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How to File For Divorce in England & Wales

Many people ask our family law experts how to file for divorce in the UK – The good news fortunately is that the divorce procedure in England & Wales is fairly straightforward as filing for divorce is mainly a paperwork filing process.

To file divorce papers, you’ll need to do the following:

  • File a D8 Divorce Petition Form
  • Provide the original marriage certificate or a certified translated version if it’s not written in English
  • Provide proof of your name change if it’s changed since you got married – for example your marriage certificate or a legal deed poll document
  • Pay the court fees – A payment of £593 is required to apply for a divorce

The filing of the divorce petition form D8 means you are formally asking the court for permission to divorce.

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    How to deal with your finances in divorce

    Contrary to popular belief, obtaining a divorce does not sever your financial ties or ongoing commitments to or from your ex-spouse, it merely dissolves your marriage.

    Dealing with your finances at the same time as your divorce is the only legal way to guarantee that neither party can claim against the other in the future.

    The mistake many couples make when filing for divorce is that they fail to obtain a financial order to legally separate assets and finances. This needs to be made legal by obtaining a financial clean break called a consent order.

    Unfortunately, they wrongly believe that because they have an amicable relationship with their former spouse it’s unnecessary, or they believe that getting a divorce means the finances are automatically sorted.

    What Is a Financial Consent Order?

    A financial consent order is a legal document that confirms your financial agreement to the court in respect of how any assets such as money, property, pensions, and investments are to be divided upon divorce.

    Having a court approve a financial order essentially ‘completes’ a divorce by severing all financial ties and preventing any future claims by either party.

    Applying for a consent order

    A divorcing couple can only apply to the court for approval of a financial order at the conditional order stage of divorce proceedings, an application cannot be made before that point.

    As mentioned above the divorce procedure has a 6 weeks + 1 day ‘cooling-off period’ from the date of the conditional order which is designed to allow time to negotiate and settle any outstanding issues with children’s welfare and asset divisions or settlements.

    In most cases, the financial agreement becomes legally binding on both parties once the court has granted the final order, thereby providing both parties with a ‘financial clean break’ at the same time that their marriage comes to an end.

    Whilst it’s possible to obtain a consent order after the final order has been granted, it will affect entitlement to pension sharing and you may also be liable for tax on assets you receive.

    Therefore, the best time to apply for a financial consent order is at the point in which the court grants you a conditional order as your agreement will become legally binding upon completion of your divorce.

    How to get a combined divorce & financial agreement

    Divorce-Online can help you obtain a divorce and a legally binding financial order without you needing to spend thousands of pounds on solicitors. We have helped over 150,000 couples obtain a managed divorce and clean break consent order for a fixed-fee cost of just £499 including VAT.

    Managed Divorce & Clean Break Consent Order – £499

    This service involves Divorce-Online managing your entire divorce procedure for you and obtaining you a financial consent order to put your financial settlement into legal effect. This service costs just £499 fixed fee and could save you over £1500.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What if I have been married for less than a year?

    If you have been married for less than a year and cannot yet file for divorce, you can instead get a legal separation so you can live apart without ending the marriage. You might also be able to annul your marriage under certain conditions.

    You can apply for legal separation or annulment during your first year of marriage.

    How do I divorce someone who lives in another country?

    Many British nationals get married abroad, either to another British citizen or to a foreign national. So, can you divorce someone who lives in a different country under UK divorce law?

    Yes, the process of filing for divorce in England and Wales is the same regardless of if the marriage took place domestically or overseas.

    Provided the international marriage was conducted lawfully and at least one spouse is still considered to be habitually resident or domiciled in the UK, it will generally be possible to get divorced in the UK.

    British nationals who have left the UK to go and live abroad temporarily will normally be considered to still be habitually domiciled in the UK. However, if they have decided to leave the UK permanently (e.g., they have obtained citizenship of another country) then they probably will not be considered habitually domiciled in the UK.

    How much does it cost in the UK for a divorce?

    The Gov.uk website does not offer a divorce service for £593 as some people seem to think – this is just simply the court filing fee and does not include a divorce service. However, you may be eligible for help paying court fees if you are on certain benefits or have a low income.

    Furthermore, the Gov.uk website will not be able to advise you on how to file your own divorce papers, how to complete the forms or what to put in them, they simply just provide the forms!

    Divorce-Online has a range of award-winning divorce services that help couples from as little as just £199 for our Managed No-fault Divorce Service (court filing fee is extra).

    It’s the quickest and easiest way to obtain a divorce because we handle your entire divorce procedure whilst keeping you fully updated on the progress.

    Is tax payable on a divorce settlement?

    Although Income Tax does not generally need to be paid in respect of a divorce settlement, Capital Gains Tax (CGT) is the tax that is most likely to apply when you separate or divorce. This could apply to divorcing couples who have assets tied up in property or other joint investments. If this is the case then you should carefully consider the CGT implications of your separation.

    It should be noted that while CGT is not payable on a main residence, it may apply to the sale or transfer of second properties, including holiday homes and Buy to Let investment properties.

    Generally, assets transferred between spouses and civil partners are exempt from Capital Gains Tax.

    But you only have until the end of the tax year after the separation process has begun to transfer assets between parties without incurring a tax liability. So, if you have transferred assets during the tax year of separation, it is considered to be a ‘no gain/no loss’ situation and no CGT is due.

    A CGT liability is then only likely to occur from 5 April of the year after the separation process has begun regarding any subsequent liquidation of assets. It is therefore prudent to plan future asset disposals or transfers accordingly.

    Can I apply for a divorce if my spouse lacks mental capacity?

    You can apply for a divorce if your husband or wife ‘lacks mental capacity’ and cannot agree to a divorce or take part in the divorce case. They will need someone to make decisions for them during the divorce. The person who acts on their behalf is called a ‘litigation friend’. This person can be a family member, close friend or someone else.

    If there’s no one suitable and willing to be their litigation friend, you can apply to the court to appoint a litigation friend. The Official Solicitor may agree to act as your husband or wife’s litigation friend when there’s no one else to do this (‘litigation friend of last resort’).

    First check there’s nobody else suitable or willing to act as a litigation friend and check that money is available for any costs the Official Solicitor has to pay. Your husband or wife may be able to get legal aid.

    Give the details of your husband or wife’s doctor or other medical professional to the court so it can ask for a certificate of capacity. If the Official Solicitor agrees to act as litigation friend for your husband or wife, you’ll be able to file for divorce.

    How to apply – Email: [email protected] or Telephone: 020 3681 2754 the private family law team (they cannot answer general questions about divorce).

    How can Divorce-Online help you today?

    Divorce-Online has been helping couples since 1999. If you’d like to find out how we can help you today with our divorce or financial order services, please call us for a free consultation on 01793 384 029 or email us today

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