When you are getting divorced there are always lots of questions that need answering. We have outlined below the headline points to be aware of when you are involved in a divorce and have put together a comprehensive list of questions that we are frequently asked.
The Ground for Divorce: There is only one ground for divorce, which is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. This breakdown can only be proved by reference to one or more of five specified facts, which are:-
- that the Respondent to the divorce proceedings has committed adultery, and the Petitioner (the person taking the proceedings) finds it intolerable to live with him or her;
- that the Respondent has behaved in such a way that the Petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with him or her;
- that the Respondent has deserted the Petitioner for at least two years immediately preceding the application for divorce;
- that the parties have lived apart for a continuous period of at least two years immediately preceding the application for divorce, and both agree that there should be a divorce;
- that the parties have lived apart for a continuous period of at least five years immediately preceding the application for divorce.
The Procedure: The chart shown below sets out the basic procedure for an undefended divorce. The vast majority of divorces are undefended. The procedure for a defended divorce is quite different and will be explained separately when we see you should the need arise. In a straight forward undefended divorce, neither party is likely to need to attend court.
Timescale: From start to finish, a straight forward undefended divorce is likely to take between about 20 and 26 weeks. However, it is possible that the final step of obtaining the Decree Absolute would be delayed until any financial or property issues are resolved.
- £500 to £600 plus VAT and expenses (such as court fees) for the Petitioner;
- £300 to £350 plus VAT for the Respondent.
The main anticipated expense on a straight forward divorce is the court fee of £550 (as at January 2018).
It is possible that the Respondent may have to pay the Petitioner’s costs.
These figures are only estimates and relate purely to the divorce itself. They do not cover costs relating to other issues, such as arrangements for children, financial and property arrangements, etc.
If a client wishes to deal with the divorce without legal representation, with a view to reducing costs, we are happy to offer an “unbundled” service, so that, instead of dealing with the whole divorce from start to finish, we only deal with specific pieces of work, such as checking through a document that the client has prepared to make sure that it complies with the legal and procedural requirements. It would generally be possible to agree a fixed fee for each separate piece of work, as and when that piece of work is requested of us.
The Supreme Court has recently (25 July 2018) handed down a judgment in a landmark divorce case. Marcus Price, who leads the Family team, discusses the case and the law as its stands here and gives his view on what the future may hold.
The team is able to offer a free initial telephone chat to provide general information so please do get in touch.
Although we do not currently offer this option it may be something you would like to consider.
The Collaborative Process: Unlike mediation, the collaborative law process is a relatively new non-court dispute resolution option. The way collaborative law works is that the couple both instruct their own collaborative lawyer from whom they each receive guidance and legal advice throughout the process. A collaborative lawyer is a family lawyer who has received additional specialist training, normally from Resolution, and who is qualified to undertake such work. The couple and their respective collaborative lawyers all sign an agreement (known as a participation agreement) committing them to use the collaborative law process to reach an agreement rather than going to court.
A series of 4-way face to face meetings will then follow, which each party and their respective collaborative lawyers attend. The purpose of the meetings is to work things out face to face rather than go to court. If you think this option may be of interest, please let us know and then, if appropriate, we can provide you with details of Solicitors who do offer this service.