A simple divorce, that does not involve legal disputes, takes between four to six months from the initial application to the moment it is granted and you are no longer legally married.
If there are disagreements about the reason for divorce or how assets will be divided, the process can take a lot longer and will cost more. One of the largest assets you are likely to share with your spouse is a home, if you’d like to sell this quickly after divorce we can help you do that in just seven days.
Assuming everything goes smoothly these are the steps you’ll need to take to get a divorce.
Applying for a divorce
You can only apply for a divorce if you have been married for more than a year. When either you or your spouse send a divorce application form to the court it is known as petitioning. The form includes your details, the details of your spouse and the reason you are getting divorced such as adultery, unreasonable behaviour or prolonged separation. It’s a good idea to agree your reason together before sending the forms because your spouse can dispute it.
Once the court has the papers they will send copies to your spouse or their solicitors, this is known as issuing. From receiving the application to issuing papers takes between two and three weeks.
Responding to divorce papers
When someone receives the papers they must usually respond within seven days with an acknowledgement of service. This will include whether they agree with the reason for divorce and that the relationship has broken down.
If they do not agree they can file for a defended divorce, in which case the court will need to decide whether the divorce can go ahead. If they do not respond the court will instruct someone to hand them the papers in person, you will have to cover this cost. If all attempts to get a response fail, the court will grant you permission to proceed with your application without one.
Granting a decree nisi
A decree nisi is a document that shows the court doesn’t see any reason why you can’t get divorced. Once you have received the acknowledgement of service from the court you can apply for one. In the form you will have to confirm everything you said in your original application is true and include your spouse’s response.
If the judge agrees, you and your spouse will receive a certificate confirming that decision. This can take several weeks and you will still be married even once it has been granted.
Six weeks to reflect
The granting of a decree absolute and the ending of your marriage, can’t take place until at least six weeks and one day after the decree nisi has been granted. This gives all sides breathing space to negotiate issues such as custody of children and the separation of assets, and time to reflect on whether divorce is definitely the best option.
Settling your financial arrangement is separate to the divorce proceedings. It is a good idea to agree and formalise these before the divorce is finalised since you may lose some of the tax benefits that come with marriage. For example you do not pay capital gains tax on assets gifted or sold to a husband or wife.
A document called a consent order can be drawn up which details the division of all the assets and is sent to court for a small fee. A judge will review it and, as long as they agree it is fair, make it legally binding.
Ending your marriage
Once six weeks and one day have passed, the person who first applied for the divorce can apply for a decree absolute. If they don’t, their spouse must wait three months before they can apply for one.
If you do not apply for a decree absolute within 12 months of a decree nisi being granted, you will have to explain to the court why, assuming you still want to go ahead.
Once the decree absolute is granted you are no longer married. If you have applied for a consent order the judge is likely to grant this at the same time.
Selling your home after a divorce
Deciding what to do with your home during or after a divorce is often one of the main points of contention. One of the simplest ways to resolve any dispute is to sell it and split the proceeds. This allows you to move on quickly and start the next stage of your life with some funds behind you. It also means expensive mortgage payments you may be responsible for will stop.
We can help you make this happen. We are experienced in dealing with emotionally-charged home-selling situations such as divorce. We aim to make the process as stress-free as possible by taking on much of the hassle, that’s why we instruct solicitors and pay their fees.
We also buy your house using our cash funds, which means we are never part of an unreliable chain that could break down through no fault of your own. It also means we do not use estate agents so you don’t have to pay their fees.
If you think we could help you, we’d be happy to chat through our service so please get in touch.