Can I Contest a Divorce? – What you need to know 

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Divorce is a significant life event that can have far-reaching implications for individuals and families. Couples not only need to navigate the breakdown of their relationship but also the sharing of assets, money and childcare.

Throughout the process of divorce, you will need someone experienced in this field of law to fight for your best interests. Having the right team on your side can make the divorce process as stress free as possible during this difficult time. Our panel of family law solicitors are experienced and well-equipped to assist clients in their divorce proceedings, providing expert legal advice on the breakdown of a marriage or civil partnership in a sensitive manner.

What is a no fault divorce?

In the UK, a “no-fault divorce” refers to a type of divorce where neither spouse is required to prove that the other spouse did something wrong or was at fault for the breakdown of the marriage. Instead, it allows couples to seek a divorce without placing blame on one party or the other.

Historically, under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, couples seeking a divorce in the UK had to establish one of several specific grounds for divorce, such as adultery, unreasonable behavior, desertion, or a separation period of two or five years. This often meant that one spouse had to attribute fault to the other, which could lead to additional conflict and animosity during the divorce process.

However, as of September 2020, the UK introduced significant reforms to divorce laws to enable the implementation of no-fault divorces. The Divorce, Dissolution, and Separation Act 2020, which came into effect in April 2022, removes the requirement to prove fault and instead introduces a new “no-fault” ground for divorce.

Under the new law, a spouse will be able to apply for a divorce by making a statement saying that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. This statement will be sufficient evidence to proceed with the divorce, without the need to assign blame or establish any wrongdoing. It is aimed at making the divorce process more amicable, reducing conflict, and promoting a more constructive approach to ending a marriage.

The introduction of no-fault divorce in the UK reflects a shift towards a more modern and compassionate approach to marital breakdowns. It recognizes that, in many cases, attributing blame may not be necessary or helpful for the divorcing couple or their families, and that focusing on resolving practical matters, such as finances and child arrangements, is often more beneficial.

It is important to note that the specifics of the new law and the process for obtaining a no-fault divorce in the UK may vary, and it is advisable to consult with a family law solicitor to understand the latest legislation and how it applies to individual circumstances.

Can you contest a divorce?

The introduction of no fault divorces mean that there is no longer any ground to contest a divorce. It also means that an abusive spouse can no longer prolong an unhappy marriage through contesting. The possibility of objecting to a divorce only exists in very rare and exceptional circumstances, such as on the basis of jurisdiction.

Updating divorce terminology

Alongside the introduction of no fault divorces, the terminology used throughout divorce proceedings has been updated to make it more accessible to non-legal individuals. The individual starting the divorce process is now referred to as the “applicant” instead of the “petitioner.” Additionally, the previously used term “decree nisi” has been replaced with “conditional order,” while the term “decree absolute” has been substituted with “final order.” These adjustments reflect updates made to the legal terminology surrounding divorce proceedings in England and Wales.

Will you need to attend court?

In the past, it was possible for a respondent in a divorce case to contest the proceedings, which could have necessitated a court appearance. However, with the introduction of no-fault divorces and the elimination of the right to contest a divorce petition, parties are now less likely to be summoned to court, unless there is a dispute over legal expenses.

How much do divorce solicitors cost?

When initiating a divorce application, you will be required to pay a fee of £593 in addition to the costs associated with hiring a solicitor and any other expenses related to the divorce process such as court fees if it progresses to court.

We work with a selection of divorce solicitors who offer fixed fee services. Your solicitor will provide you with a detailed breakdown of the fees at the beginning of your case, ensuring transparency and clarity.

Please note that unless your situation involves domestic abuse, child abduction, or the risk of homelessness, you may not be eligible for Legal Aid in England and Wales. However, in certain circumstances, Legal Aid may be available for mediation services.

How can Expert Family Law assist?

Our panel of friendly and professional divorce lawyers have the expertise and experience to deal with your case professionally and with empathy. They will guide you through the divorce process, helping you to make the difficult decisions in an understanding, non-judgmental manner.

We ensure that the divorce solicitors on our panel have the skills and experience required to assist on your legal case. We can assure you that your case will be dealt with in a compassionate and understanding manner.

Each solicitor we work with is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

Our panel of divorce solicitors and experienced family law firms will help you to navigate a range of issues and disputes, such as financial matters and will assist you in reaching an agreement on such issues.

Whether you are going through a divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership, our panel of family law solicitors will provide pragmatic legal advice and assistance, guiding you through every step of the financial dispute resolution process.

Get in touch today using the form at the top of the page to find out if a divorce solicitor from our panel could help on your case.

 

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