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Distanced Couple

Divorce Procedure

Here we want to provide with you an easy to follow step-by-step divorce guide. Getting divorced is an overwhelming and sometimes lengthy procedure, so here we hope to demystify some of that for you.

Firstly, if you have been married for over a year, provided you or your spouse is either domiciled, or has been resident in England or Wales during the preceding six months; you can then commence divorce proceedings regardless of where the marriage took place. Secondly, the only ground for divorce is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 reforms the process for divorce; it amends the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 rather than writes a new law.

A welcome change 
The new divorce law covers marriage, civil partnership, nullity and judicial separation. The act aims to reduce the potential for conflict amongst divorcing couples by:
· removing the ability to make allegations about the conduct of a spouse
· allowing couples to end their marriage jointly
The act also introduces a new minimum period of 20 weeks between the start of divorce proceedings and the application for conditional order. The reason for this is that it should provide couples with a meaningful period of reflection and the chance to reconsider. However, where divorce is inevitable, it enables couples to cooperate and plan for the future.
It will no longer be possible to contest/defend a divorce, except on very exceptional and limited grounds including jurisdiction.
There will also be an opportunity to apply for divorce jointly, so parties can file ‘joint applications’ for divorce by agreement.
It must be remembered that ‘irretrievable breakdown’ remains the only basis of divorce which is the same as the old law.
It will take 26 weeks from the divorce petition being issued before the final divorce order can be made. There will still be separate decrees in the divorce process namely Decree Nisi at 20 weeks which is now the conditional order and then Decree Absolute 6 weeks and 1 day later which is now the final order.

Some changes to note

In an attempt to change the culture during the divorce process,new language has been adopted under the new law, as follows:
- Divorce petition is now divorce application
- Petitioner is now the Applicant and Applicant 1 if it’s a joint application
- Divorce decrees are now divorce orders
- Decree Nisi is the conditional order
- Decree Absolute is the divorce order (which is likely to be known as the final order)
- Decree of nullity is a nullity of marriage order
- Decree of judicial separation is a judicial separation order
- A defended case will be known as a disputed case

Once you are divorced it is important that you make a Will or if you have a Will already, we strongly advise you get this updated. We offer Will writing services and details can be found by clicking here.

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