There are three separate elements to the divorce process:
- The divorce itself – the ending of the marriage
- Financial arrangements – agreements as to how assets will be divided, including pensions and possible maintenance payments
- Child arrangements – agreement on the arrangements for looking after any dependent children.
Divorce: The divorce process begins when either you or your spouse, the ‘applicant’ files the Application (formerly divorce petition) with the court.
Financial arrangements: With regard to financial arrangements, these can be agreed separately either before divorce proceedings have started, at the same time or after the divorce itself has been finalised. It is important to know that the financial arrangements cannot be finalised until after the conditional order.
Child arrangements: If possible, agreement should try to be reached with regard to how any dependent children will be looked after. Our factsheet provides guidance on how to reduce the impact of separation on children.
The divorce application (also referred to as form D8) is the court document used to apply for divorce and once filed at court is sent to the respondent spouse. The application will be made oline.
You will need:
- A clear legible copy of your marriage certificate which can be uploaded with your Application.
- The court fee which is currently £593.00 or if you qualify for a fee remission, you will need to provide the fee exemption form from the court
- Instructions to your solicitors to complete the divorce application, if using solicitors.
Day 1: File divorce/dissolution application online.
28 days: From the date of issue of the application, the court will serve the respondent or both parties (if this is a joint application) via email. If the applicant wants to deal with service, it is anticipated that service should be undertaken within 28 days from the date of issue of the application.
14 days: From the date of service of the application time to file acknowledgement of service, or
35 days: From date of service time to file answer.
20 weeks: From the date of issue of the application, provided the acknowledgement of service was served within 18 weeks from the date of issue the applicant can apply for the conditional order. If the acknowlegement of service was served later than 18 weeks from the date of issue of the application, the time to apply is no earlier than 14 days after the acknowledgement of service should have been filed.
6 weeks: After the date of the conditional order both parties or one party can apply for the divorce order If the application is made by one party that party must give 14 days' notice of their intention to apply.
Costs: Ordinarily costs orders would have been pursued if the applicant issued on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour. Claiming costs under the new procedure does not appear to be addressed and so we presume that if a joint application, both parties will discharge the fee jointly. If it is not a joint application, the Applicant may have to cover the court fee themself.
No, it doesn’t make any difference. Usually, if only one spouse wants to divorce, they will be the one who files the Divorce Application. An application can be made jointly if agreed.
There is no longer any need to attribute fault on the part of your spouse to start the divorce process. The ground will be the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.
You cannot issue a divorce petition until you have been married for one year. If your marriage breaks down before you have been married for a year, you may want to separate in the meantime and agree arrangements for finances and any children who are involved.
After one year, a petition can be issued based on the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.
No, it doesn’t make any difference who caused the divorce to the outcome either financially or in respect of arrangements in looking after dependent children. No fault will be attributed on the divorce application and so the court will not know exactly why the marraige failed.
A Conditional Order is an order of the court acknowledging that the applicant is entitled to a divorce.
Approximately 30 weeks although delays by either side and disagreements over financial issues are common factors that slow progress, making the process take longer. If both parties cannot agree, or there are delays returning paperwork, then this can extend the time and increase costs.
Six weeks after the date of the conditional order, the applicant can apply for the divorce order. The applicant must give their spouse 14 days' notice of their intention to apply.
The Final Order is a court order that officially ends a marriage. This will not be issued until at least 6 weeks after the date of the Conditional Order. Once the Financial Order has been issued you are free to remarry.
The divorce cannot be contested and is straighforward however, delays by either side and disagreements over financial issues are common factors that slow progress, making the process take longer. If both parties cannot agree, or there are delays returning paperwork, then this can extend the time and increase costs.
You can get a fixed fee divorce. We provide a fixed fee of £700 + VAT for the divorce element only. For issues over money, property or children, you will need our full-service package. For details of our packages, please click here. https://www.qualitysolicitors.com/moore-tibbits/divorce
Everybody’s circumstances are different, from those couples who have agreed everything to those that are acrimonious with possibly more complex financial issues.
Whatever your circumstances, having the right divorce lawyer is vital to ensure you get the absolute best outcome for you but just as important is that you have a good customer experience with your lawyer through this stressful period of your life.
If you are divorcing someone: If you start the divorce proceedings, you will be known as the applicant. You will be responsible for paying the court fee which is £593 as well as your own lawyer’s fees.
