Everything you need to know about online divorce services and high street solicitors. Which is best for you?
This year has seen a huge rise in online sales. Convenience and cost are the common reasons given for buying online. But what about services like online divorce? How do online divorce services measure up against traditional solicitors? Let’s start with solicitors…
When did you last use the services of a solicitor? When you sold or bought a house? How was that experience for you? If you’re like most people, it was pretty stressful. You didn’t know what was going on at times, you felt frustrated with your solicitor and the opposing solicitor, but it came good in the end, and the overwhelming relief that the sale went through made you forget about the shortcomings of your legal representation.
It’s not an ideal situation, but what can you do? Solicitors are the experts after all. And indeed they are. I’ll be the first to tell you that having a strong legal team by your side fills you with reassurance. Having spent 20+ years working with companies around the world, I’ve spent a quarter of a million pounds on legal fees, one of whom is one of the top three largest law firms in the world.
How do you know if your solicitor is doing a good job?
But there is a big difference between $4bn multinational law firm and Joe Bloggs LLP in your town. Most of the time, you have no idea if you are getting a quality service from a high street solicitor. How could you? The industry’s legal jargon is a big barrier. Often we hand over total control to the solicitor, even in situations that don’t feel right in our gut – because they are the experts. I’m not saving that solicitors are deliberately trying to keep you in the dark, but they are there to advise, not to teach.
How solicitors make their money
The one thing that the best law firms in the world and their high street counterparts do have in common is that they are a business and very good ones at that. Having worked alongside some of the best lawyers in the country, I have had an insider view of how good they are at sales, and upselling.
You see solicitors make money for their firm by billing their clients for the time they spend on them. They have monthly and annual targets to hit, just like car salespeople do. Its only human nature that a business model like this incentivises solicitors to spend as much time with their clients as they can.
And what requires lots of time? Dealing with disagreements and conflict. Have you ever noticed that legal cases are written as Smith v (versus) Smith? One person versus another. Solicitors make their money from conflict, which isn’t necessarily something that you want in a divorce.
Because conflict in divorce costs money, it takes time, and it carries emotional weight, not only for you but for your children, other family and friends. Conflict in divorce rips lives apart.
How online divorce businesses make their money
Online divorce services are also businesses, but we are different. We are better! At Easy Online Divorce, our business is to get people divorced as quickly and as painlessly as possible for a low flat fee. We don’t charge by the hour like a solicitor, so we are not motivated to drag your divorce out for any longer than needs be.
Divorce is our only business, we don’t write wills, or sell houses or are involved in other more lucrative activities. We are only concerned with making your divorce as quick and as easy as possible – because that is what our business is, and if we didn’t do that incredibly well, we wouldn’t have a business.
We believe that divorce isn’t a bad thing; it’s a part of life. Not everything lasts forever; people change so why stay locked in an unhappy marriage? Divorce provides an opportunity for a fresh start to find happiness. And when someone is happy, this tends to have a positive effect on those around them, so there are wider benefits for our communities and society.
So how can I get an online divorce?
You can get an online divorce in England and Wales if:
- Your marriage has lasted at least 12 months.
- You see England or Wales as your permanent home or are domiciled in England or Wales if you live abroad.
- You have valid grounds for divorce.
- You and your spouse agree with the divorce – it is uncontested.
Is an online divorce legal?
A question that many people have is whether online divorce is legal?
The answer is yes, online divorce is 100% legal. In fact, an individual who meets the criteria above can apply for their own divorce on the gov.uk website.
But many people still want the help or expertise of someone who understands the system and the jargon. They want someone to explain everything to them so that they can make the right decisions and avoid costly mistakes. And this is where specialist online divorce companies like Easy Online Divorce come in.
Easy Online Divorce provides DIY assist services as well as fully managed services where we complete your documents, file them with the courts and speak with the judges, taking away all of the stress and hassle from you.
What services do online divorce companies offer?
Easy Online Divorce offers transparent fixed price services for uncontested divorces. Within the fixed price packages, we have options for every budget.
DIY Assist Service
Easy Online Divorce provides all of the documents along with a guide on how to complete them and the steps to follow to process your own divorce for only £29.
Completed and Verified Service
For those who want to remove the stress of filling in court forms and the worry of making mistakes, we have a Completed & Verified Service for £49. You answer a simple five-minute questionnaire, and we will have all of your documents completed for you within 24 hours.
In both of these services, you still file your own divorce petition, but we give you support along the way to make sure you’re doing everything correctly.
Fully Managed Service
Easy Online Divorce also offers a Fully Managed Service. Here we draft and file all divorce documents with the courts, and manage communication between the court, your spouse or any opposing solicitors. This costs £169.
How do I start my online divorce?
If your spouse agrees to divorce or if you have been separated for more than five years, Online Divorce is your best option. The Fully Managed packages give the same (and often better) service that a high street solicitor would provide, but at a fraction of the cost.
And often online divorce services are quicker because the central aim of their business is for their clients to divorce. In contrast, solicitors charge by the hour and make a significant amount of money from conflicts between divorcing couples.
To get started on your divorce today click here.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get a divorce? Can you tell me step by step?
To get a divorce, online or through a solicitor, you need to:
- Find valid grounds for your divorce
- Pay the service fees
- Apply for a decree nisi – a document that says that the court does not see any reason why you cannot divorce.
- Apply for a decree absolute – this decree legally ends your marriage.
How long does an online divorce take?
Each divorce is different, as every couple has unique circumstances. If the divorce is uncontested and everyone happily agrees to everything, you’re still looking at around 4 – 6 months from application to receiving the decree absolute.
How much does a divorce cost?
Whether you DIY, use an online divorce company like Easy Online Divorce or instruct a high street solicitor, the petitioner (the person filing for divorce) has to pay Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service, £550 for filing the petition.
If you are on a low income or certain benefits, this fee can be reduced to zero. Please read our article here about the Help with Fees scheme.
A high street solicitor would charge from £700 to £1200 on average in addition to the £550 in courts fees. When you compare this with Easy Online Divorce, you can see that you’ll save thousands.
Summary of costs – Easy Online Divorce:
Fully Managed service costs £169 + £550 in court fees = £719.
Completed and Verified service costs £49 + £550 in court fees = £599.
DIY Assist service is £29 + £550 in court fees = £579.
Summary of costs – High Street Solicitors:
The lowest end of the scale £700 + £550 court fees = £1250.
Average cost £1200 + £550 = £1750.
If you have any questions about divorce or would like a free 15-minute consultation, please contact us here.