Q Is online no-fault divorce as simple as you think!
A The advent of the new no-fault divorce which came into force last year brought a flurry of online applications, not least because couples believed that by not having to ‘prove’ the reason for wanting a divorce, they could deal with the process themselves and save money without engaging the help of a solicitor.
On discovering this, some couples decide to ‘sort matters out’ between themselves, without any formal legal agreements. By doing so they are however only thinking about their circumstances today, without giving thought to the dangers that could lie ahead.
What, for example, will happen if one or both parties’ circumstances change in the future? Or if they form new relationships and gain new families? Where will their loyalties lie then, if they have only made an informal arrangement relying on each other to simply ‘keep their word’?
All this demonstrates the importance of separating couples being fully aware that just getting a divorce (decree absolute) does not necessarily mean the end of any further claims concerning money or property being made by their ex-husband/ex-wife.
In England and Wales, even if you get a divorce, your ex-husband or ex-wife can apply to the court at any time – even after your death – for financial provision to be made by you, and, if necessary, from your Estate after you die.
The only true way to prevent nasty surprises happening when your ex-spouse contacts you 20 or 30 years after the divorce wanting half your pension, is to take proper legal advice at the outset - and that means legal advice appertaining specifically to your particular circumstances, and then ‘sealing the deal’ with a formal legal agreement through the Court.
In respect of children, the same applies, in so much as what may start out as an amicable agreement for care and financial arrangements could go badly wrong due to future unforeseen circumstances. Far better to stay safe by seeking proper legal advice before agreeing to anything!
This question has been answered by Sean Rolinson, a Solicitor with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients. Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email.