Whatever your relationship status, we are committed to giving you the highest standard of divorce and separation advice. We understand just how difficult going through a divorce or relationship breakdown can be – family dynamics can suddenly change, emotions heighten, and stress levels rise. Often these changes can be dramatic, and children may become unwitting pawns. Money can become shrouded in mystery, unknown debts appear, and both parties can be left feeling vulnerable and threatened. 

We can help. Wherever possible we will try to take the heat out of your situation but where necessary, we will take prompt and decisive action to safeguard you, your family and your assets.

Getting a Divorce

Divorce can be a very stressful time for everyone involved but having the right person to steer you through the legal process from the start can really help. Divorce laws in England and Wales changed in April 2022, so you no longer need a reason to divorce. It is enough that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, meaning it cannot be repaired. 

Once the divorce application has been lodged at court and served upon your spouse, they have 14 days to acknowledge receipt.  You can apply for the Conditional Order (previously known as the Decree Nisi) after a period of 20 weeks has passed since the date the application was issued. This period is to “allow for a period of reflection and to allow couples to resolve such other issues such as child or financial arrangements”.

6 weeks after the Conditional Order has been granted, either party or both parties together may apply for the Final Order (previously known as the Decree Absolute) which brings the marriage to an end.

Will I need to go to Court for my Divorce?

Divorce is a legal process that can be applied for by either, or both, of the partners in a marriage, provided you have been married at least a year. It is the only way to dissolve a legal marriage. Not all religious marriages are recognised in the UK and if this is the case, you will not be entitled to get divorced. 

You will be required to fill in a number of forms that need to be filed at Court and sent to your spouse, with accompanying fees. It will take at least six months from start to finish as there is a prescribed twenty-week wait period within the process between serving the divorce papers and applying to the Court for the conditional order. 

Do I need to go to court?

The divorce is dealt with online via a court portal. You do not usually need to go to Court unless you and your spouse cannot agree  on the division of the assets and/or  arrangements for the children.It is a common misconception that a divorce will sort out the family financesHowever the . financial claims are only resolved once a court order has been made in respect of them. This is a separate process that usually runs parallel to the divorce. The financial claims can be more involved and take longer to conclude. Please see our fact sheet on financial settlement.

In respect of children matters, there is no need for any order to be made by the court unless there is a dispute. The courts will take the view that where possible it is better for the parents to agree the arrangements between themselves, rather than have them imposed upon them by the court. However where this is not possible a separate application can be made at any time during or after the divorce for a Child Arrangements Order.

Ending a Civil Partnership

Unlike ending a marriage, civil partners cannot get a divorce and instead the partnership must be dissolved. However, the steps to ending a civil partnership are very similar to a divorce in so much as you need to apply to the Court and will first be granted a conditional order and then a final order.

Things to bear in mind

  • The marriage or civil partnership needs to have lasted at least a year before you can apply to the Court to end it.  
  • You do not need grounds, simply that the relationship has broken down irretrievably.
  • It will take at least six months to finalise.
  • It is important to remember that the divorce/dissolution changes your legal status and will effect your Will or who your estate will pass to under Intestacy Rules 

Obtaining a divorce if you are married, or a dissolution if you are a civil partner, is a relatively straightforward legal procedure, however the issues that have lead to the breakdown of the marriage and the issues that arise from the separation can be very contentious At Staffordshire Family Law Solicitors, we will steer you through these issues and help you focus on the important matters to be resolved, to deal with the divorce/dissolution in the most cost-effective and efficient way. At your first meeting we will discuss what is involved in the divorce process and you will be given advice on children’s matters, protection of property and other practical steps that you should consider.

If you need assistance, contact one of our solicitors at [email protected] or call 01785 336617 for expert legal advice.