What is an amicable divorce?
As the name suggests, an amicable divorce is where a couple agrees to end their relationship without acrimony or resentment, but in an environment of mutual respect and dignity. It is an intention to resolve matters without resorting to a legal battle and litigation.
An amicable divorce builds bridges, not walls.
An amicable divorce can deal with all aspects relating to the end of a relationship from presenting a joint application for divorce/dissolution, the division of finances and maintenance, to the arrangements for children and pets.
The ability to submit a joint application for divorce is a relatively new option for separating couples. In a joint application, there is no Respondent. The parties are known as Applicant 1 and Applicant 2.
When did it become possible to file a joint application for divorce in England & Wales?
It became possible to file for a joint divorce from 6th April 2022 when the divorce laws in England and Wales changed to a no-fault divorce system.
Prior to that date, you needed to prove that your marriage had irretrievably broken down due to one of 5 reasons, with most applications being based on fault-based grounds, such as behaviour and adultery.
The new approach to divorce since April 2022 is designed to reduce conflict between parties and to allow them to focus on important aspects of divorce such as children’s arrangements and financial matters.
What is the process for filing for divorce as a couple?
1) Submit a joint application
You can make a joint application for divorce if both of the following apply:
- you both agree that you should get a divorce.
- you are not at risk of domestic abuse.
The first thing you will need to do is decide is the method of application. This can be by applying online or by post. We can assist you with either method.
Whichever method you choose, your spouse or partner must use the same method.
Each stage of the divorce procedure requires both parties to confirm separately that they wish for the divorce application to continue.
Applicant 1 starts the divorce application, and then Applicant 2 fills in their information. Finally, Applicant 1 submits the application to the court.
If for any reason your former partner stops responding to the court, you can continue with the divorce as a sole applicant by applying to the court.
2) Court begins divorce proceedings
After the application is received, it will take 2 weeks before the divorce officially begins. Once the court starts the divorce process, the 20-week reflection period begins.
This period is designed for couples to discuss important aspects of divorce such as children’s arrangements and financial matters.
It’s always an opportunity for couples to reconcile if they so wish.
3) Conditional order – part 1
After the 20-week period of reflection is up, you can both apply for a conditional order to be made.
The conditional order, previously known as Decree Nisi, officially confirms that you are entitled to divorce.
4) Submit financial order
You must now wait for another 6 weeks before moving on to the next stage.
At this stage in proceedings, you are able to submit a financial Consent Order to the court to make any financial agreement you have reached, legally binding. You can achieve a clean break divorce once the next stage has been completed.
5) Application for Final Order
After a minimum of six weeks has passed you can apply for the final order (previously known as the Decree Absolute)
You will typically receive the Final Order between 24-48 hours after your application to the court.
The Final Order legally ends your marriage.
What are the benefits of an amicable divorce?
One key benefit is that it is cost effective – You are not each instructing your own lawyers but presenting the application jointly meaning only one cost.
An amicable divorce is less stressful. You decide to resolve your differences productively and without conflict.
You are in control of your future. You do not have two sets of Solicitors battling with each other deciding YOUR future. With our help you decide a legal outcome that is fair for the both of you and your family.
An amicable divorce is far quicker and flexible than Court proceedings which can often take many years due to the strict Court timetable.
An Amicable divorce is easier on children – Amicable divorces are less stressful on everyone, including the children. Why? Because they don’t have to watch their parents fight or worry about the divorce proceedings. Furthermore, couples who work through their divorce amicably are also more likely to successfully co-parent without arguments or other issues because they start off their co-parenting agreement on the right foot.
Five tips to achieve an amicable divorce.
- Make the decision to divorce without
- Focus on the big picture.
- Negotiate the terms of your divorce agreement in good faith.
- Place the needs of your children first, create a good parenting plan and be good co-parents once your divorce case is finalized.
- Work through the terms of your settlement agreement in an environment of mutual respect and dignity out of court and without involving lawyers.