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FAQs on Divorce

What is a divorce?

Divorce is the dissolution or end of a marriage. The process is started by filing a divorce petition with the Court and is ended when the Court issues a Final Order. A divorce can only be applied for after one full year of marriage. Divorce can be applied for online and the fee for the application is £593.

What is No Fault Divorce?

No Fault Divorce came into effect on 6th April 2022. Under No Fault Divorce, spouses can apply jointly or solely to bring their marriage to an end and there is no longer any one person at fault for causing the marriage to irretrievably breakdown. Parties now have a time limit on how quickly they can proceed, and there being a minimum requirement of 20 weeks from Application to Conditional Order, providing a ‘period of reflection’ to ensure couples want to bring their marriage to an end. This change will avoid unnecessary acrimony and enables parties to move through a difficult process easier.

What’s the difference between the old divorce legislation and the new no-Fault divorce?

The old system required the applying spouse, known as the Petitioner, to either assign blame by way of unreasonable behaviour, allege and prove adultery, or if they want to avoid blame, wait at least 2 years. This can be difficult for those who want to move on with their lives. The new No-Fault divorce no longer requires lengthy periods of separation, and there is no longer a person at fault for causing the marriage to irretrievably breakdown.

How long does it take to reach Final Order in a No-Fault Divorce?

The No-Fault divorce process can be much less stressful than the fault-based divorce process as there is no blame on either party and therefore confrontations and objections are less likely, however, time-wise it can take as long as a fault-based divorce. From application to conditional order will take roughly five and a half months and from conditional order to final order will take a minimum of 6 weeks. If all moves swiftly a divorce can be concluded in 7 months.

What are the grounds for divorce?

There is only one ground for divorce, which is that the marriage has “irretrievably broken down”. No supporting evidence is required to back this up as the only way to divorce is on the basis of no fault.
The Court fee for commencing divorce proceedings is currently £593. If you are in receipt of certain benefits or have a low income it may be possible to obtain an exemption from the Court fee or a reduction in the amount payable.
We deal with the entire process on a fixed fee basis charged at £800 plus VAT (the Court fee above applies in addition).
If you are the second Applicant or Respondent to divorce proceedings, we charge a fixed fee for dealing with the entire process of £500 plus VAT.

What is a divorce application?

A divorce application is the application to the Court to dissolve a marriage. The application is filed by the spouse seeking the divorce (the applicant) and is served on the other spouse (the second applicant or respondent). Every divorce must be started by a divorce application. The petition is filed online and so there is no longer a physical paper document, though you will be able to download pdfs of all of the documents.

What is a divorce settlement?

A divorce settlement is the financial agreement reached between parties as to how the marital assets and debts should be shared between them. A divorce settlement is often referred to as a consent order as this is the document which records the financial agreement reached and is lodged with the Court part way through the divorce process for approval by a Judge. Once the consent order has been approved by the Court it becomes legally binding upon the parties.

How do you file for divorce?

The divorce process is started by one party completing the online divorce application. They can make the application jointly with their spouse who will be known as the second Applicant or on their own. If the application is made solely then the other spouse will be the Respondent. You will have to upload a pdf of your marriage certificate and pay the court fee of £593.
The court will then issue the proceedings and send a copy to your spouse or their solicitors by email asking for them to log in and acknowledge receipt. Your spouse will then have 14 days in which to do this and then you or your solicitors will be notified.

What is a divorce certificate?

A divorce certificate is also known as a Final order. It used to be called a Decree Absolute.
This is the final court order in divorce proceedings. It is required to dissolve a marriage.
The Final Order confirms that you are now legally divorced and replaces your marriage certificate.
You should keep the Final order in a safe place as it will be required if you wish to remarry in the future (or change your name).
You can apply for Final order six weeks and one day after the date that the Conditional order was granted. The Conditional Order used to be called a Decree Nisi.
You may want to delay an application for Final order if you have not yet reached an agreement with your former partner about your finances and children. This is because there may be inheritance or pension implications once you are no longer married to one another. An interest in the family home may also be affected. 

What is a divorce consent order?

A consent order is the document which is sets out how you and your spouse are to split assets on divorce and the details of any future or ongoing payments from one party to another. Once you have reached an agreement, the applicant’s solicitor will draft this and send it to the respondent’s solicitor for their approval. The consent order must be signed by both parties in order to show their agreement and it will be sealed by the court to make it legally binding. The court can only approve the consent order if the divorce process has been started and the conditional order has been pronounced.

A statement of information form called form D81 must also be completed by each party and sent to the court with the proposed order. This form gives an overview of the parties’ finances to the court to assist them in deciding whether they consider the order to be fair or not.