Divorce Solicitors in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire
At Crane & Staples, we understand that the breakdown of a marriage can be a difficult and emotional time. With this in mind, our divorce solicitors can help ease your concerns and guide you through the process of divorce and any subsequent matters.
With recent statistics showing that, sadly, 42% of marriages end in divorce, it is important that divorcing couples access quality legal advice from specialist divorce solicitors.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below, we have answered several questions that clients and members of the public often ask us directly, or search for online.
People asking these questions refer to the UK, but it is important to be aware that Scotland has its own legal system. This firm operates in the jurisdiction of England and Wales. As a result, answers to questions about the UK below refer only to England and Wales. You should contact a local divorce lawyer if you need advice in other legal jurisdictions of the UK.
Table of Contents
- What is the definition of Divorce in the UK?
- What is the new law on Divorce in the UK?
- What is the Divorce Process in the UK?
- What am I entitled to if I divorce my spouse?
- How long does it take to get a divorce?
- What type of solicitor do you need for a divorce?
- How much does a divorce cost in the UK?
- Are divorce proceedings public?
- Can divorce be rejected?
- Can I get an Annulment instead of a Divorce?
- What is the difference between Separation and Divorce?
- Your Local Divorce Solicitors
What is the definition of Divorce in the UK?
A divorce is an official or legal process to end a marriage. However, this article deals only with divorces in England & Wales, as Scotland has its own legal system.
The law also applies to heterosexual and homosexual couples. In Civil Partnerships it is very similar.
What is the new law on Divorce in the UK?
In England & Wales, since April 2022, the divorce process has moved to ‘no fault’. This means that no reasons have to be given for the breakdown of the marriage.
Basically, the only ground for divorce is the ‘irretrievable breakdown of marriage’.
Consequently, couples can get divorced without one person needing to lay blame on the other.
To find out more about the new no-fault divorce law, please read this article.
What is the Divorce Process in the UK?
To issue divorce proceedings in England & Wales, you must have been married for at least 12 months.
Firstly, a divorce application is filed online.
This used to be called a divorce petition. This simply confirms that the marriage has broken down.
Divorce applications can now be made individually or jointly.
In an individual application, the person who files the divorce application is known as the Applicant. The person who the Applicant is divorcing is known as the Respondent.
Whereas, in a joint application, the divorcing parties are known as Applicant 1 and Applicant 2.
The court will serve the Respondent with the divorce papers.
The divorce documents are sent by post to the Respondent who creates an online account. The respondent must then complete an Acknowledgement of Service.
This confirms that the Respondent has received the papers.
20 weeks from the date of issue, the Applicant can apply for a Conditional Order
This is the first major step in the divorce. It was previously called a decree nisi.
A Conditional Order is an order confirming that you are entitled to divorce, i.e. the court are declaring here that there is no reason why the divorce cannot progress.
6 weeks after this, a Final Order can be applied for.
A Final Order is an Order which dissolves (formally ends) the marriage. This was known as a Decree Absolute.
However, best practice is that you do not apply for a final order until financial matters have concluded with a court order, or your solicitor advises otherwise.
It is very important to understand that a divorce does not end financial claims between the married couple.
Please contact us if you require assistance with financial matters on divorce. You can find out more about financial remedy proceedings here.
Further details in relation to the updated divorce process can be found here.
What am I entitled to if I divorce my spouse?
Divorce itself does not deal with financial claims. The issue of a divorce application means claims can then be made.
Financial matters can be agreed or decided by the court. In both situations it is vital that there is a court order confirming the financial settlement. Most court orders will bring claims to an end so no further claims can be made.
Which financial claims you can make will depend on several different factors. Each case is wholly unique and will depend on the assets available to divide.
There can be disputes about which assets should be taken into account. Generally all assets of the parties in either or joint names form the “matrimonial pot” for division.
Argument can be made that some assets are non-matrimonial but this does not mean they are always excluded form division. Specialist legal advice is need about this.
How long does it take to get a divorce?
The new divorce procedure has a set minimum timeframe of 26 weeks. Although the online system could process the steps much quicker this is not permitted.
In reality, it will take longer than this, mainly because the Final Order or Decree Absolute is not made until financial matters have concluded.
The timescale for your divorce will depend on many factors, on a case-to-case basis. Unfortunately, some of these factors will be out of your control.
