Dealing with divorce
Taking the first steps
If there is no other option than to dissolve your marriage, the following tips should help you through the process.
You may no longer be together, but you are both still parents. The children’s needs must always come first. Communication is a key factor. Answer their questions in an ageappropriate way and try not to belittle the other parent in front of them.
Divorce can be hard and there is bound to be some difficulty as you start to separate and untangle your lives.
such as provision for mortgage and household bills. Try to come to an agreement with regards to these. Whilst in ‘big money cases’ there is enough to go around, in most divorce cases, it can be a struggle to make ends meet when there are suddenly two households to fund. These are called ‘needs cases’. Certain things will have to be given priority and if there are any children involved, then their needs will always come first.
The solicitors in the Family & Matrimonial team at Flint Bishop are members of an organisation called Resolution and are committed to the constructive resolution of family disputes. They follow a Code of Practice which promotes a non-confrontational approach to family problems. By encouraging solutions that consider the needs of the whole family, in particular the best interests of any children involved, they are able to resolve issues in a mutually beneficial manner. Under the collaborative process, each person appoints their own collaboratively trained lawyer, before all meeting face-toface to work things out. Both of you will have your lawyer by your side throughout the process and so you will have their support and legal advice as you go. Family Law Associate, Angela Davis, is the qualified collaborative lawyer at Flint Bishop.
Mediators are trained to help resolve disputes faced by separating couples, such as arrangements for any children and the financial aspects of a divorce. The court expects you to have considered mediation before making an application to court in relation to the children or finances. You can only get divorced if you have been married for more than 12 months. You then need to be able to prove that your marriage has irretrievably broken down by giving a reason, referred to as a ‘fact’, from the following options:
– your spouse has committed adultery, although you cannot use this reason if your spouse has committed adultery with someone of the same sex. This is because under English and Welsh law, adultery is defined as voluntary sexual intercourse between a man and woman.
– your spouse’s behaviour is such that you simply cannot reasonably be expected to live with them.
– your spouse left you at least two years ago and you have not heard from them since.
– you have been separated from your spouse for at least two years. There are three main stages of a divorce. These are:
– this is the name of the legal document that you will send to court to formally request to dissolve your marriage. You will need to state the reasons why you want to divorce using one of the four ‘facts’, as already mentioned.
– the court will send your divorce application to your spouse or civil partner. They will then complete a document called an ‘Acknowledgment of Service’ and return it to the court. Assuming your spouse or civil partner does not defend the divorce, you can then apply to the court for the Decree Nisi, which is the provisional stage of the divorce.
– this dissolves your marriage and leaves you both free to remarry.
The process is anything but quick, but it is fairly straightforward. The more complicated elements of a divorce are dealing with the arrangements for any children of the family and the finances.
If you would like a copy of our free ‘Divorce – what you need to know’ guide, or if you would like help from a family solicitor regarding any divorce queries, please contact
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