Most UK divorces go unchallenged by the spouse on the receiving end of a divorce petition, allowing the process to move ahead faster and with less stress and disruption for both parties. To give yourself the best chance of achieving this and avoiding a defended divorce, it is essential to have the right legal advice from experienced divorce lawyers.
Bird & Co’s family law team work with clients all over the UK on both undefended and defended divorces from our offices in Grantham, Newark and Lincoln. Our experience and focus on non-confrontational dispute resolution mean we can help to keep the divorce process amicable wherever possible, allowing you to avoid unnecessary conflict.
Our divorce lawyers can advise you on the entire process for ending your marriage. This includes everything from filling out and submitting a divorce petition and responding to a divorce petition, to ensuring all of the relevant court orders are applied for promptly, allowing your divorce to proceed as quickly and smoothly as possible.
By offering clear, practical advice in plain English, we can help minimise the risk of your partner deciding to defend the divorce. For example, we can help you choose reasons for the divorce to cite in the petition that will be sufficient to satisfy a court that your marriage is truly over, while not requiring your spouse to agree to behaviour they may wish to deny.
We will handle your divorce with compassion and empathy, while always ensuring all of the practical issues are efficiently dealt with and taking every effort to keep unnecessary conflict out of the proceedings. That way, we can help to make ending your marriage as easy as possible on you and your loved ones.
If your spouse has challenged your divorce petition, or you believe that they might, our team are also highly experienced in defended divorce.
Speak to one of our divorce solicitors today by calling 01476 404 113 or use the contact form on the right and we will get back to you promptly.
How an undefended divorce works
The standard steps involved in an undefended divorce are as follows:
Filing for divorce – You will need to fill out a divorce petition giving your reasons for the breakdown of your marriage and submit this to the relevant court. As of May 2018, you can now do this online as well as through the post.
Responding to the divorce petition – Once the court receives your petition, they will send your spouse a copy. They will then have 8 days to respond, confirming that they do not wish to defend the divorce. In the event they do choose to defend the divorce, they would be given a further 21 days to explain their reasons for doing so.
Receiving your decree nisi – Once the court is satisfied that there is no reason your divorce cannot go ahead, they will issue an official document to that effect, known as a ‘decree nisi’.
Applying for a decree absolute – Once the decree nisi has been issued, you will need to wait a minimum of 43 days and then apply for a decree absolute. Once the decree absolute has been issued, your marriage is legally ended.
How long does an undefended divorce take?
This will vary depending on the circumstances, but a typical undefended divorce will take around 6 months. Working with an efficient legal team who can ensure all of the necessary documents are processed and submitted promptly can significantly speed up the process.
How much does an undefended divorce cost?
We are often able to offer fixed fee divorce services for undefended divorce, while other services, such as making a financial settlement or arrangements for children, may be charged on an hourly basis.
Our team are always happy to provide a transparent quote at the outset to give you a clear picture of the likely costs involved, so please contact us for a quote.
Why can’t I get a ‘no fault’ divorce?
Under current English law, there is no such thing as a ‘no fault’ divorce i.e. one where you and your spouse can simply agree to end your relationship without needing to assign blame. This means that if you wish to get divorced, you will need to show that your marriage has permanently broken down and give one of the 5 accepted reasons as to why this is so.
The accepted reasons for divorce in England and Wales are:
Adultery – Where your spouse has been unfaithful with some of the opposite sex (same-sex infidelity currently falls under ‘unreasonable behaviour’ instead).
Desertion – Where your spouse has left you for at least 2 years out of the last 2.5 years and did not have your consent to do so, nor a good reason and their intention was to end your relationship.
Separation for 2 year or more – Where you and your spouse have lived separately for at least 2 years and both agree to the divorce.
Separation for 5 years of more – Where you and your spouse have lived separately for at least 5 years, in which case you do not need your spouse’s agreement for the divorce.
Unreasonable behaviour – The most commonly used reason for divorce, this means that your spouse’s behaviour has been such that you can no longer reasonably be expected to live with them.
This covers a wide range of issues, some of which, such as your spouse spending too much time at work or out with friends, may not be particularly contentious. However, others, such as alcoholism, drug addiction or domestic abuse, may be more challenging to reach agreement on.
To give yourself the best chance of your divorce going undefended, it is often important to carefully pick the right reasons for the breakdown of your marriage to cite in your divorce petition. This is something our lawyers can advise you on and, where the divorce is amicable, something that we may be able to help you discuss with your spouse up front.
Our expertise in both defended and undefended divorce
Bird & Co’s divorce solicitors are highly experienced in both defended and undefended divorce, with decades of experience across our team. We can provide the clear, empathetic advice and support you need to make the divorce process as simple and straightforward as possible, allowing you to smoothly and quickly move on with your life.
As well as guiding you through the legal process of ending your marriage, we can also assist with all of the practical issues that tend to arise during a divorce. This includes making a financial settlement and arrangements for any children you have. We can also advise you on the use of any pre-nuptial agreement or post-nuptial agreement you entered into and how this may impact your financial settlement.
Individual members of our family law team include Estelle Conron, an accredited specialist with the Law Society’s Children Panel, and Sally Tarlton-Weatherall, who is accredited by Resolution with specialisms in complex financial remedies and domestic abuse. Their expertise, combined with the knowledge and skills of the rest of our team, mean we can successfully guide you through even the most complex divorce issues, helping you to avoid the need for court action wherever possible.
Bird & Co has achieved the Law Society’s Lexcel accreditation for our excellent legal and professional standards and we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).