Making the decision to get a divorce can be a particularly emotional and stressful time in someone’s life.

However, the process of getting a divorce does not need to be complicated, especially with the use of the services of a specialist family lawyer.

If you wish to get a divorce but are unsure where to start and what is required, we have put together some helpful information to guide you.

Speak With Our Divorce Solicitors

Who can start divorce proceedings?

Historically, to obtain a divorce, it was necessary for the party applying for the divorce to establish that the marriage had broken down irretrievably by proving one of five facts. Three of the facts were based on fault and two facts were based on a period of separation.

From 6 April 2022, instead of relying on fault or separation, an application for divorce simply states that the marriage has broken down irretrievably and this does not have to be proved.

Removing fault from the divorce application process allows you to legally end your marriage without blaming the other spouse.

You can still make a sole application if you so wish. You or your solicitor should complete the application form in its entirety. You will be the applicant, and your spouse will be the respondent.

You need to have been married for at least one year before you can apply for a divorce.

Get In Touch With Myerson Solicitors

Sole vs joint divorce applications

You will need to decide who should apply for the divorce. Applications can be made jointly or solely.

A joint application should only be made where you can be sure that both parties will remain in agreement throughout the process.

It is usually easier to make a sole application to avoid the duplication of work involved in a joint application.

When making a sole divorce application, the individual who made the application will be named the ‘Applicant’ and the other spouse will be the ‘Respondent’.

There is a court fee of £593 to submit the divorce application (subject to certain exemptions for those eligible for Help with Fees).

This could be paid by yourself or there could be an agreement that it will be shared between both spouses. If parties are represented by solicitors, there will also be legal costs on top of the court application fee.

Contact Our Family Solicitors

Is legal support required when starting divorce proceedings?

It is advised that you obtain legal advice prior to embarking on the divorce process.

If you are embarking on the divorce process, it is important for you and your spouse to consider the financial arrangements and you need to think about your financial needs, including the needs of any children.

For the purposes of any arrangements for the finances or children that need to be made, it does not matter who starts the divorce process.

You can ask the court to make orders about money or children if necessary, during the divorce proceedings, but these applications are separate to the divorce. 

You can still apply for a divorce if you have not resolved the arrangements for the finances or children.

Get In Touch With Myerson Today

The documents required to get a divorce

To start divorce proceedings, you will need your original marriage certificate or a certified copy. This will need to be uploaded with your application and will help you fill in details such as the date of your marriage.

If it is not in English, you will need to include a certified translation.

If you have changed your name since you got married, then you will also need to provide proof of your name change, such as your deed poll document.

You will need to provide your spouse’s name, home address and email address. 

You will be asked to confirm that your marriage has irretrievably broken down on the application form.

It is no longer necessary to explain to the court why the marriage has broken down.

Speak With Our Divorce Solicitors

Applying for a divorce

You will then need to make the application for divorce. You can instruct a solicitor to make the divorce application for you or, you can make the divorce application yourself.

Please see out latest article on ‘DIY Divorce: The cost & Process of Divorcing Without a Solicitor’ to be aware of the risks involved in carrying out a DIY divorce.

Applications may still be made by paper using Form D8, however divorce is now mostly an online process. Online applications are made using HMCTS online divorce service. This is a simple and user-friendly system.

The application involves providing a clear, coloured copy of your marriage certificate. Details of both parties will need to be provided such as full name, address, email address and details of instructing solicitors. The application also requires confirmation that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.

It is vital that within the application it is confirmed that you are applying for a financial order for yourself, and where children are involved, a financial order for the children will also be necessary.

Confirmation that you are applying for a financial order does not commence financial proceedings however it will allow you to make a financial order application at some point in the future.

Speak With Our Family Team

Once the application of divorce is made

If you applied jointly, the court will send notice of the issued application to both parties, and you must both acknowledge receipt.

 If you made a sole application, the respondent has 14 days from receipt of notice that you wish to divorce to acknowledge service.

Divorce proceedings timescale

The minimum timescale for a divorce to be granted is 26 weeks. This can be broken down into a 20-week period between the issue of the application and the conditional order, which allows for a period of reflection in which finances can be resolved.

This is then followed by a 6-week period between the conditional order and final order, at which point the marriage is legally ended.

However, the process can take longer in circumstances where there is disagreement surrounding finances or arrangements for children.

Get In Touch With Myerson Solicitors

Financial arrangements

It is vital that any financial arrangement made between you and your spouse is incorporated in a legally binding court order.

Spouses have financial obligations for one another which do not end once a Final Order of divorce has been obtained.

If a court order is not obtained, the other party may go against the agreement reached in years to come and there would be no way to enforce the agreement previously made.

Although you and your spouse may agree to the principle of a clean break, only the court can dismiss claims for financial relief.

If a clean break order is not obtained either party may also apply to the court for a financial order several years after the divorce, if finances were not dealt with in a legally binding order during the divorce proceedings.

It is therefore extremely important that assets are dealt with at the time of the divorce. 

Speak With Our Family Lawyers

Going to court for divorce proceedings

Court attendance may be necessary if you and your spouse cannot agree on matters such as finances or arrangements for children.

However, going to court should be seen as a last resort, and an experienced divorce lawyer will only proceed to this stage when all other means to reach an agreement have been exhausted.

Mediation should be considered if it is suitable, and the family team at Myerson can recommend accredited mediators who can assist you with working out the best options for settlement.

Our team are all members of Resolution, an organisation of family practitioners committed to helping separated couples resolve matters constructively to avoid unnecessary conflict. 

Contact Our Family Solicitors

Contact Our Family Law Solicitors

If you have any more questions or would like more information regarding starting divorce proceedings, you can get in touch with our Family Law Solicitors below.

0161 941 4000