April 6, 2022, saw the first changes in divorce procedure for 50 years. And the biggest change was the long-awaited introduction of what is known as “No-fault divorce”. The welcome introduction of no-fault divorce or dissolution (for civil partnerships) is intended to take unnecessary upset out of the separation process to allow everyone involved to keep things as amicable as possible. And that’s where our fixed fee divorce solicitors come in.
While going through relationship breakdown and getting a divorce or dissolution can be extremely difficult, the process itself doesn’t have to be. By using our Fixed Fee Divorce or Dissolution service, you can be certain about what’s included in the price, with no hidden costs or surprises.
Worried about divorce? Call us now on 0800 1404544 or 1 of our 4 branch office numbers for FREE initial divorce advice from our specialist family law solicitors. A simple phone call could put your mind at rest.
Our Fixed Fee Divorce/Dissolution service – just £600 (plus VAT )
Our fixed fee divorce package is suitable for couples looking to dissolve their marriage, but it doesn’t deal with any financial and property disputes or arrangements for your children (and there is an additional £593 Court Fee to pay). By offering a fixed price service, we try to remove some of the uncertainty and stress from your divorce process – so you know exactly how much it is going to cost to legally end your marriage or civil partnership.
You will be fully supported by our experienced family law team throughout the divorce process, and we will deal with your former partner or their Solicitor and the Court. This takes the pressure off you, so that you can focus on taking care of yourself and your family and moving on.
Am I eligible for Divorce or Civil Partnership Dissolution?
The changes mean that you you no longer need to prove 1 of the “5 grounds” ( e.g. unreasonable behaviour or adultery). Instead all you have to do is to provide the court with a statement that your marriage has suffered “irretrievable breakdown”. And the changes also make it possible for a joint application to be made by both spouses together for divorce for the 1st time.
To qualify for divorce you now need to meet just the following conditions:
· You and your former partner have been married or in a civil partnership for more than one year
· You both confirm that your marriage or civil partnership has permanently broken down
· Your marriage or civil partnership is legally recognised in England and Wales
· You satisfy one of the following:
♦ You have lived in England and Wales and have been living here for at least 12 months immediately before you issued your application or;
♦ You are domiciled in England or Wales and have been living here for at least six months immediately before you issued your application
· You or your partner can prove a sufficient connection with England and Wales so that the Court can deal with your application. To do this you must satisfy one or more of the following:
♦ you or your former partner were domiciled in England and Wales when the application started
♦ your former partner is habitually resident in England and Wales
♦ if you or your former partner were last habitually resident together in England or Wales and one of you still lives here
♦ your former partner agrees to a divorce or dissolution, and the marriage is valid.
· You are able to pay the costs, or you have agreed to share them with your former spouse/partner.
NB if you are concerned whether not you are entitled to divorce – for example with regard to problems on domicile or jurisdiction – our solicitors can advise you.
What is Included in our Fixed Fee Divorce or Dissolution service?
Our experienced family law solicitors can help you through all the steps in the divorce process to end your marriage.
Here’s what we include in our fixed price package:
· Specialist advice about the process of getting divorced at each stage with an experienced assigned family lawyer to help you throughout the process
· Completion of the Divorce Application (previously known as the Petition) and submitting it to the Court
· Application for the Conditional Order (previously known as Decree Nisi).
· Application for the Final Order (previously known as Decree Absolute)
· Providing you with digital copies of all important documents for safekeeping.
What’s Not Included in our Fixed Fee Divorce or Dissolution?
· The Court fee (currently £593) is not included in our Fixed Fee Divorce/Dissolution service, so you will have to pay that as well. And regardless of whether or not you use a solicitor, this fee will need to be paid.
If you are on a low income, however, you may be eligible for a reduced fee or even to pay no court fee at all. Our solicitors can advise you on how to find out whether you are eligible for this kind of help with court fees.
· Obtaining a copy of your original marriage certificate or translating it if you were married abroad.
