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Divorce FAQs: your most common questions answered

Jan 29, 2024 | Uncategorised

No matter your circumstances, divorce is a stressful process. This stress can be compounded by the fact that many people don’t know the ins and outs of the process until they have to.

It’s not just the procedure itself that some people are unsure about. It’s also the nature of financial settlements and other post-marriage arrangements.

That’s why we’ve put together this FAQ.

It’s important to say from the outset that nothing in this article constitutes legal advice. Instead, it aims to clear up some misconceptions and give you the basic facts of the matter.

If you are going through a divorce, or preparing for one, legal advice can be invaluable. A good family lawyer will be a reassuring and empowering presence, equipping you with the facts you need and talking you through your options.

You can go through some or all of your divorce without a solicitor – but it can make all the difference to those who can afford it.

How do you start divorce proceedings?

If you want to end your marriage, you apply for a divorce. As of 2022, you no longer have to give a reason for the divorce. The only condition is that you’ve been married for at least a year.

The application can be made jointly or solely. Before you apply, you and your partner should try to agree on how money and property will be shared and what the childcare arrangements will be. However, this isn’t necessary to proceed with the divorce.

Does it make a difference who starts the divorce proceedings?

No. The outcome of a divorce won’t change according to the person who starts the proceedings.

What is a no-fault divorce?

In April 2022, no-fault divorces were introduced in the UK. This means you can get a divorce without giving a reason.

Before this legislation came in, one spouse had to accuse the other of unreasonable behaviour or adultery. Alternatively, they would have to wait through years of separation before getting a divorce. Under the new system, a spouse merely needs to say that their marriage has broken down irretrievably.

The aim is to reduce the acrimony and stress that couples and children previously faced when going through divorce proceedings.

What is a divorce settlement?

Divorce doesn’t only mark the end of a marriage. It also involves separating money and assets. A financial divorce settlement is an agreement between you and your ex about how these will be separated.

It’s a legal document that can be drawn up at any point in the divorce proceedings and has to be approved by a judge.

What is a divorce consent order?

A consent order is a legally binding document issued by the court. It outlines your financial settlement: how assets will be divided along with any spousal maintenance or child maintenance payments.

What is a divorce certificate?

The divorce certificate is the document that brings your marriage to an end.

Will divorce affect my pension?

Pensions can be split during divorce. Typically, this will be effected via a formal court order that transfers a portion of a pension from one spouse to another. Alternatively, the other assets will be split unequally to compensate the spouse who doesn’t have a pension.

How much does a divorce cost?

It all depends on the complexity of the case. There’s a standard court fee of £593. Onto this will be added legal fees. These will vary according to the solicitor you choose and the nature of the financial and child arrangements that need resolving.

Can divorce be done online?

Yes, you can apply for divorce online. The process is outlined on the UK government website.

Are divorce papers public records?

Divorce court records are public records but access to them is restricted. Anyone can request to view them but some information may be off limits.

Are divorce proceedings public?

By and large, family court proceedings are private. This means that only people with permission from the court can attend and there are restrictions on what can be shared about the case.

There have been moves to make the family court more transparent but, at present, these are pilot schemes in a handful of city courts.

Can you get a divorce without a solicitor?

A solicitor can be an invaluable resource when getting a divorce but it’s not obligatory. If you can’t afford one or just don’t want one, you can still apply for a divorce.

What is the difference between divorce and dissolution?

A marriage ends in divorce and a civil partnership ends in dissolution.

Can you separate formally without getting a divorce?

Yes. This is known as “judicial separation”. You’re still married but can make formal decisions about your finances and living arrangements.

Judicial separations are for people who don’t want a divorce for religious or cultural reasons or who have been married for less than a year.

How long do you need to have been married before getting divorced?

You need to have been married for at least one year before filing for divorce.

Can you get divorced in the UK if you married in another country?

In most cases, yes. However, you must have a valid marriage certificate, you must meet residency requirements and your marriage must be recognised as valid under UK law.

Final thoughts

Getting a divorce is a stressful time for anyone, even if the marriage has ended amicably. That’s why having a family lawyer in your corner can make all the difference. They can give you the facts you need to make the best decisions for you and your family.

Are you looking for a family lawyer in Leeds, Harrogate, Pontefract or Darlington? At Milners Law, we have teams of experienced, tactful, no-nonsense lawyers who can help you through a divorce. Get in touch for a free, no-obligation consultation.

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