Many people have the same questions when starting to consider a separation or divorce. Family solicitor Sarah Tsindides is based in our Upminster office and shares some answers to the questions that she has been asked recently on the divorce process.
Q: Is there such a thing as a no fault divorce in England & Wales?
A: To divorce you need to show that the marriage has broken down. To do so you need to evidence one of five facts:
– Unreasonable behaviour
– 2 years’ separation with consent
– 5 years’ separation where consent is not needed
– or lastly, Desertion
Therefore, as you can see, if you wish to divorce immediately it needs to proceed based upon a fault.
Q: What is a no-fault divorce and is it likely to happen in England & Wales?
A: A no-fault divorce is a dissolution of a marriage where neither party is at fault and you do not need to prove any wrong doing by the other party.
Currently, lawyers are hoping that a no-fault divorce will be forthcoming – a consultation by government is currently awaited. This will speed up the divorce process and make it less acrimonious. No end date has been given for the consultation and we do not know how long this process will take.
Q: How long is the divorce procedure?
A: From the date of issue of the petition it usually takes 6 months to 9 months to obtain decree absolute, although you may be advised not to apply for Decree Absolute until the financial issues are resolved. However, it is hoped that if a no-fault divorce is implemented by the government the timescale will be reduced to 3 months. There are also significant Court delays at the current time.
Q: If I petition for a divorce who pays the costs?
A: You can ask in your petition that the other party is ordered by the court to pay your costs, which will then need to be agreed or assessed by the Court. However, if you agree to divorce on a grounds of separation it is usual to agree to share the costs equally. Pinney Talfourd offers a fixed-fee divorce service where the case is straight forward and not contested.
Q: Do I have to attend court?
A: No – divorce proceedings are a paper exercise and you do not have to attend court unless the case is defended.
When you have to make life-changing decisions that involve personal relationships, your financial security and possibly children, they need to be made with the benefit of expert, impartial advice. All of our family lawyers in Essex and London are specialists with excellent reputations and invaluable experience. We provide clear and practical advice for all situations. To book a free initial Family Law consultation please contact our Family Law Team.
These FAQs are published in the March edition of ‘The Bulletin’; Upminster’s residents association magazine. Readers are invited to send their questions to the magazine on any legal area that we offer. Alternatively contact us directly on our Twitter page to ask a question and get your answers published online.
This article was written by Sarah Tsindides, Senior Associate in the Family Team at Pinney Talfourd LLP Solicitors. The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as of February 2019.