Divorce frequently asked questions

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What is an uncontested divorce?

An uncontested divorce is one where you agree with the divorce and don’t try to defend it. Most divorces in England and Wales are uncontested. Uncontested divorce can also be known as undefended divorce.

What can I do if my ex won’t agree to an uncontested divorce?

If your ex won’t agree to an uncontested divorce, your only option is to wait for 5 years separation. If you choose this fact to support your divorce, your ex does not have to agree to it.

What is the difference between uncontested and undefended divorce?

There is no difference. They are just different names for the same thing.

What is a Decree Nisi?

A Decree Nisi is an order of the Court. It says that the petitioner (person who filed for divorce) can get a divorce providing that a good reason not to divorce is given. It will also give the earliest date that the divorce can end.

What is a Decree Absolute?

The Decree Absolute is a Court Order that ends a marriage. It can’t be issued for at least 6 weeks from the date of the Decree Nisi. This allows time to sort out your financial issues before you divorce.

Can I get a fixed fee divorce?

You can get a Fixed Fee Divorce if your divorce in uncontested. This means that your ex agrees with the divorce and doesn’t try to defend it.

Can I get a fixed fee divorce if the divorce is contested?

No. This is because your divorce is likely to be a lengthy Court battle and it’s impossible to give a fixed price for this.

What about the divorce financial arrangements?

The financial agreements you make with your ex are completely separate from your divorce. Most couples start the divorce process and then discuss, agree and finalise their financial arrangements before the Decree Absolute is issued.

It is important to remember that while a Decree Absolute will sever your marriage it does not sever the financial commitment that exists between you both. A financial order sealed by the court will sever this.

Speak to a Divorce Solicitor for legal advice on a Clean Break Order, which does end all financial ties with your ex or discuss a maintenance order that outlines exactly how long you’ll have to pay maintenance.

Can I sort out the financial arrangements if the divorce is contested?

Yes you can. As your financial arrangements are not linked to your divorce, you can manage this process separately. But you should be prepared that it probably won’t be a simple and straightforward process. This is because your divorce is contested and you may need to complete the financial arrangements through the Courts too.

Can I sort out the financial arrangements without a divorce?

Yes you can make arrangements with your ex but these will not be binding until a Court Order has been made and this can’t be done until the Decree Absolute is issued.

How do we sort out the child arrangements?

This is usually done by agreement and separate to your divorce. Your Divorce Solicitor can help you with this or you can attend Mediation with your ex to try to reach an amicable, or at the very least, a workable compromise.

As a last resort, you can go to Court and ask a Judge to decide. This is an expensive and time consuming option and any decision taken by the Judge is legally binding. If the decision doesn’t go your way, it could have a massive impact on your family life.

Can I use your divorce services if we were married abroad?

Yes you can. You may have additional costs to incur though, particularly if your marriage took place in a different language. You’ll need to get your marriage certificate translated into English as a starting point.

I divorced aboard but can I sort out the financial arrangements in England & Wales as I live in the UK?

Usually, the country that provided your Decree Absolute is the jurisdiction that will decide on the financial arrangements after your divorce if you cannot agree. But, if you can show the English & Welsh Courts a good enough reason for the financial arrangements to be decided here rather than in the other jurisdiction, you could apply for the courts here to decide your financial arrangements.

I was married in England but now live abroad, can I get divorced in England & Wales?

You’ll need to be habitually resident in England or Wales for at least 12 months before you file for divorce or if you are domiciled in England or Wales you can divorce here. Being domiciled in England or Wales means you are working overseas but intend to come back and not emigrate permanently.

How long will it take to get divorced?

This really depends on a number of factors. If your ex cooperates with you and there is no backlog in the Court administration processing centre, your divorce could be granted in around 6 months. More commonly though, divorce takes around 12 months.

How much does divorce cost?

Co-op Legal Services offer fixed fee divorce for £375 plus VAT (£450 including VAT). You can use our fixed fee divorce service if you are the petitioner (the person who starts the divorce process) and as long as your spouse does not defend the divorce.

How long will it take if it is uncontested or if it is contested?

An uncontested divorce will take less time than a contested divorce. If you have all the paperwork you need and your ex-spouse will complete all their paperwork immediately, this will speed up your divorce.

Our promise to you

  • No nasty surprises. We will provide a written quote before any work starts.

  • No legal jargon. We will take time to understand your needs and provide clear explanations so you completely understand what’s going on every step of the way.

  • Minimise stress. We will help you reach the best possible outcome for you and your family with the least possible distress.

  • Treat you as an individual. We do not believe in a one size fits all approach and we will work with you to find the solution that's right for you.

  • Handle your case with sensitivity. Our Family Solicitors, Lawyers and legal specialists are experts in family law and have specialist training to ensure they can help you through the challenges you are facing.

  • Fair pricing. Our fixed fee packages mean you know how much your legal work will cost.

About Co-op Legal Services

The family law team at Co-op Legal Services includes specialist Family Solicitors, Divorce Solicitors and Children Law Solicitors with Resolution accreditation and accredited experts in child abduction, co-habitation, domestic abuse, property disputes, high net worth money matters and financial advocacy.

Resolution is a national organisation of Family Lawyers committed to non-confrontational divorce, separation and other family problems.

Co-op Legal Services has over 600 staff working in different businesses with offices in Manchester, Bristol, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sheffield and London.

As part of the Co-op Group, our values of openness, honesty, social responsibility and caring for others are core to the service we provide.

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