Family Law guide to Divorce

What about the costs

A ‘Quickie Divorce’ is a myth. It is a term created by newspapers to describe a speeded up divorce process that is seemingly only available to the rich and famous.

The same process applies to everyone regardless of status and financial position and the quickest way in which parties can achieve a ‘quickie divorce’ is by starting immediately, issuing the petition on a ‘blamed basis’ (i.e. ‘unreasonable behaviour’ or ‘adultery’) and the Respondent agreeing returning the Acknowledgment of Service  promptly. Even with both parties working together on achieving a ‘quickie divorce’ the whole process can still take months particularly if the Court is stretched and takes a long time processing the documentation.  Normally the process takes between 3 to 5 months but which can be delayed if there are financial issues that have yet to be resolved.

Is there such a thing as a Quickie Divorce? If not how long will it take?

A ‘Quickie Divorce’ is a myth. It is a term created by newspapers to describe a speeded-up divorce process that is seemingly only available to the rich and famous.

The same process applies to everyone regardless of status and financial position and the quickest way in which parties can achieve a ‘quickie divorce’ is by starting immediately, issuing the petition on a ‘blamed basis’ (i.e. ‘unreasonable behaviour’ or ‘adultery’) and the respondent agreeing returning the Acknowledgment of Service promptly. Even with both parties working together on achieving a ‘quickie divorce’ the whole process can still take months particularly if the Court is stretched and takes a long time processing the documentation.  Normally the process takes between 4 to6 months but which can be delayed if there are financial issues that have yet to be resolved.

What is the Divorce Process?

If done correctly, divorces are usually straight forward and can be administered at arm’s length rarely requiring the parties’ attendance at court.  Once a divorce petition is drafted and signed, it is then forwarded to the court with the fee and marriage certificate. The court will then ‘issue’ the documents (i.e. place the court seal on the documents and open the court file which will begin the process) and will send them to the respondent along with a document called an acknowledgement of service.

The acknowledgement of service must be completed and sent to the court within a narrow time frame indicating whether or not the respondent wishes to defend the petition. If there is no defence then once the Court receives the Acknowledgment of Service, this is then forwarded to the Petitioner with an ‘Application for Divorce’ together with a statement in support confirming that everything said within the Petition  is true. Once completed and sent to the court, the Court file will be presented to a judge who if satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to grant the divorce will grant a ‘certificate of entitlement of Decree Nisi’ setting out the date that the decree nisi will be pronounced.

A decree nisi is a ‘conditional divorce’ which can only be finalised 6 weeks and one day after the decree nisi has been granted. This finalisation process is called decree absolute.

What do I have to prove in order to get divorced ?

There is only one ground for divorce namely that the marriage will have had to irretrievably broken down. In order to prove this a petitioner must establish one of five facts namely;

  • Adultery;
  • Unreasonable behaviour;
  • Separation for two years from the date of the petition which requires the respondent’s consent;
  • Separation for five years  from the date of the petition (requiring no consent);
  • Desertion.

What is Divorce?

Divorce is a legal dissolution of a marriage by a court. The party to the marriage who applies for the divorce is called a petitioner and the other party who is being ‘petitioned’ against is called the respondent.  The petitioner and respondent are the ‘parties’ to a divorce.

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