Divorce- 10 Frequently asked questions……..

Our Skipton Solicitor and Family Law Specialist Andrew Foulds offers some sound advice on the most common queries that he receives when individuals are considering divorce proceedings. It is often a very stressful and worrying time for all involved and information is key in managing the process.

1.When Can I issue my Divorce Petition?

The earliest a divorce petition can be issued is 12 months and a day from the date of the marriage. It is possible to have an annulment of the marriage within 12 months though only in very specific circumstances. Although 12 months can be the shortest time to issue, a petition at this time can only be made on the grounds of adultery or unreasonable behaviour.

2. What reasons can I rely on to issue my divorce?

There is only one ground for divorce- that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. In order to prove that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, you will need to provide evidence on one of five factors:

i)                    Adultery (by your spouse)

ii)                   Unreasonable Behaviour

iii)                 Desertion

iv)                 Two Years’ Separation with Consent

v)                  Five Years’ Separation

3.What’s required to issue the divorce?
 In addition to a divorce petition, the Court will also require you to file a marriage certificate and the Court’s fee of £550. The marriage certificate needs to be the original, or if it is lost, can be a certified copy received on request from the venue at which you marry (a small fee is often incurred to purchase a replacement). In certain circumstances you may be entitled to a fee exemption from the Court dependant on your employment status.

 4. What happens after I’ve issued my divorce petition?

Once the divorce has been issued, a copy is sent to the Respondent together with an ‘Acknowledgement of Service’. This needs to be completed by your spouse and be returned to Court. Should your spouse not return the Acknowledgement of Service to Court we would suggest seeking further legal advice as alternative methods of service may have to be considered.

 5.Will the petition be defended?

Although it is possible for your former spouse to defend your divorce petition, in practice this happens very rarely. If it is defended, we would again suggest you seek legal advice immediately. One method to prevent the divorce being defended is to discuss the petition with your former spouse first so they can confirm they are agreeable to the facts of the petition before its issued.

6. Will I have to attend Court?

Provided the divorce is not defended, there would be no requirement for you to attend Court. This is true for both the pronouncement of the  Decree Nisi & Decree Absolute.

7. Decree Nisi & Decree Absolute: What are they?

 Once the Acknowledgement of Service is received, an application for the Decree Nisi can be made. The date for the Decree Nisi will be set by the Court once it has certified you have sufficient grounds for divorce. ‘Nisi’ is the Latin word for ‘if’, demonstrating the  provisional nature of the decree. From the date of the Decree Nisi you must wait 6 weeks and 1 day before an application can be made for the Decree Absolute. Only once the Decree Absolute is attained will your marriage have been brought to an end.

 8. Should I apply for the Decree Absolute straight away?

It depends! We would always recommend that you seek legal advice before the granting of the Decree Absolute, particularly if there is an ongoing dispute relating to finances of the marriage. Its granting can have a significant effect with respect to inheritance rights or your former spouse’s pension.
9. Does the divorce deal with financial issues or arrangements for our children?

No- traditionally, these were  referred to as ancillary matters. They both require separate applications if they are to be finalised or determined by way of a Court Order.

10. What will be the cost of divorce?

 At AWB Charlesworth we offer a fixed fee for divorce of £600* + VAT and the Court’s fee. We would also consider and advise on whether it is possible to recover part or all of the costs from your former spouse.

To book an introductory consultation (this is offered at a fixed fee of £100) call Andrew Foulds on 01756 692 877 or emailAndrew.foulds@awbclaw.co.uk

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