These are the stages and costs of my divorce in real time !!

(44 Posts)
Screenwipe Wed 13-Mar-13 11:44:42

I went to the solicitors and asked how much they would charge me to help me get divorced. They quoted an "all inclusive fee" of £450 - including VAT. The all inclusive fee is only all inclusive though as long as I file for petition and my husband agrees to everything. If he challenges anything then there would be additional costs. Then there is the £340 that you pay to the court when you file for divorce.
As my husband and I are BEST friends, he isn't going to challenge anything. On that basis I downloaded the divorce application forms from the internet and didn't bother with the solicitor at all.
14th Jan- I filed proceedings for divorce.
18th Jan- husband received, signed and returned the acknowledgement.
25th Jan- confirmation of facts arrived. I had to wait 9 days from when my husband dated his acknowledgement before I could return this confirmation of facts.
28th Jan - returned confirmation of facts.
8th Feb - received letter confirming that my decree nisi would be pronounced (or whatever the term is) on 20th Feb. It appears 3 weeks have to pass between them receiving my confirmation of facts and the decree nisi.
20th Feb - decree nisi done.
Letter received saying that I can apply for my decree absolute after 6weeks and 1 day which will be 5th April.

Screenwipe Wed 13-Mar-13 12:07:12

I then decided to go through Wikivorce for my consent order / clean break. I have mentioned who I am using so that you can all go through the experience with me and decide whether they are any good or not!
I had a very long conversation with Carl, everything he said seemed to make sense. I was then directed back to the website where I would pay my £139 fee. (I had been quoted £650 by my solicitors). After this you no longer deal with wikivorce, you deal with their solicitors - Bretherton's.
21st Feb - download consent order questionnaire(emailed to me by Bretherton's)
25th Feb - mailed off completed questionnaire and £45 court fee for consent order.
27th Feb - confirmation from Bretherton's that they had received the above.
8th Mar - I emailed them as have heard nothing from them. Reply received saying "We have opened a file and the same is in our drafting pile. The drafts will be with you in due course".
.... and that is it.....
11 working days and I haven't received any correspondence from them, they haven't contacted me to ask questions. Mind you, they might have a pretty large pile of other applications to go through before they get to mine. Just would have been nice if they could have given me an estimated date for my draft docs. Might pop over to the Wiki site and see if there is any more info there...

MirandaWest Wed 13-Mar-13 12:14:40

This is a useful thread for me as XH and I are wanting to get divorced and will be once our two years separation is up. Your experience with doing the divorce part yourself sounds very straight forward and inspires me to do it that way myself as we are both amicable and just wanting to get it done

However we would also need a consent order due to needing to give me some of his pension and me give him a bit of money and so I realise we do need to pay a solicitor for that part. Was looking at the Wikivorce site last night and spoke to someone there. I hadn't realised you could do the divorce part first and then the consent order.

I was also told last night that they will be putting the price up for work on splitting pensions although not sure how much by. Would be good to just wave a magic wand..,

BestestBrownies Wed 13-Mar-13 12:21:40

Marking place

Screenwipe Wed 13-Mar-13 12:35:59

Well my solicitors told me that I can apply for the divorce myself and then apply for the consent order / clean break even 6 months after my decree absolute. When I mentioned this to Carl, he said that my solicitors hadn't explaned that there are certain marital things such as share of pensions that you can only apply for whilst married. He advised me NOT to apply for the decree absolute until the consent order was sorted as once you are an ex wife you are not entitled to a share of the pension. I don't want a share of his pension though, or any of his money. He doesn't want mine. So not sure whether to apply on the 5th April for the absolute or not. Maybe this is why my solicitors didn't mention it to me.

Collaborate Wed 13-Mar-13 13:17:37

You are sort of right, and sort of wrong.

You can always apply in divorce for a share of a spouse's pension, even after DA. You're just not his widow in the event of his death.

Collaborate Wed 13-Mar-13 13:18:45

Of course there are certian situatuations in which you lose the right to apply to the court for financial orders.

It can be a minefield. Always sensible to get some legal advice.

Screenwipe Wed 13-Mar-13 13:34:11

Thanks. It's difficult to piece together what you read and bits of advice given then make it all make sense.
Us wanting a share of each other's pension doesn't really apply as the value of our pensions is the same. So I can go ahead with my DA on the 5th April. Then after that I can contact my pension and say that I want my death benefit to be paid to my "partner" which would still be him. I believe that you don't have to be married to benefit from the death cover bit.(I hope). Does that sound right? smile

lottie63 Sat 16-Mar-13 06:31:43

Useful thread mapping out stages

luckybun Sat 16-Mar-13 07:09:19

Really useful info - thank you for sharing all the stages

Collaborate Sat 16-Mar-13 07:28:20

OP it sounds neither right or wrong. It just seems purely voluntary, which is fine, but as for whether its something you should be doing (in the sense that you'd be forced to do it by the court if you couldn't agree) that's something entirely different.

