One of the great unknowns, when you commence the divorce process is what actually happens at the Divorce Hearing. The uncertainty about this process can be off-putting for many people and can delay taking the step to file their Application. In this blog, we try to demystify the Divorce Hearing and how Your Divorce is able to greatly simplify the process.
Who has to attend the Divorce Hearing?
The Court has essentially developed two streams of hearings. Some hearings that are done by the Court in-house (i.e. without the need for an appearance by the Applicant or their solicitor) and those where a physical appearance is required.
The simplest hearings are sole Applications where there are no children of the marriage under the age of 18 at the time of making the Application. The Court does not require an appearance by the Applicant or their solicitor on this occasion.
The other simplified process is a joint Application where the former Husband and Wife both complete the joint Application form and file it together. Even if there are children under 18 if the Application is correctly completed and requested details are provided of children if they are still under the age of 18 years, again the Court will process this Application in-house without the need for a formal appearance at the hearing itself.
Where there is an Application by one party and there are children under the age of 18 years, then it is necessary for the Applicant or their solicitor to appear at the hearing and make a submission that all of the necessary steps have been undertaken to enable a Divorce Order to be made. At Your Divorce, we undertake this step on your behalf as part of our Online Divorce Application Solution.
So what actually happens at a Divorce Hearing?
Whether the Application is done ‘on the papers’ or an actual appearance is required at the hearing, at the hearing itself a Registrar of the Court (who is not a judge, but a Senior Court Official) will go through the Application to establish firstly the parties were lawfully married and then confirm the following elements:-
- That the parties have separated and that the separation is on a permanent basis;
- That the separation has been for more than 12 months;
- That if there are children under their age of 18 years, adequate arrangements have been made for the ongoing care, welfare, and education;
- Where the Application is a sole Application (which is usually the case) that the other party has been validly served the Application to bring it to their attention;
Once the Court has scrutinised the paperwork and asked necessary questions of the Applicant or their solicitor and the above elements have been established, then the Court will make a brief statement or speech confirming that the parties were validly married and now separated on a permanent basis and that reconciliation has not occurred. The Court will then make an order for a decree nisi (which is Latin for the initial decree).
The hearing itself if the paperwork is correctly completed is a relatively quick process. Due to time pressures, the Court will complete 10 and 15 Divorces at a time and essentially queue the people up to go in front of the Registrar one at a time. This can feel a little awkward and a bit like a cattle crush (and perhaps good grounds for procrastinating on your Application).
So how can Your Divorce help?
The team of Your Divorce have established a process with the Court whereby your personal attendance will not usually be required for the Hearing. Whether yours is a sole Application or you wish to make a joint Application with your former spouse, we can ensure that with correct completion of the paperwork that we will be able to appear on your divorce hearing without the need for your attendance and the awkwardness it entails. You can simply sit at home and relax and wait for us to confirm the divorce has gone through.
So when is my divorce finalised?
As noted above on the hearing a decree nisi or first order of divorce is made. The formal divorce process requires a month and one day must pass before the decree absolute (or final decree of divorce) is made no court appearance is necessary for this stage. Then a Certificate of Divorce will then issue to us and we will provide you with a copy for your permanent record. End of process.
We hope this blog has demystified what actually happens in the Divorce Hearing and also given some comfort that the team of Your Divorce simplifies this process to ensure that you do not need to attend your hearing. Feel free to stop procrastinating.