We understand that the breakdown of any relationship is an upsetting and emotional time for all parties involved. Our team will be sympathetic and sensitive to your situation and we will assist you to achieve a swift and painless resolution of your differences.
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 offer a mediation service to advise you on the practical arrangements for your children, property, possessions and most importantly, your future. We will also advise you on complex financial cases including business interests, property disputes and child maintenance so you achieve the best outcome.
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 became 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:
- The jurisdiction of England and Wales is challenged.
- The validity of the marriage or civil partnership is disputed.
- 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.W