Top FAQs for divorce

The most frequently asked questions from our clients going through a divorce.

How long does the divorce take?

Typically it takes around four to six months to complete the divorce proceedings, assuming that they are not contested. It can take longer depending on how quickly both parties deal with the paperwork and respond to the court.  Another factor can be extra delays if the court has a significant backlog of work at the relevant time.

Do I need grounds for divorce?

There is only one ground for a divorce, the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, but you have to cite one of five facts to support it. Those five facts are adultery, unreasonable behaviour, two years separation with consent, five years separation without consent or desertion. At present there is no such thing in law as “no fault divorce” but it is being looked at by Parliament.

Will I need to go to court?  

Usually there is no need physically to go to court as the divorce proceedings can be dealt with as a paper exercise. The only time that any physical appearance at court is needed is if one party decides to contest or defend divorce proceedings which is very rare.

How much does it cost to get a divorce?

There is a court fee of £550. The solicitors’ fees will depend on how much consensus there is between the parties about who is going to divorce who, and what fact is cited. Typically, though, divorce costs are in the region of £1,000 plus VAT plus the court fee.

Will my assets be split 50:50 upon divorce?

The starting point is often 50:50, known as “the yardstick of equality”, but the overall division will depend on various different criteria, such as the needs of the parties, including their housing needs and the needs of any dependant children. The financial settlement is looked at alongside the divorce proceedings.

Who receives custody of the children in a divorce?

Usually parents can decide the arrangements for their children between themselves without any need for the court to become involved. If the court does have to become involved then the outcome will be determined by what is in the children’s best interests, considering how old they are, their physical, emotional and educational needs, their wishes and feelings, the likely effect on them of any change in their circumstances, any cultural or other relevant background circumstances and any harm the children have suffered or are at risk of suffering. All relevant circumstances will be taken into account.

If you’re getting divorced and you need legal advice, contact Victoria Walker in our Richmond office. T: 0208 334 0315 or email: