Regular readers of my blog will be used to me referring to my ‘day job’: as a family solicitor and collaborative lawyer at Brighton based Family Law Partners. I am fortunate to work with a really strong team which is highly rated in the independent legal directories such as Chambers & Partners and also the Legal 500. We specialise in offering our clients bespoke services such as mediation and collaborative law which usually involves face-to-face contact.
However, in a small but signifiant shift, we decided some time ago that we would open up access to our online divorce document platform. My blog subscribers will know that that has been an aim of mine for some time. Our online document platform allows our clients to create their own divorce or civil partnership dissolution documents any time of the day or night. Then they just let us know when we can review and approve the documents for them. Previously, we kept such innovations strictly available only to our full-service clients who in the main are drawn from around the South East.
Why online divorce services?
I have tended to think of online divorce services as absolutely fine if the primary need is the processing of the divorce papers in a very straightforward case. I regarded online divorce services as suitable for uncontested divorces. As any decent divorce lawyer will know, there are some important strategic considerations to be kept in mind when completing divorce documents. It is not as straightforward as might be thought. The contents of a divorce petition can have an impact upon related proceedings dealing with the children or with the finances.
One of the drawbacks with purely online divorce packages appeared to me to be the need for the big players to deal with as many cases as they can. They need high volume and low operating costs. But it does mean that if you look at the small print in certain of these online divorce websites it will say that if you want legal advice you must go and speak to a lawyer. In other words, the people who process the divorce forms are not legally qualified. If you google ‘online divorce’ you will see the same handful of providers jostling for space at the top of the first page. Google must make a fortune out of those sponsored links!
My firm is extremely busy. We are fortunate in that. Did you know that 1,000 high street legal firms have closed down in the last year? It is quite astonishing. The disappearance of high street legal firms means that some people will have to rely upon getting online assistance with their divorces and utilise fixed fees. But they should still get legal advice. By that, I mean, proper, fully qualified legal advice. When I look up from my PC at work in our open plan office, I can see a highly experienced legal team – between us we have over 80 years of legal experience, of every sort of case, involving clients from every walk of life. That experience is hard won. But we regard it as an investment for our future clients.
We know that legal aid has disappeared for most family law cases (but not mediation – remember that please). So although we are busy, we have decided to offer our online divorce platform to the wider public. This service will not be advertised on my firm’s website – it will only be offered to a small section of the public – mainly to the readers of the Divorce Finance Toolkit blog. By keeping the take up of this service relatively modest, we can continue to offer proper legal review, from highly experienced lawyers, to our online divorce clients at a fixed price.
Best of all, I am grateful to my team for letting me offer an exclusive 15% discount for this service to the readers of my blog. Aside from divorce documents and civil partnership dissolution documents, we also have a pre-nuptial agreement package and a separation deed package. Click on the banner at the top of the page. If you decide to use the services please enter the following discount code to save yourself some money:
The access to our online divorce services will be kept open for the foreseeable future but we will probably pull it if we get too busy as we would rather keep the quality of the service high by keeping the volume of users low.