Do you need help with:-
- Understanding what grounds there are for a divorce?
- Timescales for divorce?
- Getting a divorce?
- Choosing a lawyer to assist you?
- Sorting out the financial issues following on from divorce?
The Divorce Process
The person who applies for a divorce is called the “Petitioner” and the other spouse is the “Respondent”. If you are applying then the first step is for your solicitor to prepare the Divorce Petition and any other necessary papers. Please note these points: -To start a divorce you must have your Marriage Certificate. If you do not have it your solicitor can get a copy but they will need to know when and where you were married. This will be filed at Court and you will not get it back.
- Your solicitor will need full information to complete the Petition and particulars to support the “fact” that you are using to obtain a divorce.
- Your solicitor must have full details about any children such as their names and dates of birth, whether they are living with you or your spouse, who is maintaining them, where they will live after the divorce and information about what contact they are to have with the other parent. These details are set out in a form called the “Statement of Arrangements”.
- Your solicitor will advise about whether to make a claim for costs in the Divorce Petition against the Respondent.When all the papers are ready they will be sent to the Court and a copy will be posted to your spouse or to his/her solicitors. Your spouse will then return the Acknowledgement form to the Court saying that the divorce papers have been received. This is called an “Acknowledgement of Service”. Your spouse will also have to say on the Acknowledgement form whether the Petition is to be defended by denying the “fact” that you are alleging and whether the arrangements for the children are agreed.
- If the Petition is based on the “fact” of adultery with a specific person, then that person may sometimes become involved in the proceedings, although this is no longer necessary in order to obtain a divorce. He or she is called the “Co-Respondent” and, if named, will also be sent copies of the Divorce Petition.
Assuming your spouse has returned the Acknowledgement form saying that the Petition will not be defended, the next stage is for your solicitor to prepare a statement for you to sign, on oath, confirming the truth of the Petition. You do this in a document called an “Affidavit” which has to be signed in front of a solicitor or before one of the County Court staff. Next, the Affidavit is put before a District Judge who looks at the paperwork in private. If the Judge finds everything in order, a “Decree Nisi” will be granted a month or two later. This is a preliminary order by which the Court says that it is satisfied that the “fact” alleged in the Petition has been proved. However, the Decree Nisi is not a divorce and you remain married. It is not until “Decree Absolute” that you are divorced. You (as the Petitioner) can apply for Decree Absolute six weeks and one day after the Decree Nisi.
If for one reason or another you do not apply for Decree Absolute, then your spouse may apply to the Court for permission to obtain this, but not until three months have gone by since the Decree Nisi. The reasons for the delay have to be explained to the Court and the Judge must be satisfied that amongst other things, you and your spouse have not lived together since the date of the Decree Nisi, before he will make it Absolute.
Whilst an undefended divorce can be fairly straightforward, problems over children can sometimes delay the Decree Absolute. Disputes over money or property are less likely to hold up the divorce except in specific cases arising on the grounds of a two or five-year separation. Sometimes a wife may be advised not to apply for the final Decree on the first available date for fear of potential loss of the widow’s pension and other benefits.
Should you be the Respondent, then unless you defend the Petition, your spouse will take the steps that have just been outlined to obtain a divorce and dissolve the marriage. Apart from sending back the Acknowledgement form, there is not a great deal for you to do unless there are arguments about the children or money or property.
Defended divorces can cost a lot of money and take a long time. Legal Aid is not available. Defended divorces are unusual. Disagreements about the arrangements for the children or over money or property can usually be dealt with, without the need to defend a Divorce Petition.
Most divorces will take about 4-6 months to obtain from sending the papers to Court to the granting of Decree Absolute.
Our fixed fee for an undefended divorce service for the Petition costs £500 plus VAT plus Court fee of £550 making a total of £1150.
Conditions apply and fixed fees apply to straightforward and undefended divorce proceedings only. If it becomes apparent that the divorce is likely to be defended or we need to arrange for personal service of divorce papers upon the Respondent then a further quote will need to be provided.