Divorce Proceedings - Williamsons Solicitors Skip to main content

> FAMILY & CHILDCARE

Divorce Proceedings

If your marriage has broken down and you’re facing divorce you may feel overwhelmed and uncertain about the future. That’s why it’s crucial to have a dedicated team of divorce solicitors by your side.

Our experienced solicitors understand you may have concerns with regards to spending time with your children or how your assets will be divided. We make sure that your best interests are taken into account throughout the divorce proceedings and ensure the best start to your new future.

Dealing with Divorce Proceedings

If you wish to issue divorce proceedings you have to prove to the court that your marriage has irretrievably broken down by confirming this in your divorce application. It is no longer necessary to prove one of the five ‘facts’ in support following the introduction of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 on 5 April 2022. Your statement of irretrievable breakdown will be taken by the court as conclusive evidence that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.

Applying for a divorce

One person or a couple jointly starts the divorce application.

There is now no requirement to give a reason for divorce or blame your partner – it is now largely on the basis of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

It is important to separate the process of divorce from the issues of your children and finances, which will be dealt with separately by the Court. We will also advise you on complex financial cases including business interests, property disputes and child maintenance so you achieve the best outcome.

Reflection Period

The new law stipulates a 20 week reflection period between the initial application and the granting of the conditional order (the old decree nisi) and then another six weeks between this and the final order.

Conditional Order Application

After the 20 weeks have elapsed, you can apply for a conditional order (previously known as a Decree Nisi). The conditional order confirms that you are eligible for a divorce.

Once you have applied for a conditional order, your request is reviewed by the court and, if approved, a Certificate of Entitlement is issued. You can then send your financial agreement to the court to be approved if you have one.

Final Order Application

The final step in the divorce is the pronouncement of the Final Order which will be made on the court receiving the Notice of Application for Conditional Order to be made Final. The divorce takes place six weeks and a day after your final order is pronounced. If you’re the applicant then you will be the one to apply for the final order (the legal document that officially dissolves your marriage) after the ‘six weeks and a day’ period.

Final Order Granted

Once the Final Order has been granted, you will be legally divorced. It’s important to know that you must file for your final order within a year after your conditional order is granted, otherwise, you’ll have to go through more court proceedings, causing further delays.

The judge will decide on the fairest way to divide the assets if there’s enough to meet everyone’s needs. They will make arrangements for any children first – especially their housing arrangements and child maintenance. The reason for the divorce or dissolution is not taken into account.

If the divorce is not defended or delayed, it takes 10-12 months to obtain a Final Order which is the final certificate dissolving your marriage. Please note that the Final Order concludes the divorce. However, financial and property claims remain outstanding in most cases indefinitely unless you obtain a separate Financial Remedy Order to conclude these issues.

If you issue divorce proceedings against your spouse, the divorce is uncontested and there are no unusual problems our costs are normally £600.00 + VAT of £120.00 (total £720.00). If it becomes necessary to instruct a process server to personally serve the divorce documentation on the other party then additional fees would be chargeable, typically in the region of £130.00-£150.00. This fee would be payable in addition to the fixed fee quoted above.

The court fee to issue the divorce application will be £593.00 but we will advise you as to whether or not you can obtain an exemption or a partial exemption from this fee. The courts increase their costs from time to time and this information is accurate as at the date of this letter.

If you wish to issue divorce proceedings you have to prove to the court that your marriage has irretrievably broken down by confirming this in your divorce application. It is no longer necessary to prove one of the five ‘facts’ in support following the introduction of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 on 5 April 2022. Your statement of irretrievable breakdown will be taken by the court as conclusive evidence that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.

You may apply solely, or you may make a joint application with your spouse. If applying jointly then you should decide between you beforehand how the divorce costs will be apportioned between you.

If you and your spouse: (a) have limited savings; and either: (b) receive certain state benefits; or (c) are on a low income, then you may be eligible for an exemption from the court fee.

Once your divorce application has been issued by the court, you and your spouse will be sent a sealed copy and the Respondent to the divorce (or Respondents in the case of a joint application) will be served with notice of the proceedings in an Acknowledgement of Service form.

This form must be completed and returned to the court within 14 days of service.
The Respondent is no longer able to defend the divorce under the new legislation and may dispute the application in limited circumstances only.

These limited circumstances are:
1. The jurisdiction of England and Wales is challenged.
2. The validity of the marriage or civil partnership is disputed.
3. The marriage or civil partnership has already been legally ended.

Once the Acknowledgement of Service has been returned to the court, you may then apply for the Conditional Divorce Order (‘CDO’). Please note that the CDO cannot be applied for until a minimum of 20 weeks has passed after issue of the application, provided that the time for filing the Acknowledgement of Service has expired and no party has indicated an intention to dispute the application.

If the court are satisfied that you are entitled to a divorce then you will be issued a Certificate of Entitlement to a Conditional Divorce Order which will specify the date on which the CDO will be pronounced.

You will not be divorced when the CDO is pronounced, and it is a further 6 weeks until you can apply for the Final Order (‘FO’). Only on the pronouncement of the FO will your marriage be legally dissolved.

A joint application for divorce may be converted into a sole application but not vice versa. A shift from joint to sole application can only be made at the Conditional Divorce Order or Final Order stage. If the former, the Applicant must send a copy of the CDO application to the other party at the same time as the application is made. If the latter, at least 14 days’ notice of your intention to covert the application must be given.

If the divorce is not defended or delayed, it takes 10-12 months to obtain a Final Order which is the final certificate dissolving your marriage. Please note that the Final Order concludes the divorce. However, financial and property claims remain outstanding in most cases indefinitely unless you obtain a separate Financial Remedy Order to conclude these issues.

Contact Williamsons Solicitors on 01482 323 697.

HELPING YOU GET THE BEST SOLUTION

Our aim is to assist you during this challenging time.

Family & Childcare Team

Sarah
Clubley

DIRECTOR, SENIOR SOLICITOR
HEAD OF FAMILY & CHILDCARE

Paul
Kirby

SOLICITOR

Rebecca
Lovel

SOLICITOR

Judith
Knight

SOLICITOR

sarah-jackson-williamsons-solicitors

Excellent staff and couldn’t wish for a better company to deal with it very compassionate.

CARL ANDREW

Review Rating Stars
wayne-walker-williamsons-solicitors-39

They provided a friendly, thorough, fair and transparent service.

A&H

Review Rating Stars
sarah-jackson-williamsons-solicitors

What was an extremely difficult time for us, was handled with care, compassion and total professionalism.

NEIL

Review Rating Stars
nick-gray-williamsons-solicitors-33

I was always greeted with a smile and the offer of a cup of coffee.

PETER

Review Rating Stars

FRIENDLY, EFFICIENT LEGAL ADVICE

We’re ready to chat when you are

Drop us an email or give us a call for a no obligation chat to see if we can help.