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Divorce & Dissolution of Civil Partnership


The law with regard to divorce was overhauled with the implementation of a new “no fault” divorce in April 2022. This leaflet is intended to offer guidance regarding those changes and what it means if you are now considering a divorce.

You need to be married for at least a year before you can apply for a divorce.

Rather than relying upon a particular fact as the reason for the divorce as used to be the case, it will instead be necessary for you, or your spouse, to declare that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. No further explanation or examples are required.

An application can be made solely by either spouse, or as a joint application by both parties. Either way, one person will need to take the lead.

The formal Application for Divorce

Applications for divorce are now made online using the Court portal. The person making the application, or the person taking the lead if it is to be a joint application, will need to declare that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. The Court will require a copy of your Marriage Certificate.

The Court will check your application for divorce and will send it to the other person with details of how they should acknowledge it and confirm that they agree. Another development of the new divorce law is that it is no longer possible to contest the divorce application, which aims to avoid the potential for long, drawn out proceedings. There are only limited reasons why the other person may object to the divorce, which include if they dispute that the UK Courts have jurisdiction, if there is doubt about the marriage being valid in the first place or if they consider that the marriage has already been ended in another jurisdiction. Please ask for further advice if you think this may apply to you.

After the other party has been sent a copy of the divorce application, a 20-week cooling off period will commence, during which time no progress can be made in respect of the divorce (although it is an opportune time to review the financial arrangements).

There is a fee for applying for divorce, which at the current time is £593. Some people are exempt from paying a fee but the rules for this are very strict.

It is usually the case that the Court fee is shared, or the parties agree who will be responsible for the cost at the outset. However, it is still possible for one party to ask the Court to make an Order that the other pays some or all of their costs in connection with the divorce application. This is not straightforward however and you should seek legal advice.

Conditional Order (formerly Decree Nisi)

Your Divorce will be in two stages. The first stage is the Conditional Order. A Conditional Order can be applied for at the expiration of the 20-week cooling off period, at which point a Judge will review the application. Provided the Judge is satisfied that everything is correct, a date will be fixed for the pronouncement of the Conditional Order. This will take place in open Court, and you do not need to attend.

The Conditional Order is not the final stage, and you are still married at this point.

Final Order (formerly Decree Absolute)

You can apply for a Final Order of divorce 6 weeks and 1 day after the pronouncement of the Conditional Order. If you are the other party and are not taking the lead in the application, you cannot apply for a Final Order until 3 months have elapsed from the date upon which the applicant could have applied.

If more than 12 months elapses from the date of the Conditional Order, you will normally have to file further evidence (to explain the delay) before the Court will grant a Final Order.

It is however always advisable to resolve any financial matters before applying for a Final Order and following the change in the law, the Court will want to know what financial arrangements are in place before granting the Final Order to end the marriage.

The text on this website is by way of general information. We will provide specific advice upon your particular circumstances.

How can we help?

The above summary is only general information. We can provide advice or representation tailored to your own particular circumstances and offer further information in respect of the recent change in the law.

“Very helpful, always willing to talk. Service was brilliant. I would like to say a big thank you for helping me” - Mrs C T from Taunton

For a consultation with a Family Law Solicitor call us on
01823 256 494
or make an on-line enquiry and we will give you a call back.

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