A GUIDE TO DIVORCE
Family Law is very fast moving with rapid and regular changes. It is therefore vital that your legal advisor is a Specialist. Every Family Lawyer is required to comply with the Family Law Protocol, unless it would be inappropriate to do so.
How do you get a divorce?
To obtain a divorce or to end a civil partnership you must have been married for at least a year and have your home in England and Wales. On 6 April 2022 the divorce law changed but it remains that the only ground for divorce is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. There is no longer a need to particularise the facts by citing adultery, unreasonable behaviour or periods of separation.
It will no longer be possible to contest a divorce, except on limited grounds including jurisdiction.
How are divorce proceedings started?
In broad terms the new no-fault divorce process is as follows:
• One or both parties provide a legal statement to the court confirming that the marriage has broken down (the application).
• The court will usually be responsible for service of the application and if possible, it will do this via email. The court will also need to send a notice of confirmation to the respondent’s postal address.
• The respondent needs to reply to the application within 14 days.
• There must be a period of reflection of 20 weeks from the date the proceedings started before the conditional order for divorce can be made.
• A further period of six weeks and one day (43 days) must elapse after pronouncement of the conditional order, before the applicant can apply for a final order. A final order ends the marriage.
Who can issue?
In the case of a sole application the person applying will be known as the applicant or sole applicant and their spouse/civil partner will be known as the respondent. Sole applicants will not be able to change their application to a joint application.
The subsequent orders can be applied for either individually or jointly.
How is it done?
The application is made online through the digital service or on paper using form D8. Where an applicant is legally represented, the application must be made online.
What does it cost?
The cost is £593 as a Court fee and approximately £500 Solicitors’ fees plus VAT.
Can I pursue a claim for costs against the other party?
The ability to pursue costs under the new no-fault divorce process is now likely to be much more difficult, particularly in a standard case. This is primarily because the purpose of the new procedure is to remove blame and conflict so that there is co-operation and a conciliatory approach.
As divorce affects inheritance, you should consider making or altering your Will.
The Child Maintenance Service usually deals with maintenance for children, not the Courts. Issues concerning the children and finances are dealt with separately in another section.
It is vital to get legal advice on finances before remarrying.
Other options rather than a divorce
If you have not been married for a year, or there are other reasons why you may not want a divorce, then you can apply for a judicial separation and we can offer you further advice in respect of this application should you require.