Are you thinking about getting a divorce? The first legal step you need to take is to file a divorce petition at court.
If you and your partner are on the same page about the separation, this process should be simple, right? Actually, it can be more complicated than you think. There are many things you need to be aware of, including:
- What will the courts consider a valid reason for the divorce?
- Do you have all the details you need to fill in the forms accurately?
- Which divorce court should you send the petition to?
- How many copies of the petition do you need to send to court?
- What happens after you have filed the divorce petition?
Having the help of a specialist divorce solicitor on your side can be invaluable to ensure that all these points are covered and more.
However, we know that costs are going to be a huge consideration for you when choosing your divorce solicitor. We can offer you a convenient and straightforward fixed fee divorce service so you can get a divorce without breaking the bank and start moving on with your life as soon as possible.
Fixed fee divorce for £400 +VAT and disbursements
Our friendly, practical divorce solicitors can help you officially end your relationship as quickly and efficiently as possible. We can support you through the divorce process for just £400 +VAT and disbursements. Our fixed fee divorce service includes:
- Preparing and filing the divorce petition.
- Applying for the decree nisi (conditional divorce order).
- Applying for the decree absolute (final divorce order).
Disbursements are third party costs outside of our legal fees. Necessary disbursements include the court fee for filing the petition – this is currently £550.
Your solicitor can provide an accurate quote and advice about exactly what work this quote includes so you can get divorced with certainty about how much it will cost.
These fixed fee costs do not include advice about financial arrangements or making arrangements for children. We are also happy to discuss flexible fees for taking on these matters for you.
What are the grounds for divorce?
There is really only one ground for divorce – the irretrievable breakdown of the relationship. to prove the irretrievable breakdown of your marriage, you must rely on one or more of the five ‘facts’:
- Unreasonable behaviour.
- Separation for at least two years with the consent of both parties.
- Separation for at least five years, no consent needed.
- Desertion for at least two years.
In reality, these facts may not completely reflect the reasons for your relationship breakdown. However, if you and your partner both agree to the divorce then it is unlikely that the court will look too deeply into your reasons.
No-fault divorce is on the horizon
From autumn 2021, divorce law is changing. You will still need to file a divorce application that says your marriage has irretrievably broken down. However, the five facts are going to be abolished. this means it will no longer be possible for someone to defend the divorce application on the basis of the reasons provided.
From autumn 2021, parties will also be allowed to file a joint divorce petition which will suit couples who would prefer that the divorce proceedings reflect their mutual decision to separate.
How long before you can apply for the decree nisi?
A decree nisi is a conditional divorce order. Receiving this document does not mean that your relationship is officially severed but it does mean that the court does not see any reason why you should not be allowed a divorce.
Under the current law, so long as your divorce is not defended, you can apply for Decree Nisi once your partner has filed their Acknowledgement of Service with the Court, or providing the Court is satisfied that your partner has received the divorce papers.
When no-fault divorce comes into force, the minimum period between the initial divorce application and the date you can apply for the decree nisi will be extended to 20 weeks.
Your divorce solicitor will make sure that the decree nisi forms are sent off at the earliest possible moment to prevent the divorce being dragged out longer than necessary.
How long before you can apply for the decree absolute?
A decree absolute is the legal document that finalises the divorce and officially ends your marriage.
If you are the petitioner, you must wait at least 43 days (6 weeks and 1 day) after the date of the decree nisi to apply for the decree absolute. If you are the respondent and your partner does not apply, you can apply for the decree absolute 3 months after the 43 days are up.
This waiting period will be the same after no-fault divorce comes into effect.
What if your partner does not agree with the divorce petition?
If your partner does not want to get divorced or they do not agree with the reasons you put on the divorce petition, they can file a defence. It is very difficult to defend a divorce, but it can cause a lot of stress for everyone involved. Depending on the circumstances, you may be required to go to court to argue your case.
If this happens, it is vital to have the support of an experienced divorce lawyer on your side to protect your rights and fight your corner. If your divorce petition is defended, we will provide practical advice about next steps, including clear information about our costs for taking your case forwards.
Get expert advice from our friendly fixed fee divorce solicitors in Bristol and Winterbourne
For more information about our simple and convenient fixed fee divorce services, get in touch with our divorce solicitors in Bristol and Winterbourne by giving us a call or filling in our online enquiry form.