Q. Can I get a divorce?
A. The answer is yes, if you have come to the decision your marriage has irretrievably broken down and you have been married for a year or longer. You cannot issue proceedings beforehand unless you believe your marriage is invalid or void.
Q.How long do I have to wait to get a divorce once my marriage has broken down?
A. From 6 April 2022 couples will be able to issue proceedings using the “no fault” divorce process where there will not be the requirement to cite fault or wait a minimum of 2 years before you can issue proceedings. No longer will one spouse have to say that the other spouse is at fault in order to obtain a divorce without waiting two years or five years. The process is 26 weeks long from inception through to completing the divorce although this could take longer if there are financial issues to resolves. Blaming one party for the divorce creates argument and increases acrimony, in turn increasing costs and emotional distress. This will benefit both parties especially where children are involved as it will reduce conflict and hopefully lead to a more collaborative approach being followed.
Q. Can my spouse defend the divorce?
A. Under the new process “no fault divorce” you can no longer defend a petition.
Q. Can I still seek costs?
A. Yes, you can still seek costs from the other party but it is preferable to try to agree how the divorce proceedings will be paid and what contribution you both want to make to the process.
Q. When I get my Decree Absolute am I divorced?
A. The term Decree Absolute is now being replaced by Final Divorce Order. It is the same as Decree Absolute and will finalise your divorce. It is an important document and you should keep it in a safe place. You will need to retain the Final Divorce Order if you want to remarry. It is also advisable to consider updating your Will at this stage if you have not done so already.
Spousal Maintenance on Divorce (FAQs)
Q. Is it available?
A. Yes, the court has the power to make this order in certain circumstances where your spouse is required to assist you with meeting your day to day needs.
Q. Will it be paid for the rest of my life?
A. Spousal maintenance for life is not a default position as there is an expectation for the recipient to become, if possible, financial independent. However the level of maintenance and length of time someone receives it are all down to the individual case.
Q. Will I get it whilst my children are small?
A. Whether you are entitled to spousal maintenance will depend on a number of factors that are individual to your case.
Q. Do I need to get a job?
A. Whether you “need” to get a job will be something that is considered during any discussions concerning the financial issues pertinent to your case. There remains an expectation however, that if possible, you should look to make the transition to financial independence as soon as is practicable.