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Divorce Without Lawyers: Be Aware

View profile for Sali Jackson-Thomas
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A recent report from Citizens Advice (March 2016) shows that since funding for legal aid was reduced in 2013 many more people are now going to the family courts without a lawyer (as a litigant in person). The report shows that nine in ten litigants in person said it negatively affected at least one other aspect of their life.

Almost a quarter of a million cases are started in the family courts every year. Evidence suggests that litigants in person achieve worse outcomes in the family courts especially when the other party has a trained lawyer.

The report highlighted that 69% of Citizens Advice advisors agreed that the experience of going to the family court as a litigant in person caused people’s physical health to suffer.

The charity said ‘Many litigants in person struggle to identify what issues are important and how to convey their side of these arguments convincingly’.

The charity added that family cases especially those involving finance can be complex and technical. Many litigants in person underestimate the complexity of a case and so underestimate their need for a lawyer. The report concluded that more than 7 in 10 people with experience of representing themselves in the family courts said they felt instructing a court professional would have benefited their court experience.

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