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Read more articles in: Blog, Family, Family Law, Stuart Daniel

You’ve decided to divorce: What next?

Once you have decided to divorce your spouse there are certain legal procedures to go through before you are legally no longer married.

In this blog, we explore the process of divorce and explain the steps that you and your ex-partner must undertake to be officially divorced in the eyes of the law.

Understand the grounds for divorce

In the past, divorce was not as simple as just deciding to end a marriage – you had to have a legally recognised reason.

The grounds for divorce included:

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Desertion
  • Two years of separation with consent
  • Five years of separation without consent.

Nowadays, the concept of ‘no-fault’ divorce has been introduced.

This applies to marriages that have suffered an ‘irretrievable breakdown,’ a condition that must be stated on the divorce application form.

Consult a solicitor

While some people choose to go through the divorce process without legal representation, this is generally not advisable.

A solicitor can help you understand your rights, explain complex legal terms, and guide you through the intricacies of family law.

They can also negotiate on your behalf, especially when it comes to sensitive issues like childcare arrangements or the division of assets.

If your spouse has already engaged a solicitor, it’s even more critical for you to have professional representation to ensure that your interests are adequately protected.

Financial disclosure

Full financial disclosure is a mandatory part of the Court process.

Both parties must provide a detailed account of their financial circumstances, including income, property, investments, and debts.

This information is used to determine how assets will be divided and whether spousal maintenance is appropriate.

Failure to disclose assets fully and honestly can result in legal penalties and could significantly delay the divorce process.

Child arrangements

If you have children, their well-being will be a central focus during the divorce.

Decisions will need to be made regarding where the children will live, how much time they will spend with each parent, and how both parents will contribute financially.

If you and your spouse can’t agree on these matters, the court may have to intervene.

In such cases, the court will consider various factors, such as the child’s age, emotional needs, and the parent’s ability to provide care, to determine what is in the child’s best interest.

File the divorce petition

The divorce process officially starts when you file a divorce application with the court.

This document outlines the grounds for divorce and any additional claims, such as childcare or financial arrangements.

Once filed, the application is served to the respondent, who has a set period to respond.

If they respond promptly, the process can move relatively smoothly.

However, if they delay responding to the divorce, this could lead to a more protracted and costly divorce, as additional steps may need to be taken.

Conditional Divorce Order and Final Divorce Order

After the court has reviewed all submitted documents and is satisfied that you have met the criteria for divorce, they will issue a Conditional Order of Divorce.

This is a provisional order stating that there is no reason the divorce can’t proceed.

After a six-week waiting period, you can apply for a Final Order of Divorce which formally and legally ends the marriage.

Final considerations

Divorce is a complex and emotionally draining process.

However, being well-informed and prepared can help you navigate the legal maze more effectively.

Always remember that each divorce case is unique and requires a tailored approach.

Therefore, it’s crucial to consult legal professionals for advice specific to your situation.

To find out how we could help with your divorce proceedings, please get in touch.

Stuart Daniel

Head of Family Department

I qualified as a Solicitor in 2006 and now specialise in divorce, financial settlements, childcare arrangements and Pre Nuptial Agreements. I have many years’ experience as a private family lawyer having worked with two other local firms before returning to Mander Hadley, where I first undertook work experience during my university studies.