So-Called “Quickie Divorces” Come Under the Microscope | Family Law Blog
In the UK, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has announced a review of unregulated legal services (not solicitor firms) that concentrate on “quickie divorces.”
In Ireland, we do not have a direct equivalent to the type of unregulated legal services that are available in the UK, but there are businesses offering what is described as a Family Law service by providing to and charging, their customers for sets of Family Law Court forms (all of which are readily available on the Courts Service website), with some broad directions as to how the customer can fill these out themselves; the service is often referred to as a D.I.Y. divorce or Do It Yourself divorces.
The UK Competition Regulator said initial research has identified three areas of concern involving potential risk to customers and possible breaches of consumer protection law, namely will writing, pre-paid probate, and online divorce.
Concerns around so-called “quickie” divorce services in the UK include
- Misleading claims about both the simplicity of the process and prices, leave customers unclear about what they can be helped with or what they are paying for.
- Inadequate quality of service, including the unregulated using the wrong forms, entering incorrect details, sending papers to the court late, and not communicating efficiently with customers.
- Unfair contract terms including the exclusion of liability: in other words, they cannot be sued if they get it wrong
The Chief Executive of the UK Competitions and Markets Authority said
“These services are essential to people, often at the most challenging times in their lives. The CMA is aware that rising living costs mean people are watching their spending, so shopping around for a more affordable option is attractive and sometimes a necessity,”
and went on to say
“These may not be frequent purchases, but they are life-changing. That’s why it’s so important that we investigate so that people can select the right legal service for them – for divorce or probate or will-writing – with confidence. It’s essential that firms get the basics right, including complying with general consumer law which applies to all traders. Customers must get a fair deal.”
In Ireland, there are companies, that are not solicitors who say that they offer legal advice or legal opinion, but who are not legally regulated. They set the cost of a D.I.Y. Divorce at as little as €350 to €500, even though much of the information provided by these firms is already publicly available on state websites via the Court Forms that are available from the Courts Service on www.Courts.ie.
When looking at this option one has to ask what value people place on resolving their financial interests and financial future and protecting it, be it their legal entitlements, financial support, a fair division of assets (or debts), making legal changes to assets such as property and pensions, dealing with loans and liabilities, and ensuring that they fully protect their financial future and deal with all of their assets in their long term interests.
The saying, marry in haste, repent at leisure applies just as much to Divorce and Separation as it does to marriage. If mistakes are made in a Divorce, the effect can be serious and lifelong.
Niamh Moran, Family Law Solicitor, at Carmody Moran Solicitors, says
“Unfortunately all too often we are meeting clients who regret the deal they struck in mediation without legal advice or alternatively signed up to in a D.I.Y. divorce agreement and did not give full legal effect to the changes they believed they had made to their financial assets. The legal transfer of property and pension assets is complex, that’s why it is well known that buying a house is one of the most stressful life moves you can make, and a good solicitor is key to smooth house purchase and sale, similarly changing house ownership, striking a fair financial deal, and effecting changes to mortgages and financial responsibilities between separating couples, is complicated, and life-changing, and good solid legal advice and guidance, will enable decisions to be made fairly and changes to be effected competently.”
At Carmody Moran Solicitors LLP, our experienced family law solicitors are family law experts in reaching a resolution, and our expert family law solicitors guide you in reaching a permanent solution that is fair and equitable for you and your long-term financial interests. When asked about DIY divorces, Anthony Carmody, Family Law Solicitor, said that
“While there may be persons with no assets and no dependants for whom a DIY divorce may suit their requirements, those operators who may aid the creation of legal documents, are not in a position nor qualified to offer legal advice or legal opinion, nor do they owe any duty of care to the users of their service, unlike qualified solicitors who have years of training and experience behind them that enable them to provide expert legal advice and legal services around solution finding, negotiations, and resolution. Only by engaging with a solicitor and receiving expert family law legal advice, can you work with a professional who will legally advise you and be in a position to work out an agreement in your long-term financial interests.”
Meeting with and hiring an expert family law solicitor for legal advice and representation means that you will be made aware that there are always options in reaching a resolution, it does not have to mean a Court imposed solution.
Niamh Moran said that “ultimately, consumers should be wary of an overly simplistic and cheap solution which proposes to deal with all of their financial assets”.
At Carmody Moran Solicitors LLP we offer an initial ‘ask the expert’ consultation, starting at €200 plus vat, being €246, for an initial consultation. In advance of this meeting, clients are furnished with a questionnaire so they can give their background history to the matter and identify their issues of concern, that way clients can get maximum value from their time, and real and practical advice pertaining to their situation from the get-go. To arrange an appointment, please telephone our expert family law team at 01 8272 888 or email us at [email protected]
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We can meet with you at our offices located centrally off Merrion Square, near Baggott Street, Dublin 2 at 27 Mount Street Upper, Dublin 2, which office services Dublin City Centre, South Dublin family law clients, Blackrock, Stillorgan, Rathfarnham, Terenure, Ballsbridge, Sandymount, Rathgar, Ranelagh, and family law clients from all around Dublin, Wicklow, Kildare, and Ireland.
Carmody Moran Solicitors LLP has a second office located two minutes from the M50 at Blanchardstown on Blanchardstown Main Street. This office services Dublin West, Dublin North, local areas of Castleknock, Clonsilla, Blanchardstown, Lucan, Clontarf, Sutton, Portmarnock, Maynooth, Meath, Louth, and clients from all over Ireland.
Our expert legal team aims to dispel the unknown and at an initial consultation starting from €246 (including vat @ 23%), our expert family lawyers will endeavour to review your personal situation with you and set out a road map of options. And to give you an insight into family law and how it applies to your situation.
Our family law solicitors are skilled in family law and complex financial transactions, they also have expertise in resolving family law matters with divorce cases, probate elements of legal practice, and two of our partners are trained, mental health lawyers. This wealth of experience brings real practical value and sound judgment to the analysis of complex family law matters.
As we advance into 2023, we intend to focus our legal news with a renewed focus on our specialisation in family law legal cases and how family law is applied in practice in Ireland. If you have any questions or which to discuss your case further, please do get in touch with our team on 018272888 or email us at [email protected] for more information.
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Niamh Moran is a partner at Carmody Moran Solicitors in Dublin. Niamh’s litigation experience includes injury claims law (both Plaintiff and Defendant) and is an Advisory Board Member of the State Claims Agency.