We understand that divorce can be a stressful time, but we aim to guide you through the divorce procedure and make it as simple, pain free and cost effective as possible.
As Divorce Solicitors we are often asked how much it costs to get divorced, and this actually has a simple answer.
If you complete all the paperwork required to get a divorce yourself, then the only payment required is the court fee of £550. If you prefer not to do the paperwork yourself most solicitors will offer a fixed fee divorce. Prentice Family Law offers a fixed fee divorce for £900 plus vat, plus the court fee of £550.
Where the confusion often occurs is that these fees cover divorce papers only; they do not include the cost of sorting out financial matters or child care arrangements. When people talk about the high costs of divorce it is the legal wrangling about these issues that they are talking about.
The divorce procedure begins with a petition and ends with a decree absolute, which dissolves the marriage. The timescale to complete the process depends on the court’s workload, but is approximately 6 months.
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One of the parties must decide to be the petitioner and issue the divorce petition based on one of five factual circumstances. These are:-
- Your spouse has committed adultery and you find it intolerable to continue to live with him/her.
- Your spouse has behaved in such a way that it would be unreasonable to expect you to continue live with him/her.
- Your spouse has deserted you for a continuous period of two years or more.
- You have been living apart from your spouse for two years or more and your spouse agrees to the divorce.
- You have been living apart from your spouse for five years or more whether or not your spouse agrees to the divorce.
Once the petition has been issued an acknowledgement of service will be sent to the other party, known as the Respondent. This must be completed and returned to the court.
The court will then send a copy of the Respondent’s acknowledgement of service to the Petitioner or their divorce solicitor who then prepares the papers required to take the divorce to the next stage, decree nisi.
The Petitioner can then apply for the decree absolute six weeks and one day after the decree nisi was pronounced.
The pronouncing of the decree absolute means that you are officially divorced.
However, this does not mean that any financial arrangements have been agreed or any childcare arrangements and this is something you should obtain expert, specialised legal advice on.
At Prentice Family Law we offer an initial free telephone consultation to discuss your case and the best way forward for you, as each case is unique.
If you would like to arrange a call, please call us.
You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org at any time.
Here at Prentice Family Law, we pride ourselves on providing an outstanding, discreet service to all of our clients. Here are some of the family law questions we are regularly asked regarding our services.
If you have any further family law questions or would like to arrange an initial free telephone consultation please call 01483 237 989 or email email@example.com at any time.
Although prenuptial agreements are not binding in a court of law (i.e. the court does not have to follow the exact content of the agreement), they are still used by Judges and Courts when deciding what type of financial settlement or order to make upon divorce. For further information please contact Paul Prentice at firstname.lastname@example.org
You must have been married for at least one year before you can get divorced.
If the divorce involves children or any significant amount of money, other assets or pensions, you are strongly advised to use a solicitor. A solicitor can:
Advise you on what your rights are and what would be a reasonable financial settlement.
Help you negotiate agreement on financial arrangements and how any children will be looked after.
Make sure that court documents are correctly completed and filed on time.
Although your solicitor can advise you, it’s still up to you to choose how to use the solicitor.
At Prentice Family Law we offer a variety of services to suit different budgets. Please contact us for further information.
As a solicitor cannot act for both spouses, you should each have your own solicitor.
In many cases you do not have to go to court in person. If the divorce is uncontested and you are able to reach agreement through your solicitors on finances and children, then a formal court hearing is unlikely to be necessary. It is possible to conclude the whole process as a paper exercise without ever seeing a Judge.
Court hearings most commonly arise when agreement cannot be reached on things such as child residence, child contact and financial settlements.
It should make no difference to the final outcome which one of you starts the proceedings.
In practice, there may be circumstances that make one or other spouse want to be the ‘petitioner’ rather than the ‘respondent’:
If only one spouse wants the divorce, he or she will be the one who files for divorce. More broadly, the petitioner’s solicitor tends to drive the divorce process – for example, chasing up the respondent’s solicitor if documents have not been returned on time.
If the divorce is on the basis of adultery, unreasonable behaviour or desertion, the aggrieved party must petition for the divorce.
A spouse who has religious objections to divorce may prefer to be the respondent or instead apply for Judicial Separation.
In general, it makes no difference to the outcome either in terms of the financial agreement or the arrangements for looking after the children. However, where one spouse has been guilty of seriously unreasonable behaviour – eg violence towards the other spouse – this may have consequences.
Your spouse can defend a divorce by claiming that the facts relied on in the petition are not true: for example, that he or she did not commit adultery, or that you have not in fact been separated for five years. This could mean that you have to delay your divorce, unless you can petition for divorce on a different basis: for example, demonstrating that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, and that your spouse’s behaviour has been unreasonable. At the worst, this might mean that you have to separate from your spouse for five years before you can get divorced.
In fact, defending a divorce in this way is not common. What is more common is for an aggrieved spouse to make the process of getting divorced more difficult, expensive and drawn out. For example:
Your spouse may fail to respond to court documents, delaying the process and increasing your costs.
Your spouse may state that he or she intends to defend the divorce, which delays proceedings even if ultimately the divorce is not defended.
Negotiations on childcare and financial arrangements can be drawn out, particularly if every point has to be argued out through your solicitors.
Your spouse may ask the court to intervene in deciding financial and childcare arrangements. In some cases, it may not be possible to finalise the divorce until these have been agreed.
A relatively straightforward, uncontested divorce typically takes around six months, provided that you both deal with court papers promptly.
Despite what you read in the papers – there are no shortcuts you can take to get a ‘quickie divorce’.
There is a defined court process to go through. The steps include: preparing the petition, submitting the petition, acknowledgement of service, the court issuing the decree nisi, a mandatory 6 week wait, and finally the court issuing the Decree Absolute.
You are officially divorced once the decree absolute is granted. The grant of the decree is officially recorded (in the court where the divorce was granted, and in the Principal Registry of the Family Division of the courts and you are each sent a copy.
The cost of a divorce will depend on the complexity of the issues involved including children and financial settlements.
Please contact us for a free initial consultation to find out more.
Financial settlements are considered on an individual basis and whether an equal division of assets is appropriate.
It is not normally appropriate when:
It has been a short marriage, with one person owning significant assets prior to the marriage.
There are limited assets and one person needs the majority of the assets to meet their children’s housing needs.
A significant part of the assets of the marriage comprise an interest in a business. In such circumstances it might not be possible to raise a lump sum to achieve equality.
There are no legal rights for co-habiting couples that live together.
No. It does not matter where you were married. However, it does matter where you and/or your spouse are living at the time the Petition is issued and to decide which country is most appropriate, you will need to consider which country you are domiciled in and/or habitually resident as this will determine whether or not the Court is able to deal with it (i.e. whether the Court has jurisdiction).