The Observer reports today that: "Solicitors have warned couples planning to use low-cost websites to get a "quickie" divorce that they could risk making catastrophic errors through lack of legal advice." With the likely abolition of legal aid, this could be the first salvo in a war of words between those offering 'traditional' divorce services and cheaper online alternatives, as the two sides fight for a slice of the pie.
Law Society president Linda Lee is quoted as saying: "Divorce can be a highly complex issue and it would be difficult for any case to receive a full and thorough analysis without a client having had the benefit of at least one face-to-face meeting with a family law solicitor."
On the other hand, Mark Keenan, managing director of Divorce-Online claims that solicitors misunderstand the role his company plays: "We're the end of the process, not the beginning. We recommend that people seek advice from solicitors, then once they've decided how to deal with their finances, children and other issues, come to us for the uncontested divorce. We can't give advice, and if someone comes to us still needing advice we will try to find somewhere suitable to provide it."
This, though, does not entirely satisfy the 'traditionalists'. The report continues: "Roz Bever, a partner specialising in family law with Manchester firm Mace & Jones, accepts Keenan's claim, but adds that the saving achieved by getting an online divorce would be negligible."
Expect more of the same in the months to come...