Divorce & Separation

Separation, divorce and dissolution of a civil partnership can be a very difficult time for all concerned. As well as the emotional side of the divorce, there are the legal implications.

If you want to separate but NOT get a divorce then there are steps you can take to record any separation agreement about children and finances. You should obtain legal advice about this.

 

Family & Matrimonial Team Ridley & Hall SolicitorsDivorce or Judicial Separation (legal separation) can be straightforward when you know what to do. For most people, divorcing is a very big step to take. Many divorcing couples have difficulties sorting out arrangements for the children, or sorting out financial issues. We will guide you through the divorce process and ensure you make the right decisions for you and your family.

How long does a divorce take?

Generally a divorce which is straight forward takes between 5 and 6 months. There are certain instances when a divorce can take longer – this is because the financial issues need to be sorted out, and you might be advised not to apply for the decree absolute until that has been done. Alternatively, there may be difficulties with the other person not returning papers. We can help you overcome these obstacles.

How do you apply for a divorce?
  1. We need to complete a divorce petition.
  2. We send the divorce paperwork to your local county court along with your marriage certificate (it must be the original) and payment of the Court fee of £550.
  3. The Court will then take a few days generally to check the paperwork is right, and to allocate the case a case number – this is very important, and is used by the court to identify your case. They will then send the papers to the other person (the Respondent).
  4. The Respondent has 14 days to return the form to the Court. The form will then be sent out to you.
  5. At this stage, we must complete a statement in support of your divorce petition, along with an application for Decree Nisi. We will need to send these documents to the Court.
  6. The papers then go before a Judge. Once the Judge has time to read your papers, they will check to make sure that everything is order, and the Judge believes you have the grounds to be divorced. If the Judge is satisfied that everything is in order he or she will list your case for pronouncement of Decree Nisi. This is listed, and you will receive notification of the date and time that the Court will be making this announcement. There is usually no need to go to court, unless there is a disagreement between you and the Respondent about costs, in which case the Judge may need you to attend Court. We can represent you at this hearing.
  7. 6 weeks and 1 day after the making of the decree nisi, we can apply for your decree absolute. There may be financial issues to sort out, so we will always advise you whether it is better to wait.
What happens if the Respondent in Divorce doesn’t return the paperwork?
  1. To get your decree nisi you have to satisfy a court that you have served the Respondent with the papers.
  2. This will mean that we may have to either arrange to get an enquiry agent/process server to personally serve the divorce papers, or alternatively, we will have to make an application to get the Court Bailiffs to personally serve them.
  3. Once we have the report back confirming that the Respondent has been personally served we can apply for your decree nisi, even though the Respondent hasn’t returned the papers.
Can we get divorced even if we live under the same roof ?

Yes you can, provided that you can confirm to the Court that even though you are living under the same roof, you are maintaining separate households. This means that we have to confirm to the court that you are not sharing meals, you are not sharing a bed, you do not have sex, you do not cook and clean for each other, and that your finances are, as far as possible, separated. The Judge may ask for a statement from each of you to confirm that is the position.

Can we get divorced if I think my ex is committing adultery but won’t admit it?

You can only rely on the ground of adultery if there is an admission that adultery has been committed. If the Respondent will not admit to the adultery, then you cannot go ahead on that ground. We would then have to consider if there were grounds for divorce under the heading of unreasonable behaviour.

Divorce costs

We are able to offer 4 different divorce cost payment options – see pricing tables below

For all services, there is a court fee payable of £550 to issue divorce proceedings. If you are on a low income you might qualify for a court fee exemption, which may mean that you do not have to pay any of the court fee, or a smaller amount. We can advise you on your eligibility for court fee exemption.

This cost is in respect of divorce proceedings only. You may also need advice about finances and children which will cost extra. We offer a wide range of funding options to try and meet your legal needs and your budget.

Early morning, lunchtime & evening telephone appointments available

We understand it can be difficult to see a family lawyer due to work commitments, we like to go the extra mile for you and help where we can.

Get in touch

Service options

Option 1

Checking service for divorce

Here we send you out all the forms to apply for divorce with our specialist divorce guidance notes for YOU to complete.

At every stage in the divorce process we will then check to see if your forms are correctly filled in before you send them in to the court.

You will then lodge all the paperwork with the Court.

This checking service divorce procedure is ideal when you are comfortable completing your own paperwork and when both you and the respondent are able to communicate and you know he or she will work with the process and not cause any difficulties. It can become complicated if the Respondent does not return forms or if the Court are not satisfied that the grounds for divorce have been met in your case. If that happens you can upgrade to options 3 or 4 as below.

The cost of this service is £195 plus VAT of £39 – total £234

Option 2

Help with Divorce

Here WE complete the forms necessary for you to apply for a divorce, and provide you with our specialist divorce information guide to take you step by step through the various stages of the divorce. You will send the paperwork to the Court, and when you receive that back WE will prepare the rest of the documentation to assist you through the process of divorce.

This Help with Divorce service is ideal when you are not comfortable completing your own paperwork but both you and the respondent are able to communicate and you know he or she will work with the process and not cause any difficulties. It can still become complicated if the Respondent does not return forms or if the Court are not satisfied that the grounds for divorce have been met in your case. If that happens you can upgrade to options 3 or 4 as below.

The cost of this service is £395 plus VAT of £79 – total of £474

Option 3

Fixed Fee Divorce

Here WE go on the Court record as acting for you, and we prepare ALL the paperwork and send it out to the Court for you, so we take away ALL the administrative responsibility for the divorce itself. WE deal with the Court responses and with the Respondent direct.

This fixed fee divorce service is ideal where you are not comfortable dealing with all the paperwork and/or you would prefer not to have to have direct contact with the Respondent. It can still become complicated if the Respondent does not return forms or if the Court are not satisfied that the grounds for divorce have been met in your case. If that happens you can upgrade to option 4 as below or pay an additional fixed fee to pay for us to organize personal service on the Respondent or submit additional information/applications to the court to secure the outcome you need.

Where there are complicated issues to resolve around how to separate finances in a divorce you should instruct a Solicitor to help and advise.

The cost of this service is £500 plus VAT total of £600.

Option 4

Hourly Rate/Bespoke

Here you pay by the hour for the service of a divorce solicitor or legal executive, which means that you will get a service that is tailored to your personal needs and requirements. Because of this, the cost will vary from client to client. This will particularly suit clients who are very anxious about the divorce proceedings, who need a lot of reassurance or for clients who have complex family legal problems. We will give you a costs estimate at the outset and we will update that estimate as the case progresses if the circumstances change. We ask for £500 on account of our costs at the outset of the case, when we will agree also arrangements for further payment as the case progresses.

This is ideal when you want us to deal with every aspect of the divorce process to give you peace of mind and take away the stress of dealing with it yourself. It is also advised for complicated divorce cases when you need extra legal support to secure a good outcome.

Our hourly rates differ depending on who is representing you but we will set these out for you very clearly at the outset before you decide to instruct us.

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