The breakdown of a relationship is never easy and when that relationship is your marriage it is normal to experience anxiety and uncertainty for the future.
If you are considering a divorce, you may not know where to start in terms of the divorce process. You want to finalise and legalise your marital separation but need support and legal advice to be able to take the first step. You worry about how you will safeguard the children. And what about your joint assets and finances? It can all become somewhat overwhelming. . .
Divorce doesn’t have to be daunting. Our specialist team of divorce lawyers are by your side every step of the way, making the process as straightforward as possible and achieving the best outcome for you and your family. We understand that this is an incredibly difficult time so our aim is to provide you with support and expert legal advice from start to finish.
Divorce is never an easy process. There are so many things to take in and understand, and it’s difficult to know where you stand in the whole process. In this next section we answer some frequently asked questions about divorce to make the process less confusing, less scary, and less stressful.
What is Divorce?
Divorce, also called dissolution of marriage, is the legal process where a marriage is dissolved and the two people are no longer considered to be married by law. Once divorced, you are free to marry again.
Who can get Divorced?
Anyone who has been been married or in a civil partnership for over 12 months can apply for a divorce or to end their civil partnership.
What if you’ve been married for less than a year?
If you have been married for less than 12 months you can apply to annul the marriage instead. Similarly, if you’ve been in a civil partnership for less than 12 months you can apply for a judicial separation.
Is a legal separation the same as Divorce?
A legal separation without a divorce may seem tempting because it is less expensive, but it can cause more problems in the future. If you file for judicial separation, you still remain legally married with all financial ties intact. This means that at a later date, your spouse can claim a portion of your assets or income when issuing for a divorce. A divorce is very different and will let you dissolve completely from your spouse, leaving no negative impact on your life or finances.
How do you start the process of getting Divorced?
The divorce process is started by completing and submitting a Divorce Petition (Form D8) along with payment of the court fee (currently £593). The divorce application can be completed either individually or as a couple. Once the petition is submitted to court (all divorce petitions within London go to Bury St Edmunds Family Court), it will then be processed and ‘issued’ to your spouse for his/her acknowledgment. When making the application you’ll be asked for yours and your spouse’s full name and address, your original marriage certificate or a certified copy of this, and proof of any name changes that have occurred since you got married.
What are the grounds for Divorce?
From 6th April 2022, under the new no-fault divorce law in England and Wales, it is no longer necessary to select a ground for divorce or prove either party is at fault in order to obtain a divorce. A single legal statement can now be used to prove that a marriage has broken down. No other evidence is required, and it cannot be contested. You can find out more about this on our No-Fault Divorce Page.
What is a Decree Nisi/Conditional Order?
A conditional order and decree nisi confirm the court is satisfied that the legal and procedural requirements to obtain a divorce have been met. Although at this time the marriage still exists, the decree nisi/conditional order is a document that confirms the court sees no reason as to why you cannot divorce.
When to apply for a Conditional Order/Decree Nisi?
You must wait 20 weeks after your divorce application has been issued before applying for a conditional order (or Decree Nisi for Divorce applications submitted prior to 6th April 2022).
What is a Final Order/Decree Absolute?
The final order, or Decree Absolute if the court issued your divorce application before 6 April 2022, is the document that actually dissolves your marriage. Once this has been granted you are officially divorced.
When to apply for a Final Order/Decree Absolute?
It is necessary to wait at least six weeks and one day from the date of the conditional order or decree nisi before making an application for your Final Order/Decree Absolute. That’s because it’s the final notification confirming that the parties are officially divorced and rushing this through may have hugely adverse and far reaching consequences, particularly if there are any outstanding financial matters.
How Long Does a Divorce Take?
The time it takes to complete a divorce varies from case to case. A divorce where both parties are in agreement is likely to be quicker, roughly taking 6 to eight months from filing the divorce petition to receiving a final order/decree absolute. However, if circumstances are more complicated it may take longer than perhaps initially expected especially if there’s outstanding financial matters to resolve. Only once the financial issues are concluded, should you apply for the final order/Decree Absolute, this could be as long as two years later.
We strongly advise that any financial issues relating to the division of monies, including income, maintenance and assets, is agreed on before applying for the Decree Absolute. If you fail to do this prior to the Decree Absolute, you run the risk of losing your rights and entitlements with regards to monies and assets accumulated during the marriage.
Are Financial Proceedings Always Required?
You may be in a more straightforward position where there are no real finances involved, no assets/property and no children etc and both agree simply to go their separate ways with their own salaries and no ties at all. In these circumstances a straightforward divorce, without the need for financial proceedings, would be possible.
Get In Touch!
From the initial consultation and completion of the Divorce Petition through to child agreements and resolving financial matters, Castelo are your local London Family Law Solicitors offering you expert legal services that support you all the way through to the Decree Absolute being granted.
Get in touch with our family law specialist today to find out how we can support you in taking the first step.