A number of couples make the decision to do their own divorce without using lawyers. There is, of course, no requirement to use a solicitor but there are potential pitfalls.
Firstly, the respondent (the receiving party) can be ordered by the court to pay the costs of the petitioner in relation to the suit for divorce. The costs may only include the court fee of £410, which is payable at the point at which the petition is issued, but both parties need to be aware of the court’s ability to make such an order and what may need to be done if the respondent wishes to oppose the making of such an order.
Some petitioners do not complete the final section (part 10) of the petition for divorce to confirm that they seek financial remedy orders such as a lump sum, transfer of property or pension sharing order. It is essential, in most cases, for this section to be completed in order to enable the petitioner to preserve their financial claims, which will then lie dormant on the court file.
If the petitioner does not preserve their claims and then remarries, without having made an application to the court for a financial remedy order, then their claims, arising out of the divorce, are potentially lost. This is known as the “remarriage trap”. This pitfall applies, equally, to the respondent who may remarry after the divorce but without making an application for a financial remedy order.