A divorce or partnership ending survival guide

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This manual is for you if your marriage or civil partnership is coming to an end. We want to assist you in navigating the perplexing tangle as swiftly and painlessly as possible. A new “no-fault” divorce option may be available to you. On April 6th, the law will be amended to allow for this possibility. From this date, you may file for a “no-fault” divorce online using a digital service. This article will go through the new divorce and dissolution of civil partnerships procedures, as well as what to expect, what you should consider, how to reach agreements, and what assistance is available to help you plan for the future.

This article is for those who are going through a divorce or the dissolution of their civil partnership. We understand how distressing, perplexing, and painful this time can be. We wish to assist you in navigating your way through it.

  1. Getting Started

The guide will answer the following questions:

  • how divorce and dissolution of civil partnerships work,
  •  what you can expect,
  • what you need to think about,
  • what the law says,
  • how to come to agreements, and
  • what help is out there to help you plan for the future.

In England and Wales, the legislation on divorce and dissolution of a civil partnership has changed this year. We’ll discuss the new legislation (as of April 6, 2022) in this article. The revisions to the law have equal effects on both divorce and civil partnerships. When we discuss a divorce, we’re also discussing the dissolution of a civil partnership.

The word ‘ex-partner’ in this guide means your husband, wife, or civil partner. Most of the law is the same whether you are ending a marriage or a civil partnership, but some of the legal terms are different. We’ll make it clear where there’s a distinction.

If you’re divorcing your ex-spouse but aren’t married or in a civil partnership, you’ll need something different.

Getting legal help

To assist you if you have been injured by a personal injury lawyer, we have outlined some of the most important points from our discussion with him.

If you or your spouse are the victims of domestic abuse, there is a chance that legal aid may be available. You may also be eligible for legal aid if there is evidence that your kid is at risk of abuse. If you believe you are in this position, you must consult with an attorney before making any major decisions about your home or child custody arrangements. In this scenario, face-to-face or regular contact with your ex to resolve issues may not be the best option. Depending on the quantity seized, a single violation of an Austin drug law can result in a year’s sentence. You will need legal help on this to determine how the court would evaluate your case.

We know that without legal aid, many individuals will not be able to afford the assistance of solicitors. This information will show you where you need expert help and where you may handle things on your own. We’ve also published a second tutorial on how to deal with the paperwork and court forms.

We realize that many Advice now customers can’t afford to pay a solicitor, but if you’re attempting to work out your finances ahead of time, or going to court regarding the children or money, it’ll be beneficial to get a little if you can. We’ve teamed up with Resolution to provide a panel of family law solicitors who can advise you at the most critical moments of the procedure for a fixed price. You can see ahead of time what areas of your case they may help you with and how much their assistance will cost you so that you can be sure you can afford it. Even better, we provide a procedure to make accessing this assistance as cost-effective as possible, ensuring that you use the solicitor’s time as efficiently as possible.

Get more divorce advice here.

What you need to know

Celebrity divorces are frequently covered in-depth, providing a skewed view of how divorce works. Many people believe the law can accomplish things that it cannot or will not do. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • You are unlikely to need to appear in court. If you and your spouse can settle issues regarding the children, money, and property through a written process or a digital service provided by the court service (HMCTS), it will all be done on paper.
  • The law is not biased. It does not favor either women or men, or the other way around. If a former partner has relied on them for money, either member of a couple may be ordered to pay maintenance to their ex-partner. More men are more likely to pay maintenance than women in practice, but this is because men typically make more money than women.
  • There are no predetermined schemes for determining who gets what. You must attempt to resolve the matter (on your own or with the aide of a mediator or attorneys) so that you can agree on how to allocate the cash or property. If you go to court, the judge looks at what you and your family require in the future rather than what you have already spent.
  • It’s impossible to split what you already have, so most people quickly learn how to live on less money.

The divorce does not influence how you split your belongings or what arrangements you make for any kids.

  • There are no incentives for behaving well or penalties for misbehavior. The money is shared based on ‘past behavior,’ however, it can only be considered if someone has committed a truly egregious act of dishonesty or attempted to conceal assets from the court.
  • Fighting through legal procedures is both costly and time-consuming. When this happens, it’s not unusual for costs to be in the tens of thousands of pounds each. So, to get the most out of your legal representatives and minimize courtroom battles, it’s essential to negotiate agreements that you can live with and use solicitors appropriately.
  • Before you can apply for a divorce or dissolution, you must have been married or in a civil partnership for one year.
  • It will take at least 26 weeks, or 6 months, for a divorce to complete. Because the new system is set to arrive in April 2022, it may take somewhat longer. This is due to a long list and the fact that many people will have put off applying until the new regulations came in so they may apply without blaming one another. If you can’t decide how to split up your house and money, things may get complicated.

Do you want to divorce right away or only for the time being?

