Divorce Frequently Asked Questions

Why not call us for a free, initial, no-obligation 30-minute consultation.  Contact Susan Davies in confidence on 01827 317070 or email sdavies@pickerings-solicitors.com and we may be able to answer any questions you have very easily.

Am I able to get a divorce?

You can get a divorce as long as you have been married for over 12 months, the marriage is valid under UK law and you meet rules about how long you have been living in the country.

What is the difference between the sole applicant, joint applicant and respondent?

When a marriage ends in the UK, individuals can file for divorce. "Sole applicant" and "joint applicant" describe those initiating legal proceedings, while "respondent" refers to the one who responds. A "joint application" doesn't have a respondent. Instead, it has two applicants, known as Applicant 1 and Applicant 2, who jointly oversee and advance the proceedings, sharing responsibility.

The court assesses whether the requested costs are reasonable and considers the behaviour of both parties during the divorce process.

If the court orders costs, the other person must pay by law. If they don't, enforcement may be needed.

Is it possible to separate formally rather than getting a divorce?

Yes, a separation agreement can be made. The agreement will set out what happens to all the matrimonial assets such as your home and any savings or investments and includes pension funds and life insurance policies. Your partner would have to agree to this and there are some restrictions on what can be dealt with in a separation agreement.

Seek legal advice to see how you might be able to get a separation agreement and whether this is suitable in your particular circumstances.

Does my partner need a different lawyer or can we both use the same one?

As your lawyer, we cannot also advise your partner as this would be a conflict of interest.  Your partner can consult their own independent lawyer if they choose to but it is not a requirement.

How long does it take to get a divorce?

The length of time depends on many factors including time taken for your partner’s solicitors to respond. It can take between 7-9 months from the beginning of divorce proceedings to get a final divorce order. We can advise you at every stage of the process.

What is a Final Divorce Order?

A final divorce order marks the formal end of a marriage. If your partner dies after getting a final divorce order but before you have a financial settlement, then you will no longer be considered as a widow/widower. As a result, you could lose some benefits such as a widow’s/widower’s state pension benefits.  It is important to discuss your particular circumstances with your lawyer in order to ascertain the most appropriate time to apply for the final order.

What if my partner won’t respond to the divorce application?

It is possible to proceed with a divorce even if your partner does not respond to it.  We can provide expert advice on how to move forward.  

Can I claim my partner’s pension?

A pension can be viewed as a marital asset. Seek advice from our Divorce team who can explain what you may or may not be able to claim from your partner in a divorce.

Do I have to wait until I am divorced to make my will or can I just amend my existing will?

We would advise that you consider the content of your will as soon as possible when considering separation or divorce. Our Wills and Probate team can give expert advice on creating and amending your will.

If our property is in my partner's name, do I still have a right over it when we divorce?

All the matrimonial assets are considered regardless of the name they are in. It is important to take advice. As you may need to urgently protect your interest in the property if it is not in your sole name or owned jointly with your partner.

My partner wants me to sign a post-nuptial agreement. What does this involve and how can you help?

A post-nuptial agreement can address what is to happen to your income, property, pensions and other assets in the event of divorce. You need to enter into a post-nuptial agreement of your own free will, without pressure from your partner. You must also have a full appreciation of the implications of signing a post-nup and have full details of your partner's financial circumstances.  The agreement must be 'fair' to you both.  A post-nuptial agreement is not automatically legally binding in the event of a divorce, but the court will attach weight to the presence of such an agreement.  The court has the power to make whatever order it feels reasonable in the circumstances of the case but the existence of a post-nup can be influential.

Do we need a lawyer if we can come to a financial agreement between ourselves?

We would advise that you gain legal advice due to the complexity of this area of the law. 

You can reach an agreement yourselves or with the assistance of a mediator.  It is advisable to take legal advice to make sure your 'agreement' is fair to you.  We are able to draw up the appropriate documentation confirming the terms of the agreement and ensure it is legally binding on you both.

Any financial agreement you reach should still be approved by the court to make sure it is legally binding.  In some cases, when parties are not represented by a lawyer, the judge may refuse to make the agreement legally binding if he or she does not believe the parties are fully aware of the implications of signing up to such an agreement or if the judge does not believe the agreement to be fair in all the circumstances.

Can my partner claim my inheritance after divorce?

It is possible to exclude inheritance money received during the marriage from your financial settlement agreement by using a post-nuptial agreement. This also applies to property or other assets if they are expressly incorporated into a post-nuptial agreement.

Call us for a free, initial, no-obligation 30-minute consultation.  Contact Susan Davies in confidence on 01827 317070 or email sdavies@pickerings-solicitors.com