How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask UKfamsol Your Own Question
UKfamsol, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 560
Experience:  Very experienced specialist family law solicitor, qualifed in 1994
Type Your Family Law Question Here...
UKfamsol is online now

Me and my wife have separated and we would like a divorce as

This answer was rated:

Me and my wife have separated and we would like a divorce as we are both now seeing other partners. We have ended the marriage amicably and we do not have any joint assets. We have sold our house and repaid the mortgage and we do not have any other assets to be shared. We do have a 4 year old son but we look after him equally. We do not have an official custody order in place but this is not needed.
Money is quite tight at the moment so we would rather not use a solicitor if at all possible. We have looked on the website and have looked though the process and we feel confident we can submit the forms and pay the £410 fee.
Is there anything we need to consider and would there be any other costs involved. In particular do we need to write anything down formally for the custody etc or is everything fine as long as we agree, which we do.
Some advice on the divorce process without using a solicitor would be appreciated.
Hell and thanks for your question.

It's really heartening to hear that you both have agreed amicably what to happen regarding your son, and regarding the divorce and sorting out finance and proeprty issues.

To answer your question concerning your 4 year old son: parents do not need any court order if when they have separated, they agree about arrangments for any children, so that should put your minds at rest. Obviously, everyone concerned with your son needs to know the situation, and will need the contact details of both of you eg nursery /GP etc.

If ever you did disagree between you about arrangements for your son, either one of you could apply to the family court for a child arrangements order - but as the family court now requires the parties to have attempted mediation before it will accept an application to court, making an appointment with a mediator is the first step. Here's where to find a local family mediator:-

re: the divorce

The most amicable way to divorce is to base your divorce petition on 2 years separation where the other party consents to the divorce. The two years is 2 years from the date of separation. But if you were already living for some time as separate households under the same roof even before the house was sold, maybe you wouldn't have to wait too long to satisfy the 2 years separation requirement. For this ground, you ahve to be sure that the other person will consent to the divorce on the acknowledgement of service form. All you need to say in the petition is that the parties separated on (date), and have not lived together as husband and wife since that date, and the respondent consents to a decree of divorce being made.

Or - if you don't want to wait until you've been separated for 2 years, oddly enough, issuing your petition on the basis of your wife's adultery (or she could issue hers against you on the same basis) can be just as amicable - because you don't have to say anything at all bad about the other person in the petition about why the marriage broke down - except to say that your wife committed adultery with a person that you do not wish to name at divers addresses and on divers dates, and that as a result the marriage has broken down irretreivably. Then you just have to be sure that she will admit to the adultery on the acknowledgemnet of service form (or you must admit to it, if it's her petition).

Other possibilities - a petition based on the other person's behaviour - but you can agree between you in advance what is to go in the petition. If you are the petitioner, you just need to think of 3 incidents of your wife's behaviour - 1) the first thing that happened that made you realise that there were problems in the marriage 2) the worst thing that happened and 3) the straw that broke the camel's back and made you decide to issue divorce proceedings.

But NB be careful not to mix the grounds - eg if you decide on a behaviour petition DON'T include allegations of adultery - any mixture will result in the court office returniing your petition to you.

Briefly - the procedure is:

The petitioner files the petition + 2 copies + marriage certificate + court fee at court. The court sends one copy of the petition to the respondent with a blank acknowledgement of service form. The respondent must complete & sign the acknowledgment of service form & return it to court. The ocurt sends a copy of the acknowledgement of service form to the petitioner. The petitioner applies for the decree nisi. The court decides whether or not a case has been made out for the divirce, and if so, sets a date for the decree nisi. 6 weeks and 1 day after date of the decree nisi, the petitioner can apply the decree absolute. If the petitioner does not apply, the respondent can apply a further 3 months later.

You are still married until the decree absolute is granted.

As this is a very bureacratic process, please do not set a date to remarry until you have the decree absolute, as it's impossible to predict precisely how long this process will state. If you're lucky, estimate on 6 months from the date you file your petition to the date you get your decree absolute - but it can take longer.

re: finance and property associated with the divorce.

The ideal scenario is that you end all financial ties with your spouse. Selling the jointly owned house is a good idea, and I assume that you reached an amicable agreement about to divide the net sale proceeds. You also need to close any jointly held accounts, and decide how any monies held in those accounts are to be divided between you. However, be aware that the matrimonial assets are not just jointly held assets, but all assets of both of you including any assets in the sole name of either of you or any financial interest in any other assets held jointly with any other person or organisation. Pension entitlements also count as matrimonial assets.

If between the two of you, you can agree everything, then there's no need for any court orders concerning property & finance. But if you want that agreement made legally binding, you will need a solicitorr to draw up a draft consent order, for you both to sign, which is then sent to court for the court to approve. In that case, you will each have to have given the other full financial disclosure, as a summary of the matrimonial assets has to be sent to court with the draft consent order, so that the district judge can assess whether the proposed order is fair to both parties.

The benefit of getting your agreement made into a legally-binding consent order (which is as binding as an order made following contested proceedings but without having to go to court), is that the court order means that neither of you can make a claim against the other in the future, or against the estate of the other after their death.

If you needed someone neutral to help you reach agreement on all fiancial and property matters associated with your divorce, then again, mediation is the route to go.

I hope this helps and I wish you the best of luck.

Thanks and best wishes...

UKfamsol and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Hello again - I see that you have looked at my answer but not accepted it. Is there anything in your question you feel I have not answered, or anything in my answer you would like me to clarify?
Please do let me know and I will do my very best!
Otherwise, I would be grateful if you would kindly accept and rate my answer so that I can be credited for my time.
thanks and best wishes...
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Thank you for all of the information you gave me and my apologies I just forgot to rate your service which I will do now.

The only final question I had was that my wife left me and the family home to end the relationship. It ended on good grounds and we are still very civil as mentioned previous. Could I use the Desertion reason to file the petition, and this as simple as the other two options you mentioned?

Hello again

Thanks very much for your payment - much appreciated!

The ground of desertion is not generally used now - you would still have to wait until you had been apart for two years in order to use desertion, and it's much more acrimonious than using 2 years separation with the consent of the other party to the divorce. There's also the technical issue of proving at what point the desertion actually occurred.

If you are prepared to wait for two years, I would strongly recommend using the "two years separation with the consent of the other party to the divorce".

Best wishes and good luck!