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Divorce law FAQs

Our team of divorce law solicitors can help and support couples who wish to begin divorce proceedings or any other related service including dissolving a civil partnership or separation agreements. Speak to our experts confidentially and without obligation on 0161 696 6193 or complete our online enquiry form and we will contact you directly.

Below we have listed a range of frequently asked questions if you have any other questions about the process please don't hesitate to contact our friendly team:

 

What are grounds for divorce UK?

When you apply for a divorce, you need to prove that at least one of the five accepted grounds apply to your marriage. These are adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, separation for at least two years (if both agree), or separation for at least five years (even if partner disagrees).

What happens if spouse doesn't sign divorce papers in the UK?

If your spouse doesn’t agree to a divorce and refuses to sign the required documents, you should take legal advice to determine what the best next steps would be. You may be required to wait for a period of time to divorce someone who does not agree to it.

Will I have to go to court during divorce proceedings?

You may not need to attend a court hearing for your divorce if both parties agree to the divorce and the grounds. However, the court will be completing the legal process for the divorce to be made final and so court fees are still payable

My partner won't give me a divorce, what can I do?

If your spouse doesn’t agree to a divorce, you should take legal advice to determine the next steps. You may need to wait for several years before you can proceed with the divorce, but an expert family law solicitor can advise on your specific circumstances.

Can I legally draw up my own cohabitation agreement?

You can draw up your own cohabitation agreement but both parties will need to take independent legal advice before signing it to ensure that it has been properly executed in order for it to be considered legally binding. This is to make sure that both partners fully understand the agreement.

What to include in a cohabitation agreement

Your solicitor will be able to advise on everything that should be included in your specific cohabitation agreement, as it will depend on your individual circumstances. They can include everything from who is responsible for which bills, to who takes on any pets if you separate.

How much does a cohabitation agreement cost?

The cost of a cohabitation agreement can vary, depending on the complexity of the finances or assets involved and individual solicitor you choose. Speak to an expert family law solicitor to get an estimate of the costs for your cohabitation agreement.

How much do solicitors charge for divorce?

The cost of legal fees charged by solicitors in a divorce will depend on the complexity of the process in your individual case, and the rates charged by the specific solicitor you choose. Speak to a family law solicitor to get an estimate of legal fees for your divorce.

How long does a divorce petition take to process?

The length of time it takes a divorce petition to process will vary, depending on the specific circumstances involved and whether both parties agree on the divorce and the grounds for it. The entire divorce process in the UK can take anywhere from a few months to significantly longer.

How to prove unreasonable behaviour in divorce

There are a wide range of behaviours that could be considered unreasonable as grounds for a divorce. You will need to provide written accounts describing the behaviour and how it made you feel. Speak to a solicitor if you are considering petitioning for divorce.

What is a motion hearing in a divorce case?

Motion hearings are not applicable in UK divorce law but are common in the USA. The divorce process in England and Wales is different. Speak to an expert family law solicitor for more information about any stage of the divorce process here.

Can you use the same solicitor for divorce?

The same solicitor can’t act for both parties in a divorce, as they would not be able to act in the best interests equally of both clients and it would be a conflict of interest. It’s recommended that both parties take independent advice from their own separate divorce solicitor.

Can we divorce without going to court?

You may not need to attend a court hearing for your divorce if both parties agree to the divorce and the grounds. However, the court will be completing the legal process for the divorce to be made final and so court fees are still payable.

Can I represent myself in divorce court?

It’s possible to represent yourself in a divorce case, but the potential complexities of the process including any financial implications mean that you might be at a disadvantage when coming up against solicitors representing your spouse. A good family law solicitor will be able to offer various funding options, so your interests are protected.

What's a cohabitation agreement?

A cohabitation agreement is a legal document that couples who live together, but aren’t married or civil partners, can use to outline the obligations and divisions of finances, property and other assets if the relationship breaks down.

Are cohabitation agreements legally binding?

A cohabitation agreement is legally binding if it is drafted and executed properly. It’s essential to take expert legal advice before preparing or signing a cohabitation agreement to make sure your personal interests are protected.

How to get divorce decree from court

You can apply for a ‘degree nisi’ after the original divorce petition has been responded to by your spouse. You can apply for the ‘decree absolute’ six weeks after the decree nisi has been granted. Speak to a solicitor for more information on the divorce process.

How many hearings in a divorce?

If both partners agree to the divorce and the grounds for it, there’s usually no need for a hearing. If one partner opposes the divorce, there will be a court hearing to decide whether the divorce should proceed. There may be separate hearings with regard to finances and child arrangements.

Do I have to pay court fees for a divorce?

