How to get a divorce or end a civil partnership without a lawyer is part of our step-by-step help in coping with separation and divorce
How To File For Divorce Without An Attorney
Divorce is one of the most stressful, confusing and painful times. This guide will help you find your way through the maze. You may have heard about the new ‘no-fault’ divorce law. You can now file for divorce without blaming each other. You can also apply online – through online court. This guide explains what you need to do to get a divorce or end a civil partnership, and what to do if you don’t have a lawyer. It’s free to download or read online, or you can purchase a printed copy.
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How to get a divorce or end a civil partnership without the help of a lawyer – printed guide
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You may have heard about the changes in divorce law, including the new ‘no-fault divorce’ option. It became law on April 6. You can read about the new law and procedures here. It is free to read or download online.
This guide is for you if you are married or in a civil partnership and want to end your marriage or civil partnership.
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This is not for you if you want a religious divorce, or live with someone but are not married or in a civil partnership.
This also applies to people who support others in this situation, for example court volunteers, CAB volunteers, housing support workers and advice workers as well as support from relatives and friends.
As it is now very difficult to get legal help for family issues, we think you should apply for divorce or end your civil partnership yourself without the help of a lawyer. We help you do this by explaining what you need to do and how to do it.
If you represent yourself in any court proceeding without the assistance of a lawyer or advocate, the law calls you a ‘litigant in person’. Both you and your ex can be attorneys individually. You may also hear people talk about ‘self-representation’. That’s what it means.
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We’ll try to explain any legal language as we go along, but there’s also a What It Means section at the end. To help you quickly find legal terms.
Divorce is the legal end of a marriage. You must have been married for at least 12 months before you can start divorce proceedings.
Dissolution is the legal end of a civil partnership. There should be at least 12 months before you start the process of ending the civil partnership.
The law on divorce and dissolution of civil partnerships in England and Wales changed on 6 April 2022. The changes in the law will affect divorce and civil partnerships alike. When we talk about divorce, we are equally talking about dissolution of civil partnership, as the changes are the same.
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The term ‘ex’ in this guide means your husband, wife or civil partner, from whom you are separating or have already separated. If you’re separating from your ex but you’re not married or in a civil partnership, you’ll need a different guide. See A Survival Guide to Living Together and Breaking Up for more help.
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We know many consumers can’t afford a lawyer, but if you’re trying to sort out finances in a divorce or going to court about children or finances, it’s really worth it to get one if you can. To help with this, we’ve teamed up with Resolution to provide a panel of family law attorneys who can advise you on the most important aspects of the process for a fixed fee. You can see in advance how much they can advise you on your case and how much their help will cost you – so you can make sure you can afford it.
Even better, we’ve created a process to get this help for you as cheaply as possible, ensuring you’re using the lawyer’s time as efficiently as possible. For more information see expert help from one of our panel of lawyers.
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Changes to how legal advice is funded mean that many people now do not have access to free or subsidized legal aid for family law issues.
If there is evidence of domestic violence in your relationship, this may mean that you may be able to get legal help in some cases. Also, you can get legal aid if there is evidence that your child is at risk of abuse. If you think you are in this situation, it is important to get legal advice before making any big decisions about your home or arrangements for your children. In this situation, a face-to-face or other casual contact with your ex to resolve your issues may not be the best course of action to keep you and your children safe. You need legal advice on this to understand how the court will view your case.
We know that without legal aid, many people would not be able to get help from lawyers. This guide explains where you can actually get advice and where you can manage it yourself. We also explain what help is available and things to think about.
Most people think of divorce or annulment as a single process, but what we usually think of as a divorce often has three bits – the bit that actually ends the marriage or civil partnership, the bit that sorts out how you share your money and home, and the bit that helps you make arrangements for your children if you can’t do it yourself. bit. They are all dealt with separately but in most cases the divorce or annulment runs in parallel with the other bits. At some stages, how far you get with one bit affects others.
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If you can’t agree on arrangements between you – these can be initiated at any time before, during or after the divorce.
You can only apply for a financial order or ask the court to approve your agreement after you have applied for a divorce or annulment.
The court will not make a final financial order or approve your agreement before making a conditional order.
Proceedings to sort out your money and property or to make arrangements for your children are more complicated, take longer and may require attending a court hearing.
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We have other guidelines on these parts of the process. As long as it’s safe for you and your children, it’s best to try and work things out with your ex if you can.
To help you get finances in order, we have a survival guide for getting your finances in order upon divorce. If you can’t agree, we have a guide on how to apply for a financial order without a lawyer. If you have children and you need to make arrangements for them, you may find a survival guide useful for sorting out child arrangements. If you can’t agree, we have a guide on how to apply for a child arrangements order.
There are now two ways to apply for a divorce or annulment – you can apply online or you can apply on paper. You may be a bit hesitant or worried about using an online service, but there are quite a few benefits of using it.
This guide focuses on the online application process. But if you want to apply on paper, we will also tell you which paper form you need at each stage.
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At this point, you must agree on the financial matters or if you cannot agree, you must apply to the court for assistance. It is best to sort out the finances before applying for the final order. We explain why in the section on Applying for a Final Divorce or Dissolution Order
See our map of the process. It is designed to give you the overall picture in a typical divorce or annulment case. It follows the process if you are applying online, with links to paper forms if you want to apply on paper. Even if your case is a little different, we hope so
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