Do I have to instruct a divorce lawyer?

Hi,

I have previously posted about wanting to leave my husband and I have come to terms with the fact that there is no way round it, I am definitely leaving him. I feel a huge ball of guilt when I think about it, but I feel a huge weight of sadness if I consider staying. It is going to be hard, but the only way I can see myself ever having any independence and happiness is by leaving.

Anyway, I have read about the 'no fault' divorce and I will put in the application if it is that easy... However, when I read up on various 'plans to leave' I keep seeing one of the steps is to get a divorce lawyer. Do I need one?

We have no assets. We have around 45k of debt, but if he allows me to take the car, which is in his name, but it was bought for me and I am more than happy to continue paying for it, then we will both be taking away half each of the debt. We rent our home and we earn around the same amount of money. 

I am hoping we can agree to a 50/50 split with the children and not have to pay any maintenance etc... I'm not after any money from him, but maybe if the kids end up living with me more of the time (just due to the fact he has periods of working away) he can give them an allowance into their banks for spends/clothes etc.

Although, I do think he is going to kick off big time when I leave and try to make things really difficult for me.... So I'm wondering if I need to get a divorce lawyer to help settle everything more amicably. Would a divorce lawyer speak to him on my behalf? I'm actually unsure how all this works. He can be really vile in arguments so I am torn between trying to do this all myself and telling him properly before moving out... seeing if we can come to some arrangements about who will live where blah blah... or just finding myself a place to rent locally, then just going... or finding a place and telling him on the day I'm leaving... I really don't know how to do this. I really don't know what role a divorce lawyer would play and if I need to bother with the expense seeing as we have no assets.

Thanks for reading my ramble


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Comments

  • Brie
    Brie Posts: 9,816 Forumite
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    I would suggest that you find out who any of your divorced/separated friends might recommend for the legal work.   Frankly I have no idea if you actually need a solicitor but if he's likely to get stinky about things it would be good to have someone in mind.  I do have friends who do all negotiating via solicitors as the relationship has thoroughly broken down - and obviously that's costly for both sides.

    My concern would be the debts at this point.  Have a look at what is in your name and and in his.  Maybe if you have a credit card you need to cancel his associated card on your account - or at least be ready to do so.  And change any access codes/pins for dealing with any finances online - even if you are the one that always deals with things.  You mention the car being in his name - I assume that's a finance deal?  It may be more straight forward to hand the car back and start afresh on your own.

    Is there someone in real life that you can talk to - a counsellor available via work/church/community group??  people here will be very helpful I'm sure but sounds like you have a lot to work through before you actually walk out the door.  And when you do get round to telling him - maybe write it all down so you don't get distracted by his arguments?

    Best of luck - it makes me sad to hear people are in this situation while intellectually I know that it is often so very necessary.
    "Never retract, never explain, never apologise; get things done and let them howl.”
  • Brie said:
    I would suggest that you find out who any of your divorced/separated friends might recommend for the legal work.   Frankly I have no idea if you actually need a solicitor but if he's likely to get stinky about things it would be good to have someone in mind.  I do have friends who do all negotiating via solicitors as the relationship has thoroughly broken down - and obviously that's costly for both sides.

    My concern would be the debts at this point.  Have a look at what is in your name and and in his.  Maybe if you have a credit card you need to cancel his associated card on your account - or at least be ready to do so.  And change any access codes/pins for dealing with any finances online - even if you are the one that always deals with things.  You mention the car being in his name - I assume that's a finance deal?  It may be more straight forward to hand the car back and start afresh on your own.

    Is there someone in real life that you can talk to - a counsellor available via work/church/community group??  people here will be very helpful I'm sure but sounds like you have a lot to work through before you actually walk out the door.  And when you do get round to telling him - maybe write it all down so you don't get distracted by his arguments?

    Best of luck - it makes me sad to hear people are in this situation while intellectually I know that it is often so very necessary.
    Thanks for your reply. The debts are pretty clear cut tbh. I have a couple of hundred on credit cards, which I am going to pay off in January, plus I have a loan of 7k, The rest is in his name... credit cards, motorbike PCP and the car finance. As I say the car was bought for me for work, so I would love to be able to keep that and keep paying it, but I'll just get my own if he is petty about it.
    If I took the car and my loan I am taking 22k of the debt, so about half... the rest is all in his name... 

    Unfortunately, I don't have anyone to talk to. I only have one friend and she isn't the best at talking, and would have no practical advice.. I actually feel like I'm going insane! 

    Thank you for your advice.

  • Can't help you with needing a solicitor but please don't ignore any savings in pensions. If you have about the same saved up then it's probably a non issue but worth checking out, as these are assets that form part of the marital pot




  • Can't help you with needing a solicitor but please don't ignore any savings in pensions. If you have about the same saved up then it's probably a non issue but worth checking out, as these are assets that form part of the marital pot




    Hmmm. He has bog standard pension that companies have to enrol you into. He has only been paying into one for the last few years. I have been paying into a teachers pension for a few years.

    Is there anyway we can just specify we don't want anything from each other's pensions? Can he specify that he wants half of my pension. 

