Divorce proceedings
John Boon

Divorce Proceedings

When a marriage comes to an end, or in the event that there are difficulties in your marriage, it is important that you take the right advice from the outset. Errors made at the start of the process can have an impact on the final outcome.

As of April 6th 2022, divorcing couples can access a modernised and more straightforward divorce process known as no-fault divorce. If you’re looking to a apply for a divorce, our family lawyers can support you at every legal stage of the procedure. We are on your side and will do everything to help make the process as smooth and as trouble- free as possible. Speaking to a professional will help to clarify key issues, take away some of the inevitable confusion and set right misconceptions.

For expert advice and support about getting a no fault divorce, contact our divorce solicitors at your local branch in AlconburyPeterboroughSpaldingNottingham or Birmingham. Alternatively, please fill in our online enquiry form and a member of our team will be in touch shortly.

How our divorce solicitors help

Going through a divorce can be an extremely stressful time and decisions made during the process will have a significant impact on your future. Our team members are specialists and have the experience and ability to reduce the stress and hardship involved, assisting you with the various issues which arise.

We will:

  • make sure that you understand the divorce process and explain the legal issues involved;
  • help you to think clearly about the consequences of decisions;
  • strive to ensure that the best possible outcome is achieved.
  • support you through every stage of the no fault divorce procedure.

Our family team is ranked by the Legal 500 (a directory of the top regional and national law firms) for our ‘immediately impressive service’.

Our fully inclusive service covers all aspects of the divorce process, including:

  • Helping you sort out arrangements for children, such as:
    • Where they will live
    • How much time they will spend with each parent
    • Whether their names can be changed
    • Whether they can be taken abroad
  • Helping you sort out your financial arrangements, such as:
    • Deciding how you will divide your assets and property
    • Agreeing spousal maintenance and child maintenance

What does the no-fault divorce process involve?

Under the new no-fault divorce law, the process to get a divorce is as follows:

Applying for a divorce: The divorcing couple are permitted to apply for either a joint or individual application. As part of the application, the couple must submit a ‘statement of irretrievable breakdown’, which confirms that the relationship has ended.

Serving the divorce application: If one spouse has applied for the divorce application, the court will then send on a copy of the application to their ex- partner, known as the respondent. At this stage, the respondent will have to complete and send an ‘acknowledgement of service’ form, to the court.

Obtaining the conditional order: The divorcing couple must wait for a period of twenty weeks for the application to be processed, after this time the court will issue a Conditional Order.

Obtaining the final order: Once the Conditional Order has been issued, the divorcing couple must wait a further 6 weeks until they receive the Final Order. The court will then issue the final order, meaning that the no fault divorce is legally binding.

How long does it take to get divorced?

Under the new no fault divorce law, getting a divorce will take a minimum of 26 weeks, however, the process may be lengthier depending on the complexity of the financial and childcare arrangements.

Once we have managed to obtain a clear picture as to the circumstances of your case, we will provide you with an estimate of the likely timescale for concluding the proceedings, but please be aware this is only an estimate.

How much does a no-fault divorce cost?

The standard court fee for a no-fault divorce in England is £593. The fee to have a solicitor support you throughout the divorce processes will vary depending on the circumstances of your case. To get an estimate of your divorce fees today, contact our divorce solicitors at Roythornes.

What are the grounds for divorce?

To get a divorce, the grounds are the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. Under previous divorce law, couples were required to provide a reason for the breakdown of the marriage. Under the law no-fault divorce law, neither party will need to provide a reason, but simply, confirm via a statement, that the marriage has broken down.

Can my spouse contest a divorce?

According to no fault divorce law, if one party wishes to get a divorce, the other partner cannot contest the divorce. Spouses are permitted to make individual divorce applications, or joint applications, should both partners support the divorce.

How are assets divided in a divorce?

The financial claims arising from the breakdown of a marriage are resolved by reference to the criteria set out in Section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, the overriding objective being a fair outcome.

How do I know what is a fair division of the assets?

In order to establish how to divide the “matrimonial pot” we will first need to establish what is in the pot and will thus need to compute both parties' resources. Once we have a clear picture of the finances, we would then, within the context of the section 25 criteria, consider ways of distributing those resources fairly between the parties by reference to three principles, namely need, compensation and sharing.

