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Guides / The Divorce Process / will i have to go to divorce court

Part 12

will i have to go to divorce court?

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will i have to go to divorce court?

In most cases, couples who are getting divorced won’t have to go to any court hearings. As the majority of divorces are uncontested, they can usually be settled outside of the courts. However, there are still situations when you will need to go to divorce court.

Should you require specific orders from the court, such as orders for finances or child arrangements, then you’ll need to go to court to have these orders finalised. Similarly, if you and your partner are unable to come to an agreement on some issues, or if the divorce is contested, then divorce court may be your way forward.

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Generally, it’s quite rare for a divorce to be contested. However it does happen, and when it happens, you’ll need to go to divorce court. For example, you could have issues with the divorce from the very start. If your partner flat out disagrees with the divorce and refuses to respond to the petition, mediation will be pointless, so you’ll need to get intervention from the court straight away. 

If your partner has been served the divorce petition and has failed to respond, you can go ahead with the divorce without them. This will take time, and be costly, but could work in your favour in terms of financial assets.

Child arrangement Orders

If you have children under the age of 18, you will need to go to divorce court to come to an agreement on child maintenance and what will happen with your child going forwards. You may also need to go to divorce court to reconcile any disputes over child arrangements or to settle any child maintenance disputes.

Divorce court is only really necessary when both partners are unable to come to a unified agreement on child arrangements. If you and your partner have an agreement, you won’t need to go to court unless you wish to make the agreement legally binding (a child arrangement order) or one spouse breaks the terms of the agreement. Going to divorce court for a child arrangement order could involve several hearings, which both partners must attend.

financial orders

In terms of finances, you and your partner will only need to go to court if you need a financial order. This is either when you have a financial settlement agreement that needs to be made legally binding, or if you have disputes over finances that need to be settled by the court.

A financial order is the only way to ensure that any financial obligations between you and your ex are set in stone. You can apply for a divorce financial order during, or after, your divorce. A consent order and a clean break order are the two main forms of divorce financial orders.

Couples who want to split their marital assets and make their financial settlement legally binding will need to apply for a consent order. The court will review your application and, when approved, the agreement will become legally binding.

A clean break order is an alternative type of divorce financial order, which will be for couples who don’t have any joint marital assets but still wish to protect their finances.

which partner is liable for legal fees?

Typically, it is the Petitioner (the person who starts the divorce) who will have the pay for the £550 divorce petition. Following this, each partner may separately fund their own legal fees should they be required.

However, there may be situations where one partner disputes who has the responsibility of paying for the legal costs of divorce. In this situation, both parties would need to attend divorce court when they get to the Decree Nisi stage of the divorce. Some Judges will be happy to consider costs remotely, but in most cases, both parties will need to attend court.


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