Divorce (Matrimonial Order from 06.04.11)
It is always painful when relationships breakdown. We believe that it is essential for you to be given constructive and practical advice to enable you to assess your options at an early stage. We will endeavour to take a conciliatory approach, being mindful at all times of the importance of minimising both the emotional and financial impact on your life. We will also take a firm stance if your case requires it!
Often the hardest part of divorce will be taking the first steps into the unknown. Our specialist team of lawyers are here to support you from the outset.
Here is a broad guide to what you might expect from the divorce process:
- In order to be able to petition the Court for a divorce, the marriage must have lasted for at least one year and one or other of the parties needs to be domiciled or have been resident in England and Wales.
- The only ground for divorce in England and Wales is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.
- This ground is supported by one of five facts:
- Adultery with intolerability.
- Behaviour - the Respondent has behaved in such a way that the Petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the Respondent.
- Desertion - the Respondent has deserted the Petitioner for a continuous period of at least 2 years.
- 2 years' separation with consent.
- 5 years' separation.
Starting the process...
- The Petition - every divorce must begin with a petition. Every petition will follow a standard format. This will include information such as your names, addresses, and a statement that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. It will also state the "fact" which you are relying upon. We will help you avoid the hidden drafting dangers that can necessitate amendments with the associated trouble and cost.
- The Statement of Arrangements - this deals with arrangements which have been made or proposed for children of the family.
What happens next?
- The petition and additional documents are filed with the court. These in turn are served on the Respondent.
- Subsequent proceedings will then depend on individual circumstances. We will support you through all the necessary steps leading to the pronouncement of the Decree Nisi.
The final stage...
- The last step will be the pronouncement of the Decree Absolute, which will bring the marriage to an end.
A decree for Judicial Separation does not dissolve a marriage and can be useful in circumstances where divorce is not appropriate. For example, if the marriage has not yet lasted for one year, or religious beliefs prevent divorce. Irretrievable breakdown does not have to be proven, but it will still be necessary to use one of the five facts.
It may be suitable for us to draw up a "Deed of Separation" which will set out the financial arrangements upon your decision to separate. If you think this is an option for you one of our lawyers will be happy to discuss this with you.
As with divorce, Civil Partnerships must have lasted for at least one year before you can apply for a dissolution. The only ground for dissolution is that the Civil Partnership has "irretrievably broken down". This can be supported by one of four facts:
- Behaviour - this can include being unfaithful.
- Two years' separation, with consent.
- Five years' separation.
The procedure for dissolving a Civil Partnership broadly follows that of divorce. Please contact our team for further advice.
What to do now...
For confidential advice, further information or to see if we can offer you an initial fixed fee interview please contact us on 01622 815940 or use our online enquiry form.