Divorce

Separating from your partner can raise lots of questions. What’s the best way to formally end your relationship? How does the divorce process work? How long does it take? And how much does a divorce cost? Here, you’ll find a comprehensive series of guides to help you through your separation and divorce, from the forms you need to complete to specific issues such as the grounds for divorce and the alternatives to going to court.


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Grounds for divorce

In England and Wales there is technically only one ground for divorce. This is ‘that your marriage has irretrievably broken down’.

However, in order to prove the irretrievable breakdown of your marriage, you will need to establish one of five facts – and these are the grounds for divorce. This guide tells you everything you need to know about the grounds for divorce, including unreasonable behaviour, adultery, separation and desertion.

You’ll also find out whether the grounds for divorce cited affect the outcome of your divorce, such as the financial settlement or arrangements for your children.


Divorce process

If you’re thinking of getting a divorce, you will need to know how the divorce process works. How long does the divorce process take? What forms do you have to complete? And are there any fees to pay?

Here, we talk you through the divorce process, step by step. Find out how you petition for a divorce, whether you have to go to court, and how issues such as finances and childcare arrangements are resolved. You’ll also find out how long the divorce process takes and exactly what you must do at each stage.


How long does a divorce take?

Even if you and your spouse agree to end your marriage, there’s no such thing as a ‘quickie’ divorce in England and Wales.

Every couple who splits has to go through a formal legal procedure, and there can be rigid timescales associated with this process. In this guide you’ll discover the various factors that affect how long your divorce will take, and how long it takes to issue the legal decrees that end your marriage.

You’ll also find a handy divorce timeline explaining the main stages of the process and how long each takes.


Does it matter who files for a divorce?

At the end of the divorce process when your marriage is formally ended, the outcome is likely to be the same whether you or your spouse filed for divorce.

However, if you are the person who files for a divorce it can make a difference to the timings involved in the process, the potential costs, and even where the divorce hearings will take place.

In this guide, you’ll understand the differences between being the petitioner (the person who applies for the divorce) and the respondent (the person who responds to the divorce). You’ll also find out how you’ll be affected if you live outside England and Wales.


Divorce forms and documents

Getting a divorce involves the completion of several different forms and documents. From petitioning for divorce to disclosing your financial position, ensuring all paperwork is completed correctly can help to make the divorce process run smoothly.

In this guide, you’ll find out about all the main forms and documents you’re likely to encounter as part of the divorce process. You’ll get detailed advice on how to complete the main divorce forms, help with paperwork regarding financial arrangements and children, and details of the documentation you’ll need to provide.


Paying for divorce and divorce costs

What does a divorce really cost? How much are court fees and a solicitor fees? And what are the ways you can pay for your divorce?

In this comprehensive guide, you’ll find out about the factors that influence how much your divorce will cost. You’ll find details of the court fees, how solicitors charge for their time, whether you can get help with legal costs and which spouse pays for the divorce.

You’ll also find useful advice on the various ways that you can fund the costs associated with your divorce.


Contested and uncontested divorce

In most cases a divorce is ‘uncontested’, meaning that one party decides not to ‘defend’ the divorce. However, if your spouse has petitioned for divorce and you don’t agree with their reasons for ending your marriage, you can contest the divorce.

If you want to know the pros and cons of contesting your divorce, then read our guide. You’ll find out the difference between a contested and an uncontested divorce, how you contest your divorce, and what the consequences are of contesting your divorce.


Mediation

If you want to settle any disputes you have with your ex-spouse when you divorce, then mediation is one of the options available to you. Mediation can help you avoid the lengthy and costly court procedure.

But what is mediation? When is it appropriate? How does it work? And how much does it cost? In this guide we answer these questions and more. You’ll find out everything you need to know about mediation and divorce, from what happens in a mediation session to how you formalise any agreement that you make.


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Collaborative divorce

Going to court to settle financial or child matters during divorce can be stressful and expensive. Collaborative divorce gives you the option of resolving your disputes outside court and reaching an agreement without the need for a court hearing.

Collaborative options include arbitration and mediation, and involve both parties negotiating an agreement that they are satisfied with.

Find out how collaborative divorce works, the pros and cons, the costs of collaborative divorce, and why you might choose this option to resolve your disputes.


Separation

If your marriage has broken down but you don’t want to divorce, you generally have two options. In this guide you’ll find everything you need to know about legal or judicial separation and separation agreements.

This guide outlines the main differences between the types of separation, identifies cases where one might be more appropriate than the other and gives information on the legal implications of both.

You’ll also find out why separation might be a better choice for you, and the pros and cons of legal separation.


Adultery and divorce

If you can demonstrate that your partner has had consensual sexual intercourse with a member of the opposite sex, and that you find it intolerable to continue to live with them, you may be able to file for divorce citing adultery.

Find out how you petition for divorce based on adultery, how you prove adultery, whether adultery affects your divorce settlement and the pros and cons of citing adultery in your divorce.


Annulment

While divorce is the most common way to end a marriage, under certain circumstances you can have your marriage annulled. Essentially, this means your marriage is treated as if it never existed.

For example, you may never have consummated your marriage or one of you may have never properly consented to the marriage.

Your guide looks at the circumstances in which your marriage can be nullified, the differences between annulment and divorce, and why you might choose to annul your marriage.


Arbitration and divorce

Are there issues on which you can’t come to an agreement with your ex? If so, and you’d prefer to avoid going to court, arbitration is a possible option.

Under arbitration, a qualified arbitrator can hold one or more hearings and then make an award which is binding on both of you.

In your complete guide, find out how arbitration works, the advantages of using arbitration in your divorce, how much it costs, and how you obtain an arbitration award.


Divorce and the family business

Reaching agreement on your finances can be tough at any time. If you run a family business, then deciding what happens to your company is likely to be a key part of your divorce settlement.

In this complete guide, you’ll find out what constitutes a family business and whether your spouse has a claim on the business. We also answer questions about how a business is valued, how you can continue trading if you have to divide your assets, and whether there are ways you can protect your business in the event of divorce.


Domestic abuse and divorce

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, age, race, religion or sexuality. It can encompass psychological, sexual, financial and emotional abuse, as well as physical.

Identifying, acknowledging and reporting domestic abuse can be a daunting prospect, and it can take courage to decide to divorce an abusive spouse.

In this guide, you’ll find out how to recognise domestic abuse, and the steps you can take to report it. You’ll also find all the information you need about getting a divorce due to domestic abuse, where you can get help, and whether you’re eligible for Legal Aid to assist with the costs of your divorce.


Ending a civil partnership

While a divorce ends a marriage, ending a civil partnership is done through different means such as dissolution or judicial separation.

In this comprehensive guide, you’ll find out about the differences between marriage and a civil partnership, your options for ending a civil partnership, and the various orders that the courts can make.

You’ll also find answers to questions about the costs of ending a civil partnership, what the grounds for dissolution are, and how you come to a financial settlement.


Reconciliation contracts explained

Before committing to formally ending their marriage, couples are increasingly turning to reconciliation contracts as a way of trying to get their marriage back on track.

This guide explains what exactly a reconciliation contract is, the advantages of entering into one and the legal implications of doing so. We look at the differences between a reconciliation contract and a post-nuptial agreement and whether these contracts are legally binding.

You’ll also find out about the pros and cons of a reconciliation contract, and when they can be used.


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