Even if you and your ex-partner are on amicable grounds, this may take longer than the minimum time frame.
Your divorce solicitor will work with you to ensure the divorce process runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible. The solicitor will keep you updated about your case progress and estimated timeframes. It is in the best interest of all parties to resolves matters quickly but also ensure that the process is not rushed in haste.
What type of solicitor do you need for a divorce?
If you are divorcing, you should instruct a specialist divorce solicitor, now usually referred to as a family solicitor. A divorce solicitor will have experience negotiating the complex issues that arise when getting a divorce, and also financial and children issues.
At Crane & Staples, our team of divorce solicitors are members of the national family law organisation, Resolution. Resolution members promote an approach to family law that is sensitive, constructive, cost-effective and most likely to result in an agreement. You can find out more about the Resolution Code of Practice here.
We have an excellent reputation and strong working relationships with other reputable divorce solicitors in the area. This can help ensure the process runs smoothly and amicably.
What does a divorce solicitor do?
A divorce solicitor can assist you with issuing the complete divorce process, as well as advising on the steps to take and when to take them. The divorce is more than just the online application.
At Crane & Staples, our divorce solicitors can also assist you in navigating through the financial settlement process and dealing with any children matters.
Is it best to use a solicitor for a divorce?
There are significant benefits of instructing an experienced divorce solicitor to help you navigate the divorce process. The process is far more than filling in an online form and waiting 26 weeks. You should have detailed and specialist advice before you issue a divorce application on financial matters and children issues if relevant.
It is important that both parties have legal advice. Seeking initial advice from a solicitor at the beginning of the divorce process can be invaluable. In matters involving finances, pensions, high or low -value assets or child arrangements, it is highly advisable to use a solicitor for your divorce. This is because lack of assets and issues regarding debt are also important and can have long term consequences. Where there are more assets, it is important you are advised properly to ensure you receive a fair share of the assets.
Advantages of using a divorce solicitor:
- The process is dealt with by a professional
- A solicitor will deal with the paperwork, removing the stress from you
- If the separation is not amicable, divorce solicitors will manage the communication between you and your spouse
- If there are subsequent financial and children matters to deal with, these can be dealt with correctly and specialist advice can be provided
How much does a divorce cost in the UK?
In England & Wales , the court issue fee for a divorce is £593. This is just the fee paid to the court. When people discuss “divorce costs” they usually mean the costs of paying their own solicitor to deal not only with the divorce but financial matters and sometimes children issues.
The divorce itself may be as little as £500 plus VAT. The costs of dealing with a financial application can be from a few thousand pounds to tens of thousands of pounds. Of course, this depends on how much matters are agreed and whether there are contested court proceedings.
You may be eligible for assistance with the court fee if you do not have a solicitor. Please consider this form if you think you may be eligible for help with fees – EX160 – Apply for help with fees (publishing.service.gov.uk)
Who pays for a divorce?
Each party usually pays their own costs. The court can also make costs orders. Your solicitor would advise you where this was relevant.
At Crane & Staples, we will discuss costs with you in detail at the first appointment. We will confirm costs in writing and keep you updated.
Are divorce proceedings public?
No, divorce proceedings are private. The final order of a divorce is classified as a public record and a copy can be obtained in the same way as a marriage, birth or death certificate.
Can divorce be rejected?
This is another question frequently asked by clients and members of the public.
In summary, under the no fault divorce legislation, contesting a divorce is only possible in exceptional circumstances including jurisdiction and validity.
It is highly recommended that you seek legal advice if you are considering disputing your divorce proceedings.
Can I get an Annulment instead of a Divorce?
Realistically, this is not an option due to complexity, cost and that a divorce is far more straightforward. Therefore, if you think you need an annulment, you should take specialist advice.
What is the difference between Separation and Divorce?
A divorce ends a marriage. Separation is a factual state of a couple being separated, either by living in separate homes or living separately in one house. Judicial Separation may be appropriate to those who do not wish to divorce for cultural or religious reasons but still wish to separate. However, there are disadvantages regarding financial orders and you should take legal advice.
Your Local Divorce Solicitors
At Crane & Staples, we are committed to helping our clients achieve the best possible outcome. Our specialist team of divorce solicitors can advise you in all aspects of family law. Please contact us to arrange an initial appointment. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01707 329333. We look forward to hearing from you.