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Understanding Divorce: Common Questions and Answers

Our People - Loretta Orsi-Barzanti
29 January, 2024

The prospect of getting a divorce can be overwhelming, especially when attempting to understand the divorce procedure, related costs and timescales.

We have therefore, compiled a list of commonly asked questions in relation to understanding divorce to help you navigate through the process.

How long does the marriage have to last before we can get divorce?

You must be married for at least one year before commencing divorce proceedings.

Do I need my marriage certificate when making an application for divorce?

Not necessarily. It is, however, much easier to lodge a divorce application if you have the original copy of your marriage certificate or a certified copy.

If you do not have your marriage certificate, there are options such as contacting the registry office of where your marriage was registered and requesting a copy.

We got married in another country, can we still get divorced in England and Wales?

Yes, you can still get divorced in England and Wales as long as one of you has been a habitual resident of England or Wales in the year preceding the date of the divorce application or if one or both of you are “domiciled” in England or Wales.

When making a divorce application, does my marriage certificate need to be in English?

Yes. If your marriage certificate is not in English, you will need to provide the original and a translated version, which must be certified.

Can either party start divorce proceedings?

Yes, either party can start divorce proceedings and it makes no difference to the outcome of the divorce.

How do divorce proceedings start?

Divorce proceedings begin with one party making a divorce application on the MyHMCTS portal.

What are the steps in divorce proceedings?

Once you make the application, there is a minimum 20 week waiting period until you can apply for the Conditional Order. The other party must acknowledge service of the divorce application before you can apply for the Conditional Order, which can sometimes cause delays.

When the court has confirmed that you are entitled to a Conditional Order, the matter will be listed for a hearing and the Conditional Order will be pronounced in open court.  It is not necessary to attend this hearing.

Once the Conditional Order has been granted, six weeks and one day later you can apply for the Final Order.  This is the final stage of the divorce procedure, and it is at this point that the marriage is officially ended and the parties are free to re-marry.

Any finances should be resolved before the Final Order is applied for.

Do we need to give a reason for the divorce?

No, the introduction of no-fault divorce in April 2022 allows couples to obtain a divorce without the need to prove fault or wrongdoing by either party. Instead, the court grants the divorce on the basis that the marriage has “broken down irretrievably”.

How long does it take to get divorced?

How long it takes to get divorced depends on the facts of each case. The divorce application must be first served on the other party, and they must acknowledge service of the application. The process can be delayed if the other party does not acknowledge service of the application in a timely manner.

The divorce process can also take longer if there are financial matters that need to be resolved, which are best dealt with during the divorce rather than after it has been finalised.

If there are no delays or finances to resolve, a typical divorce can take 6-8 months to be completed.

How much does it cost to get divorced?

At GN Law, we charge a fixed fee of £895 plus VAT to assist you with your divorce. There is also a court fee of £593 which you must pay to make the application.

Please note that this cost does not include assisting with any financial matters or child arrangements, it only covers the process of the divorce itself. You may also have to pay additional court fees should you need to make any applications regarding the service of the divorce application on the other party.

You may be entitled to Legal Help if you are a victim of domestic abuse and Help With Fees depending on your finances. Please contact us to discuss your eligibility further.

Do I actually have to go to court to get divorced?

No, there is no need for either of you to go to court if you both agree to the divorce. You may, however, need to go to court to agree on any financial or children matters arising from the divorce.

What if my spouse does not agree to the divorce?

Since the introduction of no-fault divorce in April 2022, there are very limited grounds on which your spouse can contest your divorce application. They are only able to oppose the application if the courts of England and Wales do not have jurisdiction, if the marriage has already been legally ended or if they can show that you were not legally married in the first place.

If you have any other questions surrounding divorce proceedings, please don’t hesitate to contact our specialist Divorce Lawyers or call us on 020 8492 2290.

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