Are you filing for a divorce in England? While the no fault divorce UK laws have made the process easier there is still a lot to consider. Our simple divorce guide should help you understand better what to expect.

Grounds for Divorce England – No Fault Divorce UK

As of April 2022, you can now apply for what is called a no fault divorce. This was a landmark piece of legislation that has made it easier to get a legal divorce. Previously, as part of divorce you had to prove your other half was at fault. This was often messy and could trap people in marriages or civil partnerships they no longer wished to be in as they couldn’t adequately prove their partner’s guilt.

This has been an enormous leap forward in helping people trapped in abusive marriages. They do not need to dig up past trauma or enter into a legal battle with their abuser. Instead, they can simply dissolve the marriage and walk away. You also cannot contest a divorce anymore unless on the basis of jurisdiction.

This has made the divorce process in England much more straightforward.

UK Divorce Process

The first question to ask yourself in the divorce process England is ‘Am I eligible for divorce?’

In order to apply for a divorce you need to fulfil three criteria:

  • Your marriage must be legally recognised.
  • You must have been married for more than a year.
  • Your relationship must have broken down permanently.

For civil partnerships only the first two criteria apply.

What if you want a divorce but it’s been less than a year? You still have options. Whilst divorce is off the table right now, you can apply for a legal separation or an annulment. A legal separation means you can live apart without ending the marriage officially just yet. An annulment essentially undoes the marriage in the first place.

The Government Website also has a helpful step-by-step guide to divorce if you wish to learn more.

If you fulfil these criteria then you can move on to the application stage.

Divorce Application vs. Joint Divorce Application UK

At this stage you have a decision to make that will depend on the status of your relationship with your soon to be ex-partner. If you are on civil terms, you can submit a joint divorce application. In this instance, you will choose roles as Applicant 1 and Applicant 2. Applicant 1 is responsible for filling out the form and preparing the application. Then Applicant 2’s job is to check all of the information is correct.

If you are not on civil terms with your partner, but you are both aligned on wanting the divorce, we would recommend you use divorce solicitors in London for this step. They can act for you and bridge the gap so you do not have to.

The other option is a sole divorce application. In this case, the applicant fills out the application and delivers it to the court with the marriage certificate. The court will then issue the divorce papers to the other half. It is their responsibility to acknowledge that they have received the divorce papers. They have very limited options for contesting the divorce at this point. They can either say that the marriage was not legitimate in the first place, or that it falls outside of England and Wales’ jurisdiction.

Child Arrangements, Financial Settlements and More

This is the complicated bit. Ideally before filing the divorce application you will have agreed what will happen with your lives going forward. This includes: arrangements for the care and support of any children you have; divorce settlement agreements for finances like pensions, joint accounts, and properties; your living situations.

This is often the most difficult part of getting a divorce. When you build a life with another person it can be hard to separate it all out at the end. If any of the things listed are a point of contention between you and your partner, we would highly recommend seeking the help of divorce lawyers in London. If any of these issues end up going to court, it will be complicated and expensive. A specialised divorce solicitor can help you at this stage to come to an agreement and prevent all of that from happening, as well as help you get the best outcome if it does go that way.

These are complex issues and so have blog posts of their own. Have a look through the posts below:

How Long Does A No Fault Divorce Take?

One of the other changes introduced in no fault divorces is the wait period. There is now a minimum timeframe of 26 weeks between the application and the final order being issued.

A lot of people were concerned about the introduction of no fault divorces as they ran the risk of making divorce too quick and easy. There is a small minority of couples out there who may file for a divorce and then change their minds or work through the conflict that was breaking them apart. If that were to happen they would then be stuck getting a divorce they no longer want or may then have to remarry.

That is why the 26 week timeframe is known as the ‘period of reflection’.

How Much Is A Divorce in England?

So time for the big question. How much is a UK divorce? If you’ve read our blog post on the high price of failing to negotiate responsibly, you will know that there is not necessarily a simple answer to this question.

At bear minimum, a divorce will cost you £593. This is the cost of the Divorce Court Filing Fee and you will need to pay it when you submit your application. If everything is smooth sailing, you are in total agreement with your partner, and there are no complications a divorce could cost this little. You would not necessarily need a solicitor in this case, but we would still advise you to seek some legal support. Any errors in filling out the form will run up additional costs and take much longer so it is best to have a legal expert to help you avoid these pitfalls.

If you need to take out a financial order that will cost an added £305. The fee for child arrangement orders will be £255. You may need a mediator to help come to agreements in your divorce which on average would cost £200-£400 per hour. Divorce arbitration will cost thousands of pounds on top of all of that. In contested divorces it is not uncommon for the bill to hit the tens of thousands mark.

In short, divorce can be relatively affordable. It can also be painfully expensive. Sometimes these costs are unavoidable, like if you have children and an unreasonable partner. It may be that you need the court to step in and enforce what is best for your children. This is a cost worth paying. In other cases, however, couples can run up enormous costs that otherwise could be easily avoided.

Having experienced divorce solicitors in your corner can prove invaluable in a complicated divorce, because they can potentially save you large sums of money, legal headaches, and emotional distress in the long run.

Divorce Solicitors in London

At Hubbard Pegman and Whitney, our experienced Family Law team are here to help. They have walked countless couples through the divorce process and understand the intricacies and the pitfalls throughout. With the support of a family law attorney, you can have the peace of mind knowing that you have sound legal advice guiding you at every step. If you are looking for a divorce lawyers in London, then you are in the right place.

Get in touch today with the form on this webpage, via email at, or by phone on 0208 735 9770. Susanna Russell and Primrose Hudson are both expert family lawyers in London who will discuss your case with you.


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