Court fees have to be paid when you apply for a divorce. It may be that the couple share the cost of court fees (if both agree to the divorce and grounds) or one partner, usually the petitioner, may pay the court fees themselves. Any solicitor fees for either spouse will be on top of court fees.

Can I change my divorce solicitor?

If you’re unhappy with the solicitor handling your divorce, you can change solicitors. You’ll need to pay the original divorce solicitor for any services carried out to date and authorise releasing files to your new solicitor. Be aware that changing divorce solicitors may result in delays to the process.

What does a cohabitation agreement look like?

A cohabitation agreement is a legally binding contract between couples who are not married or civil partners that outlines how property, money or assets should be dealt with in the event that the relationship breaks down. Speak to a solicitor if you want to put a cohabitation agreement in place.

How to speed up a divorce process

The divorce process can sometimes take a long time but if both partners agree on the grounds for the divorce and complete and return all of the required documents promptly, things can usually be resolved in a few months. Seek expert family law advice if you’re considering divorce.

How long does the divorce process take?

The divorce process usually takes a minimum of a few months but can take much longer if the divorce is contested or if documents are not correctly completed or returned quickly. Contact an experienced family law solicitor if you are considering a divorce or want to know more.

Can you get married while a divorce is in process?

In the UK, you cannot legally remarry if your divorce is still in progress. You must wait until your original marriage has been legally terminated and Decree Absolute has been pronounced before getting married again. Seek legal advice if you have any questions about the divorce process.

What constitutes unreasonable behaviour in divorce?

When citing unreasonable behaviour as the grounds for divorce, the petitioner must show that their spouse has behaved in a way that has caused the relationship to irretrievably break down. Examples include anything from domestic abuse to obsessive hobbies or financial recklessness. Seek legal advice if you’re considering divorce.

What to bring to divorce hearing

If you need to attend a hearing as part of your divorce process, your solicitor will offer full advice on what you’ll need to take with you. This will generally include copies of all documents that you have sent to the court or received from them, including your marriage certificate.

How long do solicitors keep divorce papers?

Solicitors will all have their own individual records retention policy, which will dictate how long they keep client records, including divorce paperwork. This will usually be somewhere between six and 15 years, but if children are involved then documents may be held until they turn 18 years old.

Can I get a divorce without a solicitor?

You can apply for a divorce without a solicitor, but many divorcing couples seek expert legal advice to help protect their personal interests at this time. A divorce without a solicitor is usually only possible when the couple agree on all aspects.

Who pays solicitors fees in a divorce?

As a general rule in UK divorces, each party will pay their own legal costs, but the petitioner for the divorce (the person who starts the process) may also pay the court fee unless the couple agree to split this cost. Seek expert family law advice about divorce to help protect your interests.

Do you have to attend court for divorce?

Most divorces won’t require attending court. You may have to attend a hearing in court if the divorce is contested or if you and your former spouse can’t agree arrangements for children or a financial settlement. Get expert family law advice to help achieve the best possible divorce outcome.

How do I start my divorce process?

If you’re considering a divorce, you should first take legal advice to ensure that your interests are protected, and you fully understand the process and potential issues ahead. To start the process, you’ll then need to fill out the divorce application form D8, and file this with the court.

How do you split equity in a divorce?

To split the equity of property in a divorce, a financial agreement will need to be reached by the former couple to determine whether the property will be sold, whether one spouse will buy out the other or another course of action taken. Take legal advice to protect your interests.

How can I get legal aid in a divorce?

Legal aid is not generally available for divorce cases, unless there has been domestic abuse (including financial abuse), violence or child abduction. However, you may be able to apply for means-tested legal aid for the divorce mediation process and those on low incomes are sometimes eligible for reduced court fees.

Does separation lead to divorce?

A period of separation in a marriage doesn’t always lead to divorce. Depending on the circumstances and the individuals involved, sometimes separation can help couples resolve problems and recommit to each other. Alternatively, separation can sometimes lead to a decision being made to divorce.

Does moving out affect divorce?

If one spouse chooses to leave the marital home before divorcing, it doesn’t legally affect or change the ownership of the property in the UK. It’s recommended that you seek expert family law advice before proceeding with a divorce to ensure your interests are protected.

Does it matter who files for divorce?

The spouse that submits the petition for divorce tends to have greater control over factors such as the timescales of the process and gets to present their argument first in court. The person who files for divorce is usually responsible for paying court fees.

Do you have to pay to get a divorce?

There are court fees associated with getting a divorce (currently £550) and there may also be legal fees, if you need the help of a solicitor to agree terms and settlements. If you are on a low income, you may be able to get help with court fees.

Can you get divorced and still own a house together?

