Women Drive Surge In Divorce Filings During COVID-19 Pandemic
With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing family units to function in a way never before experienced, the enforced time spent together has led to legal firms seeing a huge increase in the number of women pursuing divorce proceedings. Google searches for ‘I want a divorce’ have risen sharply, and divorce enquiries to legal firms have surged by 95 percent, with women making up the majority of queries. Data showed that the proportion of enquiries surged from 4,505 in January to March last year to 8,801 queries between January and March of this year. With this in mind, it is worth understanding what the process of divorce involves.
How to apply for a divorce
In order to apply for a divorce, you will need:
- Your husband or wife’s full name and address
- Your original marriage certificate or a certified copy (and a certified transation if it’s not in English)
- Proof of your name change if you’ve changed it since you got married – for example your marriage certificate or a deed poll
You must try to find your husband or wife’s current address if you do not know it, as the court will need it to send them a copy of the divorce petition. If you are filing for a divorce due to adultery and you name the third party, then they will also get copies of the paperwork. You can apply for a divorce both online and by post.
What do I have to pay for a divorce?
In order to apply for a divorce, you must pay a £550 fee. The way that you pay will depend on how you apply. Your fee will not be refunded after you are sent the notice that your application has been issued. If you are receiving universal credit or are on a low income, you may be able to get financial help with fees. You can either pay by debit or credit card or by a cheque made payabale to ‘HM Courts and Tribunals Service.’
What happens next?
After you have sent off your application and it has been deemed to be correct, you will be sent a number of things, including:
- A notice that your application has been sent out and issued
- A copy of your application that has been stamped by the divorce centre
- A case number
This could take up to 10 days if you applied online or up to 1 month if you applied by post. The court will then send your husband or wife the divorce application and what is known as an ‘acknowledgment of service’ form. Your husband or wife will need to respond to your divorce application. This form will ask your partner if they:
- Agree to the divorce
- Intend to try and prevent the divorce
- Object to paying the costs of the divorce
They must respond within 8 days of receiving the acknowledgment of service form.
If they agree with the divorce, then you can continue with your divorce by applying for a decree nisi. If they defend the divorce, then they will have to complete an ‘answer to divorce’ form that explains why they disagree with the divorce. They must do this within 28 days of getting the divorce application.
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What is a decree nisi?
A decree nisi is a document that says that the court does not see any reason why you should not be able to divorce. If your partner does not agree to the divorce, you can still apply for a decree nisi, but you will have to go to a court hearing in order to discuss the case, where a judge will decide whether to grant you a decree nisi. If you are granted a decree nisi, then you will be sent a certificate that tells you the time and date that you’ll be granted a decree nisi. You’ll have to wait 6 weeks and 1 days before you can apply for a ‘decree absolute’ to finally end the marriage. Your husband or wife can apply for the decree absolute if you do not. Once you get the decree absolute, you are divorced, no longer married and free to marry again if you wish to do so.
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Going through a divorce can be emotionally taxing, so it is understandable that you will want to get legal proceedings out of the way as soon. A specialist solicitor can help you throughout the process and ensure that you get the correct legal support throughout your divorce.
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