Our Family Law experts have provided some information and answers here to some frequently asked questions regularly raised by our clients about separation, divorce and dissolution.

Do I have to attend at court during the divorce or civil partnership dissolution?

Both divorce and civil partnership dissolution tend to be paper exercises these days, such that the vast majority of parties do not have to attend at court unless there are other issues associated with the divorce, for example unresolved financial matters or disputes about children which need to be looked at closely by a judge or magistrates.

Do we have to get a divorce now that we have decided to separate?

When a relationship breaks down, there is no requirement for parties to pursue a divorce or civil partnership dissolution, however there may be finances or children matters to deal with. If for some reason you did not want to pursue divorce proceedings or a civil partnership dissolution, we would usually recommend that you consider entering into a ‘Separation Agreement’ which would deal with all issues relating to matrimonial or partnership assets and other issues concerning dependent children. Many couples however prefer to pursue divorce or civil partnership dissolution proceedings when things go wrong as it provides one with the certainty needed at a difficult time when the future might seem unsure.

How long does a divorce or civil partnership dissolution take to conclude?

No two divorces or civil partnership dissolutions are ever identical. In our experience however, a straightforward divorce or civil partnership dissolution usually takes between four and six months. If there are additional factors to consider, such as finances or children, then those matters may affect the length of time it takes to obtain the Decree Absolute.

How much does a straightforward divorce or civil partnership dissolution cost?

Since one case can vary so much to another we obviously prefer to tailor our advice about costs to you. At Fosters we genuinely believe that our costs are highly competitive and would urge you to contact us to discuss your requirements and get an idea of what you might have to pay.

Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for Legal Help which is a form of Public Funding (Legal Aid). The legal costs of those in receipt of Legal Aid tends to be significantly less than those paying on a private basis and ultimately those clients may not have to contribute to their costs at all.

What do the terms “Petitioner” and “Respondent” mean?

The petitioner is the spouse or civil partner who applies to the court for the marriage or civil partnership to be dissolved, whereas the respondent is the other party who must answer to those legal proceedings.

When can I petition the court to commence divorce proceedings or civil partnership dissolution?

A spouse or civil partner cannot commence divorce proceedings until one year has elapsed from the date of the marriage. This is often referred to as ‘the one year rule’.