Toadspawn Sat 16-Mar-13 07:32:09

Did you cite unreasonable behaviour?

Lonecatwithkitten Sat 16-Mar-13 11:53:12

One observation I would make Screenwipe is that you and your Ex are still friendly and in agreement. Most of us are not that lucky and there is some acrimony in the situation or in my case just plain inactivity and laziness. Once you get either of these or even both a solicitor becomes necessary and is worth every penny you spend.
My ExH and I started the online process last July I signed on the 24\7\12 and by January I was still no closer to being divorce. So I got a solicitor and things have moved on more in the last 4 weeks in all that time.
Great for you that it worked, but it is not the right approach for everyone.

Screenwipe Sun 17-Mar-13 08:19:34

Toadspawn : Yes, unreasonable behaviour.
Lonecatwithkitten : I know I am lucky and this is not the right approach for everyone. I really do feel for you as I can't bear the thought of the divorce dragging on as long as yours has so far- even if we are best buds.
Even as friends I still watch what I say and do. He could wake up with a change of heart and make things difficult, so I am trying to get on with this without rocking the boat too much. We haven't told family, friends or our son that we are getting divorced. Although difficult as sometimes I feel I need to let off steam, I think keeping it quiet has helped, as neither of us has had anyone telling us to take the other one for all they have got.

My initial reason for writing this log is for people to see how long this all takes in my situation. Including if things go belly up, what to look out for. Also I had been trying to find out useful reviews on Wikivorce and couldn't really find any. If they can't get my consent order sorted in pretty fast time then it will be a poor show as our consent order is a simple one.

Regarding consent orders, I read somewhere that if the couple have already agreed to something, the key when talking to the solicitors is to say something along the lines of "I am not asking you for advice, I purely want you to draft a consent order with our wishes". One of the solicitors I spoke with, started going on about pensions, equity, setting off .... yet all of these make no difference as we have agreed that everything in my name I keep and everything in his name he keeps. Our home is in my name, my mortgage. So all we want are these terms putting forward. From what I have read on other posts it is the solicitors that drag things out and turn an amicable divorce in to one full of hate by planting seeds telling you that you are entitled to this that or the other - just so they can charge more! As I'm still waiting to hear back from Bretherton's, I can't say whether they will be any different as yet.

Screenwipe Sun 17-Mar-13 08:36:00

If anyone decides that they do want to file the divorce petition themselves, this is where I downloaded the form and help guides from.

CabbageLeaves Sun 17-Mar-13 08:49:15

Useful thread. I agree that sols can cause difficulties by encouraging each party to make a bigger claim however the other side of that is the situation where someone doesn't make appropriate claim because XTBspouse manipulates them. The sol is doing their job. Some might obviously benefit the longer the divorce wrangle goes on but I think generally they are doing what they are supposed to do.

When you present your consent order to court you both have to sign to say you have had opportunity to take legal advice about content. I think that is to ensure you don't then blame online sol for letting you settle for less than is reasonable

I did DIY divorce and used solicitor for consent order. The divorce was v straightforward and I'd highly recommend DIY. It was also rapid with no time waiting on anyone else.

The consent order was a nightmare and sol (online through Wiki) used legal jargon and wasn't helpful about putting it into easy to understand English. They also made an error in the order which I had to take back to court under slip rule to get corrected (at my own cost) I got what I paid for basically. If I did it again, I'd not use the online sol. It was very stressful and then cost money to fix.

CabbageLeaves Sun 17-Mar-13 08:56:39

My divorce was 15 weeks beginning to end, cost under £1000 - before further costs accumulated following the errors by online sols; who then point blank refused to get involved in sorting it

Friends divorces have cost a combined sol fee of £20-£25 thousand shock Unless you think your settlement is wildly unfair I'd not start a big fight - you could lose the same amount to the solicitor.

A Pyrrhic victory

Selba Sun 17-Mar-13 09:35:24

I'm in Scotland. I got divorced several year ago filling in forms from the local county office( sorry,, don't know the proper name )
Total cost about £70

I'm amazed more people don't do this

MirandaWest Sun 17-Mar-13 10:43:43

In England you have to pay £340 for court costs and then £45 for the decree absolute part - don't think there's any way around those costs.

