With this in mind, experienced Wirral divorce lawyer Tracey Miller has put together a list of the most commonly asked questions about divorce – and of course, the answers. So, let’s get started.
1. How long does divorce take?
It depends on whether you have complicated financial arrangements to negotiate, and whether either party contests the divorce. Plus, whether you’ve filed the petition for divorce yourself, or used the services of a solicitor (which can speed things up) There may also be delays in the courts, such as those caused by Covid-19. As a very rough guide, it can take around 6 months – but be prepared for a longer wait.
2. Can I stop a divorce once it’s started?
If you and your partner reconcile, you can stop the divorce process at any point. You’ll stay legally married until the moment the Decree Absolute is issued.
3. What’s the difference between the Decree Nisi and Decree Absolute?
The divorce process has a few different stages. A ‘petitioner’ will file for divorce, and the other person will respond. They can contest/defined it if they choose, otherwise the divorce will go ahead.
Once a court is satisfied that the conditions for divorce are met, a Decree Nisi will be issued – but you’re still legally married at this point. It’s only once the divorce is finalised that the Decree Absolute is issued, and this means that you’re officially divorced.
4. What are the grounds for divorce?
There’s only one ‘ground’ for divorce, and this is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. But there are five different reasons which prove that this is the case, which are:
• Adultery (although for same-sex marriages, family law courts in England and Wales don’t currently recognise adultery as a reason for divorce)
• Unreasonable behaviour
• Two years’ separation – where both parties agree
• Five years’ separation.
5. How much does it cost to file for divorce?
The initial fee to apply for divorce is currently £593, but you may have to pay other court fees along the way. There are also solicitors’ fees to pay, as well as any sums related to the financial settlement.
6. Does my ex-spouse’s behaviour affect the divorce settlement?
Some people believe that the court will give them preferential treatment if a partner has committed adultery, or behaved in another problematic way. But in fact, this usually has no bearing on how financial settlements are awarded in UK divorce courts.
7. How long do we need to be married before we can get divorced?
You’ll need to have been married for at least a year before you can start divorce proceedings.
8. Do I have to use a divorce lawyer?
You aren’t legally obliged to use a divorce solicitor, but it’s strongly recommended if your divorce involves children or you have complicated or significant financial matters. A solicitor can ensure all paperwork is completed correctly and on time, guide you through the legal process and offer invaluable advice to help you make informed decisions.
9. What happens if my ex refuses to get divorced?
If your ex chooses to defend the divorce, they’ll need to prove that the facts in your petition aren’t true – such as that they committed adultery, for example. If this happens, you may need to find another reason for divorce, or wait five years before starting the process again.
10. Will I have to go to court?
If you and your ex agree on the divorce and are able to reach a reasonable agreement about money, children and other matters, you shouldn’t have to go to court.
Have more questions about divorce? Feel free to get in touch with Wirral divorce solicitor Tracey Miller Family Law for a friendly chat.