You may have read recently in the news that legislation has been passed removing the blame within divorce applications. Although this is true, that new law does not come into effect just yet. It is expected that a Divorce Petition may be lodged without blaming the other party from Autumn 2021. Until that time, the “old” law needs to be followed.
The only ground for divorce is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. This currently must be proven to the Court by citing one of the following facts within the Divorce Petition:
1. Adultery – this requires admission by the person who committed the adultery (the Respondent);
2. Unreasonable behaviour – this does not require admission and indeed, a Respondent could deny the allegations made against them but still allow the petition to proceed undefended;
3. Desertion of 2 years – this can be difficult to prove;
4. Separation of 2 years – the respondent must consent to this type of Petition being presented to the Court; or
5. Separation of 5 years – this does not require consent.
It is best practice when considering issuing proceedings, to take advice from a specialist family lawyer to ensure that the fact you are wishing to reply on, is correct for your circumstances. I also consider with my clients as to whether there are any issues that may delay the process or cause the Petition to be rejected such as periods of reconciliation. It is important to discuss and consider all relevant matters at the outset to avoid delays and additional costs. The Court can return the petition and make a party re-submit it if it contains errors.
There can also be costs implications or applications for costs orders made which again, a matrimonial lawyer can discuss with you prior to any application being made.
Many lawyers offer fixed fees for the divorce process. My fixed fee to include advice from the outset, through to obtaining Decree Absolute is £750 plus VAT for the Petitioner (person applying for the divorce) or £400 plus VAT for the Respondent, or an undefended basis. There is the possibility for the Petitioner to apply for costs orders and this should be discussed at the outset.
If you would like to discuss Divorce or any family law matters, please get in touch for a free half hour initial chat.
Head of Family Law and Senior Consultant Family Lawyer at Robert Simmons Solicitors