The divorce process in the UK involves several steps:
Filing a divorce petition: One spouse needs to file a divorce petition at the court.
Applying for a decree nisi: If both spouses agree to the divorce, the court issues a decree nisi.
Applying for a decree absolute: After six weeks and one day from the decree nisi, the spouse who filed the petition can apply for a decree absolute which formally ends the marriage.
To be eligible for divorce in the UK, the following requirements must be met:
- Both spouses must have been married for at least one year.
- Either spouse must be domiciled or habitually resident in the UK.
There are several grounds for divorce in the UK, including adultery, unreasonable behavior, desertion, separation for at least two years (if both spouses agree to the divorce), or separation for at least five years (if one spouse doesn’t agree to the divorce).
In addition, couples must reach agreements on financial matters and child custody arrangements if applicable before a divorce can be granted.
At Fast Lane legal services, our family law solicitors can provide you with expert guidance on divorce and legal matters relating to a divorce proceeding. To get an expert opinion to contact our divorce lawyers today.
Divorce in the UK
Grounds for Divorce in England and Wales:
In England and Wales, divorce is permitted when the following conditions are met, serving as the fundamental grounds for divorce:
Meeting these criteria provides the foundational grounds for pursuing a divorce in England and Wales. These conditions are essential prerequisites for initiating the divorce process, which involves multiple legal steps and considerations related to financial and child-related matters. Consulting a qualified family law attorney is advisable to navigate the divorce proceedings effectively and ensure that all legal requirements are met.
Types of Divorce application:
Before applying for a divorce in the United Kingdom, it’s crucial to understand the process and decide whether you want to make a joint application with your spouse or apply on your own as the sole applicant. The process typically takes a minimum of 7 months, irrespective of whether it’s a joint or sole application.
Making a Joint Application with Your Spouse:
A joint application is suitable if the following conditions are met:
If you meet these criteria, you’ll need to decide whether to apply online or by post. Importantly, both you and your spouse must use the same application method. Throughout the process, both parties will be required to independently confirm their commitment to continue with the divorce application at each stage. However, if your spouse stops responding during the application, you have the option to proceed with the divorce as a sole applicant. Additionally, if you require financial assistance with the divorce fee, both you and your spouse must meet eligibility criteria.
Applying for a Divorce on Your Own (Sole Application):
You may need to make a sole application in the following situations:
As a sole applicant, you will still need to confirm your intention to proceed with the divorce application at each stage of the process.
Arrangements for Children:
The process of making child arrangements after separating from your partner can vary in different parts of the UK. In England and Wales, you have the flexibility to decide on child arrangements when you separate from your partner.
If you and your ex-partner can come to an agreement, you can typically avoid going to court hearings. You can agree on:
Child maintenance arrangements can also be agreed upon simultaneously or separately.
If You Cannot Agree on Child Arrangements:
If you and your ex-partner have difficulty reaching an agreement on child arrangements, it’s advisable to consider mediation first. In most cases, you must demonstrate that you have attended a meeting about mediation before applying for a court order. There are exceptions, such as cases involving domestic abuse.
Prepare for Court:
If mediation does not lead to an agreement, you’ll need to apply for a court order. This involves starting a legal process to have the court make a decision regarding child arrangements. Court Appointments and Hearings: You may be required to attend court appointments and participate in a series of court hearings. These hearings are part of the legal process to determine child arrangements.
Mediation or Courses: Before the court makes a final decision, it might ask you to attempt mediation again or attend courses aimed at helping parents resolve issues.
Types of Court Orders:
The type of court order you need depends on the specific issues on which you and your ex-partner cannot agree. You can apply for more than one court order if necessary.
Child Arrangements Order:
This type of court order decides:
Specific Issue Order:
If there is a specific question about how the child is being brought up that you cannot agree on, a “specific issue order” is used to address it. For example, it can be used to decide:
Prohibited Steps Order:
This type of order is used to prevent the other parent from making certain decisions about the child’s upbringing.
Who Can Apply?
Any parent or guardian with parental responsibility for the child can apply for a court order related to child arrangements. In cases where someone other than a parent (e.g., a grandparent) is involved, they may also be eligible to apply for certain types of court orders, depending on the circumstances.
When divorcing or ending a civil partnership, it’s essential to reach a financial agreement with your ex-partner to determine how your finances will be separated. This process involves making decisions about how to divide various financial assets, including:
As part of the financial agreement, you may be entitled to certain benefits, such as:
A share of your partner’s pension, which can encompass both State Pension and private pension plans.
Regular maintenance payments to assist with child-related expenses or general living costs.
Reaching an amicable agreement with your ex-partner on how to split your money and property is usually the preferred approach. This can help you avoid the need for court hearings and expedite the resolution process. It’s important to ensure that the agreement is legally binding to protect the rights and interests of both parties
If you and your ex-partner agree on how to divide money and property, you need to apply for a consent order to make it legally binding.
When you and your ex-partner cannot come to an agreement on how to divide your finances during a divorce or civil partnership dissolution, you have the option to seek a financial order from the court. This is also known as the “contested” route or an “ancillary relief order.”
Here are the key details to know:
Court Intervention for Financial Order:
If you and your ex-partner are unable to reach a financial agreement, you can request the court to make a financial order. This means that the court will determine how your assets, including pensions, property, savings, and investments, will be divided. It may also include arrangements for maintenance payments, including child maintenance.
Proceeding with a Financial Order:
It’s important to understand that having the court decide how assets will be split is typically a longer and more costly process compared to reaching an agreement with your ex-partner.
In most cases, you must attend a meeting about mediation before you can apply to the court to decide on a financial order. However, there are exceptions, such as in cases involving domestic abuse.
Seeking a financial order through the court is a significant step in the divorce or dissolution process, and it’s crucial to ensure that all your financial interests are properly represented.