If you’ve just split up (or are going through the divorce procedure), you may not want to go through with it right away. Maybe you’re just curious about the state of your relationship, or maybe you’d want to take things slowly before diving into all of the added pressure that comes with a divorce.

If you aren’t ready to divorce yet, you can make a separation agreement. You may get mediation or legal help to draft separation agreements and handle anything you want. You should get legal advice before you sign them, however, as they may have long-term legal implications (for example, the decisions you make will be taken into account if you do eventually divorce).

If you don’t want to divorce yet, (for example, because of religious reasons) or you can’t get divorced right now because you’ve been married fewer than a year, there is a thing called a “legal separation” or “judicial separation.” The judicial separation procedure works similarly to divorce, with the exception that it does not terminate the marriage or civil partnership. This implies neither of you can marry again or create another civil relationship. As a result, judicial separation is no longer widely employed.

When does the divorce begin?

When you decide to live apart, the beginning of divorce is when you start to part ways. When a relationship breaks down, some couples are unable to move out of their shared home immediately. But you may be considered separated if you do not live together as a couple even if you share a home. This means no sleeping in the same bed, cooking or shopping for one another, washing each other’s clothing, and not paying for things as a pair.

If you no longer live as a couple like this, you may be eligible for any benefits or tax credits that you would qualify for as a single person.

Annulment

There may be something legally incorrect with your marriage on rare occasions. If that’s the case, you might be able to get an annulment, which is another method to dissolve your marriage (or civil partnership). However, in practice, few individuals can meet the criteria for an annulment. The following reasons indicate that a marriage is not legal or “void,” and therefore may be annulled:

  • both are too closely related,
  • one is already married, or
  • one or both are too young to marry (under 16).

A marriage may also be “voidable,” according to legal terminology. This means that because of certain circumstances at the time of the marriage or after, the court can annul it. There are several circumstances, including:

  • A marriage has not been consummated if the parties have never had sex – This indicates that you have not engaged in sexual relations with your spouse since the ceremony (for same-sex couples),
  • The marriage was not performed correctly if you did not give valid consent for it- for example, forced marriage
  • When you got married, your wife was pregnant by someone else

How divorce works

Divorce or dissolution is often seen as the termination of a marriage or civil partnership, dealing with issues such as how to split money and property, and making arrangements for the children all at once. These are, however, three distinct procedures. However, because they are all handled independently, they are frequently all occurring at the same time. At certain points of the process, how far you have progressed on one section influences the others. The table below summarizes it.

Of course, if you don’t have children or know what arrangements you’ll make for them (for example, who they will live with and when they will see the parent who isn’t looking after the day to day), you do not need to go through legal procedures about the kids.

If you and your spouse don’t own any assets, such as real estate, money in a bank account, stocks or bonds, or a pension plan, you won’t have to worry about legal procedures for splitting money or property.

Arrangements for any children can be made at any time before or during the divorce, depending on your wishes. Ending a marriage/civil partnership Dividing assets or property You may agree to terms or begin court proceedings at any moment before or during the divorce.

The divorce or dissolution application is delivered to the court

You can begin discussing what should happen as soon as you’ve decided to divorce, but you may only start legal procedures or seek the court’s approval of a settlement after the paperwork for divorce has been submitted to the court.

Conditional order

The court can’t issue a final financial order or accept your agreement until the conditional order is granted.

Final order

After you’ve been given the final order, the financial arrangement goes into effect.

If there has been domestic abuse or if the children have been harmed

You could be eligible for legal assistance from a family law solicitor at no cost or at a reduced price. Check to see if you’re eligible for free or low-cost legal representation. Look for a family law attorney who does legal aid if you are eligible. Look for a lawyer who does legal aid by searching Find a legal aid adviser.

If you’ve been violent or subjected to other kinds of abuse, it’s probably not a good idea for you to try and work things out between yourselves.

If you do want legal assistance, start by speaking with a competent family law attorney. They will be able to assist you in determining what is the ideal solution for you, as well as whether or if you’ll need legal counsel. Don’t be afraid to ask around for a better price or who provides free first consultations.

Don’t give up if you can’t obtain legal aid or don’t have the cash to pay for a family law solicitor. It’s critical to get expert advice on your situation. Other locations where you may get assistance with these topics include Rights of Women and RCJ Advice, as well as law center clinics.

The Men’s Advice Line can provide survivors of domestic abuse with practical advice and information on accessing expert assistance.

What you need to decide on

If you have children

If you have children, be sure you understand:

1. where they will live;

2. Then there’s the issue of how you’ll make sure they have enough time with both parents; and

3. how you will continue to compensate for all the things they need.

It is not always straightforward to know where your children will reside and with who is clear to you both, but it’s a difficult choice. We’ve created a separate article for parents to assist you in making arrangements that are acceptable for everyone and finding a solution if one isn’t available.

