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How long will my divorce take?

A divorce will take a minimum of 6 months to complete.  This time is fixed and cannot be shortened.  The Conditional Order is the first stage of the divorce.  There is a minimum 20 week period between the divorce application and the application for the conditional order.  The Final Divorce Order completes the divorce.  There is a minimum waiting period of 6 weeks after the conditional order.  It is the Final Divorce Order that brings the marriage to an end.

In some cases, where matrimonial finances are complicated or the parties are taking longer to reach an agreement, the process can take much longer.  Once you have filed the divorce application, it is usually best to start considering the matrimonial finances.  Use the 20-week period to agree the financial matters, if possible.  Do not wait until the Conditional Order before starting to consider these.

What are the grounds for divorce?

There is only one ground for divorce – that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.  The divorce laws changed in April 2022.  There is no longer any requirement for the parties to provide a reason or evidence for the breakdown of the marriage. This is what is sometimes referred to as the ‘no fault divorce’.

How will our property and money be shared?

The court’s first consideration is meeting the ‘needs’ of both parties and if there are children involved, the housing needs of the children are the first priority. Once needs have been met, the starting point is for an equal division of the matrimonial assets, unless there is a substantive reason for departure from equality. The matrimonial assets will include the family home, any other property held, savings, investments and pensions.

Where will the children live after our divorce?

The presumption is that the parents are best placed to decide what is in the children’s best interests. An application to the court should only be made as a last resort, where the parents are unable to reach an agreement as to the arrangements for the children. It is presumed that it is in the children’s best interests to spend time with both of their parents, unless there is a good reason for them not doing so.

Can I protect my assets before I get married?

A pre-nuptial agreement is recommended where either party to the marriage has significant assets which they may want to protect. This can often be the case in a second marriage, where perhaps one party wishes to protect their home or financial interests for their children. Whilst it is not possible for a party to sign away their needs, a pre-nuptial agreement can protect assets in the event of a marriage breakdown, provided both parties’ needs can be met

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