Divorce Procedure FAQ

Contact our Family Law Team: 0115 9247 023

Frequently asked Questions about the Divorce Procedure

How long will my divorce take?

The length of time between issuing proceedings and a Decree Absolute can depend on a number of factors including whether the person responding to a divorce agrees to the divorce or decides to contest it, whether the recipient is easy to get hold of or the amount of property and financial issues to be resolved.

At best, based on a straightforward and uncontested divorce, where all issues are agreed between the parties, the matter could take between four to six months. If there are issues and disputes between the parties the matter could take significantly longer.

How long after I have married can I divorce?

You cannot start divorce proceedings within 12 months of the date of marriage. You can however in this period of time apply for an annulment which brings the marriage to an end or a Judicial Separation which legally records the separation but is not a divorce.

Can I get the other party to pay for my divorce costs?

Generally the position is as follows:

Adultery and Unreasonable Behaviour

Those issuing proceedings can seek an Order that the other party pays for the divorce costs and in some circumstances these can be granted.

Generally we would try and reach an agreement at the outset with regard to costs.

2 years separation (by Consent)

There can be negotiations as to whether the other party will pay or contribute a portion of the costs although generally they will not.

Divorce after 5 years/ Desertion 2 years separation (no consent)

The person issuing the petition will not be able to obtain an Order for costs

What if I don’t agree to the divorce?

It may be possible to defend the divorce. However, you should bear in mind that this will lengthen the proceedings and also can increase the costs of divorce significantly. Also, we can advise whether or not there is any advantage or chance of success defending proceedings.

In certain circumstances it may be advisable to issue a cross-Petition when defending, however, you will need specific advice from one of our matrimonial lawyers about this. It is not wise to embark on this procedure without knowing the consequences.

Will I need to go to Court?

No, in most cases you will not need to attend Court during divorce proceedings. If there were other issues such as children or property and financial issues, which are dealt with separately to divorce proceedings, you may have to attend Court.

How will my children be involved in the divorce procedure?

The Court will want to be satisfied that there are arrangements in relation to the children’s living arrangements, contact, education and financial arrangements. If matters are agreed then a Statement of Arrangements form will need to be completed with the divorce Petition.

At the time of the Decree Nisi the Court has to pronounce that they are satisfied with the arrangements for the children. In extremely rare cases, if they are not satisfied the Decree Absolute will be held up.

If there are not agreements between the parties then a separate application may have to be made in relation to the children. For further details go to our Child Law Website.

My husband/wife has issued divorce proceedings, what should I consider?

Generally you should consider:

  • Whether or not you agree to divorce proceedings being issued.
  • Whether or not you agree to the grounds on which proceedings have been issued. If you do not then it is usually best to try and reach an agreement at an early stage between the parties.
  • Whether or not you will agree to pay the other party’s costs (if this has been requested).
  • If there are any children issues
  • If there are any property and financial issues

When can a Decree Absolute be applied for?

The Petitioner can apply for a Decree Absolute 6 weeks and a day after pronouncement of a Decree Nisi. The Decree Absolute dissolves the marriage.

My husband/wife has obtained a Decree Nisi but will not apply for a Decree Absolute – what can I do?

They may not have applied for a Decree Absolute until the financial matters are resolved and this is considered good reason. Indeed, they may also be in your interests as you may lose certain rights in relation to finances on pronouncement of Decree Absolute.

However, if there is no good reason why they have not applied for a Decree Absolute, you have the right to apply to the court three months after they could have applied, in other words 4 1/2 months after the Decree Nisi. There would then be a hearing at which the court would decide whether or not to grant the Decree Absolute.

Why should property and financial matters be dealt with before a Decree Absolute is granted?

You may lose certain rights, for example pension rights, if a Decree Absolute is obtained and financial matters have not been dealt with.

If you are the Respondent and you do not in the course of Divorce proceedings make an application for property or finances and then remarry after Decree Absolute, you will lose important rights to make any claims on property or finances.

A Decree Absolute only dissolves the marriage. It does not stop financial claims being made by your ex-spouse.

If there is no Clean Break Order (where property and financial claims are dismissed) and you were to receive a large financial sum through, say, inheritance or a lottery win, your ex-husband/wife may still be entitled to make a claim against that sum, even if you are divorced. We therefore advise you to obtain legal advice from one of our matrimonial lawyers about financial matters in relation to your separation / divorce / judicial separation.

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