Getting a divorce is often seen as a daunting process with the potential for a lot of conflict. Fortunately, the law has now changed to allow separating couples to apply for a divorce together. This is known as a joint divorce application and it can help to make divorce quicker and less stressful.
New divorce rules came into force across England and Wales on 6 April 2022. As well as allowing couples to apply for a divorce together, these rules also mean there is no longer any need to assign blame for the end of the marriage.
An individual can still apply for divorce alone (known as a ‘sole application’), in which case their spouse will be served with a copy and will need to return an ‘Acknowledgement of Service’ form to the court. A joint divorce application does not require this additional step.
Our divorce solicitors at Woolley & Co have extensive experience in supporting couples throughout every aspect of divorce proceedings. We appreciate that this can be a tense time, particularly if there is conflict between you and your ex-partner. Using our expertise, we can help to sidestep conflict and aid you in getting a straight-forward divorce, while ensuring your interests are protected.
We can advise you on all aspects of getting a divorce, including:
- Making a joint or sole divorce application
- Legal advice on the no-fault divorce process and timescales
- Understanding the legal implications of ending your marriage
- Division of finances
- Child arrangements
Take a look at our team to find a divorce lawyer who is right for you.
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Take advantage of a free 30-minute telephone appointment to talk through your situation. We will explain your options and how we can help. You will find our family solicitors are friendly, approachable and knowledgeable.
How we can help with joint applications for divorce
Making a joint divorce application
To apply for a divorce, you will need to complete an online application (although this can be done on paper if you don’t have access to the internet). As part of the application the couple must include their names, contact details and a certified copy of their marriage certificate. The couple must also confirm that the court has the necessary jurisdiction to handle their case.
It is relatively straight-forward to make the application online yourself, alternatively our solicitors can support you through making your application, giving you confidence that everything has been completed correctly. Once your application has been submitted, we can also assist with the next two stages of the divorce process – applying for the Conditional Order and Final Order. Applying for these orders promptly helps to ensure your divorce goes ahead as quickly as possible.
Legal advice on the no fault divorce process
There have been a number of changes to the way divorce works under the new rules now in force. It is important to understand how these work and what they mean for your divorce.
Our divorce lawyers can ensure that you understand your responsibilities, legal rights and what to expect at each stage of the process. Getting divorced is a decision that can affect your future finances, pension and taxes, which is why it’s important not to proceed without legal advice.
Division of finances
As part of the divorce process you will be asked questions about whether you wish to apply for financial orders. Our solicitors can advise what this means and on the actions you may need to take.
When you’re getting divorced, separating your finances tends to be the lengthiest stage of the process. You will typically need to divide your finances and assets, including investments, savings, pensions and properties. You may also need to make provision for child maintenance and spousal maintenance, depending on the circumstances.
Our divorce lawyers at Wooley & Co can help you to negotiate your financial settlement amicably where possible. If you and your ex-partner cannot reach a financial settlement this way, we can assist you with applying to a family court to decide how your finances should be divided.
Deciding arrangements for children is sometimes straightforward, but it can also be a major source of conflict. At all times, the focus should be on the needs of your children, but it is also important to protect your relationship with them.
We can assist with agreeing child arrangements voluntarily through private negotiation and alternative dispute resolution, including supporting you through the mediation process for example. If this approach is not successful, we can also support you with applying to a family court for a Child Arrangements Order.
Frequently asked questions about joint divorce applications
How do I make a joint divorce application?
The steps to making a joint divorce application are:
- You and your spouse will each need to complete an online application (or a paper application if you decide to go down this route)
- As part of the application process you will need to decide whether you wish to apply for a financial order
- The court will ‘issue’ the divorce application.
- 20 weeks after the divorce application is issued by the court, you can apply for a Conditional Order (formerly known as the Decree Nisi). This confirms that the court sees no reason your divorce cannot proceed.
- During this 20 week waiting period you should finalise your financial agreement and file a Consent Order with the court if you are in agreement.
- 6 weeks after the Conditional Order is granted, you will need to apply for the Final Order (formerly known as the Decree Absolute). This legally ends your marriage.
Please note: Although you can complete this process yourself, it is advisable that you seek the help of a lawyer before starting the divorce application process. This helps to ensure that you understand the full implications of getting divorced for your personal situation.
How long does a joint divorce application take?
It now takes a minimum of 7 months to get a divorce in England and Wales. This is due to the compulsory 20-week and 6-week waits outlined above and the time taken for response from both parties and the courts.
How long it takes to divide your finances and make child arrangements will depend on the circumstances. Generally, if you can agree on these issues voluntarily, it will be much faster than if you need to apply to a family court to deal with them.
Do I need legal advice before making a joint application for divorce?
A divorce is the legal ending of a marriage and there are important legal implications you should understand. One of our experienced divorce solicitors will be able to explain all of this to you and advise on any actions you might need to take in relation to your will, home ownership, pension beneficiaries and tax arrangements which will all be affected by your divorce.
Whilst the divorce ends the marriage it does not automatically sever financial ties. Our divorce solicitors will be able to advise on and draft a legally binding agreement that does this for you. If necessary, this can include a clean break clause to ensure neither party is able to make any financial claim on the other at any point in the future.
Our divorce solicitors in the UK are here for you
Applying for a divorce and dealing with issues around finances and children can be stressful, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Our sensitive, expert team are on hand to guide you and keep things as straightforward as possible.