basic divorce Guide

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A basic guide to divorce

The divorce process can seem very complicated and includes many complicated specialist legal terms and procedures.

This can make divorce seem very complicated. However, at MIAMS  we work to make separation and divorce as simple as possible. We are here to advise you and to make sure that you understand every step of the procedure.

In order to do so, we have drawn up a list of the most common questions that people ask us when they are considering a divorce.

This simple guide will tell you what you need to know about divorce and the divorce process.

Must I undertake mediation?

You should normally attend a MIAM (Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings) as this is a requirement of the court. 

If you do not complete a MIAM you could be subject to more court fees.

There are a number of technical exceptions to this, but it is normally the case that mediation is required.

Your mediator will be required to produce form FM1 which is required by a court before they will progress your form further. MIAM can help you to consider a MIAM meetings and the FM1 form and court forms.

You will need a marriage certificate in order to complete your divorce paperwork. Or to do you divorce application online.

What is mediation?

Mediation is a process where the partners meet to discuss areas of disagreement regarding assets and child considerations.

It may be that there are few, or no disagreements, in which case the mediation procedure will be short. In very rare cases, where there are no disagreements, there is no requirement for mediation.

What are grounds for divorce?

Grounds for divorce are conditions which are acceptable for a divorce. There are a number of grounds which are acceptable.

In most cases, unacceptable behaviour is grounds for divorce. However, these will need to be considered by a court. You will need to take sound advice on whether there are acceptable grounds for divorce. Or you can be subject to additional court fees.

No-fault divorce in the UK, introduced on April 6, 2022, marks a significant change in divorce law, aiming to simplify and reduce conflict in the process.

No Requirement for Fault: Couples no longer need to assign blame or prove fault (such as adultery, unreasonable behavior, or desertion) to obtain a divorce. Instead, they can simply state that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.

Joint Applications: Spouses can now make a joint application for divorce, reflecting a mutual decision to end the marriage. This helps in minimizing conflict and promoting amicable separations.

Minimum Timeframe: There is a minimum period of 20 weeks from the start of proceedings to when the court issues a conditional order (previously known as a decree nisi). This period is intended to provide couples with time to reflect and potentially reconcile.

Six-Week Period: Following the conditional order, there is a further six-week period before a final order (previously known as a decree absolute) can be made, finalizing the divorce.

Terminology Changes: The terminology has been modernized, with the “decree nisi” now being called a “conditional order” and the “decree absolute” now called a “final order”.

No-fault divorce represents a significant shift in the UK’s approach to marriage dissolution, focusing on reducing conflict, simplifying the legal process, and promoting amicable resolutions. This change is expected to have a positive impact on families undergoing the challenging process of divorce. Speak to MIAMS Mediation Today.

What about finances and other property?

Technically, a divorce simply means that the marriage has ended. There needs to be a separate dispute about property and finance.

When filing for a financial order in a divorce, there are several steps that must be taken. First, the divorcing couple will need to gather all their financial claims and present it to the court.

This includes any assets each spouse owns, debts owed to or by either spouse, income of each spouse, expenses paid or incurred by either party, and any other financial matters in dispute. The court will then review this information and make an equitable division of marital assets and liabilities.

 After all required documents have been submitted, the court will issue a formal decree outlining the terms of the financial order regarding such matters as child support or alimony payments, division of property and debt responsibilities, and other related issues.

A court will only be involved in these considerations after you have obtained the Decree Nisi agreement. The costs involved with considering financial and property matters can be very onerous.

In some cases these costs can substantially reduce the value of your assets and property. To prevent this from occurring we advise all of our clients to consider speaking to MIAMS .

What about adultery?

This could count as a reasonable ground for divorce or dissolution. However, your own adultery does not mean that you can pursue divorce proceedings. This will not be accepted by the court. 

Through mediation you can arrive at an agreed position on financial and property matters that can then be agreed by a court.

What is a separation?

Couples may decide to separate before they undertake a divorce or dissolution. In this case, a separation agreement should be drawn up.

This agreement can help to reduce the time involved should you then with to undertake a divorce. A separation agreement usually involves taking into account financial and child maintenance consideration.

It is good practice to produce a separation agreement before divorce,

Civil partnership

If a couple in a civil partnership wishes to end their union, they must go through the civil partnerships divorce or dissolution process. This involves applying for a dissolution order from the court.

The court will then examine the reasons given for ending the partnership and decide whether to grant the order.

Depending on where the couple lives, other steps may need to be taken before or after the order is granted.

You will need your  civil partnership certificate and a valid form of ID to apply for the final order.

A dissolution of a civil partnership has similar legal consequences to those of divorce, including division of assets and pension rights.

Will I have to explain my divorce to a judge?

It is unusual to have to appear in court to gain a divorce. In rare situations, when you can not reach agreement, you may have to appear in front of a judge. Your Mediation will be able to advise.

How long should I be married before I get a divorce?

You should be married for at least 12 months before you get a divorce. This is a legal requirement.