Undefended Divorce

The end of any relationship is a difficult and emotional time for all the parties involved, even in the relatively straightforward circumstances of an undefended divorce. The stress and turmoil inherent in splitting up is often compounded by the practical issues involved, particularly if there are children to consider, or the relationship has lasted several years and involves a degree of financial interdependence.

Here at Higgins Miller we specialise in all aspects of family law, which makes us uniquely qualified to deal with divorce cases of any type. The fact that we regularly deal with aspects of the law such as adoption, children disputes and domestic violence means that we are ready and able to cope with the complications which divorce cases can often involve. Alongside our legal know-how we’re proud of our caring and empathetic attitude. We understand the emotions involved in cases of this kind, and always temper our practical advice with an approach which avoids confrontation as far as it is possible to do so.

Although we are ready and willing to deal with any complications, the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of cases involve an undefended divorce. An undefended divorce is one in which both parties agree to the divorce and accept that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. In order for the court to accept that this is the case and grant the divorce, one of the following will need to apply:

  • Your spouse has committed adultery
  • Your spouse has behaved in an unreasonable manner
  • Your spouse deserted you at least two years ago
  • You have been living away from each other for two years and both agree to a divorce
  • You have lived apart for five years

The party applying for the divorce will need to fill in a divorce petition and send it to the court, together with a fee and a copy of the marriage certificate. If the other party reply’s indicating that they do not contest then the divorce will be an undefended divorce, and they will grant a decree nisi. There will then follow a period of six weeks after which the applicant can apply for the decree absolute. This will make the divorce final, and leave both parties free to re-marry or enter into a civil partnership.

Although an undefended divorce is the least complex means of ending a marriage, the process can still take as long as several months, particularly if financial and childcare arrangements need to be finalised. Even when dealing with an undefended divorce the court may wish to intervene if it is felt that the childcare arrangements arrived at by the parents are unsatisfactory. In some cases, such as those involving older children, the court may wish to speak to the children in person.

An undefended divorce is by far the most convenient and practical means of ending a marriage which both parties feel has become untenable. Here at Higgins Miller we always advise our clients to avoid court action where possible, and this means both parties coming together to agree the financial and childcare components of any divorce settlement. Our experience of dealing with all aspects of divorce and family law means we are excellently placed to facilitate such discussions and to guide the parties forward in a manner which will lead to the fairest resolution in the shortest timescale possible.

If you’d like to find out more about undefended divorce cases then please contact us to speak with a member of our team. You can email us at [email protected] or call 0161 429 7251, and an initial 20-minute appraisal will be provided free of charge. If you decide to proceed, then a fixed fee first appointment costs just £50 (plus VAT), and the wider details of the funding options available moving forward are detailed here.

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