You can still own a house with your former spouse after you get divorced, but this can cause complications. Take advice from an expert family law solicitor if you need help with dividing assets during or after a divorce.

Can you get a divorce without a financial settlement?

It is possible to get a divorce without getting a financial settlement, but this can cause problems down the line as future claims could be made. You may want to consult a family law solicitor if you are considering divorce or want help with the financial aspects.

Can I get divorced without a solicitor?

You may be able to complete divorce proceedings in the UK without solicitor, if both parties agree on all aspects of the divorce. Many couples find that this isn’t possible and want some expert legal help to protect their individual interests during the divorce process.

Can I file for spousal support after divorce?

There is no automatic entitlement for spousal maintenance, so whether you can apply for it will depend on your specific circumstances. It’s recommended that you take expert legal advice from a family law solicitor to protect your interests in a divorce.

Can I divorce without a financial settlement?

It is possible to divorce without having a financial settlement in place. However, in some cases, this can cause problems for one or both former partners as future claims could be made. It’s recommended that you take expert legal advice to help protect your interests if you are considering divorce.

How long does a divorce take for unreasonable behaviour?

The length of time it takes for a divorce with grounds of unreasonable behaviour can vary, depending on whether the other party defends the grounds. If both parties agree on all aspects, a divorce can often be granted within a few months, but in some cases will take much longer.

What happens in a divorce?

The stages of a divorce include the filing of the divorce petition, the court informing the respondent, the response of the other party and the application for the decree nisi. To help protect your interests, it is recommended that you seek expert legal advice before divorcing.

Can I keep my house in a divorce?

Whether you are able to keep your house in a divorce will depend on the specific circumstances involved and what other assets there are to be divided between you both. It’s recommended that you take expert advice from a family law solicitor to protect your interest in a divorce.

How to start UK divorce proceedings

To start divorce proceedings in the UK, you must make sure that your marriage is eligible for divorce and that you have valid grounds. You can then fill out the divorce application form D8. You may want to take expert family law advice before starting the divorce process.

How to protect your pension in a UK divorce

In a divorce, pensions are considered an asset. There are various different options when it comes to dividing a pension and who has a claim for what. It can be a complex area and it’s recommended that you seek expert advice from a family law solicitor to ensure that you have all the information you need for your individual circumstances.

How to get divorce papers

If you’re trying to get hold of a copy of your divorce papers from a settled divorce, you can usually get them from the court that handled proceedings for a small charge. If you want to initiate a divorce, you will need to fill out the divorce application form D8.

What are my rights as a wife in a divorce?

The rights that you have as a wife in a divorce will depend on your individual circumstances. The terms of settlement needs to be broadly fair in light of all relevant circumstances. Speak to an expert family law solicitor to make sure that your interests are protected in a divorce.

What am I entitled to in a divorce settlement?

 No two couples are the same and any financial settlement will depend upon the circumstances of each couple.  It’s recommended that you seek expert legal advice to protect your interests in a divorce.

What happens in a UK divorce if you commit adultery?

For adultery to be used as grounds for a divorce in the UK, you must file for divorce within six months of discovering the adultery, your partner must have been the one who committed adultery and they must have had sexual intercourse with someone of the opposite sex. There may be other reasons for a divorce that are more applicable to your circumstances and you should seek legal advice from family law experts before you start the process.

How long does a divorce take from start to finish?

It’s not possible to predict exactly how long a divorce will take, as every couple has their own set of circumstances. If the former spouses agree on all aspects, a divorce can take a few months. However, sometimes the process can take many more months or even years to complete.

What am I entitled to if I divorce my husband?

There are no entitlements with a divorce that apply to every couple because every situation is unique. You will need to agree on how finances and other assets are divided and this can depend on lots of variables. Seek advice from family law experts to help protect your interests.

How to get a quick divorce

If you want a divorce in the shortest possible space of time, the process tends to go most quickly when your spouse agrees with the action, you both agree on the grounds for divorce and both parties complete and return paperwork as soon as possible.

How many marriages end in divorce in the UK?

The latest statistics show that around 42% of marriages end in divorce in the UK, according to the Office of National Statistics. In 2019, there were over 90,000 divorces in the UK.

How to file for divorce in the UK

If you wish to start divorce proceedings in the UK, you will need to fill out a divorce application form D8 to begin the process. It’s highly recommended that you take expert legal advice if you are considering divorce, before you take action.

How much does a divorce cost?

There is a court fee to apply for a divorce if you are the person that initiates it (currently £550) and there may also be legal fees to pay if you need help from a solicitor to navigate the process.

How to get a divorce

If you are eligible to divorce your spouse, you can start the divorce process by filling out a divorce application form D8. It’s recommended that you take legal advice before starting divorce proceedings to help protect your interests.