Can you get divorced without going to court?
You can get divorced without going to court. However, you can't get divorced without paying a fee to the court. Some online companies offer 'cheap' divorce packages, but they often don't include the £550 court fee and you end up paying a lot more than you expected. Before you commit to one of these companies, you should check whether your circumstance allow for you to get a divorce without going to court.
You can get divorced without going to court if you and your partner both agree you want a divorce and the reasons why. You should try and agree the reason for your divorce with your partner. There are 5 'grounds for divorce' to show your marriage has irretrievably broken down:
- Your partner has committed adultery and you cannot continue to live with them
- They have behaved in such a way that it would be unreasonable to expect you to continue living together i.e. they have been violent towards you
- They have abandoned you for a continuous period of 2 years or more
- You and your partner have been living separately for 2 years or more and you both agree to the divorce
- You and your partner have been living separately for 5 years or more
You will only need approval from your partner if you chose '2 years separation with consent' (number 4). If you're relying on '5 years separation' it is very unlikely you will need to go to court for your divorce.
Once you have decided what your grounds for divorce is, you will need to complete a divorce petition. The completed petition is sent to the court and at this point you will need to pay a £550 fee.
If your partner disagrees with the divorce or the grounds for divorce you may need to go to court. However, before you go to court you will be encouraged to try alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation, arbitration or collaborative law.
If you are unable to come to an agreement with you partner using these alternative techniques you will need to go to court. In court, the Judge will consider all the evidence and make a decision on the based on what has been provided.
If you and your partner agree to your divorce and the reasons why, it is possible to get it legally finalised within 4 to 6 months. However, before you end your marriage you will need to decide:
- How to divide any money you share
- What happens to your home
- Where your children will live, if you have any
It is often not as easy to agree on this. If you cannot agree then you will be asked to undertake mediation or another form of alternative dispute resolution to come to a decision. If that doesn't work, you will need to go to court where the Judge will decide what happens to your money, home and children.
It is possible to get divorced without going to court, as long as your partner agrees to the divorce and the reasons why. However, it is still possible that you will need to go to court to decide what happens to money, property and children. You should try and agree this with your partner before you divorce to make the process as easy as possible. You should also make sure you speak to a solicitor to ensure you are no getting exploited by your partner.
If you're considering divorce or have any questions please contact us in London (West Drayton) on 01895 449288 or in Hertfordshire (St Albans) on 01727 840900 or by email via our contact page.