What is the divorce process and how does it work?

Understanding the divorce process and how it works 

The legal process of divorce ends your contract of marriage. The divorce process does not resolve all issues relating to property, money and children upon separation – whilst connected, these issues involve separate legal procedures.

No fault divorce was introduced as law on 6 April 2022 in England and Wales. You can now divorce if:

  • You both agree that you want to be divorced
  • One of you wants a divorce

If you want to divorce, it is unlikely you will need to attend Court. If you have disagreements involving your finances or children and separate legal proceedings have started, then you may have to attend Court hearings to resolve these issues.

You must have been married for 12 months or more.  Your marriage must be recognised in England and Wales.  You must be domiciled or habitually resident in England or Wales.  You will need your marriage certificate and either the Court fee of £593.00 or to be exempt from that fee because you are in receipt of a low income or benefits.

It is sensible to consult with a solicitor if you have property overseas, or one of you is living overseas.  The law relating to children and division of assets is different in each country. 

There are a number of circumstances which arise which mean it is advisable to consult with a solicitor.  These may relate either to the divorce process itself, or if you have issues relating to children, money, property or pensions to resolve which may be connected to a divorce. 

Some divorces are more complicated than others.  These can include if there is no marriage certificate, or a lost overseas marriage certificate, a marriage certificate in a foreign language, one party living overseas and failing to acknowledge service, one party filing a defence, the whereabouts of your husband/wife being unknown, your husband/wife refusing to agree to the divorce and failing to acknowledge service.  You are likely to find it helpful to consult with a solicitor for legal advice about any such issues. 

A solicitor is often a good starting point to help you decide if you want to deal with the divorce process yourself, or you need some representation and/or further advice.  Many solicitors will offer an initial consultation free of charge.

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