How long will it take to get divorced?
Typically a divorce takes between 6 and 12 months (assuming the court are not asked to also decide financial issues) but for the last few years Bury St Edmunds divorce unit has been swamped. This has meant divorces and financial agreements have been delayed and clients have had a stressful time.
RudlingsWakelam joined the court online portal and that means we can manage divorce applications online. Clients have commented how easy the process is and Elisabeth Sneade, our senior family solicitor, says the online system offers ‘a much better experience for clients as applications are processed quickly, there are minimal delays and there is no need to wait 20 weeks for the court to respond which is what has been happening with the paper-based divorce system as it is overwhelmed’.
Elisabeth says that clients have been asking lots of questions about divorce and she has helpfully set out some of those below. If you want to have a chat with Elisabeth about your own situation get in touch
Can I do the divorce myself?
Yes – you can apply online, and the government website has useful information explaining how you get started. Alternatively, Elisabeth can help you and will do the divorce work at a fixed fee. However, remember that a DIY divorce might not be the best idea if you have children under 18, a valuable home, pensions, or complicated investments. If you can tick any of these off your list, you should seek specialist legal advice.
Is there a court fee?
Yes, it is £550 but quite often couples agree to share the court fee.
What about a financial agreement?
It is important not to forget this part! Elisabeth says ‘quite often people think they have their decree absolute and that’s the divorce finished. The trouble is, without the financial agreement also being approved by the court it is always possible for one person to ask the other for more money in the future and that inevitably causes problems later on’. Don’t forget to negotiate your clean break agreement.
What will a financial agreement cover?
• Savings and investments
• Lump-sum payments
• Personal belongings
• Agreed payments to support each other and your children
How do I get a financial agreement approved by the court?
RudlingsWakelam can upload your financial agreement to the online court system so long as your divorce is also being processed online. Elisabeth says that ‘typically, financial agreements are being approved within weeks compared to 4 or 5 months if waiting for the local divorce units.’
What else do I need to know?
Just because you can apply for a divorce online without legal advice doesn’t mean that is the right thing for you. Remember these are tricky issues, and if you make an error completing the application online, you could face delays. So, if you want to chat about your own situation, contact Elisabeth.