Social attitudes towards divorces are changing, but the questions that you might have about your divorce are still the same. We have broken down the ten initial questions our family lawyers get asked the most about divorce to help put your mind at ease.
What are the steps of getting a divorce?
We recommend getting advice as early on as possible, to help you continue with your life. You can talk to one of our family lawyers to put you in the best situation, and we will discuss marriage counselling, mediation, separation, and divorce. It will also allow you to learn more about time frames, costs, dividing your assets, and to get a good understanding of what your options are moving forward before you make a decision.
We offer a free 30-minute consultation with one of our expert family lawyers. Get in touch to book a consultation appointment with one of our lawyers here.
Step 1. The Application
You have two options in applying for a divorce. The first option is a joint application, whereby the joint divorce couple applicants are known as Applicant 1 and Applicant 2. The other option is an individual application, in which the person filing for a divorce will be the Applicant and the spouse will be the Respondent. You will need to present the original marriage certificate to the court.
Step 2. The Response
Once the divorce application has been processed, the court will inform you.
Step 3. The Conditional order
There is a holding period of 20 weeks, made by the Court, at which point both parties are expected to reflect on the marital breakdown and make any financial and child arrangements if they haven’t been made already.
Step 4. The Final Order
After six weeks the Court grants the Conditional order and you may apply for the Final Order of Divorce. Once this has been confirmed, it means that you and your ex-partner are divorced or that the civil partnership is dissolved.
What to think about before your appointment with your solicitor
It is common for clients to delay divorce proceedings to avoid upsetting those closest to them and the wider family. For example, waiting until after Christmas, completion of exams or a pre-booked holiday. There is no set path or time frame for when to file for a divorce, however, we will never advocate staying in an unhappy relationship.
The biggest advice we give to our clients is to learn about your options by speaking to our family lawyers in a free 30-minute consultation. We will only ever act in the best interest of our clients, and this can often just be a conversation with one of our family solicitors. Filing for a divorce might be the next stage, but does not have to be your only option, nor will we put any pressure on you as it is entirely your choice, either with your ex-partner or as an individual.
How long does a divorce take?
A No Fault Divorce is estimated to take between 26-30 weeks, even if your circumstances are straight forward. To prevent delays, and to keep with this time frame, all divorce papers will need to be completed on time.
Filing for a divorce (3 days – 3 weeks)
With No Fault Divorce this is the first step in the divorce process and should typically take a few days, to a few weeks between arranging an appointment with one of our family lawyers.
Response to divorce application (14 days)
If the application is made by one spouse, then the other spouse will need to confirm receipt of the application which nust be completed within 14 days. Under the No Fault Divorce rules, the respondent can no longer refuse or contest the divorce application.
The Conditional Order (20 weeks)
The Conditional Order takes 20 weeks and is the documents declaring the court does not see any reason why the divorce cannot happen.
The Final Order (6 weeks)
The Final order takes 6 weeks and is the final stage of the legal process.
How much does it cost to get divorced?
Choosing the right path for you is essential and it is not always necessary to go to court. Settling a divorce outside of court can help you to save money throughout your divorce.
Nonetheless, we offer a Lyons Bowe Fixed Fee Divorce, which costs £500 + VAT and court fees. The court fee is the fee set by the Government and currently stands at £593. This will be a total fee of £1193 inclusive of VAT and court fees.
If you need a more tailored approach to your divorce, we can use a variable fee system, to give you the right help and support.
Can my ex dispute my divorce?
Due to the introduction of the No Fault Divorce, your ex-partner can only dispute the divorce if the marriage or civil partnership was not valid in the beginning or if the marriage or civil partnership has already legally ended.
For a marriage to be invalid from the start, and therefore void, either party would have to be already lawfully married or in a civil partnership.
Some of the other reasons why a marriage might be void include:
- At least one spouse being mentally incapable
- If the marriage is fraud, whereby one spouse misled the other into marriage, for example, lying about not being able to have children
- If one of the spouses was not physically present when the marriage took place
This new legislation has been celebrated, as it makes it nearly impossible for an abusive partner to manipulate a divorce and means no blame is put on either spouse.
Who gets custody of the children in a divorce?
It is likely that your children will want to spend time with both you, and your ex-partner, although we recommend talking about personal situations with your lawyer if this is not the case.
In most scenarios, we would recommend having joint custody and genuinely advise keeping the children together, with allocated time for both parents. You should give your children reassurance that they will be able to spend time with both parents if one of the parents moves out of the house. At Lyons Bowe our aim is to keep families running as a unit after a divorce, but the safety of our clients, and their children is always our number one priority.
How long do I have to be separated before I can get a divorce?
There is no legal time frame for applying for a divorce, but you must have been married for a minimum of one year.
How do I split up assets in a divorce?
We advise speaking to a financial advisor to see how much your assets are worth. We recommend knowing the value of your assets before splitting them. If you and your ex-partner can amicably agree on how you are going to split your assets, we advise you divide all assets fairly and get your lawyer to overlook the agreement. However, if you are unable to come to a mutual agreement, our lawyers can help negotiate a fair outcome.
How do I change my surname back to my maiden name after divorce?
Changing your surname back to your maiden name is a straightforward process and similar to how you changed your name when you got married. In most scenarios, you need to present your birth certificate, marriage certificate, divorce application, and a signed declaration that you are reverting to your maiden name. For more information, speak with your family lawyer who can help you take the next steps. Nonetheless, in the divorce application you will be asked if you want to keep your married name. You are not legally required to change your marriage surname, and if you wish, you do not need to revert to your maiden name.
How do I sell my house?
Joint house sell
If the decision is made to sell your house, we recommend doing this as soon as possible, in order for you both to move on with your individual paths quicker, but this may not be the case for all.
If the marriage ends amicably, you may jointly choose to keep the property and either you or your spouse might make the decision to move out of the property. In which case, any rights to the property will not be lost. Please note, that if the property is owned in your spouse’s sole name, then it is advisable to record your matrimonial home rights at the land registry.
Immediate house sell
As part of the divorce settlements, the court can make an order for the matrimonial house to be put on the market, known as Property Adjustment Orders. This could be either immediate if there is no reason to postpone, or this can be a delayed sale of the property, for example waiting until the children reach the age of 18.
Transfer of Equity
A Transfer of Equity is the legal process of adding or removing someone from the property. You or your partner may choose to buy the other out or take on the mortgage payments. It is important to have a clear understanding about what both spouses can afford to contribute from the outset and what the best situation is between you and your ex-partner.
It is important to consider all aspects of getting a divorce and before taking the initial step. We have more information on the No Fault Divorce here.
Get a quote to buy/sell your house, or transfer equity here.