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The breakdown of marriage is a highly emotional and stressful experience. Our expert family lawyers provide sensitive and practical advice, and use their knowledge and experience to guide you through the process of divorce. They aim to achieve the best possible outcome for you and your family.
What is a divorce?
Divorce is the process which brings a valid marriage to an end. A valid marriage is one that takes place in England and Wales.
It must be recognised by the requirements of the Marriage Act 1949 (as amended) or if the marriage takes place abroad, the country in which the marriage took place.
Alternatives to divorce are annulment and judicial separation.
Since 6th April 2022, the requirement to allege and prove conduct (such as adultery or unreasonable behaviour) or separation grounds within divorce proceedings has been removed. A simple statement of “irretrievable breakdown” is the only basis for a divorce and dissolution.
When can you apply for a Divorce?
You have to have been married for 12 months and 1 day before you can issue Divorce proceedings.
If you issue a petition on the anniversary of the date of your marriage, it will be rejected by the court.
How long does a Divorce take?
The new procedure which took effect on 6th April 2022 is more simple and straightforward for ending marriages and civil partnerships.
Where the party is represented by a Solicitor, the Application must be made via the Court Service online portal. Paper Applications can be made by post for those without Solicitors.
After the issue of the application there is a 20 week waiting period before a party can apply for a Conditional Order (formerly known as a Decree Nisi). Following the making of a Conditional Order, there is a further minimum 6-week wait before the Applicant can apply for a Final Order (formerly known as a Decree Absolute).
Can I make a joint application for Divorce?
It is now possible for the parties to make a joint application to the Court. The application must be made through the Court’s digital service where either of the parties are legally represented. Applicant 1 is responsible for paying the court fee.
On joint applications, there is no requirement with regard to service. The 20-week cooling off period starts from the date the court issues the Application.
The Conditional Order can be applied for jointly. However, one Applicant can apply on a sole basis, after which the application ceases to be a joint one and becomes a sole application and the Applicant 2 becomes a Respondent. The application for a Conditional Order must be sent to the other party.
After a Conditional Order is made, the same 6-week waiting applies for sole applications. After the 6-weeks, there is either a joint or sole application for a Final Order. The making of the Final Order ends the marriage or civil partnership.
What happens to my children on divorce?
Issues with regard to children are dealt separately from the Divorce proceedings and any application with regard to children have to be made in accordance with the Children’s Act.
However, in dealing with matrimonial finances, the arrangements for children are treated as a priority by the Court.
Where the children reside might impact on how the courts divide the matrimonial finances on divorce.