Money and property

1) Where will you reside

We also have another resource to assist you in managing your finances when you divorce or terminate your civil partnership. This part refers you to some additional reading. Make sure to check out our more extensive guide for further information.

Next, we’ll go through a few of the things you should consider.

  • Will one of you stay on the property or will you both need to move?
  • If the property is only in your ex-partner’s name, you may need to act quickly to preserve your rights to stay. Everything you require depends on your circumstance.
  • How will the money from the sale be distributed if the family home is being sold?
  • Will you do it all at once or in several parts? Some couples make a short-term and long-term agreements to meet the demands of the family. For instance, some couples (who can afford to) agree that one spouse will stay at home with the children until they finish school, sell the property, and share the proceeds.
  • Even if you move out, if your name is still on the lease or mortgage, you are still legally obligated to pay the rent/mortgage.

If you can, it’s critical to consult with a family law attorney before making any major decisions, such as whether or not to move out of the house.

2) How will you apportion your assets and property?

The first step is to make a comprehensive inventory of:

  • both your property, savings, pensions, investments, car, etc. that you own jointly and individually,
  • what you each earn, and
  • debts.

Before you start dividing them, especially the family home, it is a good idea to consult with a family law attorney, even if you plan on doing everything else yourself. Take a complete list of assets with you. The solicitor will be able to inform you what you should be attempting to negotiate for so that you don’t overlook anything or make a mistake. It’s best to figure out how to split up smaller things (such as furniture, the TV, DVD collection, etc.) between yourselves ahead of time.

However, keep in mind that a family law attorney will not be able to provide you with adequate information unless he or she sees all of your ex-partner’s financial documents as well.

Then, as a result of this, we’ve compiled a list of things to consider before making your purchase:

  • How you will divide any joint assets like property, savings, shares, and pensions.
  • If one of you will be transferring property to the other
  • Division of family income
  • What to do with other assets such as cars
  • Family debts
  • If one of you pays maintenance to the other. (If you’ve only been married or in a civil partnership for a short time, or if your salaries are comparable, this isn’t likely to happen).

If you can’t decide how to share what you own between you, we’ve put up a separate article on How to Make an Order for the Divorce without the Assistance of a Lawyer.

Even if it’s just a one-time consultation, it’s likely to assist you in determining where you stand legally.

When you divorce or break up your civil partnership, don’t expect things to go smoothly. There will be times when you have more energy and motivation to go forward, and there will be other occasions when you feel completely overwhelmed. Don’t worry, this is quite common and you are not alone if you find yourself in this scenario. 

Making a Will

Would you want your ex-partner to inherit everything you owned if you died tomorrow?

If you don’t know the answer to that question, or if the response is “no” or “I don’t know,” now is the time to seek legal counsel on how to create a Will.

Anything you own on your death will go to your ex by the intestacy regulations if you don’t have a Will and are still married (but separated).

If you have a Will that entrusts your entire property to your former spouse, it will apply until you obtain your final divorce order.

How you will ask for a divorce

When it comes to the actual divorce, you must choose:

  • who will ask to start the divorce- you or both of you together?
  • how will both of you apply – on paper or online through the digital service? You’ll need email accounts and easy access to computers/smartphones to use the digital service.

The term “applicant” refers to the person who asks for a divorce, whereas “respondent” is used to describing the other party. The court will refer to you as “applicant 1” and “applicant 2” if you decide to apply together.

If you and your spouse apply, you must state to the court in your application that the marriage has irrevocably broken down. This implies that the relationship is over and cannot be restored. If you apply together, each of you must acknowledge this in the application.

It is not essential to determine who will file for divorce, but it is preferable if you can. It will aid your divorce in going as quickly and painlessly (and inexpensively) as possible.

Since the legislation has changed in 2022, there is no longer any need to blame one person for the marital issues or offer any explanations for the divorce except that it has irrevocably fallen apart.

You may be considering challenging the application if you don’t agree with your ex-partner’s divorce strategy. It’s critical to note that this is now quite difficult to accomplish. In nearly all situations, the court will accept the applicant’s assertion that the marriage has broken down irrevocably as evidence.

There are only a few ‘grounds’ for challenging or “defending” a divorce application, as called by attorneys.

Reasons you can use to dispute a divorce application.

  • Jurisdictional grounds – If one or both spouses have not previously resided in England or Wales, this might be a problem, because the court lacks authority or “jurisdiction” to deal with the divorce.
  • The validity of the marriage – Polygamy is defined as the marriage of one individual to more than two spouses at once. This implies that the marriage was never valid in the first place, therefore you can’t be divorced.
  • The marriage, or civil partnership, has already been legally ended.

Looking into the future

Where you’ll live?

Many people desire to remain in their homes, but it isn’t always feasible. Finding out about something does not make you obligated to it, but it does allow you to make an informed decision about what will be best for you.

