A bite size guide to UK Divorce Law

Going through a UK divorce can be one of the most stressful situations one can face in their adult life.

Yet there are ways of reducing that stress and it has a lot to do with knowing what to expect, and being prepared.

We have prepared a bite size guide for you.

To get a divorce you must show that your marriage has irretrievable broken down. This will involve one of five reasons:

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Desertion (for two years or more)
  • You have already been separated for at least 5 years
  • You have already been separated for at least 2 years and both agree to a divorce

The process is fairly standard, but it can be long-winded, so find out what the steps are before you begin.

To initiate the divorce proceedings, you’ll need to draft a Divorce Petition with the help of your solicitor.

These documents, along with the marriage paperwork will need to be presented to the local court.

You will need to pay a fee for the application, which is £550, unless you are on a low-income or receive certain benefits.

Call us on 01793 384 029 to find out what you’ll be expected to pay for your divorce.

Make sure that all information provided in your Divorce Petition is true and accurate.

Providing false or misleading claims, or withholding information can potentially cause a lot of trouble, and may even prevent the divorce from going ahead.

It’s also worth speaking in depth with your solicitor, and ensure that you have everything you need in regards to forms and paperwork.

Make sure you get a solicitor you feel comfortable with, and who can answer your questions clearly and honestly.

If you have any family members or friends that have studied law such as a MA Law Degree at Middlesex Uni, keep them close they will be able to help and advise you through the process at a personal level.

Doing so can help clarify information with you and perhaps convey the information in a clearer fashion.

However, be sure to ask questions if you are unsure of anything.

From there the court will send the Divorce Petition to your spouse.

They can either make it clear they object, or agree, in which case they’ll need to complete an Acknowledgement of Service of the divorce petition to confirm this.

Your solicitor will then arrange for an affidavit for you, and then all the paperwork is sent to a court judge who will make the final decision.

If the Judge is satisfied with your case, you will be granted a provisional divorce order, known as a Decree Nisi.

This is the first stage of the divorce, but you will remain married until you are issued with a Decree Absolute.

You must wait at least six weeks after being issued with a Decree Nisi, before applying for your Decree Absolute.

Often it is advisable to wait longer.

This time should be used to finalise any financial agreements and arrangements for children where applicable.

However, once you receive your Decree Absolute, you are officially divorced.

This is a lengthy and thorough process, but it doesn’t need to be stressful. Ideally, you will be able to discuss the divorce arrangements with your spouse.

While they say marriage requires good communication, ironically so does divorce! Discussing the process will allow you both to establish an agreement about the divorce, as well as ancillary relief divorce proceedings.

The latter refers to financial arrangements outside the divorce agreement itself.

Talking through it will also mean that you are both prepared for the paperwork, and to ensure it is completed swiftly on both sides.

The more prepared you are, the easier the divorce process will be for both of you.

No divorce is smooth sailing, but by knowing what to expect, being open to discussion with both your solicitor and your spouse, and being prepared, you will be able to make the whole process as easy as possible.

We hope you find our quick guide to UK divorce law useful.

For further information, please call us on 01793 384 029

This post was written by Mark Keenan. Editor of the Divorce Online Blog and Managing Director of Online Legal Service Ltd. Mark has been writing about divorce and related subjects for over 20+ years and is an expert in legal marketing.

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