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A Guide to Divorce from Family Law Specialists

We understand that going through a divorce can be difficult and that often the period of time leading up to the commencement of divorce proceedings can be emotionally demanding. In this guide to divorce, we will explain the process and how we can help guide you through it.

What happens in a divorce?

A divorce legally brings your marriage to an end. You can only apply for a divorce once you have been married for at least a year.

The divorce process only deals with the breakdown of your marriage. Financial matters and arrangements in relation to any children will need to be dealt with separately. If you don’t deal with financial matters, then either you or your ex-spouse can still make financial claims against each other, even if you are divorced.

How does the process of divorce work?

There divorce process can be broken down into 5 steps:

  1. The divorce petition is completed – the Petitioner sends the divorce petition to the Respondent for their approval. It is then sent to the Court to be issued. When filling in the divorce petition, you will need to choose from one of 5 facts (or reasons) as to why your marriage has broken down.
  2. The Respondent replies to the divorce petition by completing the Acknowledgement of Service form. This is then returned to the court and a copy is sent to the Petitioner or the Petitioner’s solicitors.
  3. The application for the Decree Nisi can now be made – the Petitioner completes a Statement of Truth, confirming that the fact (or reason) for the divorce is true.
  4. Decree Nisi is pronounced by the court – this is considered as the middle stage of the divorce. The court will check that the parties are entitled to a divorce and a Judge will approve the petition. It will also be confirmed at this stage who is paying the costs of the divorce – the Petitioner, the Respondent, or whether they are to be shared between the parties.
  5. Decree Absolute is pronounced by the court – this is the final stage of the divorce. Decree Absolute can be applied for at least 6 weeks and 1 day after the date of the Decree Nisi. However, it is usual to wait for financial matters to be sorted before applying for the Decree Absolute as applying for it beforehand may affect certain assets, such as pensions.

More information about how to get divorced can be found on our blog How to Get Divorced.

How much does it cost to get divorced?

The average costs associated with uncontested divorce proceedings generally fall within 2 categories:

  1. Solicitors and professional costs; and
  2. Disbursements (such as the application fee)

More information about how much it costs to get divorced can be found in our blog How Much does a Divorce Cost.

How long does it take to get divorced?

Unfortunately there isn’t a straight forward answer to this question as it often depends on how quickly the courts are dealing with divorce applications – it can often take longer if the courts receive a large number of applications.

An approximate time scale would be 4 to 6 months, although it is normal for it to take longer than this as resolving financial matters often takes some time, and it is advisable to have these documented in a Consent Order that has been approved by the court before concluding the divorce proceedings.

What are the grounds for divorce?

There is only one ground for divorce – the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage. However, there are 5 facts (or reasons) to choose from in order to support this. These are:

  1. Unreasonable behaviour;
  2. Adultery;
  3. 2 years separation by consent;
  4. 5 years separation;
  5. Desertion

For more information on each of the facts (or reasons), please see our blog Grounds for Divorce.

Hawkins Family Law are family law specialists, meaning we have years of experience with cases regarding divorce, family matters and more. If you are looking for reliable and accredited legal advice regarding your divorce or getting a divorce, speak to one of our team today.

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