How you start divorce proceedings differs depending on where you are living in the UK so in this blog we look at divorce law and how to file for divorce in England. As Cheshire and Manchester divorce solicitors our experts file for divorce every working day but we never forget that the divorce process be very confusing and frightening and particularly if you are worried about child care arrangements or how you will agree a financial settlement.
Manchester and Cheshire Divorce Solicitors
The divorce solicitors at Evolve Family Law advise on all aspects of family law from separation to divorce proceedings, temporary financial arrangements and long term financial settlements, to resolving child custody and contact as well as private client matters. For help with your family and private client law needs call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form. The Evolve Family Law offices are located in Whitefield, North Manchester and Holmes Chapel, Cheshire but the divorce solicitors and Will lawyers also offer remote meetings by telephone or video call appointment.
How Do You File for Divorce?
Many people assume that filing for divorce is very complicated. However, divorce solicitors would be the first to say that whilst divorce proceedings are understandably a very fraught emotional time, the divorce process is relatively straight forward and what most couples find a lot harder to resolve is either child care arrangements or the financial settlement.
When talking of how to file for divorce it is easiest to start with what you don’t have to do because there are so many myths and assumptions about what filing for divorce entails. You don’t have to:
- Go to court to file for divorce – your divorce solicitor can do this online for you or if you are starting the divorce proceedings yourself you could post the divorce paperwork to the court
- Agree why you are starting divorce proceedings with your husband or wife before you file for divorce – however divorce solicitors always recommend that you (or they) try to reach an agreement over the basis for the divorce proceedings (or explain the basis for the divorce petition) before the divorce proceedings are filed (unless it is an emergency situation such as a relationship involving domestic abuse). It is recommended that you try to communicate about the divorce (either directly or through divorce solicitors) to try and avoid additional acrimony or misunderstandings about the impact of your starting divorce proceedings (for example, some spouses mistakenly think that if they respond to a divorce petition that as the respondent to the divorce they won’t get to see their children as much or get as large a financial settlement in comparison to the husband or wife who petitions or files for divorce – that is incorrect)
- Have agreed on child custody – many parents assume that the divorce court will want to know what arrangements have been made for the children and will want to make child custody and contact orders as part of the divorce process. That isn’t the case as the day to day arrangements for your children don’t need to be agreed before you file for divorce. In addition, the divorce and family court won’t make automatic children orders during the divorce proceedings but will only make child arrangements orders if you or your husband or wife apply to court for a child arrangements order. You can apply to court for a child arrangements order before, during or after you or your husband or wife start the divorce proceedings
- Have agreed the financial settlement– often financial matters are the hardest to sort out, from the question of who gets to stay in the family home, to whether you will get a share of your husband or wife’s pension , if spousal maintenance should be paid and, if so, how long the spousal maintenance should be paid for. You don’t need to agree financial matters before you or your spouse files divorce proceedings but you may be advised by a divorce solicitor to delay your application for decree absolute until you have a financial settlement in place
- Filing for divorce involves a divorce court hearing – if you file for divorce and the divorce isn’t opposed by your husband or wife then neither of you are at all likely to have to attend a divorce court hearing. You may need to attend court hearings if you can’t reach agreement on child contact and custody or the financial settlement. However, in most families, an agreement is reached without the need for a children court order and the court is often asked to make an agreed financial court order without the need for anyone to go to a court hearing
- Spend a lot on divorce solicitors to get divorced – most divorce solicitors charge a fixed fee to file divorce proceedings and secure your decree absolute of divorce (the document that concludes the divorce proceedings). At Evolve Family Law our divorce solicitors believe that it is best to be transparent about costs and publish a price guide on their website that includes divorce proceedings fees. Where couples can end up spending a lot in legal fees is arguing over the residence and contact arrangements for their children and the financial settlement. The specialist divorce solicitors at Evolve Family Law try to narrow the issues between you to help you reach an agreement or try to help you limit the amount spent in legal fees in contested court proceedings.
The paperwork needed to file for divorce
The paperwork you need to file for divorce is very straightforward. All you need is:
- Your original marriage certificate
- Your divorce petition – this needs to be completed correctly
- The divorce court fee.
Although you don’t need a lot of paperwork to file for divorce, family law solicitors say that it is best to take legal advice before doing so to make sure that divorce is the right option for you and to understand the likely financial settlement options and childcare arrangements and the best timing for you to start the court proceedings.
Manchester and Cheshire Divorce Solicitors
Evolve Family Law advises on separation and divorce proceedings, financial arrangements on separation and long term financial settlements, child custody and contact and private client matters (Wills and powers of attorney). For help with your family and private client law needs call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form. The Evolve Family Law offices are located in Whitefield, North Manchester and Holmes Chapel, Cheshire but the divorce solicitors and Will lawyers also offer remote meetings by telephone or video call appointment.
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