Rent your home 

  • Consider renting somewhere else if you can’t afford to rent in your area. Do you have the financial means to move to a smaller home or a less expensive region?
  • It’s worth seeing if any council housing or association housing is available in your area. Some housing organizations, for example, assist families with a reduced income and single women. Because waiting periods are frequently lengthy, it’s not a quick answer, but it may assist you to save money and get a secure place to live in the long run.
  • If you have any money (or will after the divorce is finished) it’s worth looking into whether one of the government’s Homeownership programs can help you.

You are the homeowner

  • Make a note of the outstanding balance, including any early redemption penalties, on your mortgage. Inquire with your mortgage provider.
  • Ask three estate agents to estimate how much your house might sell for if you put it on the market. Then take the average of all of them. Remember that you’ll have to factor in costs such as sale commissions and moving expenses, both of which are important.
  • To figure out how much another home would cost, look into your local market.
  • Take a look at what’s available to rent as well.
  • Investigate the prospect of getting a fresh mortgage. How much money would you be able to borrow on your own and what would it cost?
  • Remember that stamp duty land tax (SDLT) is a fee to pay for the purchase of any residential property in England worth more than £125,000. For further information, go to the government’s stamp duty calculator. A separate tax, known as Land Transaction Tax in Wales, applies. For more information on this, go to the Welsh government’s Land Transaction Tax calculator.

Budgeting

It’s going to be tough to stretch your joint finances to pay for two houses. You’ll probably end up poorer than you were at the start (at first). If you’re still contemplating your choices, thinking about the money aspect of it can be beneficial.

  • Do you know how much money you spend and on what? The majority of individuals have a vague understanding.
  • If you are the only adult in your household, you will receive a 25% reduction in council tax. You’ll need to contact your council tax office for the reduction.
  • Now that you’re a single person, check to see whether you qualify for government help or tax credits.
  • Calculate how much child maintenance you may be compensated for.
  • Make a list of anything you think you can save money on. You might rearrange some of your obligations, cut back on certain expenses, or discover new methods to make money.
  • If your debts are causing you problems, contact National Debtline or Step Change for debt assistance.

Your future career

“While I was going through my divorce I started to take lots of regular exercises, for the first time in my life – it made me feel much less stressed and helped me to sleep”. 

It’s now or never if you haven’t worked in a while or have been working part-time. It’s a fantastic time to think about what you want to do.

  • Think about what you’ll be able to do in five years. Do you want new things to explore?
  • Change career path?
  • Any pieces of training and qualifications that you need?

If you need to budget for it, or if you’re just getting started, now is the time to get started. Your local Jobcentre plus counselor can advise you on what assistance is available to assist you in finding new employment and any financial assistance that may be available if you return to work. 

How to agree

If you want the divorce to go as quickly and easily as possible, it’s usually ideal to reach as many compromises as possible rather than each matter going to court. Before you can go to court over money, property, or child arrangements, you must first present the court with proof that you’ve attempted mediation or negotiated. This is because the government feels it is usually preferable if you can make these decisions amongst yourselves rather than having the federal government choose for you. 

You can make deals:

1. between yourselves, or

2. needs family mediation service, or

3. needs solicitors to negotiate on your behalf.

You may of course negotiate a variety of things in different ways. Many individuals can reach agreements regarding the children, but they require assistance from attorneys to decide how to proceed with money and property.

However, you should try to do it the following way…

  • both need to compromise.
  • It’s a good idea to acquire legal guidance even if you’re planning on doing everything else yourself. (If you want to split your assets and money, you’ll need to be able to explain to the solicitor exactly what you and your ex-partner own jointly and individually).

Option 1 – Agree between yourselves

For many individuals, arranging agreements among yourselves may be the ideal solution. However, if you believe your ex-partner is a better debater than you are and that attempting to reach an agreement on your own would be difficult, you should consider mediation or the assistance of a family law attorney. A solicitor will advise you on what the court would find to be a fair settlement and assist you in considering issues that you may not have considered previously.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of domestic abuse during or after a relationship with an ex, it would be wise to discover whether you qualify for free legal assistance from a family law attorney so that you are not forced to deal with your ex. They’ll examine the situation and advise you on how to proceed.

It’s difficult to reach an agreement without assistance. To begin with, one or both of you may be too upset and incensed to talk about it. You’ll need to figure out how to discuss the problems without your emotions getting in the way.

Next, we’ll show you how to do this using some ideas:

1. Agree on a timetable for attempting to negotiate with your ex-partner ahead of time. For example, will you arrange to meet on neutral ground, communicate via email, or utilize a family mediation service? Nobody likes to feel blindsided, and if you both come to the decision that you’ve chosen this approach and want it to succeed, you have a far greater chance of agreeing. In addition, scheduling a time to talk in advance allows you to prepare what you want to say more thoroughly.

