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.
  • Go back-and-forth until satisfied
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask F E Smith Your Own Question
F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 17649
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
Type Your Law Question Here...
F E Smith is online now

I am looking for some clarification about divorce

This answer was rated:

Hello; I am looking for some clarification about divorce proceedings.
JA: What steps have you taken? Have you filed any papers in family court?
Customer: No, we haven't filed anything yet. The situation is that we separated in 2017, lived together for a year while we sold the house. We sold the house in August 2018, divided the money and have each bought our own houses. We have worked out shared responsibility for or 13yo daughter and this has worked well for 2+ years. We agreed when we separated that neither would have any call on the other's pension or inheritances. As far as we are concerned everything is sorted and agreed and is working well for us. We don't need any legal advice. How do we now go forward to get the divorce?
JA: Family Court normally sits in a local County and Magistrates' Court. Do you know the location of the court? If not, what county do you live in?
Customer: We are between Colchester and Clacton.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I don't think so; really we just want something quick and straightforward that ratifies our decisions. thank you.

Welcome to Just Answer.

I will be happy to assist with your question today. I need some time to consider this and compose a response. There is NO need to wait online because you will get an email when I respond. Sometimes it will be minutes, sometimes longer.

I apologise for any unavoidable delay, but rest assured I have not forgotten your question.

are you asking to have a clean break agreement?

F E Smith and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 21 days ago.
Customer: replied 21 days ago.
I have been on hold for 15 minutes; perhaps it is easier to email afterall?

I can only apologise for you being on hold. I don’t know who you rang you, but it wasn’t me. Sorry.

Let me continue on here:

avoid solicitors like the plague. This is infinitely a DIY job.

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.

Excess alcohol.

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 are the notes from the government on how to apply 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?).

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.

There is no need to argue over any of this, the financial order can simply be that you each keep what you currently have. Done and dusted. The court fee is 50 quid.

It prevents a spouse coming out of the woodwork in years to come as you will read here:

and here

I am glad to help.

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand.

I would be more than happy to clarify anything else for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.

I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

Please be aware that my answer is based strictly upon the information you have given me.

If you still need any points clarifying, I will be happy to reply because the thread does not close. In fact, it remains open indefinitely.

I am always happy to answer any further questions you have on any new thread in which case, please start your question with, “ For FES only”.

That only applies to new threads, not this one. You have me exclusively on this one.

Thank you.

Best wishes.


Customer: replied 21 days ago.
Thank you very much for this. I have made a start with the online process from the site. Is it OK to contact you again if I have questions, particularly around the Financial agreement?

No problem at all. I am glad to help. Please come back to me at any time if anything needs clarification.

Come back to me at any time.

The only thing to mention is that after about 4 days, I no longer get notification that you are waiting so I could be delayed getting back to you. But the thread is open indefinitely

Kind regards.

Customer: replied 20 days ago.
Where can I find an application for the Clean Break Order? On the Gov website there only seems to be a form-a-eng which wants me to apply for one of the following, and we don't want any of these:
an order for maintenance pending suit/outcome of proceedings
a lump sum order a property adjustment order
a settlement or a transfer of property for the benefit of the child(ren)
a periodical payments order together with other financial provision
a pension sharing order
a pension compensation sharing order
Customer: replied 20 days ago.
Sorry - I have now found the form D81 but it wants all sorts of past details re finances. We don't want anyone to decide if what we did is or was fair - we made the decision, sold the house and divided the funds and now just want to have a clean slate. Is there no way round these forms?

You have to complete Form A in all circumstances.

If it’s by consent you don’t do anything on pages 7-12 although I always put a line through them and write “consent order”.

If it is by consent because you agree what you are doing you have to fill in form D81 along with basic details of the finances. No way round it. The court want it. The court will want to ascertain that the settlement you have agreed is reasonable and not unfairly weighted in favour of one or the other.

It’s a lot better than filling in form E if you can’t agree.