Georgina Emerson

Associate Solicitor

DATE PUBLISHED: 23 Feb 2024 LAST UPDATED: 23 Feb 2024

Do I need a divorce lawyer?

Getting divorced and agreeing a settlement is one of the most important financial decisions you will ever have to make. Getting it wrong can prove very expensive.

Whether or not you need a solicitor on board to assist you with your divorce and division of your matrimonial assets depends on various factors, including the complexity of your case, your knowledge and understanding of the legal process, and the level of goodwill and cooperation between you and your spouse.

We have set out below some factors that you should consider when making this decision:-

  1. Legal Knowledge

Most people are understandably not familiar with family law and the legal processes involved in divorce. Trying to navigate the legal system and understand how the law applies to your situation, without having the benefit of a family lawyer to advise and support you, can often lead to increased stress, misunderstandings and wasted time and costs. Consulting with a lawyer at the outset can provide you with essential information and guidance to avoid these pitfalls and set you on the right track. A family lawyer can provide you with support throughout the whole process, or at set stages. Our aim is to enable you to make informed decisions about the various options open to you and to guide you through unfamiliar territory with the objective of exiting your marriage with a fair and workable financial settlement, in a cost-effective manner which is as stress-free as we can make it for you.

  1. Complexity of the Case

If your divorce involves significant assets, complex finances, property portfolios, business interests, trusts, or pensions, not having a divorce lawyer can prove very expensive in the long term. They can navigate intricate financial and legal issues and ensure you understand the parameters of a fair settlement so you can make an informed decision and approach negotiations in a realistic manner. There are also often wider factors to consider when dividing assets such as tax implications and valuations (properties and businesses) and a solicitor will be able to identify these issues and refer you to expert surveyors, accountants and financial advisors who can assist in ensuring that assets are fairly valued, and liabilities are properly taken into account.

  1. Amicable Settlement

Our lawyers at Ellis Jones are all members of Resolution and therefore promote a constructive approach to dealing with family issues. You and your spouse may wish to deal with your divorce in an amicable and collaborative manner. You have the option to explore various dispute resolution methods, such as mediation or collaborative divorce. You may only need our assistance initially, on an intermittent basis or at the end, once an agreement has been reached. Alternatively, you might require our assistance to support you throughout the entire journey from start to finish. We can adapt to meet your needs.

If you engage in mediation, it is important that any agreement reached in mediation is drawn up into a financial consent order and approved by the Court. Until then, the agreement reached between you and your spouse is not legally binding or enforceable. Without a court order disposing of  your financial claims against one another, these will remain live which means there is nothing to stop your spouse from resiling on the agreement and coming back for a second bite of the cherry! You will need a family lawyer to prepare the financial order and submit this to the Court on your behalf.

  1. Protecting your Interests

Going through a divorce can sometimes become overwhelming, emotional and stressful. Instructing a family lawyer can insulate and protect you so that you do not  have to deal with your spouse directly over these difficult issues. This is of vital importance where there is domestic abuse, financial control or an imbalance of power. Our duty is to protect you, advocate for your interests and ensure that you are aware of your rights and responsibilities. We can help you understand the legal implications of your decisions and ensure that the outcome of your divorce and financial settlement is fair taking into account all the circumstances. We will also be honest with you if your expectations are unrealistic and need to be adjusted.

  1. Paperwork and Procedures

The legal paperwork involved in a divorce and financial settlement can be complex and many people can develop a mental block in dealing with this, which can prevent progress from being made. A family lawyer can assist in drafting and submitting necessary documents with the court, ensuring compliance with court procedures and ensuring unnecessary delays are avoided and progress is made.

  1. Legal Advice

Even if you choose not to hire a solicitor to represent you and you wish to deal with matters yourself, having an initial meeting to obtain legal advice is highly recommended and always beneficial. This allows you to understand your rights and options before making any decisions and will provide you with a strong foundation to start negotiations and ensure you achieve a fair and reasonable settlement.

Ultimately, the decision to instruct a family lawyer depends on your individual circumstances and preferences. Consulting one of our solicitors will help you understand what you can expect to receive by way of a financial settlement on divorce and to determine the best approach based on the complexities of your situation and your specific needs.

How can Ellis Jones help?

If you need assistance or advice in relation to the division of your matrimonial finances and/or the divorce process, please do not hesitate to get in contact with one of our expert Family Law Solicitors on 01202 636223 or by e-mail to

If you feel at all worried or anxious about taking the initial step and calling our office, please read our ‘What can I expert from my first telephone call for family law advice’ blog written by one of our PA’s, Elizabeth Perks.

How can we help?

When you submit this form an email will be sent to the relevant department who will contact you within 48 hours. If you require urgent advice please call 01202 525333.

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