2. If you have a lot to talk about, consider prioritizing what’s most essential and dealing with it first. You may have various concerns, but focusing on the issues that are most worrisome for each of you first may help things go much more smoothly.

3. If you must talk about the children or finances, consider dealing with them separately – perhaps at separate meetings.

4. Many individuals just wish to get everything sorted out as soon as possible so they don’t have to worry about it. However, if you take the time to organize things, things generally go more smoothly. It might take time to acquire all of the information you’ll need, as well as time to negotiate what should be done with the home or other money. Things will play out in the best way possible, but it will take some time to figure that out.

5. Consider the results you want and where you can be flexible before discussing it. Consider if there’s anything you can do to make it more appealing for your ex-partner if you know what they’ll think about it.

6. When giving a speech, keep your remarks as concise as possible. If you’re meeting in person, writing down the major points on paper beforehand might be useful and allow you to focus on something else if your ex-partner strays from the issue.

7. If you try to do it by email, keep in mind that it’s even easier to take offense when you can’t see faces or hear your tone of voice, so maintaining your cool and keeping things simple is even more crucial.

Option 2 – using family mediation

Because of this, couples who have experienced domestic violence in their relationship may find mediation ineffective. A mediator can assist you with this. For example, if you could meditate in separate rooms and not see one another at all, you might feel pleased. This is referred to as ‘shuttle’ mediation.

If you’re working with someone who isn’t a specialist, they’ll always have their own particular opinion. They’ll tell you what’s best once and every time. The mediator won’t take a side or decide what is equitable for you — they’ll simply assist your negotiations.

Option 3 – using solicitors to negotiate for you

If you can’t resolve your issue with the landlord, or if he refuses to negotiate with you for a reasonable settlement, mediation may be your best bet. You might want to consult a solicitor and attempt to bargain on your own behalf. Mediation is likely to be more costly than litigation. It’s always better to go with an experienced family lawyer. It can still be quite quick and avoids all of the costs and aggravation of going to court. Having a specialist on your side may make you feel much more secure, helping you case for yourself. If you opt for a solicitor, make sure he or she specializes in family law. On Resolution’s website, you may locate excellent family law solicitors that embrace a constructive technique. Don’t be scared to speak with other professionals and compare costs.

It will be far less expensive if you qualify for legal aid (assistance from the government to pay for legal advice). You can check out if you’ll be able to obtain it by using the legal aid calculator.

When you’ve reached an agreement,

It’s a good idea to document any children you’ve agreed on once you’ve reached an understanding of them. If you hire a mediator or lawyer, they will document the terms of your mediation or legal settlement in a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ (a written agreement that you both sign), or a simple letter. You won’t generally have to do anything more formal; all you have to do is keep to the bargain.

You just negotiate modifications if something isn’t working for any reason. You’ll both have to be flexible as, particularly as the children get older, you’ll need to rearrange things to accommodate new clubs or social events that they don’t want to miss.

When you’ve reached an agreement about your money and property, each of you should go to a solicitor on your own. They’ll review the deal for you and assist you in ensuring that neither of you can make another claim in the future. You should, in most cases, obtain a court order to establish an agreement. The solicitor will usually advise you to ask the court for approval of your bargain so that it is a “valid and enforceable” contract, known as a “consent order.”

If you can’t agree on some issues…

If you and your spouse cannot resolve any financial or property issues, difficulties, or arrangements for the children on your own, you’ll have to go to court. The divorce itself is generally completed by paperwork (either online or through the mail), and you won’t have to appear in court unless one of you decides to challenge the split. However, because both parties must approve the documents, this is becoming increasingly difficult.

If you want to go ahead and file for divorce without consulting with a solicitor, keep these points in mind: the court will almost always expect proof that you have met with a mediator first and investigated mediation before deciding on your behalf.

If you need to go to court, you have the choice of:

  • Have a solicitor to help you make your case (if you can afford to), or,
  • Do it yourself

These days, many individuals are unable to afford to have a solicitor in court.

if you don’t have the money to pay for solicitors. Legal fees may quickly exceed the value of what you’re fighting about. Even if the case goes to court, the judge will usually encourage you to negotiate terms with your ex-part partner as soon as feasible, since this is always the best option.

If you do find yourself in court, you may discover that you can’t afford a lawyer or that only certain phases of the process are within your budget. It’s a good idea to think things through before enlisting the aid of a solicitor. The more you and your ex can compromise, the less money you will spend on expenses.

