Will the Co-op’s promise of an online divorce service really deliver?

18th January 2018

Terry Bastyan a Family Law Solicitor and Partner at Gilbert Stephens gives his opinion on the Co-op’s decision to offer a 24 hour online service.

Terry Bastyan

Co-op Legal Services have made a move to cater for divorces online enabling people access 24/7.  However will the Co-op’s promise of this online divorce really deliver what is needed at what is a very difficult and emotional time for most couples?

The only aspect of this service that differs from your high street solicitor appears to be the opportunity to access information online outside of the normal 9.00 to 5.30 office hours.

At Gilbert Stephens we believe clients benefit from being able to speak to a solicitor face to face before taking such a serious and potentially life changing decision; we feel this is a much better way forward compared with looking to start proceedings immediately on deciding to split, possibly at 3 o’clock in the morning.

The divorce process itself is fairly straightforward, but there are a number of other matters that need to be thought through very carefully – both legal and practical – including arrangements for children, accommodation, property, maintenance and pensions.  We would suggest it is not in a client’s best interests to make these sort of decisions in the early hours of the morning relying on general information provided online with no person to person contact and support.

Most solicitors offer a fixed fee for dealing with a straightforward uncontested divorce, some costing less than the fee that is quoted by the Co-op.  Usually included in these fees is a face to face meeting to discuss potential issues and difficulties, the client can actually meet the person who will be dealing with their case and build a relationship with someone they can trust – a huge advantage.

At Gilbert Stephens we offer:-

  • Fixed fee for a straightforward uncontested divorce for £450.00 plus VAT and the Court fee, currently £550.
  • Fixed fee for the preparation of the documents to put into effect previously agreed financial arrangements (a “consent order”) of £250.00 plus VAT
  • A fixed fee “diagnostic” interview to help identify issues and advise on the options available for up to an hour at a cost of £100.00 plus VAT

We are very approachable and have offices in Exeter, Crediton, Ottery St Mary, Budleigh Salterton, Sidmouth and Okehampton.  Please do contact us if you have any questions about this article and would like to talk about your circumstances.