Expert Local Divorce And Financial Solicitors – How To File For Divorce UK
If your relationship has broken down and you are thinking of getting a divorce, you may be considering handling this yourself. While it is fairly straightforward to ask the courts for a divorce, it is essential that other issues are dealt with at the same time. For example, you need to have financial arrangements in place or your former spouse could make a claim against you in the future. We look at how to file for divorce UK and also what other matters you need to consider.
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Filing For A Divorce UK
The new divorce law, introduced in April 2022, makes it easier than before to apply for a divorce. Now, you simply need to tell the court that your relationship has irretrievably broken down. Before, there was a requirement to show why this was the case by proving one of five facts, including adultery and unreasonable behaviour.
The new law aims to remove any aspect of blame from the divorce or dissolution process. Now, either you or your partner can apply to the court on the grounds of irretrievable breakdown, without having to cite a reason behind this. You can also make the application together if you wish.
If you apply together but your spouse subsequently drops out of the process, you can still continue on your own. There is no longer any option to contest a divorce.
1. Filing Your Divorce Application With The Court
The application can be made online or by post. If you will be applying jointly, you both need to use the same method and confirm separately that you wish to apply for a divorce.
You will need to fill in form D8 and pay the fee of £593, unless you are eligible for Help With Fees. You must also send your original or a certified copy of your marriage or civil partnership certificate.
2. Serving The Application
If you made a sole application, then the court will arrange for this to be served on your spouse or civil partner. They will be given an Acknowledgement of Service form to complete and return to the court. The court will also issue you with confirmation that your application has been issued and a copy of the application that has been stamped by the court. You will be provided with a case number to use in all further applications.
3. Applying For A Conditional Order Of Divorce
Once your divorce application has been issued by the court, you need to wait for twenty weeks before you can take the next step. This is a cooling off period so that you can consider whether you still want to go ahead with the divorce or dissolution.
After twenty weeks, you can apply to the court for a conditional order, formerly known as a decree nisi. This is confirmation by the court that it intends to issue a divorce. You will be notified of the date when the conditional order is to be granted.
4. Applying For A Final Order
You can apply for a final order six weeks after the conditional order has been issued. Once the court has approved and sealed the final order, you will officially be divorced or your civil partnership dissolved.
Before You Apply For A Divorce
Before you start the application process, you are strongly advised to speak to a solicitor about financial matters. If you have children, you are also advised to put arrangements in place setting out where they will live and how long they will spend with each parent.
Divorce does not end your financial obligations to each other, so it is crucial to deal with this point when you are divorcing. You will often be advised to wait until you have an agreement or order in place before you finalise a divorce.
It is important to speak to a solicitor about your financial situation to ensure that your rights and interests are protected. We can put you in touch with an expert in financial issues on divorce who will be able to discuss the best course of action for your circumstances.
You will need to complete a lengthy form, fully disclosing your financial situation to your spouse.
Ideally, you and your spouse will negotiate a financial settlement that you can both agree on. Your solicitor will advise you of what you can realistically expect and represent you in negotiations to ensure that you achieve this.
If an agreement cannot be reached, you will usually need to consider mediation. Your solicitor can arrange this. Where mediation is not successful or you or your spouse decide not to go through with this option, an application can be made to the court for a financial order.
If you are able to reach an agreement, your solicitor will put this in writing and ask the court to seal it in a consent order, which will make it legally binding.
Arrangements For Children
You will also need to come to an agreement over your children, to include where they will spend their time, how much time they will spend with each parent, what will happen during holidays and who else they can see.
Again, where an agreement cannot be reached, mediation needs to be considered as the courts will not generally hear a case until this has happened. Your solicitor will be able to advise you on how to attempt mediation.
If you are able to agree on arrangements for your children, these can also be sealed by the court so that they are legally binding.
Contact Local Divorce Solicitors
Our expert local divorce lawyers can help you as much or as little as you need with the divorce process and the associated issues. They have a wide range of expertise and offer a high level of service.