1. What do you mean by “straightforward” divorce?
Answer: It means both parties have agreed to end the marriage. It means there are no children, or if there are, arrangements are taken care of. It also means that you do not have any financial links with each other and the marriage was relatively short. This Guide is very general, so any specific issues or problems not covered here, please contact us for further explanation.
2. I do not have my marriage certificate. Can I still get divorced?
Answer: You must have your marriage certificate. If it is in a foreign language, you need to have this officially translated and submit the original with the translation to the court. If you lost your marriage certificate, you can order one from the Registry Office where you had your marriage, or from the General Registrar Office online: www.gro.gov.uk.
3. I cannot find my spouse/I don’t know where he or she lives. How can I get divorced if I don’t have her/his address?
Answer: You can still file your petition, but it would be best if you use a tracing agent to check where he/she moves to from the last known address. This can be a costly exercise, but you should not spend more than £100 for their fees. You can then use this address in the Petition. If there is no reply, you can apply to the court for “Deemed” Service, asking the court to allow you to progress the proceedings without your spouse’s filing of the acknowledgement form. You can then use the tracing agent’s tracing address as evidence of your effort in locating your spouse.
4. I filed my Petition but I still have not received the Acknowledgement Form from my spouse. How do I proceed?
Answer: Provided you have proof that he/she has received the Petition, you can apply to the court to allow you to progress proceedings. You will need to file evidence of his or her informal acknowledgement that he/she received the Petition. This may be by text message, facebook messenger message, whatsapp skype or viber or by telephone. You will need to provide a witness statement confirming the circumstances of your spouse or civil partner acknowledging receipt of the Petition. In our witness statement include the date, time (if you can remember) and what was said (if by phone call). If through social media, print the conversation which shows your spouse/civil partner has received the petition and who is just being obstructive/ non-cooperative in the proceedings.
5. I cannot afford the court fee, can I apply for fee exemption?
Answer: You can apply for fee exemption if you are on receipt of certain government benefits or if your income is below a certain threshold. Currently, if you don’t have children, you must be earning not more than £1085 per month to qualify for exemption. If you have children, you must be earning not more than £1045 plus £245 for each child, to enable you qualify for the exemption.
6. Do I have to wait 6 weeks before I can apply for decree absolute? Can I make it shorter?
Answer: Yes, depending on the reason why you want to shorten the period. You will need to apply to the court and you and your spouse must agree to shorten it. These are rare applications but if you have a good reason not to wait then you should be successful in obtaining a court order to shorten it.
7. How long does a divorce take?
Answer: For a straightforward divorce, it should take no longer than 6 months. However, this depends entirely on whether or not you make the necessary applications at the right time, and timeframes also depend heavily on the court, how prompt they are in dealing with the applications and paperwork. An average timeframe is between 4-8 months.
8. Does it make a difference on who’s the Petitioner or Respondent?
Answer: There is not much difference, but certainly as a Petitioner you are in control of the proceedings so it will be an advantage. Also, as Petitioner you will be able to claim costs from the Respondent.
9. I am the Respondent and the Petitioner has not applied for the decree absolute. Can I apply?
Answer: Yes, you can apply, but only after 3 months have passed. The Petitioner will be informed of your application and there may be a hearing to hear his application and if there are any objections from your side.
10. I am the Respondent and my spouse/civil partner has claimed costs from me. Can I object this claim?
Answer: Yes, you can. On the Acknowledgement form you can include your objections to paying costs. However, usually this is not dealt with until the Certificate of Entitlement has been granted to your spouse/civil partner. There will be hearing to hear your objections, and usually it is cost effective if you negotiate the amount with your spouse/civil partner.
11. Now that I have divorce, what happens next?
Answer: It means that you are free to remarry. And any entitlement you have from your wife in terms of inheritance is extinguished. So, if you and your wife have not dealt with finances, your divorce is the death of your entitlement to claim of the assets. Which is why, it is important during the divorce process that you also ensure that finances are agreed and/or finalised in court in the form of Agreement called Consent Order.
12. What about finances? How do we share or split these?
Answer: This topic will be dealt with in another Step by Step Guide to Divorce Finances which you can access shortly.
STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO DIVORCE
10. 2017 VERSION
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