There is a lot to read here so you might want to sit down with a cup of tea and look at it on the computer screen rather than a mobile phone.
Provided that at least one of the people wishing to get divorced lives in England, then getting divorced in England (& Wales) is infinitely a do-it-yourself job. (I am not familiar with the system in Scotland)
Save yourself a whole load of money: the government website have a do-it-yourself guide
Although you can agree finances between you, it doesn’t draw a line under it unless you have a financial order
And if have children under 18, and you cannot agree who they live with and who sees who and when, then you need a child arrangement order (which includes Specific Issue Orders:
To confirm that something can happen
and a Prohibited Steps Orders
To stop something happening
In the United Kingdom, we do not have “irreconcilable differences”. That is a thing in the United States for the time being at least. The rules are changing here shortly to get rid of the following 5 grounds of divorce and to get rid of the fault issue but that has yet to be enacted. To be honest, in my opinion, it’s going to make very little difference because the big arguments are over finance and children not the actual divorce itself.
It doesn’t matter who divorces who or why, the financial issues are exactly the same. The court has not apportioned blame with regard to the division of marital finances for many years.
Grounds for getting divorced are:
1 The couple have lived part 2 years or more but less than 5 years and they both consent to the divorce.
2 The couple have lived apart for 5 years or more, regardless of whether they both consent or not.
3 Desertion. Not common.
4 Adultery. Very difficult to prove unless there is unequivocal evidence or an admission.
5 Unreasonable behaviour. Most common and relatively easily to put together a petition on these grounds. For example:
A spouse wants an unreasonable amount of sex/never once it.
Lack of personal hygiene/obsessive personal hygiene.
Obsessively tidy/extremely messy and untidy.
Gambles to excess/it’s tightfisted with money.
Never interacts with spouse or children/obsessive with children.
Violent or bullying or intimidating.
Lots of grounds.
Please note that a legal separation is not the first step or precursor to a divorce. It is virtually the same process but it doesn't dissolve the marriage. However it draws a line under the relationship formally. The difference between a legal separation and divorce is basically that you cannot get remarried again. The reason you would have a legal separation, rather than a divorce is you can get divorced, for religious reasons for example.
As part of the divorce process, to draw a line under the finances you will need a financial order.
The courts will not get involved in marital finances unless divorce or legal separation proceedings have started.
Remember that the divorce itself is not that expensive, if you use solicitors, it is arguing over money and children which costs the big bucks.
And here is some reading on applying for a financial order.
Which draws a line under the finances of the marriage and prevents either of you coming back to the other, in some years time, asking for more money if circumstances have changed (the lottery?).
That’s what happened here when the spouse popped out of the woodwork years after the divorce, when there was no financial order.
You can agree what you like between you, then it really is a case of putting the application into the court and the judge will rubberstamp the arrangements you have agreed. Otherwise it’s a potentially expensive argument.
Here are some notes from the government
On applying for a financial order
This is the form you need to start the process: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/885814/form-a-eng.pdf
And how you go on from there depends on whether you agree with what is happening with the finance or whether you are going to have an argument.
Fortunately, there is a lot of information on the Internet about Child Arrangement orders and the government have actually produced a guide on the subject which is here.
The different types of Child Arrangement order are:
1 A Contact Order which specifies when parent sees a child, it is no longer called "access".
2 A Residence Order to determine who the child lives with, it is no longer called "custody"
3 A Prohibited Steps Order to prevent a parent doing something with the child such as moving away either in this country miles away or taking the child to another country. Particularly relevant if there is a chance that the parent would go to another country and never return. The parent wishing to prevent the move would have to convince the court why it’s not in the best interest of the child to move. Friends, support, school et cetera et cetera all taken into account.
A Prohibited Steps Order is to prevent child Abduction and it’s one of the few areas of law for which legal aid is sometimes still available. It’s often therefore worth seeing a solicitor.
4 A Specific Issue Order to allow a parent to do something specific with the child such as moving away to another part of the country or indeed to another country. . The parent wishing to move would have to prove why it’s not in the best interest of the child to move.. Friends, support, school et cetera et cetera all taken into account. It would also encompass things such as changing school if the parents cannot agree, changing the child's name, and anything other specific.
The courts will not get involved in a Contact or Residence order unless the couple have been to mediation first. So the couple would have to try mediation even if it subsequently fails and the matter proceeds to court.
You are eligible for child maintenance at the CMS rates which are here
Do read the whole document but the basic rates start at the top of page 18.
Child maintenance is reduced by 1/7th for each 52 nights that the non-resident parent has the children.
There is a possibility of a liability for spousal maintenance, maintenance paid to keep a spouse , as opposed to children. Although most commonly paid from husband to wife, that is not necessarily the case. Spousal maintenance is based on both incomes, ability to earn money, previous lifestyles and most importantly, need. It is not about equalising incomes. There is no exact formula, but these links will give some reading..
And here is an interesting and informative article with regard to the division of finances in general
And finally, here is an article what happens to inheritance in the event of a
What will happen with regard to the division of marital finances is that everything will be lumped in together including pensions. With regard to pensions you will need a Cash Equivalent Transfer Value (CETV) which converts the pension to a lump sum for the mathematical calculation. You cannot get hold of that money but it converts it to a theoretical cash equivalent.
All the value of the assets are then lumped together and there is a division which starts off at 50-50 and it would then be adjusted in favour of one spouse or the other spouse depending on the needs of the parties, how long they have been married, where the money came from, et cetera et cetera.
Not just the length of the marriage would be taken into account but also any length of time together before marriage because it would be unfair if the couple were together for 29 years and only married for one year before splitting up (not uncommon) to be treated in the same way as a couple who had a whirlwind romance got married, were married for 12 months, and then split up. So the whole length of the relationship would be taken into account.
It’s largely a mathematical thing but does look at needs after divorce.
Even if everything is being divided down the middle, it’s not really a case of dividing it down the middle, all the assets wouldn’t be split 50-50 but, for example one person may keep the house and the other for example could have the savings and the pensions.
Thank you for letting me assist you with your legal question. I am glad that I was able to help.
I am not certain whether that answers the question for you or not, but I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.
It will be my pleasure to help you again either further with this or any future questions you have