Judges in England launch DIY divorce guide
Judges have produced a guide to help divorcing couples to negotiate the legal minefield without lawyers – including splitting their own finances.
The DIY divorce guide has been prompted by the rise in people going to court without lawyers and provides a “road map through what is often, for many, uncharted territory”.
A report in 2014 found that in 29 per cent of family cases there were no lawyers at all, up from 17 per cent two years before, as a result of cuts in civil legal aid.
In three out of four family cases at least one litigant was acting without a lawyer, it found, and in divorce-related disputes lawyers were described as a “rarity”.
Sorting Out Finances on Divorce, available online from the judiciary website and Gov.UK, is “intended to demystify what is a complex area of law which many litigants in person may find intimidating”, a spokesman said.
It has been published by the Family Justice Council, a forum of judges, lawyers and court users, with the aim of explaining the law to help people who cannot afford legal advice to reach financial agreements without the need to go to court – and to know what to expect if they do.
The country’s most senior family judge, Sir James Munby, who is president of the family division of the High Court, said that the idea was to help “litigants in person who may be confronting the seemingly daunting prospect of negotiating their own agreements in the context of divorce and family breakdown”.
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