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06 September 2023

The Pitfalls of DIY Divorce Kits

Kristi Foale


With the age of the internet we have a wealth of information at our fingertips, however there are still a number of areas where professional guidance is a must.

One important area is divorce (also known as property settlement). Many people who are in the process of separation or divorce think that they can navigate this complex area of law without professional assistance and rely on a Do-it-yourself (DIY) divorce kits. Like an office worker with no building experience trying to build their own home, DIY divorce kits can and often do lead to disaster and end up costing more in the long run.

We outline below why engaging an experienced family lawyer is a wise decision:

Comprehensive Understanding

Divorce is not merely about ending a marriage, it involves a number of complex legal issues, from parenting arrangements, spousal support, the distribution of properties and other assets (such as superannuation funds). A single oversight has the potential to lead to adverse and irreversible financial and personal consequences.

Misunderstanding of State Laws

Whilst the Family Law Act is Commonwealth Legislation that applies throughout Australia, there are other State specific legal aspects (such as stamp duty, various taxes and other property laws) that vary between each State. The stipulations and requirements in one State can be very different in another. Relying on generic DIY kits can result in non-compliance with State-specific legislation and procedures.

Paperwork Errors

The preparation of legal documents requires precision. A minor mistake in filing, the omission of a necessary form, or an overlooked deadline can delay the divorce and property settlement process and lead to increased costs and stress.

Emotional Complexity

On the whole divorces are emotionally taxing. With emotions running high, decision making can and often is compromised. Having a lawyer working with you can provide objective guidance, with advice being provided so that you can make good decisions in stressful times.

Legal Advice

DIY kits do not offer legal advice. Every divorce and property settlement is different and has it’s own complications. Without understanding the implications of various decisions, couples can inadvertently agree to terms that might not actually be in their or their children’s best interests. Engaging an experience family lawyer to assist you with your divorce and property settlement means that you have legal advice at your fingertips.


If any disputes arise (as they often do in property settlements), representing yourself in court is daunting and stressful. Lawyers are trained to present cases and argue points effectively on behalf of their clients. They also navigate the complex world of courtroom procedures.


Without legal advice, you might not be aware of all entitlements available in your property  settlement. This often lead to an inequitable distribution of assets in the financial settlement.

Inadequate Resolution of Issues

Without thorough legal guidance, some issues may be overlooked and accordingly may not be dealt with when they should have. This can lead to potential conflicts in the future. A lawyer ensures all necessary topics are addressed and resolved so that the parties can move on and not have overlooked issues come back to haunt them in the future.

Whilst DIY property settlements might seem cost-effective and straightforward, the risks and pitfalls associated with using them can have long lasting repercussions and end up costing you more in the long run.

It is crucial to remember that separating and the subsequent property settlement, isn’t just a personal decision; it’s a legal process. Engaging a law firm ensures that your rights are protected, you have the best chance of getting what you are entitled to, the process is handled efficiently and properly, and your post-separation life starts on a solid legal foundation.

If you need expert legal advice, please contact our Family Law team on 03 6226 1210.

Visit our website for more information and an overview of our Family Law capabilities.

Or contact us by email today.

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