This simple guide breaks down what to expect from the New Divorce Process from initial Divorce Application to Final Order.
The same stages apply for dissolution of a civil partnership.
Stage 1: The Application for Divorce
For the first time, couples can now make a joint divorce application, or one party can apply individually. A couple or the individual person seeking the divorce or dissolution files the Application for Divorce via an Online Portal with the Court. Jointly divorcing couples will be known as Applicant 1 and Applicant 2. Individuals wanting to apply for divorce will be known as the Applicant and the other party will be known as the Respondent. Joint applicants may switch to an individual application if circumstances change in the relationship.
You will need your Original Marriage Certificate and you will be required to pay a Court Fee that currently stands at £593.00.
Stage 2: The Response
The Court will inform you when your Application for Divorce has been processed. The Court will then send an Acknowledgement Pack to the other party known as the Respondent with guidance for completion of an Acknowledgment of Service Form to be filed with the Court within 14 days.
Stage 3: Applying for a Conditional Order
The Court then provides for a 20 week holding period during which time the parties are expected to reflect upon the marital breakdown and resolve issues concerning finances and the children if appropriate.
After the 20 week holding period, the Applicant may apply for a Conditional Order. The Conditional Order is what was previously known as the Decree Nisi.
Stage 4: Applying for a Final Order
6 weeks and 1 day after the Court grants the Conditional Order, the Applicant may apply for the Final Order of Divorce. Once the Final Order has been granted and issued, you will be legally divorced and your marriage will be at an end.
You can therefore expect the entire divorce process to take at least 6 months to complete from initial Application to Final Order.
It is important to understand that obtaining a Final Order on Divorce does not stop either party from having a claim on the other’s income, assets, or any future inheritance you may receive.
To protect you from potential future claims, a Financial Clean Break Order is required. It is usually advised that the Applicant refrain from applying for a Final Order until all financial matters are resolved.
It is possible for the Respondent to make the application for the Final Order, should the Applicant fail/refuse to do so. This can be more complicated and will require an application being made to the court and potentially a hearing where the Judge will decide.
For more information on how our experienced Family Solicitors can help with your divorce, whether the Applicant or Respondent please contact our experienced Family Law and Divorce Solicitors for a FREE 30-minute case review.