Frequently Asked Questions

At Fair Result, we understand getting divorced is emotional at the best of times, but when you throw in the legal process, stress takes over and you could end up not thinking straight when it matters most.

We’ve collated our frequently asked questions to assist you to navigate the process of divorce.

Divorce and Separation

What are the grounds for getting a divorce?

From 6th April 2022, No-fault divorce proceedings came into effect. You no longer need to prove grounds for the breakdown of your marriage beyond repair.

These were previously:

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Desertion
  • Living separately for at least 2 years (with agreement)
  • Living separately for at least 5 years (without agreement)

How long does it take to get a divorce?

As with most questions regarding divorce, it depends. Most of the divorce proceedings take a minimum of 6 months. However, more complex settlements involving financial matters and children can take years. The length varies a lot due to precise circumstances and issues between the couple.

We are experts in expediting settlements quickly.

Will I have to go to court during divorce proceedings?

In most cases, divorce proceedings will not reach the court. Negotiation is the most effective way of settling a divorce, and child arrangements. Both parties can reach an agreement which will be approved by court – Called a Consent order, with no need for you to attend.

What will happen to my children?

Almost always, parents will agree on decisions regarding children, without the need to go to court. However, if there is a significant disagreement, we will provide you with appropriate advice and negotiations on how to proceed. This will reach a settlement with your ex, or, when that is not possible, the court will ultimately reach a decision. The court will keep the best interest of the children in mind and decide which parent the children should live with.

What counts as separation for divorce?

This usually means that the couple is living apart from each other. It can be initiated by either party or be a mutual decision. To prove that your marriage is really over, the couple has to be separated for at least 12 months.

Divorce Proceedings

How to start divorce proceedings?

Any of the parties can start the divorce proceedings if the couple has been married for at least a year (one of the spouses must have lived in England or Wales during that year, or be habitually resident).

What happens during divorce proceedings?

Divorce proceedings are the process of ending a legal marriage. To start the proceedings, you must prove that your marriage is broken-down. Additionally, it involves engaging with the court, agreeing on financial, property, and custodial arrangements.

Does it make a difference who files for divorce first?

No. The court does not give any advantages over the opposite party. Although, filing for divorce first allows you more control of the divorce proceedings as a whole and could prove to be strategically advantageous.

Generally, the person who files for divorce will often incur higher costs, because their advisors are required to prepare any appropriate court bundles/applications.

How long do divorce proceedings take?

Most of the time divorce proceedings take around 6-8 months to finalise. However, it might take longer if there are disagreements regarding finances, business, property, or children.

Can you begin the divorce process before a financial settlement?

Technically – yes, but it is not recommended. Filing for a Decree Absolute without having a financial settlement will harm you in the future. There are very few occasions when you should apply for a decree absolute without a financial settlement, in the form of a consent order.

Divorce Financial Settlement

Do we have to go to court to reach a divorce settlement?

Short answer – no. Although, you do require a Consent order to formalise what has been agreed. Without getting a consent order, either of the parties can change their minds and claim, in the future, on your assets at that time.

At what stage of divorce do we need to reach a financial settlement?

It is not really time-bound. You can reach the settlement before the divorce you conclude your divorce. We recommended the way to proceed is to settle before the Decree Absolute is applied for.

How are finances split in a divorce?

Depending upon the length of the marriage, division of the Marital Pot 50/50 is the starting point for negotiations. There are other circumstances that can reach a settlement on this basis, including factors such as can financial needs, family’s standard of living, income, etc.

Will my business assets be included in the divorce settlement?

Yes. However, everything strongly depends on the circumstances. For instance, if one party was staying at home taking care of the children, whilst the other party was building a business – their contribution to the marriage can be seen as equal. If possible, the court tries to avoid breaking-up or liquidating business.

What happens to a pension in a divorce?

Pensions are considered as a part of the ‘Martial Pot’, amongst other things like property and business interests. Solutions can include splitting the fund into two, transferring a sum of money from one pension fund to another to equal them out between the spouses, and once the pension is being paid out, part of the money must be transferred to the other party.

Separation Agreements

When might the court not uphold a separation agreement?

If one of the parties agreed to it with no legal representation; if circumstances of one of the parties have changed significantly; if either party were not honest about their assets and avoided disclosing their actual financial situation.

Does a separation agreement have to be filed anywhere?

The short answer is no. Although, you can request your solicitor to apply and turn it into a consent order. This allows couples to sign a separation agreement before the court proceedings begin and terms can transfer over to the final divorce settlement.

How do I make my separation agreement legally binding?

Firstly, you should agree on the terms of the separation agreement with your partner, or if it becomes a more complex situation, involving business assets and children, you should seek advice from a solicitor. Secondly, after the terms of the agreement have been reached, solicitors can draft up a document and you can sign it in front of witnesses. Moreover, during the court proceedings, your solicitor can file for a consent order to mirror the existing terms in the separation agreement. If the court finds it fair, it will become legally binding.

Is separation agreement legally binding?

Depends on how the separation agreement was reached. Most of the time it is not legally binding, but if it was drafted by qualified solicitors, it is considered a legal contract. Considering that it can be a contract, in that case, it is challengeable in court.

What conditions have to be met for the separation agreement to be taken seriously by the court?

The separation agreement must be drafted by a legal expert and voluntarily agreed on by both parties, with access to legal advice. During the court proceedings, the court will look at certain conditions to determine if they can uphold the agreement. The criteria cover whether both parties had access to legal representation; the circumstances are similar to when the agreement was reached; all the financial assets were fully disclosed.

Civil Partnership Dissolution

Can a civil partnership be dissolved?

Yes. Civil Partnership is a legal relationship between two people. The main difference is that marriage is formed by vows, while civil partnership is formed by signing a legal document. To end the civil partnership, proceedings are practically the same as the process for divorce.

How long does it take to dissolve a civil partnership?

It varies case by case, but if there are no complications, civil partnership dissolution will happen in the span of four to six months.

What are the grounds for dissolving a civil partnership?

Grounds for civil partnership dissolutions include unreasonable behaviour; separation of two years (with an agreement); separation of five years (without an agreement); desertion of two years; adultery.

How much does it cost to end a civil partnership?

The court fee for an application to end a civil partnership is £593. Although, if you’re on benefits or a low income, you may receive help with your court fees. Other costs could include whatever you have to pay your solicitor.

What does ‘dissolve a civil partnership’ mean?

Dissolution of civil partnership pretty much an equivalent of a divorce of a marriage. To apply for it, you need to prove that your relationship is broken down beyond saving.

Get your Fair Result Now

If you’re looking at getting divorced, or you’re already in the process and want some advice, don’t hesitate to get in touch