I turned my divorce into a business – now I earn £50k a year and choose my own hours | The Sun

A BUSINESSWOMAN has revealed how she turned her own divorce into a £50,000-a-year job.

Fees for lawyers, financial advisors and mediators during divorce proceedings can rack up into the tens of thousands of pounds.

But you can go about annulling a marriage yourself – known as a DIY divorce.

It involves doing all the paperwork yourself, bypassing lawyers and saving you a fair amount of money in the process.

This was news to Melanie Carson, who racked up £60,000 in legal fees following a separation from her husband of five years in 2017.

The former mental health worker vowed she wouldn't leave others in the same situation and set about researching legal experts, mediators, financial advisors and law firms.

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She turned her knowledge into a viable new career, becoming a "divorce matchmaker".

She now helps clients navigate the world of divorce, earning £50,000 a year and deciding her own working hours in the process.

Melanie, 44, from Islington, London said: "The thought of spending £60,000 on divorce still angers and disgusts me to this day.

"It's not a figure you want to brag about, it's that thing of 'if only' I knew.

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"What I know now is I could have just said 'ok I'll take a step back and work out my own deal' and perhaps I could have represented myself at that point.

"I wasn't equipped with the information and as a result wasn't empowered to make that decision."

She added: "There's this misconception that in order to get the best outcome you need to arm yourself with the best lawyers, and that's not necessarily the case."

Melanie makes it clear she doesn't offer legal advice, but simply makes prospective divorcees aware of cheaper alternatives.

One client recently told her she had saved around £7,000 compared to a friend going through a similar divorce.

Melanie said: "I wanted people to know a lot of the first part of the divorce process you can do yourself, the government make it quite easy these days.

"I always say to people that mediators offer just as good a service, probably better, than your lawyers talking to each other.

"Also that lawyers are not your therapists, don't get stuck talking to them about how you're feeling because the clock's ticking on this at £300 an hour.

"In a way, doing all this research was my therapy. One client called me the Martin Lewis of divorces. I was like 'yes, that's me'."

What is DIY divorce?

Of course, while Melanie offers a service like this, you don't have to use it at all – you can always carry out a DIY divorce.

This involves bypassing lawyers or consultants and annulling the marriage yourself.

If you go the DIY pathway, the minimum cost is £593 – the cost of filing for divorce.

This is the legal confirmation your marriage has ended, but you still have to split any assets between you and your partner.

This option is significantly cheaper than involving lawyers.

Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, previously told The Sun relying on legal experts for "every littlething" can see costs rack up to as much as £40,000.

Bear in mind, DIY divorces only tend to work for very simple splits though.

If there are children, a business or hefty pensions involved, you might need to involve lawyers.

How to get a DIY divorce

You'll have to download a couple of things from the Government's website, including a D8 form.

You have to fill this in to apply and will need three copies – one for the court, one for you and one for your spouse.

You’ll need to fill in details such as the grounds for divorce, the name and address and of you and your spouse, and where and when the marriage took place.

You’ll also need a copy of your marriage of civil partnership certificate.

After you’ve submitted your application, you’ll receive a form from the court letting you know the petition was sent to the respondent (your spouse) and giving you a case number.

The petition is posted and the respondent has seven days to return the acknowledgement.

The court will send you a copy of this once received.

After this, the respondent can ignore the petition, acknowledge it and say they intend to defend against it, or acknowledge it saying they agree with it.

Once the court has looked at your papers, it will make a decision about whether to grant the divorce or not.

If granted, it will pronounce the decree nisi or conditional order, which is the time and date the judge will grant the divorce.


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This is first of two decrees, or orders, before the divorce process is complete.

You’ll have to wait six weeks from this date before you can apply for the second, the decree absolute, which completes the process.

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