I think around £60.

Out of interest I did visit a lawyer to see how he would conduct it but the emphasis was to bring my ex down as much as possible character wise and take as much as I could from him - I couldn't do that as it would of made his chance to restart that much harder and I wanted him to be able to build up a new life so the children could be part of it. Plus I would have to pay the lawyer!

Once we waited the 2 years seperation period, I then went on the web and this is funny - bought an on-line package from Quickie Divorce!!! We just needed to follow the instructions and fill in the forms and it was very straight forward - cost about £40 plus the normal court fees of about £120.

So if as a couple you are able to still communicate and focus on the children rather than be only out for revenge, in my experience you don't need a laywer.

brimfull · 08/09/2006 14:48

wow zazas that's fantastic!
Did you get the mediation through the CAB?

OP posts:
mumblechum · 09/09/2006 16:10

Hi, I'm a divorce lawyer but am not touting for business. There's a lot for your friend to think about. Mediation is a good idea if one party isn't likely to bully the other into an unreasonable deal. The procedure is to issue a petition (court fee currently £300), then negotiate the finances. Whether you use mediators or not, it's in both parties' interest to get the agreement properly drafted and approved thru' solicitors as there are an awful lot of potential pitfalls, esp. as there's a big mortgage to sort out. The doc. which covers the finances is a consent order & goes off to the court for rubber stamping by the judge and is then binding on both parties. The court fee for that is £40, followed usually by an application for decree absolute which costs another £40. Most solicitors will offer a free half hour advice. I often do background handholding for clients who don't want/can't afford for me to run the whole thing. She should try for a local specialist family lawyer.

Judy1234 · 09/09/2006 17:10

We both had lawyers but used them in the background as we were still living together and did the face to face negotiations on money between each other but taking advice from the lawyers when we needed it so we knew what we might get if we went to court and then compromised and then got our lawyers to write up the agreement/order which worked quite well. If you don't see a lawyer at all your ex can persuade you that 50% is the most you'd get when you might be in a situation where you legally and morally ought to get more or whatever.

zazas · 09/09/2006 20:11

ggirl - yes through the CAB. As I said it worked for us as we both wanted to make sure the other would be OK financially. We both thought we "deserved" more of course but because we constantly thought of the kids it helped with the final decision and it is one we are still happy with now. It was just good being treated as a couple sorting it out rather than one vs the other. All the financial side of things were drawn up by the mediaition people and checked over by a lawyer - it was fine.

brimfull · 09/09/2006 21:05

I really appreciate the replies...thanks.She's coming for the weekend soon so I'll try and point her in the direction you suggest,don't really want her seeing this as she may resent me discussing her on mumsnet.
Good to know it can be done amicably.

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