Quicky divorce? Not so fast!

You can now apply for a divorce online, which gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “quicky divorce”, much loved in the tabloids.  While the online process is streamlined, it has been possible for the last 45 years for a divorce application to be sent to the court without involving a solicitor.

There are a number of pitfalls for the unwary however.

Firstly check to make sure neither you (nor your spouse) are wholly or partially exempt from the court fee on the basis of your means.  If your spouse qualifies for fee exemption, consider whether they should petition for the divorce instead.

Secondly, make sure you tick the boxes for your finances to be considered – recent case law has shown that an ex-spouse may be able to claim years later if there has not been a financial remedy order.  My advice would be not to do this without legal advice to make sure you have considered everything and that any proposed settlement is fair to you – whether this has been agreed with your spouse informally or after mediation.   You will have to make a separate financial remedies application however before the court will consider the financial aspects.

Thirdly, unless you really want to have to serve a third party, (and make sure that they will admit adultery), do not name your spouse’s new partner.  You can just cite adultery with an unnamed person if you know that your spouse will admit adultery – their new partner may not be so accommodating and this could lead to the expense and delay of a contested divorce when this is not necessary.

Fourthly:  some pernickety points

(a)    If you were married abroad, you need to make sure you have a properly translated marriage certificate, certified by an independent translator before you file the application for divorce.

(b)   Do you and your spouse satisfy the residence or domicile requirements if you have been working or living abroad?  You may still be domiciled here, even if you have worked abroad for years, it will depend on your circumstances.

For further information please contact Tim Owers at or call 01394 279636.

This article provides only a general summary and is not intended to be comprehensive.  Special legal advice should be taken in any individual situation.

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