If you are with a solicitor…

Cut your costs by:

  • As we read through your instructions that you may access at Advicenow.
  • Shop around for the best deals. If you’re comparing fixed-price arrangements, see what they include and whether they’re appropriate for your needs. Check to see if the prices are inclusive of VAT.
  • Organize – Make sure you don’t lose time by having all of your solicitor’s essential information on hand (financial, legal, and other data).
  • Preparing for discussion – In case you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t forget that the best way to preserve face and avoid rambling is to have a list of everything you need to discuss.
  • You should avoid contacting your solicitor excessively if you’re not on a fixed-price plan. If you’re not on a predetermined fee plan, solicitors will charge for all calls, letters, and emails they receive as well as those they make and send.
  • Use your solicitor only when necessary by agreeing on what responsibilities you can handle and what your lawyer will accomplish.
  • Agree on what you can accomplish and the work your lawyer will perform. Individuals frequently divide their properties without consulting attorneys, for example.
  • You should also check your policy to see if there are any exceptions or exclusions that will cover costs you may incur in addition to solicitor’s fees and court costs.

Do you need assistance in obtaining a divorce?

There’s quite a lot of legal paperwork involved in getting a divorce The new legislation has made it a lot easier, and if you’re comfortable using the online digital service, you should find it superior.

Option 1 – use a family law solicitor

This is probably the easiest route but of course, many people will struggle to afford one or would prefer to save their money.

If you are receiving SSI, check to see whether you qualify for government-funded legal counsel. Individuals who have been in an abusive relationship with their spouse but can’t afford a lawyer may be able to obtain free or low-cost legal advice. Use the legal aid checker to see if you are eligible for assistance.

Rather of charging you by the hour, some attorneys have changed their practices and now offer to help you with your divorce paperwork for a set fee (this is generally only available for less complex cases). This also helps you figure out how much everything will cost in total. If you’re the one seeking a divorce, you’ll have to do most of the paperwork, so any fixed fee you have to pay should be greater than a fixed fee service for the person getting divorced.

Solicitors may also provide a fixed cost service, in which all of your case’s work is completed via email or phone, saving you money and being more convenient for some clients.

Beware of non-solicitor divorce websites

Some websites provide low-cost divorce assistance because a “case manager” functions as your advocate rather than a lawyer. They may have no prior knowledge or training, and more significantly, no insurance. Because they are not qualified to give legal advice and cannot be complained about to the Solicitors Regulation Authority or the Legal Ombudsman, many people believe that solicitors do not help them avoid making costly errors. If everything goes wrong and/or they act dishonestly, it’s tough to take any action.

The RedRover website will probably say something to the effect of, ‘your Case manager’ or some variation thereof rather than ‘your solicitor,’ and they won’t claim to be regulated by the SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority). Make sure you’re clear on what services provide and what you’ll have to pay extra for, as well. Many services claim that they are free or extremely low-cost, but only supply very basic information for free before demanding more substantial details – make sure you know exactly what is covered by any service and how much more it will cost.

McKenzie friends 

You may also encounter McKenzie pals on the internet. McKenzie friends can help you with legal issues but are not trained in the law. As a result, they aren’t able to give legal counsel on your case. They are permitted to charge for their services and can attend court, but they are not allowed to speak on your behalf. They are not subject to the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s rules, and they aren’t required to have insurance. If everything goes wrong or if they act illegally, it might be difficult to do anything about it.

Option 2 – do it yourself

Use Advicenow’s instructions if you’re doing it yourself

Court fees

Remember that even if you complete the job yourself, one of the unavoidable expenditures is court costs. For more information about Family Court fees, when to pay, and how much they are.

You may not have to pay a fee or you might only have to pay a reduced rate under the ‘assistance with court and tribunal fees’ scheme.

You will not have to pay anything if you can show that you receive Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Pension Credit guarantee credit, or Universal Credit with gross annual earnings of less than £6,000. Fill in form EX160 to get ‘assistance with court costs.’ On the same page, you may find form EX160A – a handbook for filling out EX160, as well as form EX160C – a calculator to see if you qualify for assistance.

Whether you have a solicitor or not you will need to be organized

  • Keep the court’s case number handy and safe—you’ll need to call it out each time you contact the court.
  • If you’re using the internet service, double-check your account to see if there’s an update.
  • If you’re using the paper application method, make a ring binder and save all of your correspondence about the divorce in chronological order.
  • Place copies of any letters or emails you compose in this area.
  • Keep a separate folder for your court paperwork. Again, keep them in the order they arrive. If you lose them, you may obtain a legal copy, but it will cost money.
  • If you’re using the online service, make and save paper copies of the most crucial documents, such as the application, a conditional order, and final order, in case you need them later.
  • To help you remember what to do and when to make a note on your calendar or diary of important dates.

Dealing with your feelings

Divorce and separation are difficult to get over, just as bereavement. You’ll need time to become accustomed to the idea that you are no longer a part of a relationship, and your future looks uncertain. It won’t happen overnight.

People often expect you to bounce back once your divorce is over, yet emotions are messy in the legal system. Most people require at least one to two years to feel normal again. It should gradually get better bit by bit. Children will need time to adapt as well.

