The Divorce Process
As specialists in Family Law, at Goodsells we appreciate how stressful and upsetting going through divorce proceedings can be. We will guide you through each stage clearly and sensitively, taking a pragmatic but robust approach at all times to protect your position and pursue your desired outcomes.
Grounds for divorce
The only ground for divorce is now the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage. On April 6th 2022, divorce legislation in the UK was reformed, meaning that couples are no longer required to provide a reason for the breakdown of the relationship. One or both parties must declare via a written statement that the relationship has broken down beyond repair.
The parties in divorce proceedings
Under the old divorce law, the party applying for the divorce was called the Petitioner, this person is now called the Applicant. Parties have the option of applying for a joint divorce and in this case, are referred to as Applicant 1 and Applicant 2. In the case of an individual application, the spouse who receives the application is still referred to as the Respondent.
Divorce proceedings – initial stages
The first stage in the proceedings is to complete a no-fault divorce application form (D8). As part of the application, you must provide a certified copy of your marriage certificate. It is advisable that both parties receive independent legal advice to begin the divorce proceedings.
If one Applicant has applied for a divorce, the Court will send a copy of the divorce application to the Respondent who is required to complete an ‘acknowledgement of service’ document. The Respondent must return this document to the Court within 14 days. If they do not return the appropriate document, the Applicant should wait for further instruction from the Court.
When submitting a joint application, both parties will receive a notice that the divorce application has been issued. Additionally, all Applicants and Respondents will receive an associated case number.
Once the application has been filed, the divorcing couple must wait for a period of 20-weeks for the application to be processed, at which time they will receive a Conditional Order. The Condition Order states that the Court cannot see any reason as to why the couple should not be granted a divorce.
When the Conditional Order has been granted, the divorcing spouses must wait a further 6-weeks for the Final Order. This order confirms that the marriage has legally ended. During the 6-week period, the separating couples are advised to negotiate a financial settlement.
How long does a divorce take?
The length of time it takes to complete the divorce process will depend on your circumstances. Divorce proceedings take a minimum of 26 weeks, yet the process can take longer if it involves complex childcare or financial arrangements.
How is a financial settlement calculated?
When dividing the matrimonial assets, the Court references the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. Various factors are taken into account to divide the assets and though an equal split is used as a starting point, assets are more likely to be shared according to the individual circumstances, taking account of the following factors:
- The financial resources of both individuals, including income and future earning potential.
- The contributions each person made, (both financially and to the family home and childcare).
- Any physical or mental disability experienced by either person.
- The general financial needs of each individual.
Can my ex-partner contest a divorce?
If one party wishes to divorce, the other party no longer has the option to contest, except under rare circumstances, for example, if the Court does not have the legal jurisdiction to deal with the divorce.
How much does it cost to get divorced?
The standard Court fee for divorce is £593. Additionally, couples will need to pay a solicitor’s fee. This fee will depend on the case, for instance, how complex the child arrangements or financial matters are, and how long these take to negotiate.
Will I need to go to court to get a divorce?
In many cases it is possible to keep divorce proceedings out of Court. At Goodsells we are able to assist clients to reach financial settlements and make child arrangements through solicitor negotiation, or other out of court options. Where couples cannot agree, or cases are rife with conflict, parties may need to refer to the court to legally finalise certain aspects of their divorce.
Contact our divorce lawyer in Clapham, London
For comprehensive advice on all Divorce matters, contact Goodsells Family Law, specialists in Family Law. We are friendly, approachable and are available now to arrange an initial appointment. Call us today on 020 7622 2221 or complete our online enquiry form.