Reported in the news recently is that the Co-operative is now offering divorce kits from £99 in it's 2,800 stores, as well as 350 bank branches. These are supposed to be aimed at families who are not able to pay the solicitors fees usually associated in the cost of a divorce.
So is it a good thing to make getting a divorce more accessible by making it cheaper? I have to say, as I am getting married in four weeks I haven't put too much thought into the possibility that I could experience divorce in the future, and I have never thought about how the costs involved could even influence this life changing decision.
Having just read a couple of articles on the internet, I am told that the average cost of legal fees for a divorce in England is approximately £2,000. Having looked a little closer at the Co-operative's 'quickie' divorce option, with court costs, the total amount is more like £500, however it is considerably less than the average cost. A quick search of 'cheap divorce' though on an internet search engine tells me that the Co-operative is just one of many organisations offering an online, cheaper divorce service, which cuts out the solicitor fees. So why is it that the media only choose to make a bigger fuss about these low-cost divorce packages when a well known organisation decides to offer this as one of their services?
Critics to the low-cost divorce claim that it makes a divorce easier to obtain; it is a cheaper and quicker way to process the court documents and they are concerned that it may make people rush into a decision, without the relationship support necessary. Will this make a couple hurry into a divorce as they are not getting the legal guidance and advice that is usually accompanied when going down the traditional solicitor route? I don't know. Surely it is beneficial to those who don't have thousands of pounds to move forward from a break up, who have amicably made the decision to divorce?
Is it really that strange too for a large organisation that offers so many different and varied services to offer an online divorce service as their latest? I would be inclined to think not. The Co-Operative is an expanding organisation, with a large Legal Services, and so why wouldn't they offer a divorce service for the modern population, who are so often characterised in the media as leading increasingly busy lives, and requiring more easily obtainable services.
It will certainly be interesting to see if divorce rates change with the cheaper 'DIY' divorce option being so easily accessible and reported on widely in the media - and how long is it likely to be until other similar organisations look to offer a similar service...