CONTROVERSIAL cuts to legal aid are poised to cause an explosion of DIY divorce cases
CONTROVERSIAL cuts to legal aid are poised to cause an explosion of DIY divorce cases across the UK, it was claimed today.
The Government is pressing ahead with plans to cut £290million from the £2billion-plus annual legal aid bill which is one of the most expensive in the world.
Experts at Divorce Online say the move could mean thousands of couples who have chosen to end their marriage will be unable to afford a lawyer.
And they claim the knock-on effect could be a huge rise in the number of people arranging their own divorces over the internet.
Thousand of couples may choose to go online
Mark Keenan, managing director of Divorce Online – one of the UK’s biggest DIY divorce specialists – said: “Thousands of couples contemplating divorce won’t be entitled to legal aid because of the cuts, which will make it much more difficult to afford a lawyer.
“So many people will be forced to arrange their own divorce over the internet, which is far quicker and much cheaper than hiring expensive solicitors and spending months going through the courts.”
Ministers say if the proposals are ratified by Parliament, it will mean legal aid will end for most family cases, which includes divorce and child custody battles.
At the moment anyone with disposable assets of less than £8,000 can qualify for legal aid but that could be lowered to £1,000.
Critics have blasted the move and say it will discourage people from seeking legal advice and price many out of taking legal action.
But Mr Keenan said a growing number of couples were already catching on to the phenomenon of online divorce and the legal aid cuts would force even more people to contemplate cyberspace divorce.
He added: “At Divorce Online we only specialise in uncontested divorces where there is an amicable arrangement. Without legal aid more couples might be forced to come to an amicable arrangement because they cannot afford lawyers. That’s where companies like ourselves will be able to help.”
Divorce Online is one of the most successful DIY divorce services in Europe and has dealt with more than 65,000 couples in the past 12 years. Couples can get divorced for as little as £65.
The company is a major part of the growing phenomenon of couples getting divorced in cyberspace.
For more information visit Divorce Online