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Divorce | Frequently Asked Questions...
01 Jan 2019

Divorce is never easy, but we are here to guide you through every step.

No two couples are the same, so when a marriage or civil partnership ends, everyone’s priorities are different. Our Family Law team offer friendly, pragmatic advice on all your options – from grounds for divorce and child support, to financial applications including property, income and pensions.

Here we answer some of the most common Divorce questions:

Q. Can I issue an Application for Divorce?

Yes, as long as you have been married for one year and you can prove to the Court that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.

You do this by referring to one of 5 facts i.e: you have been separated for 2 or 5 years; your husband/ wife has committed adultery; your husband/wife has deserted you or your husband/wife has behaved unreasonably.

If you want to apply on the basis of 2 years separation, your husband/wife would have to provide their consent, before the application can continue.

If you want to apply on the basis of your husband’s/wife’s adultery, they would have to admit to committing adultery. Otherwise, you would have to provide evidence of the adultery, before the application is allowed to proceed. The evidence required is very specific and can be difficult to provide.

Q. Do I have to send a copy of my Application to my Husband/Wife before I send it to the Court?

It is good practice to send a draft of your petition to your Husband/Wife first but it is not a formal requirement. Ideally, you would agree the contents of the petition before it is filed at Court. This can reduce tension and lessen the risk of defended proceedings. However, in some instances, we may take the view that the additional legal costs involved in trying to agree a draft petition are disproportionate to the benefit.

Q. How long does it take for a Divorce to be completed?

On average, the procedure for a Divorce (only) takes around 3-9 months. If there are any disagreements regarding costs or difficulties with serving the documents on your husband/wife, then it can take longer.

There are three stages of Divorce i.e. Application, Decree Nisi (conditional order) and Decree Absolute (final order). We often advise clients to delay applying for Decree Absolute until there is a final order in respect of the finances. This is because Decree Absolute impacts upon payments you might be entitled to receive, under your Husband/Wife’s pension (for example), while you remain married.

Q. Who pays the costs of Divorce Proceedings?

Both parties will have costs to pay if they are instructing a legal advisor. If you are the person who issues the application, then you can make a claim against your husband/wife to pay all or a contribution towards your costs.

A sensible approach should be taken with regard to costs of Divorce proceedings. If possible, you should try and agree the issue with your husband/wife. If not, it may be that the District Judge has to decide who will pay what costs.  If an agreement cannot be reached regarding the payments of Divorce costs, the parties should consider how much it is likely to cost to have the matter resolved by a District Judge and weigh that up with the costs they are likely to receive. Often it is not appropriate to pursue the issue of Divorce Costs through the Court.

Q. When can I apply for a ‘No Fault’ Divorce?

Following the passage of the Divorce Dissolution and Separation Act 2020, the law will change to allow for ‘no fault divorce’. That means that you will in future be able to apply for divorce simply by saying that the marriage has broken down irretrievably without having to provide evidence. In practice, that means that you will no longer have to make allegations of adultery or behaviour. We are expecting the law to come into effect in April 2022.

If you have an enquiry in relation to a Family law matter or simply want to speak to a member of our expert team, please get in touch.

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