If someone is divorcing you: You will be known as the respondent. Again, we offer fixed cost packages depending upon whether the divorce is contested or not.
For further details of online divorce, our fixed fee packages, assets and pensions, child arrangements and the collaborative process, please click here.
Legal aid is not generally available for divorce and family cases however, where there has been a significant factor such as domestic violence or a child is at risk of abuse from the other person involved, legal aid may be available.
There is no providsion yet under the new rules. If it is a joint application, costs can be shared, otherwise the Applicant is likely to pay.
An uncontested divorce is the term used when you agree with the divorce and don’t try to defend it. Under the new rules you can no longer defend the divorce.
There is no fault needed.
There is no fault needed.
You are not legally required to try mediation or counselling but they can have advantages in helping to ease any hostility and reaching agreements. Counselling services tend to focus primarily on the emotional side of the break-up. This can be useful if only one partner wants to get divorced and can help with understanding each other’s feelings. It can sometimes make it easier to negotiate an agreement and even may encourage couples to give their marriage a second chance.
Mediation services involve a skilled mediator helping you and your spouse to negotiate agreement on issues such as finances and childcare arrangements. We would advise before reaching any final agreement that specialist legal advice is sought.
Resolution is a community of family justice professionals who work with families and individuals to resolve issues in a constructive way with as little conflict as possible. Carline Gayle-Buckle of Moore & Tibbits is proud to be a member of Resolution and also a trained collaborative lawyer. Details of Resolution can be found here. www.resolution.org.uk.
Under the new rules, a divoce cannot be defended.
If the divorce involves children, significant sums of money, pensions and assets, using a solicitor is strongly advised. A solicitor cannot act for both spouses, you should each have your own solicitor.
Using a solicitor can ensure you understand what your rights are, what would be a reasonable financial settlement and help with negotiating agreement on financial arrangements and how any children will be looked after. A recent survey conducted by Resolution has highlighted that seeking legal advice early would have helped with the personal experience of the divorce process for not only the spouses, but the children involved as well.
The more information you can provide to your solicitor, the easier it is to understand your circumstances and to advise you. The information provided should include:
It is also important to discuss with your solicitor your major objectives eg. ensuring that the children stay with you or that you have reasonable contact with them, staying in the family home etc. Delays in providing important information can increase delays and costs.
Evidence of your identity will also need to be provided such as your passport and latest bank statement.
- Why the marriage ended
- Which of you is applying for the divorce and whether you have both agreed to the divorce.
- You and your spouse’s major assets eg. houses, pensions, savings etc.
- You and your spouse’s income and outgoings
- Details of any dependent children under the age of 18, still in in full time education or having special needs.
Emotions can run high during an acrimonious divorce but it is essential, especially if children are involved to try and remain calm and sympathetic to try and reach an agreement without involving the court. The longer negotiations continue, the higher the costs will be with the potential for a negative impact on any children involved. If your spouse continues to be unreasonable and any negotiations are not working, court may well be a more cost-effective route. The court timetable may well help your spouse to focus on the issues involved.
You will need to notify any person or organisation who needs to know about your marital status for example:
- Your employer: Health benefits, pension scheme or any other employment related benefits may be affected.
- Department for Work and Pensions: If you are receiving benefits, you should notify the Department for Work and Pensions. You may have to notify earlier if you separate as this could affect eligibility for some benefits.
- Joint bank accounts/memberships: A woman who wishes to revert to her maiden name should notify organisations such as banks and government departments.
It is also important to check any insurance or other policies to ensure they have the correct beneficiaries as well as making an up-to-date Will.
A copy of the Final Order is generally all the documentary evidence you need to provide.
Neither party to the marriage is free to remarry until the final decree of divorce has been made known as the Final Order.
We would recommend updating your will as soon as you decide to separate. Whilst you are still legally married, your Will remains valid. This means that your spouse will still be entitled to inherit as per the terms of the Will. If you die without a Will, before you have received your Final Order, your spouse will inherit from your Estate. Without a Will in place, the law decides how your estate will be distributed (following the intestacy rules). You lose the right to choose and the result may not be what you would have intended which could lead to potential legal problems for those you love. For more details on divorce and wills, click here. https://www.qualitysolicitors.com/moore-tibbits/news/2020/07/how-does-a-divorce-affect-my-will