Deciding to get a divorce is often a painful event in your life. When a marriage breaks down, it can be hard to know where to turn and even how to begin the process of divorce. After living life so closely with another person, divorce can be a complicated experience involving many considerations such as finances and childcare.

At Beecham Peacock, we are here to help you navigate the daunting process. To begin with, this article will outline common divorce questions such as ‘Where to get divorce papers.’

How do I file for divorce?

To begin a divorce, you must ‘file’ for one. Firstly, it’s important to note that you must have been married for at least one year to get a divorce. Your marriage must be legally recognised in the UK. There are alternatives to divorce such as annulment or legal separations, which we’ll cover later. At least one party must be a resident in England or Wales.

Once you have decided to get a divorce, you must work out arrangements for looking after children – including financial payments. You will also need to divide your assets. This is where a solicitor can be instrumental in ensuring you receive the correct share of your joint assets.

After these matters are arranged, you can file for divorce, which involves securing ‘divorce papers’.

Where to get divorce papers?

In the UK, a divorce begins with ‘divorce papers’ – a term that is mainly used in the US, and in our country refers to a Divorce Petition Form. This form can be downloaded from the HM Courts & Tribunals service. Be extremely careful when completing this form, and potentially seek guidance from a family law solicitor, as mistakes can lead to costly amendment fees and can delay your divorce proceedings.

In your petition, you will need to select a reason for divorce from amongst five reasons:

  • Adultery – if you name the person your partner committed adultery with, they will also receive a copy of the paperwork.
  • Behaviour
  • Desertion
  • Separated for 2 years and consent
  • Separated for 5 years

With many of these criteria, your partner must agree to the divorce. Any objection means a hearing may be necessary – except in cases where you’ve been separated for 2 years and both parties consent. If one objects the divorce cannot proceed on this basis at all.

How much does a divorce cost?

The court fee is £550. However, divorces involve the separation of two parties, who often share assets, bank accounts and other items of value. If proper financial guidance is not sought, you may be losing out on thousands of pounds you’re entitled to.

The divorce itself does not consider financial matters, unless you obtain a financial order within the divorce. A financial order can grant things such as a lump sum, ownership of property, maintenance payments and shares of pension payments. Applying for a financial order costs £255.

What if a partner does not consent to divorce?

You can issue a divorce without obtaining consent from a partner, but if your spouse fails to complete the acknowledgement of service problems can arise. If your spouse claims they have not received the papers, the court cannot progress with your divorce. Often, people may email or text a partner to try and get them to confirm receiving the divorce papers.

The most reliable way is to enlist a process server, or seek legal assistance from a family law solicitor.

Are there alternatives to divorce?

If you are unhappy in your marriage but do not want a divorce, or you have been married for less than one year, you have options:

Annulment

An annulment can be issued if your marriage is legally ‘void’ – where you were married when one of you was under 16, closely related or one party was already married. You can also annul a marriage if you have a ‘defective’ marriage – if you have not consummated the wedding, if you didn’t give proper consent, if your spouse had an STD when you were married or if the woman was pregnant by another man when you were married.  

Separation agreements

Separation agreements are a good way to get space from a spouse if you’re unsure about the finality of divorce. It is a written agreement that sets out the financial terms of being separated, including things such as mortgage payments, who lives in the home, savings etc. However, it is not always legally binding.

Choosing a divorce solicitor

Ultimately, divorce proceedings are a complicated issue. Navigating the responsibilities and financial matters can be overwhelming. If you need assistance, contact Beecham Peacock today. Our family solicitors will help guide you through the entire process, and will ensure you get a fair deal. Contact us on 0191 232 3048 or email enquire@beechampeacock.co.uk.

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