Family law

Does it matter who files the divorce petition?

Legally or financially, it doesn’t matter who starts the divorce process. The decision as to who becomes the applicant is often based more on emotion than reason.

Read more

young woman gazing out of window

The divorce expertise you need

Slater and Gordon's experienced lawyers have extensive experience of divorce proceedings. Call us now on 0330 041 5869 or contact us and we will call you.

Talk to a family law expert today

Contact us

Does it really matter who starts divorce proceedings?

It generally doesn't matter who starts the divorce process, and you’re able to do so jointly if you wish. The decision as to who should be the one to apply for divorce is often more an emotional one, and the reasons for the marriage breakdown usually have no impact on the financial outcome unless they’re extreme.

In the case of a joint application, the court will send notice of the issued application to both parties, and they must acknowledge receipt.

With a sole application, the respondent must file an acknowledgement of service - a document asking the respondent to acknowledge receipt of notice that the applicant wishes to divorce.

If one spouse feels particularly hurt, it may help them to be the one to begin the divorce, otherwise a joint application may be appropriate.

Does it help to talk before filing for divorce?

Failing to reach an argeement with regards to child arrangements, property and matrimonial finances can lead to considerable delays and more hostile environments. So, if possible, it's best to try and talk things through with your spouse; and either forewarn them of your plans or ask if they'd like to file the divorce application jointly.

Raising the issue of divorce with your spouse will of course be difficult if this isn’t something you’ve spoken about before. In such a situation, you need to consider that although you may have already begun detaching yourself from the marriage, your spouse may need longer to adjust and to begin to grieve the loss of the marriage.

Divorce may be hard for both of you. That's why it’s usually sensible to allow your spouse the time they need, rather than to push forward too quickly. There’s a 20 week timescale between the issue of the application and the conditional order (the midway stage of the divorce), which provides a period of reflection. Following that, there’s a 6-week timescale from conditional order to final order (the legal end to the marriage). Therefore, there’ll be a minimum timeframe of six months from the date the application is issued to final order, allowing you plenty of time to talk things through.

Do I need legal help to divorce in the UK?

Strictly speaking, there is no requirement in law for you to use solicitors in order to gain a divorce. If you are one of those rare couples who have an equal wish to divorce amicably, are able to split all of your assets equitably, and intend to share childcare equally, you may well proceed without legal help although if you reach an agreement about finances, you should protect your position with a consent order.

However, very few divorces are without some complexities meaning that it is often best to seek legal advice to ensure that your interests are protected as far as possible.

So whether you intend to start divorce proceedings, or have just received a petition in the post, call us now on 0330 041 5869 or contact us and we will call you.

Search our website
Sorry, we have no results to show
Please try a different search term.
Oops, something went wrong
Please try typing in your search again.
Back to top