Sad times are approaching for Eastenders’ best loved couple, Kat and Alfie Moon. Alfie has decided there’s no going back after Kat’s repeated infidelity and in last night’s episode, Kat received Divorce papers in the post. Kat and Alfie then disagree about whether solicitors should be instructed.
Alfie maintains that he ‘wants things done properly’ and that ‘he won’t stitch her up’. Kat however says that she wants to keep it amicable between them, without any family lawyers calling the shots, for the sake of their baby son, Tommy.
So, who is right? Do divorcing couples need to instruct solicitors? Often this is seen as a tricky decision. Many have fears about long and drawn out proceedings and high costs. From 1st April legal aid will no longer be available for divorce matters unless there are issues of Domestic Violence and so more people are likely to consider dealing with their divorce themselves, rather than paying to instruct a family lawyer.
Running your plans past a lawyer is almost always a good idea where something as serious as divorce is concerned, and especially if Children are involved. Most solicitors, including Slater and Gordon Lawyers, will offer an initial free appointment. However amicable your break-up has been, there might be some unforeseen circumstances you've not considered. Whilst the divorce procedure itself is essentially a paper exercise, this simply ‘unmarries’ the parties. Contrary to popular belief, a divorce does not sever the financial claims that arise upon marriage. Even if a divorcing couple have been able to agree on a Financial Settlement, one sound reason for employing a family lawyer is the fact that very few people think to ask the court to approve their agreement in relation to financial matters. This document is called a ‘consent order’ and converts a voluntary agreement into a binding court order, so both parties know where they stand. Without a properly drafted consent order a former spouse could ask the court at any time in the future to reconsider the financial arrangement and claim a share in the other’s assets, even long after the divorce has taken place.
It is important that the precise wording of a consent order is correct to make sure that the agreement is not ambiguous and is enforceable. That is where instructing a good lawyer should be seen as an investment rather than an unnecessary cost. For more information on how Slater and Gordon can assist you in dealing with your divorce and financial matters, please contact our family team on: 0800 916 9055 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.