Divorce is one of the most stressful and emotionally difficult life events that you may experience in your lifetime. It is important for individuals to seek legal advice to guide you through the legal process. Getting it wrong can be very costly. The Court will charge you £80 for each mistake made.
Before applying for a divorce in the UK, you and your spouse will have to be married for at least one year.
There is only one ground for divorce in England and Wales which is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. When applying for the divorce you have to establish one of the five facts has occurred during your marriage:
- Adultery – your partner has committed adultery (opposite sex only) and you find it intolerable to live with your partner
- Unreasonable behaviour – your partner has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with your partner. This may include for example excessive drinking, physical and verbal abuse
- Desertion for a period of two years
- Two years separation – consent is required from your partner
- Five years separation – no consent is required
The divorce process
The Petitioner will have to file the divorce petition with the Court with the appropriate fee. Once the Court receives the divorce petition, the Court will send a copy of the divorce petition and an Acknowledgement of Service to the Respondent. The Respondent will have eight days (including date of receipt) to respond to the Acknowledgement of Service and indicate whether he/she intends to defend the divorce.
Provided the divorce is not defended the Petitioner can then apply for the next stage of the divorce which is called the Decree Nisi. If the divorce becomes defended or the Respondent does not respond to the Acknowledgement of Service, alternative procedures and more complicated procedures will have to be followed.
The Petitioner will have to file an application for Decree Nisi and an affidavit confirming the contents of the Acknowledgement of Service to the Court. Once the Court receives the documents, the District Judge will set a date for the pronouncement of the Decree Nisi. The Decree Nisi is an order confirming that the Court is satisfied that the Petitioner has proved the grounds of divorce and is entitled to a divorce. The parties will then receive a Decree Nisi. This does not dissolve the marriage.
After six weeks and one day from the date the Decree Nisi was pronounced, the Petitioner can apply for the Decree Absolute. Once you receive the Decree Absolute your marriage will be dissolved.
Court fees set to increase from April 2016
The Ministry of Justice are set to increase the court fee for a divorce petition from £410 to £550. This will take effect from April 2016. However, fee remissions will still be available for those who are on a low income with no capital resource.
Thursfields Solicitors offer a fixed fee package from £360. Please contact Ramandip Kaur on 01902 904 060 for advice.