The starting point for all divorce financial settlements is a 50/50 split of all the parties’ financial resources. However, the consideration of the section 25 criteria and the guiding principles will ultimately determine the final split.

The section 25 criteria require the parties to consider:

  • The income, earning capacity and financial resources of both parties
  • Each party’s financial needs and obligations both now and in the foreseeable future
  • The standard of living enjoyed by the parties before the relationship breakdown
  • The parties’ ages and duration of the marriage
  • Any mental or physical disability of either party
  • The contributions made by each party to the marriage, including the contribution of looking after the home and raising the children
  • Any benefits either party will lose as a result of the divorce, such as pension entitlements

This criteria should be considered with reference to the three principles:

  • Sharing – marriage is a partnership and the parties’ financial resources should be split as equally as possible
  • Needs – divorcing couples should consider what each party needs to maintain a good standard of living in the future, for example, income and housing
  • Compensation – rarely invoked in divorce cases, this may be relevant where one party has made a valuable sacrifice to the marriage, such as giving up a lucrative career so their spouse can excel in theirs. It is usually only an issue in high net worth divorce cases

Do assets I own before marriage get shared?

Yes. Unless you have a prenuptial agreement saying otherwise, even assets you acquired before you got married can be considered in divorce proceedings.

What is a clean break?

A clean break is an arrangement to a divorce between the parties and approved by the court, which will enable them to sever their financial responsibilities and entitlements. The court has a statutory duty to consider a clean break in every case. However, it is not always possible and will very much depend on the facts of each case.

What can I do if I think my spouse is hiding assets?

Spouses trying to conceal assets can cause a divorce to become fraught and combative. Both parties have a duty upon divorce to be upfront and open about their financial resources. However, if your spouse is being less than honest, the court has powers to uncover and even preserve hidden assets, including injunctions to freeze money and property.

If you discover your former spouse hid assets after the divorce financial settlement is finalised, the court also has the power to reopen the proceedings to ensure you receive a fair award.

What happens to the children on divorce?

Following divorce (and even the separation of non-married couples), the parties need to agree suitable arrangements in respect of the children, i.e. who they are to live with, etc. The paramount consideration is the children’s welfare. If the parties are able to agree suitable arrangements which are in the best interests of the children’s welfare, then the court will not seek to intervene. However, unless suitable arrangements can be agreed, then a party may have no option but to make an application to the court. The court could be asked to make one of three orders provided for in Section 8 of the Children Act 1989, namely a:

  • Child arrangements order – for decisions about things like where the children will live and how much time they will spend with each parent
  • Prohibited steps order – to prevent someone with parental responsibility from making a particular decision about the children. For example, to prevent one party from taking the children abroad
  • Specific issue order – to make a specific decision about the children, such as where they will go to school

Can I move abroad with the children?

As a parent with parental responsibility, you have the right to make decisions about your children’s upbringing. However, your former spouse also has this right so you will need their consent to take the children abroad.

You may be able to seek a court order allowing you to take them abroad, however, this can be a lengthy process and you should remain in the country as the proceedings go on, otherwise it could amount to child abduction.

As with all decisions about children, their welfare will be the paramount consideration. It is usually deemed best for the children to have regular contact with both parents (particularly if they are young). This could prevent you from taking them abroad for a long period of time (such as a permanent move). However, if you just want to take them on holiday abroad, the court if much more likely to agree.

Will I have to go to court for a divorce?

Our solicitors will help you to keep matters out of court where possible, however under some circumstances, court attendance may be required. For example, formal attendances at court may also be necessary to determine the financial claims arising from the breakdown of the marriage, or to address any issues which may arise in respect of any children unless, again, an agreement can be reached out of court. Attendances at court can cause delays and can be very expensive. They can also be very stressful for the parties and, therefore, we endeavour to use the courts as a last resort.

Get in touch with our divorce solicitors today

If you are currently experiencing difficulties in your marriage, and are contemplating applying for a no-fault divorce, please contact our divorce lawyers for an appointment. They will listen to your concerns; explain how they can help and outline the options available to you.

You can contact one of our legal offices in Alconbury, Peterborough, Spalding, Nottingham, or Birmingham. Alternatively, please fill in our online enquiry form and a member of our team will be in touch shortly.

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