Divorce Law - Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce

How long after you get married can you get divorced?
Most people do not realise this but you cannot get divorced until you have been married for one year. If there has been a problem with marriage formalities then it may be possible to lodge a nullity petition but this is not common. A successful nullity petition would mean that the parties had never legally been married. Furthermore, there are potential reasons for a marriage to become voidable which can include Non-Consummation, Incapacity, Wilful Refusal and Lack of Consent.

How can I get divorced?
There is only one way in which to get divorced and that is that your marriage has irretrievably broken down. There are however five different ways of proving irretrievable breakdown (two ways due to the fault of one spouse and three non-fault based which are to do with length of separation). The five ways of proving irretrievable breakdown are as follows:-

  • (a) Adultery
  • (b) Unreasonable behaviour
  • (c) Desertion for a period of at least two years
  • (d) Parties have lived apart for a period of at least two years and the Respondent (other party) consents to a divorce
  • (e) Parties have lived apart for a period of at least five years.

Does it matter who divorces who?
It is a common misconception that it is a ‘race’ to become the one to be the Petitioner in divorce proceedings. In the overwhelming majority of cases, nothing will turn financially on who is the Petitioner in the proceedings and who is the Respondent. The parties’ conduct is a relevant issue in a very small proportion of cases. The advantage of being the Petitioning party is that you have the opportunity to control the timetable of the divorce proceedings. A disadvantage is that you may ultimately have to pay all the costs of the divorce proceedings although in some cases it is possible to obtain a Costs Order against the Respondent in the proceedings.

One instance when it would be the disadvantage to being the Respondent in the divorce proceedings is when you want to remarry immediately following divorce and your financial proceedings have not been resolved. If you were to remarry without concluding the finances in this scenario, you would fall foul of the ‘remarriage trap’ and would not be able to bring a claim for financial remedy against your former spouse. It is therefore imperative to seek advice from our Family Team if you are getting divorced and plan to remarry shortly after.

What will the Court need from me?
The Court will require basic information at the outset of your divorce to include names, dates of birth and addresses of the parties. You will need to provide your marriage certificate or certified copy if you cannot obtain the original. If you have children, the Court will also want to ensure that the arrangements for the children are satisfactory. This would include details of whom they live with and where they go to school.

How long does a divorce take?
This really depends on the nature of the parties. As soon as a divorce petition is lodged and the Respondent files an “Acknowledgement of Service”, then you (if you are the Applicant/Petitioner) can apply for the conditional divorce (decree nisi). Depending on the workload of the Court office, this can take between two and four weeks to process. The conditional divorce will then be read out in Court (there is no need to attend this hearing). You can then apply for the final divorce (decree absolute) six weeks and one day later than decree nisi. There are reasons why you may not do this straight away and this tends to be because the financial aspect of your marriage breakdown has not been resolved.

How much does a divorce cost?
This really is a difficult question to answer. Not because we like to 'duck out' of answering, but because every person that we see has a different situation and set of circumstances. The answer therefore is that we will see you for an initial free 30 minute consultation before providing you with our best possible estimates for the cost.

What you can be sure of is that we offer extremely competitive hourly rates and can discuss with you methods of paying your legal fees which sets us aside from our competitors.

Please contact our Family Law Team by telephone for free initial advice: 01392 209209.
If you choose to email, please provide a contact telephone number and we will call you at the earliest opportunity.
Nick Dudman 01392 209210nick.dudman@rundlewalker.com
Sue Jury 01392 209212. sue.jury@rundlewalker.com 

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