CabbageLeaves Sun 17-Mar-13 11:40:02

I paid court fees, fixed payment for consent order and no other costs to get divorced. Cant remember exact figure but approx £700. It's impossible to do it cheaper and be completely legally divorced including a legal financial separation in England IMO

MOSagain Sun 17-Mar-13 18:00:18

all well and good when straightforward and no complex finances. However, I think most experienced family lawyers have seen cases where parties have done DIY divorce (or Wikidivorce) which is ok when its ONLY the the main suit (ie divorce itself) They then haven't properly dealt with the ancillary relief (finances) and then a few years down the line realise they've stuffed up.

Always best to seek advice from a proper experienced family lawyer face to face rather than someone who may (or may not) be qualified over the phone.

Mimadre Wed 20-Mar-13 19:04:00

Thanks for putting this thread up. Is it possible to do a simple divorce if you have a child and a house with mortgage in both names. I currently stay in the house and pay the mortgage and the plan is for me to change mortgage to my name. Would prefer to do it next year as finance hopefully will be better particularly if mortgage company asks for additional capital payment to transfer.

Is it possible to go for a divorce prior to sorting out the mortgage and can we use the simple divorce route if child involved?

STIDW Wed 20-Mar-13 21:16:55

If you are in Scotland you would normally need to sort out the finances before the divorce. The Simplified Procedure can't be used when there are children under the age of 16 involved or their are outstanding financial matters. You would need to use the Ordinary Procedure. Most people would require a solicitor to draft the writ to apply unless they happened to be a family lawyer.

STIDW Wed 20-Mar-13 21:21:39

If you are in Scotland you would normally need to sort out the finances before the divorce. The Simplified Procedure can't be used when there are children under the age of 16 involved or their are outstanding financial matters. You would need to use the Ordinary Procedure. Most people would require a solicitor to draft the writ to apply unless they happened to be a family lawyer.

STIDW Wed 20-Mar-13 21:22:09

there biscuit

Mimadre Wed 20-Mar-13 23:27:10

STIDW thanks - really useful.

Screenwipe Tue 26-Mar-13 13:45:48

Re Wikivorce. On their website and when they talk to you they say they only use qualified solicitors. Once I had paid for my £139 pack, Wikivorce emailed me to say "from now on contact xxx at Bretherton's". I googled this person - who by the way hasn't contacted me at all and she is a Paralegal - not a fully qualified divorce lawyer. I have also googled the person who keeps emailing me to say they are opening a file for me ... she is also a Paralegal.
27 days have passed since they emailed me to say they were opening a file .... I have not heard anything else from Bretherton's. I emailed to ask how long it will be before I get my draft consent order .... not even a reply.

Screenwipe Tue 02-Apr-13 13:13:36

31 Mar 2013. I have finally received an email from Bretherton's with attachments:
1) A letter confirming that the person responsible for carrying out my instructions is a Paralegal, whos supervisor is xxxxx xxxx who, as a Solicitor and Partner and head of the department, has responsibility for her work.
Wikivorce claim this doesn't happen and when I spoke to them at the beginning, they gave me the name of the solicitor who would be dealing with my consent order. They stressed that "unlike other on-line companies, we only use qualified solicitors". mmmmm L I E. Still, lets see how it goes.
2) Their terms and conditions.
3) A D81 form, completed by them for me and the husband to sign. Now there are sections on this form that say things to the effect of "Tick the boxes below if they apply". "Has the mortgage company been informed of your intent to transfer ownership of the property"? So the paralegal has ticked the <no> box. Actually, she should have left both boxes unticked as they don't apply. The property and mortgage is already in my sole name, so there is no transfer of property to contact the mortgage lender about. There are a total of 8 questions where the yes/no boxes should have been left empty but she has answerd <no>. To me, anyone then reading this form would be thinking, oh this hasn't been done yet, oh they haven't applied for that yet and maybe put my paperwork in the "to follow up" tray instead of actioning it. Maybe this is nit picking but when you want something to be completed as soon as possible, the last thing you want is someone ticking the wrong boxes and then 6 months down the line saying "oh, we thought we were waiting for this or that to be done before sending the paperwork on". So I have downloaded another D81, filled it in myself and will be emailing that to them in a mo.
4) On their consent application they have emailed for us to sign, they have got my middle name wrong.

As far as timescale goes, if everything goes to plan they think my consent order should be completed in 5-6 months !

Screenwipe Thu 04-Apr-13 12:08:35

I re-read the paperwork that came with my decree nisi. Which said the earliest I can apply for my decree absolute is ... TODAY! I thought it was tomorrow.
So, I completed the form and took it to the court. Paid the £45 fee.
They said, lovely we will process this today and the paperwork will be in the post tonight.
I asked how long it would then be until my divorce is final ....
Their reply, today!
When they said they were putting it in the post tonight, I just thought they would be putting confirmation in the post, then handing my paperwork to the judge and that he would sign it eventually. Y'know, that I was APPLYING for my absolute. Not that it is actually processed on the day. So ladies and gents, if my understanding is correct, I'll be divorced by 5pm tonight. Better read my emails now, see if Bretherton's have been back in touch.