· Arranging service of papers (your spouse or former partner must receive copies of any documents you file with the court), if they won’t engage with the process or if they live overseas
· If your former partner objects to or challenges the divorce/dissolution application, this is not be covered by our fixed fee service. However, we may continue to assist you and we will advise you of this at the time. But don’t worry – this is very unlikely, because amongst the changes made was the abolition of defended divorce. So provided you are actually entitled to a divorce, and both the application and accompanying documentation are drafted and submitted correctly, it is highly unlikely that there will be a problem.
· Representing you in Court or attending remotely in respect to any aspect requiring a hearing in relation to the divorce or dissolution. Having to appear court with regard to the divorce itself is also highly unlikely – almost all divorce and dissolution cases will now be dealt with on paper
· Application for costs or disputes about who pays for the divorce/dissolution (under the No Fault divorce procedure, claims for costs will be rare).
· Any legal advice or work needed to resolve financial issues. Our experienced divorce and family law team are more than happy to assist you with resolving financial issues. However this is not available under the fixed fee – and our charges will be based on our hourly rate
· Any legal advice or work about arrangements for your children – similarly, we have the experience to assist you with advice on children’s matters – but outside the fixed fee and under our normal hourly rate.
· In the highly unlikely event that there are issues raised by the Court in relation to the validity of your marriage or civil partnership, this is not covered by the fixed fee.
Fixed Fee Service for Responding to a Divorce or Dissolution application
If your former spouse or partner has applied for a divorce / dissolution, this means you’re the respondent and will need to respond to the application. Our divorce solicitors can do this for you for a fixed fee of just £350 (including VAT) – provided that you agree to the divorce or dissolution and don’t want to object to it.
And as a respondent, you won’t need to pay the £593 court fee.
What is included for our Fixed Fee for Respondents?
· Specialist advice about the process of getting divorced at each stage
· An initial meeting with you, using phone face-to-face or Zoom video to answer any questions you have about getting divorced.
· An initial letter or email to the Applicant or their Solicitor to inform them of our involvement.
· Completing the Acknowledgement of Service.
· Sending you the Conditional Order and Final Order.
What is not included in our Fixed Fee for Respondents?
Our fixed fee offer excludes the following:
· Any work objecting to the application for a Divorce or Dissolution.
· Representing you in Court or attending remotely in respect to any aspect requiring a hearing in relation to the divorce or dissolution (almost all divorce and dissolution cases are dealt with on paper, meaning that going to Court is very unlikely).
· Application for costs or disputes about who pays for the cost of the divorce/dissolution (under the No Fault procedure, claims for costs are expected to be rare).
· Any legal advice or work needed to resolve financial issues (as above).
· Any legal advice or work about arrangements for your children brackets as above).
I don’t live near to your offices – can you still represent me?
Yes, that’s not a problem. Although we are more than happy to meet you in 1 of our 4 offices in Hampshire and Wiltshire (Salisbury, Andover, Fordingbridge and Amesbury) we are equally able to represent you wherever you live in England and Wales, by phone email and Zoom video – whatever you prefer.
Divorce, children issues and family finances
It’s important to realise that arrangements for children and finances are broadly separated from the actual divorce itself. Just because you are getting divorced, that doesn’t deal with any financial claims you have against your spouse or civil partner.
However, it is very important that you make sure your finances are agreed before you or your solicitor apply for the Final Order, to finalise your divorce – preferably with what is known as a “clean break” or “financial consent order” made by the court.
Coming to a financial settlement is usually very important. As previously indicated, our specialist family law solicitors are genuine experts and can help you with reach a fair and reasonable financial settlement with your ex husband or wife or civil partner.
Click here to read more about Divorce & Financial Issues
Click here to read more about issues surrounding Children and Divorce
How long will my divorce take?
Provided your divorce is straightforward, you should expect the whole no fault process to take around 4-6 months.
Can the court deny my divorce?
Provided that you meet the criteria for divorce, under the new 2022 rules, it is highly unlikely that a judge would refuse a divorce.
However, it does remain possible – if, for example, the court is persuaded that the respondent hasn’t received the divorce application papers, or if there is an argument that the court does not have jurisdiction for divorce (e.g. if the couple haven’t lived in England and Wales long enough).
Is there an alternative to divorce?
Yes, although it is unusual, you do have an alternative option – Judicial Separation. However this is most commonly used by anyone with a religious objection to divorce.
Click here to read more about Judicial Separation