Divorce is an experience no one wishes to go through in their lifetime – but it is often unfortunately necessary for those whose relationships have broken down irretrievably. Over one hundred thousand divorces were registered in 2020 alone, representing more than two hundred thousand lives forever changed by the process. While divorce is an unpleasant process for everyone, understanding the process of initiation can make the process much smoother and easier to manage. As such, the following represent the main steps to navigating a divorce.
The very first step to any divorce proceedings involves agreeing on the grounds for divorce with your partner. There are five grounds on which you can file for divorce:
The latter grounds for divorce differs from the other four, in that you do not need your partner’s permission to file. For all other grounds, you will need your partner to sign the divorce papers and agree to the process.
Having your ex-partner agree to the divorce is necessary, but can also pose difficulties – especially with regards to more acrimonious splits. Divorce papers are accompanied by an Acknowledgement of Service form, which must be returned within eight days of service. If your ex-partner does not return this, it can count as a refusal to divorce.
This can make the process more costly for you, but there are ways to progress your case even in the event of refusal, such as paying for the court bailiff to deliver papers (which proves to the court that papers have been served). It is also worth mentioning that if you have been married for less than a year, you can avoid the divorce process altogether by legally separating.
Once the grounds for divorce have been agreed upon, it is time to seek legal advice. Divorces can be managed outside of the courtroom by especially amicable ex-partners, but the process can also be a quagmire when it comes to legal questions of ownership, finances or even child custody. With divorce being such a personal event, it’s important that you find a solicitor you trust; if you’ve used a professional negligence solicitor for a claim before, you may want to use them again – or at least ask for a specialist recommendation.
Naturally, retaining the services of a divorce solicitor will incur costs, especially if it comes to a protracted court case. But the act of filing for divorce itself costs money – specifically, £593, payable by the initial applicant. As a whole, divorce can be an expensive business even for a relatively amicable split, making budgeting an important part of the preparation process.
With the funds for covering your divorce secured, and the grounds for divorce agreed upon by you and your partner, you can now sign and file the papers necessary to submit your divorce request. Both parties will need to sign, and court hearings may follow in the event of a disagreement over the division of assets, but with the filing of papers, the initial process is complete.