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Divorce

The mechanics of obtaining a divorce nowadays are usually quite straightforward – particularly if the couple agree that the marriage is over.  However, the court documents do need to be completed correctly otherwise it could cause difficulties.

We can offer a fixed fee service for undefended divorces where there is no issue arising from the service of the petition. 


1.  Who can start divorce proceedings?

Anyone who has been married for over a year provided one or other of the couple is either domiciled here or has been resident in England or Wales during the preceding year.  It does not matter where the couple were married.

 

2.  On what grounds can a divorce petition be started?

The only ground for divorce is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, but this is shown by one of the 5 facts laid down by the current law.

 

3.    What are the “facts”?

a) Your spouse has committed adultery and you find it intolerable to continue living together.  The adultery can occur after separation.

b) Your spouse has behaved in such a way that it would be unreasonable to expect you to continue living together.

c) Your spouse has deserted you for a continuous period of 2 years or more.

d) You and your spouse have been living separately for 2 years or more and your spouse agrees to the divorce.

e) You and your spouse have been living separately for 5 years or more, whether or not your spouse consents to the divorce.

 

It is often sensible to try to obtain your spouse’s consent to the petition and to try to reach agreement over the contents of the petition.  For example, if your spouse accepts that the petition should be based on unreasonable behaviour, only a brief outline of the particular behaviour may need to be given.  Not saying all that might be said will not generally prejudice you. 

 

4.  What about the children?

A form is sent to the Court with the divorce petition which will outline the arrangements relating to the children.  The law encourages couples to try and agree those arrangements.  The form, known as a “Statement of Arrangements”, is usually completed by the person filing the petition.  Preferably it should be sent to the other spouse before it is filed.  If agreement is not reached, this does not prevent the divorce from proceeding.

 

5.  Are financial issues dealt with before the divorce is finalised

It is not necessary for financial discussions to be completed by the time the divorce is final.  Frequently they will still be in the early stages if finances are complicated.  However, it should at least be possible to resolve immediate problems and make temporary maintenance arrangements.  It may be more advantageous to delay the divorce until financial matters are resolved. Quite often the decree nisi stage will be reached and the absolute will not be applied for until the financial matters are resolved.

 

If you need further advice or assistance call 01245 349 696 or email Alexandra Dancey at adancey@thblegal.com