There are several locations where you may get assistance in overcoming the consequences of divorce and separation. It’s not always possible to handle it alone. We next provide a list of some of the places where you might seek help.

  • Friends.
  • Your General Practitioner. They might be able to assist you in finding counseling or connecting you with local self-help groups.
  • Take the time to learn about your options and make a list of local professional counselors or ask for recommendations.
  • If you’re religious, you may discover several congregations affiliated with your religion that can help.
  • If you have children, your health visitor should be able to connect you with local services that can assist you.
  • Local supportive groups. These are for lone parents, or divorced or separated adults. 
  • Online forums and websites.

Things to do to help your children

  • Explain to the youngsters that it is up to their parents. It’s not their fault and they don’t have any control over what happens. Explain that you understand how difficult this is for them and that you apologize. (You may need to say it again and again, depending on your children’s age and knowledge.).
  • Remind them that you two love each other and that you’ll always be their family.
  • It’s more difficult said than done, but try not to blame the other parent or discuss them in an unhelpful manner with your children. Find alternative methods to relieve stress.
  • Try to stick to your usual routines as much as possible. It’s all too easy to try to win them over with new goodies, but in the long run, this won’t make a difference. Extra cuddles might be beneficial, though.
  • Let the children’s schools and anyone else caring for them know – they are likely to require more attention from everyone for a while.

Loose ends

If your Will is still in force, you’ll need to update it. If you die without modifying it, the rest of your Will would remain valid, but legal precedent would consider your ex as if they had died on the day the divorce or dissolution was finalized. It’s critical to create a Will if you don’t already have one.

If your name was altered when you married or formed a civil partnership, you may wish to change it back. You may be able to do this by providing record-holders with your marriage certificate and final order, as well as your civil partnership certificate and final order. However, some organizations will not return your name without a deed poll. Changing your name by deed poll is simple. You may also hire a lawyer to do a name change (deed poll) for a little fee. Make sure you shop around and get the best rates.

Relationship help and support

The website Relate, has lots of information on a range of problems that can arise in relationships and families.

How to find legal advice

To locate a family lawyer, start by searching Resolution, which provides attorneys who specialize in your area. Members of the Resolution must promise to work with you to resolve your legal problem without being confrontational. The color green next to the attorney’s name indicates that they provide legal aid.

You may also ask your local Law Society-accredited lawyer to assist you. This indicates that they have a large amount of expertise and knowledge, as well as having satisfied a Law Society examination.

Another option for legal assistance is to consult with a barrister who is licensed to represent individuals in court directly. Outside of the courtroom, barristers are not permitted to do much more than representing clients, but it may be a cheaper alternative if you just want to obtain some information rather than have a solicitor negotiate on your behalf. The Bar Council’s Direct Access Portal offers information on properly qualified barristers and an explanation of the process in detail. Don’t be scared to call around and comparison-shop or inquire whether you can get someone to offer you a free initial consultation.

How to find a family mediator

If you’re searching for a family mediator, you might ask your friends and relatives for assistance or contact your lawyer. Check any recommendations using the Family Mediation Council’s finder service to verify their validity. It’s acceptable to call around, inquire about pricing, and compare rates.

Domestic violence and abuse

If your ex is abusive towards you, there are several resources where you can learn more about the problem and get assistance. Always call 999 in an emergency. You may reach the 224-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 or Live Fear Free on 0808 80 10 800 to access support or discuss your options (24 hours).

Domestic abuse helplines assist anybody who is experiencing or has previously experienced it, as well as their family, friends, and coworkers. It’s completely free, confidential, and will not appear on your phone bill.

You may contact the Men’s Advice Line on 0808 801 0327 if you are a man or one of your children is affected by domestic violence or abuse.

Galop provides a national hotline for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgendered persons who are being subjected to domestic violence. You may reach them at 0800 999 5428.

Debt advice

If you need to contact the UK’s official debt advice agency, you may do so by phone. They also provide webchat and a text messaging service.

Help line: 0808 808 4000 – Monday through Friday 9am to 8pm, and Saturdays 9.30am to 1pm

Help and support for single parents

Gingerbread offers professional assistance, practical assistance, and other help for single parents. They have a wealth of useful information on their website, so please look at that first before calling the helpline.

Single Parent Helpline: 0808 802 0925

10am – 6pm every day except Monday (closed on public holidays), 10am – 4pm Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and 10am-1pm and 5:00 pm to 7:00 p.m. on Friday

Family Lives is a non-profit organization providing assistance and guidance in all aspects of family life. On any element of parenting and family life, their helpline may supply information, counsel, direction, and support.

OnlyMums offers online support to parents going through divorce or separation. The site has a free webchat and email exchange service. OnlyDads and OnlyMums are the masterminds of the Family Law Panel, which connects you to local family law solicitors, barristers, or mediators for a free preliminary consultation on the phone or by email to assist you in deciding how to proceed.

