If your relationship has broken down irretrievably, you may be thinking about divorce. During this emotionally charged stage of your life, it can feel daunting and sometimes devastating to begin this legal process. Understanding the legal process and speaking to an expert family law solicitor is the best way to ensure your divorce goes smoothly.
The divorce process can be broken down into a few key stages, including creating and submitting the application, applying for the Conditional Order and applying for the Final Order. You will also need to think about how your finances will be divided and arrangements for children (if you have any).
In the following article, we shall break down each of these stages, so that you know what to expect throughout your divorce.
Completing a divorce application
The first step you must take in order to secure a divorce is to apply. This process can be completed online or by post by either a sole applicant or joint applicants.
A sole applicant may apply for a divorce if their spouse does not wish to get divorced or if they are not willing to cooperate.
On the other hand, a joint application is made by both spouses. This application can be used if both parties agree to get divorced, however it is not applicable if either spouse is at risk of domestic abuse.
When completing a joint application, both parties will need to use the same application method, either online or by post.
Additionally, each applicant will then need to confirm that they want to get divorced. In the event that one of the applicants does not confirm, the other will be able to continue the divorce process as a sole applicant.
Whether you have made a joint or a sole application, you must include a statement of irretrievable breakdown as the reason for the divorce.
Submitting the divorce application
Once the divorce application has been completed, it must be submitted. During the submission process, you must include your original marriage certificate or an official copy.
You will also need to provide:
- Full names
- Current addresses for both parties
- Proof of name change (if applicable)
During this process you will be required to pay the divorce application fee. This currently costs £593 (as of 4 October 2022). If you cannot afford this fee, there are support options available.
Following the submission of a sole divorce application, a copy of the application will be sent to the other party (also known as ‘the respondent’). They will then be required to confirm that they have received this within 14 days.
Applying for a Conditional Order
The Conditional Order is a document from the court declaring that there is no reason why a divorce or civil partnership should not end. Getting this document will allow the divorce process to continue.
Divorce applicants must wait a minimum of 20 weeks after the date they applied for divorce before they can apply for a Conditional Order.
This cooling-off period is used to give the applicants time to think about their decision to get divorced. It also provides the opportunity for them to start making important choices, such as where a child might live after the divorce and how financial assets will be divided.
Applying for a Final Order
The Final Order is the document that officially declares that the marriage or civil partnership is over in the eyes of the law. After receiving the Conditional Order, applicants must wait a further 6 weeks before they can apply for the Final Order.
In the event that a sole applicant has received the Conditional Order but has not applied for the Final Order 3 months later, the respondent can apply for the Final Order.
Other aspects of a divorce
Throughout the divorce process there are other matters that will need to be addressed such as the division of finance and living arrangements for children.
Division of finances
During a divorce, it will be necessary for you and your ex-partner to divide your financial assets and property. There are various options you can use to achieve this, including constructive negotiation, mediation, collaborative law and private financial dispute resolution.
When it comes to divorce and finance, having the guidance and support of a professional can help you to reduce disputes and minimise your stress. This also helps to ensure you get a fair settlement that meets your needs. Each spouse can have their own solicitor or you can both be represented by the same solicitor which can save time and costs.
Making arrangements for children
A divorce is difficult for everyone involved, but children in particular can be affected by the changes to their family dynamic. Because of this, it’s important to make suitable arrangements that will support the welfare of the child.
A child law solicitor can help parents to determine where the child will live, who will be responsible for their wellbeing and much more.
Speak to our divorce specialists in Bristol, Bath and Bradford-on-Avon
At Sharp Family Law, we have offices in Bath, Bristol and Bradford-on-Avon. Our clients can expect constructive, clear and friendly assistance from our family law and divorce solicitors who will give you all the support you may need.
We understand that divorce can be an incredibly difficult time for those involved. Our team always aim to be sympathetic whilst guiding you through the entire divorce process.
If you need legal assistance when getting a divorce, email us at email@example.com. Or you can call your local office:
- Bath - 01225 448955
- Bristol - 0117 9055 055
- Bradford-on-Avon - 01225 448955