Iplone Thu 04-Apr-13 20:04:37

As a general rule it's best to wait for the consent order to be sealed by court before anyone applies for the final decree, for most it won't be a problem, for a few it can be a disaster, so just be safe and wait.

2anddone Thu 04-Apr-13 20:52:50

screenwipe you mention that you haven't told your family or ds that you are getting divorced, can I ask if you are currently lliving together or separately? I am in similar situation

Screenwipe Sat 06-Apr-13 10:06:34

2anddone : We are still living together. We are best mates but so many people assume that you only get divorced if you hate each others guts. I really can't be bothered to explain why I felt the need to get divorced, it is no-one elses business anyway. Then people start butting in with you should do this and you should do that, when they haven't ever been in my situation. I have already been to the solicitors to arrange a new will, leaving everything apart from the home and my jewellery to him. I have nominated him as beneficiary on my pensions, life insurance etc. Just got to write a "how to" guide for him now because if I did happen to die before him, he would be useless!

Screenwipe Sat 06-Apr-13 10:07:21

What is your situation?

Lonecatwithkitten Sat 06-Apr-13 16:37:33

screenwipe it strikes me that your divorce is very, very different to the vast majority of people. You are working in a very collaborative way which is why the wikivorce seems to be working.

Screenwipe Tue 16-Apr-13 14:09:05

Yes, I am very lucky. At least though people can see how long it takes to get divorced without hiccups. Having said that though, I chose not to wait for the consent order to be signed off. Otherwise I would still be married .....

babybarrister Tue 14-May-13 22:27:04

remember you get what you pay for - whether in legal services or anything else ....

consent orders on the finances [NOT the divorce itself which is generally easy] can be very difficult

Screenwipe Wed 05-Jun-13 15:24:51

2 Apr 13. I emailed Bretherton's regarding the application for the consent order - it was incorrect so I asked for an amended one to sign.
2 May 13. I chased Bretherton's and received a reply saying that they need the original signed copy of my statement of information and consent order. Again, I asked for an amended consent order.
9 May 13. Amended consent order received. We completed it and returned it.
30 May 13. Form A (Notice of intention to proceed with an application for a financial order) was emailed to me. This was completed and returned.
4 Jun 13. Confirmation that the paperwork had been sent to the courts and this bit could take 8 weeks.

Screenwipe Tue 25-Jun-13 08:37:56

20 Jun 13. Sealed consent order received!

Screenwipe Wed 13-Nov-13 14:18:47

Just reading posts from other people having problems with divorce.
As my ex and I were (and still are) on good terms, I did my divorce myself.
I didn't use a solicitor, for me it was cheaper, easier and very quick.
Some people choose not to apply for the decree absolute until the finances have been sorted but for me, the most important thing was to be divorced.
Wikivorce played no part in my divorce. I only used them to do my consent order.

samiara85 Thu 26-Dec-13 02:27:19

Just wanted help with citing unreasonable behaviour, what does the judge deem as unreasonable behaviour? In my case verbal abuse, violent temper, distrust - not allowing me to socialise with friends and lack of support during fertility treatment, also telling me I had to choose between starting a family or a career which led to him moving out. Husband has stated that he will sign undefended. Was having difficulty writing the facts and wanted to ask others that have experienced it instead of unnecessarily paying a solicitor

Screenwipe Mon 06-Jan-14 14:19:04

I have just copied this from the Government website

Unreasonable behaviour

Your husband or wife behaved so badly that you can no longer bear to live with them.

This could include:

physical violence
verbal abuse, eg insults or threats
drunkenness or drug-taking
refusing to pay for housekeeping

I googled : Divorce unreasonable behaviour
You may find some more information by doing that.
Good luck

LauraBridges Mon 06-Jan-14 14:47:29

Anything just about can be UB. Just about all marriages in the UK you could come up with something. In effect we have divorce on demand after a year. There are legal reasons not to go to decree absolute until you have a sealed consent order but other than that what is on the tread is a good illustration of how to go it alone.

sambrown1 Tue 08-Apr-14 19:09:55

i paid 21k for mine, and been with my present partner for 7 years so deicded to do his online.

paid £198 to divorce online, they drew up the initial writ,
takes it to court, (paid £32 for the birth certificate of his son (15) and his marriage certificate)

paid £141 to the court.

ideal they sent back the warrant.. now i've to find solicitor office to serve the writ.. (anyone ideas on cost).

after that what happens...

sambrown1 Tue 08-Apr-14 19:10:09


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