Whilst the legal formalities involved with getting a divorce are relatively straightforward, sorting out the practical issues which go with it – such as where each person will live, who gets what, and what arrangements, if any, need to be made for children – are often less so. Suffice to say, individuals who are seriously considering going down this route will find familiarising themselves with the divorce process in advance to be very beneficial indeed as this will make it far easier for them to keep on top of any variables which may come into play during proceedings.
The purpose of this article is to provide a brief overview of the divorce process.
Any husband or wife who is looking to get a divorce (‘the petitioner’) normally starts proceedings by instructing their solicitor to write a letter to their partner to formally inform them of their intentions. This letter will recommend the person being divorced (‘the respondent’) to seek independent legal advice if they have not done so already.
The next step is for the petitioner’s solicitor to send the divorce petition to the court. The petition sets out whether they will be asking their husband or wife to pay for the costs of the divorce or to provide some other sort of financial support for them or their children. The court will send a copy of the petition to the respondent and/or their solicitor to affect a reply. Once the petition has been replied to, the petitioner will need to confirm their intention to go ahead with the divorce application by making a sworn statement (‘affidavit’). This application is then lodged with the court.
Once the court is satisfied a divorce is warranted, it will set a date and time for the judge to pronounce the ‘decree nisi’. This is simply a statement from the court that approves the divorce papers and gives the go ahead for proceedings to continue.
Six weeks after the decree nisi has been pronounced, the petitioner can have the divorce made ‘absolute’. This is the aspect which legally dissolves the marriage. Needless to say, both parties should wait until any and all financial matters (‘ancillary relief’) have been settled before finalising their divorce in this way.
It is a fact that charges can vary significantly between divorce solicitors. Because of this many more people are now opting to facilitate their divorce via companies that are able to supply fixed-price divorce solicitors. As well as providing a clear indication of costs, firms which are able to afford fixed-fee divorce quotes can tailor their services to meet their clients precise wants and needs. This means that, rather than dealing with ambiguous (and sometimes quite fluid) financial concerns during and after a divorce, individuals who opt for a fixed-price divorce can enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing they will end up paying nothing more than the price they agreed to.