This is often a question I am asked, and my answer is almost always “I’d much prefer it if they do”.
In family law, people very often have ideas about what is “fair” and this term means different things to different people.
You might believe you know what a fair outcome would be and often what an unfair outcome would look (or feel) like, but this is a subjective view, and the law needs to apply the term objectively.
The law governing who gets what on a divorce is discretionary meaning there is a range of outcomes that would be considered fair.
Six different judges on six consecutive days presented with the same facts are likely to make six different orders. As along as each of the orders are within what is considered a “reasonable range” all may be valid.
When each party has an experienced solicitor acting for them, they will know broadly what that range is and encourage negotiation and settlement within it.
Without the benefit of objective advice an unrepresented party can dig their heels in believing their fairness is the only possible right outcome and if their view is outside the reasonable range, it becomes very difficult to reach an agreement.
You might say, I worked all my life to build that pension pot, so my spouse is “not getting a penny of it”. With the benefit of good advice, you would (sensitively) be told that is not the approach the court will take (and why). You would be encouraged to change that view it if there is to be any chance of an early/amicable settlement being achieved.
If one party is unrepresented a case is more likely to end up at a costly final hearing.
Having an unrepresented party inevitably leads to higher costs and things take longer as the unrepresented party has to have matters that they would otherwise been made aware of explained to them (not advice just explanation).
For the above reasons, my view is that having the other party on a case without legal representation is usually a bad thing.
Early legal advice almost always saves money in the long run so if you are thinking about or are ready to separate, we are here to assist and guide you.
Our Family Law Solicitors are committed to helping you with skill, compassion, and good old-fashioned common sense.
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