The site’s hashtag, #OnlyDads, is a reminder that only dads can provide support for their children. There’s also a free webchat and email exchange service on the website. OnlyMums and OnlyDads founded the Family Law Panel, which links you up to specialized family law lawyers, barristers, or mediators in your area for a free initial consultation either over the phone or by email to help you figure out how to proceed.

What does it mean?

We’ve tried to avoid using legal jargon in this article. However, you’re likely to hear it while dealing with your divorce. Here’s a quick rundown of what each term means.

Acknowledgmentof Service form (Form D10) – If a person who does not intend to proceed with the divorce/dissolution process completes an Option to Respond, this is how they notify their ex-partner if they’ll object to the request. There isn’t a form in this situation – simply questions to answer about the divorce application.

Applicant – The term “domestic partner” refers to the person who files for divorce or legal separation from a marriage or civil partnership.

Applicant 1 / Applicant 2 – If you choose to file for your divorce or dissolution as a couple, you are applicant 1 and applicant 2. One of them must take the lead in completing the application. They are subsequently known as applicant 1 and applicant 2, respectively.

Application for a divorce, dissolution or (judicial) separation (Form D8) – If you’re using a paper application, the form you fill out is called “Application for Divorce or Civil Union Dissolution.” If you apply online, all that’s required of you is to respond to several questions.

Application for a conditional order (Form D84) – This is the type of document that the petitioner will use to request for a conditionally-effective order if you have been served with a divorce/dissolution petition and are considering whether or not to respond. Simply complete an online form if you use this system.

Conditional order – Notarization is the official recording of your divorce, civil partnership dissolution, and certain government documents, such as a tax clearance certificate. It’s the first of two orders you’ll need before your marriage or civil relationship comes to an end. A conditional order is not a final judgment and does not terminate a marriage or civil partnership.

Dissolution – A civil partnership is terminated in the United Kingdom and elsewhere under the terms of a decree nisi (proceeding leading to an order).

Divorce – the legal termination of a marriage.

Filing – This simply implies providing the court with a legal form or document.

Final order – You must first obtain a court order declaring your marriage or civil partnership to be legally terminated and allowing you to remarry.

Judicial separation – is a process that confirms that you are separated and no longer have to live with each other. It does not result in the termination of a marriage or civil partnership.

Notice of application for conditional order to be made final (Form D36) – This is the form that must be completed by the person requesting a divorce for the court to make a final, conditional order. There is no specific form to fill out if you submit your paperwork online.

Notice of satisfaction with the arrangements for the children – If the judge is satisfied with your agreement for the children’s future, he or she will issue a document to that effect.

Proceedings – another name for court action. If you “bring proceedings,” you are initiating a legal action to resolve a disagreement.

Respondent – The term “ex-spouse” refers to the individual who does not initiate divorce or dissolution proceedings or financial and children arrangements procedures, as the case may be.

Serve – Court documents are more commonly delivered by hand or mail, and if permitted by the rules, they may also be sent via email.

Budget sheet

This list will help you work out what you spend at the moment and to plan your finances for the future.

To get a monthly figure from weekly figures, multiply by 4.33. 

Items monthly

ACCOMMODATION COSTS

Mortgage/Rent

Endowment policy linked to mortgage

Council tax

Water rates

Electricity

Gas

Service charge

Ground rent

Oil/Solid fuel

HOUSEHOLD EXPENSES

Food/housekeeping

Buildings insurance

Contents insurance

Cleaner

T.V. llicense

Telephone/cable/internet

Broadband 

CAR

Insurance

Road tax

Maintenance

Petrol/electric charging

Loan for car purchase (will end 20 )

CHILDREN

School expenses

Travel to school

School dinners/packed lunches

Uniform

Outings and trips

Other school expenses (contributions to cooking etc)

OUT OF SCHOOL

Clubs and classes

Clothes and shoes

Nappies, wipes and, creams

Dentist

Optician (contact lenses/glasses)

Childcare (gross cost)

Hair

Books and toys

Christmas and birthdays

Presents for their friends birthdays

PERSONAL EXPENSES

Clothes and shoes

Mobile phone

Hair

Dentist

Optician (contact lenses/glasses)

Prescription charges

Dry cleaning

Entertainment

Travel to work

Lunches at work

Holidays

Subscriptions – e.g. Netflix

Other accommodation

Other items

Disclaimer

This manual is only for general information. If you live in Scotland or Northern Ireland, the law may vary.

The law is complicated. IToprovide you with a sense of how the legislation may apply to you, we’ve simplified things in the guide. Please don’t take this advice as an exhaustive statement of the law; we encourage you to seek further assistance and information from the sources we have suggested.

The quotations and situations we discuss are not always genuine, but they do reflect a typical scenario. We hope that they may assist you in considering how to handle your problem.

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