It can be difficult dealing with the unexpected breakdown of the relationship whilst also trying to navigate around the confusing legal terms and formalities. By seeking legal advice in the early stages, you may help minimise conflict, avoid costly court proceedings and resolve matters in less time and hassle.
If you and your partner are considering separation or divorce, our family law team in Chelmsford can offer you practical advice and help you make sense of the process.
We will help you consider whether a separation or a divorce would be in your best interests. You may decide that you do not wish to take immediate steps to end your marriage or relationship however we can also provide you with information about your legal rights and options moving forward. If you should decide to divorce, we can help you draft the relevant documents and guide you through the process, step by step.
On the 6th April 2022, no-fault divorce was introduced removing the need to blame one spouse for the breakdown of the marriage.
Whilst the law previously required individuals to prove that their marriage had irretrievably broken down on the basis of one of five reasons, it is now only necessary for parties to make a statement that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.
As a result, it is no longer possible for a respondent spouse to defend a divorce. A respondent spouse will, however, still be able to dispute a divorce on restricted legislative grounds such as whether the court in England and Wales has jurisdiction over the marriage, the validity of the marriage or if the marriage has already been legally ended.
Initiating a divorce
There is a two-stage process to a divorce. To commence a divorce, you must individually, or jointly with your spouse, prepare a petition for divorce. This can be done through the online divorce portal on the government website and costs £593.
Here at Gepp Solicitors, one of our experienced divorce lawyers can draft the petition on your behalf and take you through the process of obtaining a Conditional Order (previously called a Decree Nisi), which is the first stage and finally help you obtain the Final Order (previously called a Decree Absolute), which is the final stage of the divorce process.
Obtaining a divorce
There are four steps that must be followed in order to obtain a divorce:
- You, or you and your spouse, must make an application for divorce on the grounds that your marriage has broken down irretrievably.
- After a minimum of 20 weeks the applicant(s) must confirm that they wish to proceed with the divorce. This 20-week wait is in place to give spouses a period of meaningful reflection. It gives spouses an opportunity to explore reconciliation or alternatively, to co-operate amicably in getting their affairs in order.
- The court can then make a Conditional Order (previously called a Decree Nisi).
- After a minimum of 6 weeks, the applicant(s) can apply to the court for a Final Order (previously called a Decree Absolute) and the court can make the Order accordingly.
For expert advice and assistance on divorce applications, we offer a fixed fee of £600.
For expert advice and assistance on responding to a divorce petition, we offer a fixed fee of £300.
Unfortunately, divorce isn’t just about dissolving your relationship. There are other factors you will need to take into consideration and which we are also able to assist you with:
- Financial issues, including property, maintenance and pensions.
- Children and the arrangements for their care.
- The family home.
- Family assets.
- Wills, trusts and tax planning.
What can we offer you?
To help you decide what is right for you and your family we provide an initial consultation at a reduced rate of £175 with one of our highly skilled divorce lawyers. Every situation is different and we take great care ensuring you are assigned to a solicitor holding the necessary expertise. To make an appointment just call us on 01245 493939 or email email@example.com.
For further information regarding divorce and dissolution, head to our FAQ page where we have answered some of the most common questions we get about divorce.