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divorce questions solicitors sheffield

Divorce FAQ


How long do I have to be married before I can get a divorce?

In English law you need to have been married for at least one year before you can apply for a divorce.

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What are the grounds for divorce?

In April 2022, the law and procedure for divorce changed.

The only ground for divorce remains the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage however, rather than relying upon one of the five facts like under previous legislation, this is now evidenced by a statement that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.

See our separate grounds for divorce page for a full explanation.

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Will I have to go to court?

contact usIn many cases you do not have to go to court in person. If the divorce is uncontested and you are able to reach agreement through your solicitors on finances and children, then a formal court hearing is unlikely to be necessary. It is possible to conclude the whole process as a paper exercise without ever seeing a Judge.

Court hearings most commonly arise when agreement cannot be reached on things such as child residence, child contact and financial settlements.

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How long does a divorce take?

The new law has implemented a mandatory waiting period of 20 weeks between the issue of the application and pronouncement of the conditional order.  Further to this, there is a mandatory waiting period of 6 weeks between the conditional order and final order.  This means that a divorce will take a minimum of 26 weeks.

However, where matters are complicated or finances need to be resolved, this can take up to 12 months or longer.

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Does it matter which of us starts the divorce process?

Under the new legislation, the divorce application can be submitted by one party or jointly.

In legal terms it should have no impact on the eventual outcome whoever starts the divorce process or whether this is filed jointly. However, in some circumstances it doescontact us make a difference who submits the application for divorce.

There may be financial implications, for whoever files the petition will incur additional court costs. In some cases the costs of divorce can be shared between the parties.

The Applicant has more control over how long the divorce process lasts because this depends on when they lodge certain papers with the court. An Applicant may, for instance, choose not to apply for a Final Order (this is the final document which ends the marriage) until after the finances have been settled, especially if their spouse has a sizeable pension fund.

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What if my spouse refuses to get divorced?

If a spouse refuses to acknowledge paperwork sent by the Applicant spouse's solicitor then this will also delay matters. In these cases, we can arrange for your spouse to be personally served the divorce application by a bailiff who can swear to this in court. If your spouse is still unresponsive then the courts can allow the divorce to proceed without your spouse's consent.

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What about defended divorces?

Under the new law, the ability to dispute a divorce has largely been removed except for in specific circumstances such as:-
a. The jurisdiction of England and Wales is disputed;
b. The validity of the marriage or civil partnership is disputed; or
c. The marriage or civil partnership has already been legally ended.

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Does it make any difference whose fault the divorce is?

The new law that comes into place is commonly know as “the no fault divorce”.  It does not seek to place blame on either of the parties for the breakdown in the marriage.

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What is the divorce process?

This is a brief outline of the divorce process.

  1. One party or both parties files a divorce application with the courts.
  2. In the case where one-party files the application, the other party (the respondent) receives a copy of this. The respondent has to acknowledge receipt of the application and say whether they plan to defend the divorce or not.contact us
  3. In the case where both parties file the application, then both parties will receive a copy of the application and acknowledge receipt of the application with the Court.
  4. If the divorce is not to be defended, a mandatory waiting period of 20 weeks applies after which, an application can be made for the pronouncement of the conditional order.
  5. Six weeks after that date the Applicant can apply for a final order. Once the final order is granted then you are legally divorced (and are free to remarry).

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How much does a divorce cost?

The cost of a divorce will depend on the complexity of the issues involved including children and financial settlements.

See our web page which explains the cost of divorce.

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Our team of family solicitors comprises Resolution Accredited Specialists, Collaboratively trained lawyers and members of the Law Society's Children Panel.

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