    Again, I don't know how any of this works. I think I need to do some more research.
  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 46,007 Forumite
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    How old are your children, roughly? You may have said previously, but ... 

    I ask, because you may need to go to mediation - or at least, you need to try: if he won't go then that will be noted. 

    Mediation is definitely cheaper than going straight to court without agreement, and fighting it all out there ... 

    This looks like a useful introduction: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/family/how-to-separate1/ - there's a page about mediation. 

    Another useful site is https://divorce.wikivorce.com/
    Signature removed for peace of mind
  • Gavin83
    Gavin83 Posts: 8,742 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    Can't help you with needing a solicitor but please don't ignore any savings in pensions. If you have about the same saved up then it's probably a non issue but worth checking out, as these are assets that form part of the marital pot




    Hmmm. He has bog standard pension that companies have to enrol you into. He has only been paying into one for the last few years. I have been paying into a teachers pension for a few years.

    Is there anyway we can just specify we don't want anything from each other's pensions? Can he specify that he wants half of my pension. 

    Again, I don't know how any of this works. I think I need to do some more research.
    You can specify whatever you want but it’ll obviously require his agreement. I assume from what you’ve said your pension is a lot better/more valuable than his so I can understand why you’d wish to ignore pensions but not why he’d agree.

    The starting point is 50/50 split of all assets, including pensions. Given these appear to be your only assets his solicitor (assuming he got one) would strongly advise him not to ignore this.
  • TBagpuss
    TBagpuss Posts: 11,199 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Name Dropper
    I'd suggest that you at least talk to a solicitor, many offer free intiital advice  (check out www.resolution.org.uk for solicitors local to you) - they will be able to give you some basic advice about how to move forkward andavod pit falls.

    It is possible to have an agreement not to claim each other's pensions, ideallythis would be in the form of a  finacial order (consent order if agreed) whch can be for a clean break, confirming that you don't have any interest in each others ension now or in the future,.( It would also protect you afrom him seking to claim any assets you may build up in future)

    A solicitor could draw up a suitable order for you even of you were dealing with the dvorce itself diretly 
    All posts are my personal opinion, not formal advice Always get proper, professional advice (particularly about anything legal!)
  • Much easier and cheaper to agree it yourself.

    The divorce process you can do yourself online (and pay court fees). https://www.gov.uk/divorce/file-for-divorce

    The financial side of it is a seperate thing which you usually get after decree nisi (when divorce has been agreed by courts) and decree absolute (decree absolute). You can agree things yourself, but the actual agreement needs to be drawn up by a solicitor for it to be accepted by the courts. https://www.gov.uk/money-property-when-relationship-ends/apply-for-consent-order

    The thing to remember is to make it fair for everyone (including any kids).

    Much better if you agree on things (as any assets are not taken up by legal fees), depending on your assets.

    But include savings, pensions as well as considering earnings, debt etc. You will be going from one house together to servicing two houses, so you will both feel poorer.

    Good luck.


  • You certainly don't NEED to instruct a solicitor but as suggested it may be worth talking to one. Or at least someone like Citizens Advice just to understand the situation a bit better as you seem to not be too up to speed with it all (no offence intended)

    You probably should sit down and have a conversation with your partner (provided you feel safe doing so) and see what his thoughts are. But you probably don't want to dump this all on him in one go. If you feel like divorce is inevitable now are you in a position to move out? It might be better to have the 'we need to get divorced and i'm moving out' conversation first  then come back and talk about finances later. 

    With regards specifics you really need to look at the assets and debts and obligations in total - if you are married you can't really just say 'the debt is in his name so it's nothing to do with me' it's 50/50. Equally it seems a bit cheeky to say you'll take the car as that's half the debt, conveniently ignoring that you are taking an asset to cover that debt ;) Equally pensions etc need to be looked at. Of course, what's fair or reasonable is really what both parties can agree to. Also bear in mind that agreeing to something now which is slightly unfair might work out better in the long-run than paying for solicitors to argue it.

    Kids and child maintenance is a separate matter again - bear in mind that no matter what you agree on child maintenance, whichever party is the resident parent (the one with the most care) can go to CMS and make a claim at any time. You cannot agree away those obligations. 

    With regards solicitors in my experience they do NOT make the process any more amicable or move it forward any faster but it may be unavoidable if you can't co-operate or go through mediation. Since you have kids and envision shared care its certainly worthwhile to try to make things amicable.
  • AliC999
    AliC999 Posts: 14 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary
    Hello - check out the blog on this site www.mediateuk.co.uk - there is a lot of information about parenting, finances and how to divorce amicably. They offer a free 15 minute chat too. 

    The divorce part you can do yourself online. This is separate to the financial and parenting arrangements. Parenting best agreed between yourselves. Consider a drafting your own parenting plan if you like.  Finances you should definitely consider getting a clean break consent order, as without this, no agreement is legally binding and either of you can make a claim against the other in the future, even many years after your divorce. Also remember that under family law, it doesn't matter whose name is on a debt or an asset. The advice above to give a bit of time between letting him know you want to divorce, to discussing the financial arrangements is good advice. It can all be too much in one go. I hope this helps a little. 
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