Divorce: your action plan
Regardless of how angry, sad or hurt you feel try to remain civil when dealing with your wife. This helps to protect your children from emotional harm, keeps the legal costs down and makes your post divorce recovery less difficult.
Can we deal with the divorce ourselves?
It is possible to do-it-yourself using the forms and booklets that are available from your local county court. Trained mediators can help in the process. However, you will still need to use the court to record the divorce itself.
Do I need a solicitor?
Making arrangements for divorce can be a fairly complicated process. You will need to deal with the division of assets and to make sure that neither party is disadvantaged. This is particularly important when children are involved. You may decide that only a solicitor can help you through that process.
How do I get a divorce?
You must begin the process by filling in a form called a petition and taking it to any divorce county court or to the Principal Registry in London. You must have been married for more than one year and must prove to the court that your marriage has irretrievably broken down.
The court will accept one or more of the following grounds as proof:
- that your wife has committed adultery and that you find it intolerable to live with her
- that your wife’s behaviour has been so bad that you can no longer bear to live with her
- that your wife deserted you at least two years ago
- that you and your wife have lived apart for at least two years and she agrees to a divorce
- that you and your wife have lived apart for at least five years
If your wife is submitting the petition, she will have to prove one of the factors.
Will I have to attend court?
If you and your wife can agree on the division of assets, financial support and the arrangements for your children, you may not have to attend a court hearing at all.
You will need to attend a court hearing if you ask the court to make an order for financial support or you are unable to agree about the arrangements for your children.
What about our children?
If you can agree who your children will mainly live with (residence) and how and when you will both see them (contact), then there is no need to ask the court to make an order. If you can’t agree, then you may need to consider applying to the court for a residence or contact order. Either parent can apply for a residence order.
You may want to consider agreeing a parenting plan. This sets out the way that you and your wife intend to make arrangements for your children after divorce.
How much will the divorce cost?
The amount you pay will depend on your financial situation and the nature and complexity of your case. As a general rule, the more you disagree about, the more it will cost, because you'll have to go to court. As well as any solicitor’s fees, you may have to pay a fee for the following:
- to start your petition
- the document which shows you are divorced (the decree absolute)
- any applications for financial support or about your children.