How does Co-op’s Online Divorce Service Differ to DIY Divorce?
01 February 2018
The main difference is that after starting divorce online, customers speak with and are supported by a Divorce Solicitor throughout the divorce process.
At face value, a DIY divorce can initially seem to be a quicker and cheaper way of getting a divorce, but there are many potential pitfalls to using a DIY divorce service which we explain in detail below.
Firstly there is no such thing as a quickie divorce because all divorce cases have to go through the same Court processes. So be aware of online DIY divorce services which claim divorce can be done in weeks. A divorce could be granted in as little as 6 months, but it currently takes around 12 months in most cases.
Using a traditional Divorce Solicitor service often provides more comprehensive support and guidance which is tailored to the individuals’ particular circumstances and needs. But it can be restrictive when people need to make themselves available for appointments during office hours as well as needing to travel to a Solicitors office.
Co-op’s Online Divorce Service has been tailored to offer the best of both for customers of Co-op Legal Services. The online divorce service allows customers to start divorce proceedings online, while also offering comprehensive support, personalised advice and legal guidance from a Solicitor.
This makes the task of arranging a divorce convenient and accessible to all, while also ensuring that legal work is completed accurately and efficiently. As a result, divorce proceedings can progress quickly, without unforeseen issues and with minimal stress.
Co-op’s online divorce service is only available in England and Wales when both spouses agree to the divorce, and neither person wishes to contest or defend the divorce.
Potential Pitfalls of DIY Divorce
While DIY divorce may be a tempting option for some, for many it will end up causing more stress, costing more money and taking longer than hoped. We outline some of the most common pitfalls that people face when attempting to complete the DIY divorce process themselves.
Completing the Divorce Petition
It’s not uncommon for people to fall at the first hurdle of the DIY divorce process. That is, the completion and submission of the divorce petition.
The divorce petition is a complex legal document which contains a significant amount of technical terminology. If there are any errors on the completed document, it will be rejected by the Court and sent back.
In order to get a divorce in England or Wales, irretrievable breakdown of the marriage will need to be proven, citing one of the following five reasons:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- 2 Years of separation (with consent from both sides)
- 5 Years of separation (not requiring consent from both sides).
It’s not always easy to identify which reason should be given. People who are completing the divorce process alone may also not realise that various supporting documents will be required to substantiate the reason given. For example, if adultery has been cited then a signed consent form will need to be obtained from the other side, in which that person formally admits to the adultery. Without this, the divorce petition will be rejected by the Court.
Many people don’t realise that supporting documentation will be required until the divorce petition has been rejected and returned to them. There are waiting times in family Courts across the England and Wales, so chances are that the divorce petition will have spent up to 10 weeks in a queue at the Court, only to be reviewed, rejected and sent back. A new divorce petition will then need to be submitted, which will join the back of the queue again.
It may not be clear to the divorce petitioner why the original attempt has been rejected, so it can be difficult to know how to resolve the issue. Unless the second attempt is perfect then this too will be rejected. Ultimately, months can be lost attempting to complete this first stage of the process.
Obtaining the Decree Nisi
A quick online search on how to apply for the Decree Nisi might imply that it’s the simple task of completing and submitting a form to the Court. In reality, there are three forms to complete. If only one form is submitted, this will be rejected and sent back by the Court.
Once the Decree Nisi has been obtained, this does not legally end the marriage as a Decree Absolute still needs to be granted.
The Decree Absolute needs to be applied for within 12 months of the Decree Nisi being granted. If it is not done within this timeframe, it will be rejected by the Court. It’s easy to assume at this stage that the whole process needs to be completed again. In reality, the Court simply need proof that circumstances between the couple haven’t changed (i.e. they haven’t begun living together again or had a child together).
With a Co-op Divorce Solicitor on hand to oversee the divorce process, issues such as this can be addressed and resolved quickly, minimising any delay to the divorce proceedings.
Co-op’s Online Divorce Service
With Co-op’s online divorce service, you can start the divorce process at a time and place that suits you. Online guidance is available to help you to navigate through the first steps of the process. You can then book a telephone appointment with a Divorce Solicitor at a time that you choose.
Our Divorce Solicitors will talk you through the process, offer specialist advice, answer any questions that you have and review the divorce petition to ensure that all information is correct before this is sent to the Court. This means that the risk of documentation being rejected by the Court is very low.
Once the divorce papers have been completed and submitted to the Court, we can take care of the rest. We will obtain the Decree Nisi and the Decree Absolute for you, and complete the divorce process on your behalf for a fixed fee.