Getting a Divorce

If you are getting divorced or dissolving a civil partnership, you will undoubtedly have a number of concerns about this delicate process. What happens to the children, what happens to the house and what happens to the money during a divorce are prime concerns for families.

To be certain a fair and acceptable agreement is reached you should first seek the support of a family solicitor during this difficult period, who you can trust to explain the rights of everyone involved and expertly guide you throughout. This is especially important if you will be in a vulnerable position as a result of separating, or children are involved.

In order to meet the requirements for a divorce you must have had a legally-recognised marriage lasting for at least one year, live in England or Wales and have an irreparable relationship.

What are the grounds for a divorce?

An irreparable relationship is caused by any of the following, known as the five grounds for a divorce.

  • Adultery – (This does not apply for civil partnerships).
  • Desertion – Your partner has been away for at least two years without reason.
  • Separation for two years – Your partner must agree to the divorce.
  • Separation for five years – Your partner does not need to agree to the divorce.
  • Wrongful behaviour – Any abuse, substance misuse and payment refusals are examples.

For a divorce to be accepted you will need to provide evidence of any of the above to your solicitor. Once the reasons for a separation are established they will then take you through each stage in securing a divorce.

Steps for a divorce

The main steps for a divorce are filing a divorce petition to the court, applying for a decree nisi and applying for a decree absolute. Should your partner disagree with the petition, they are said to be ‘defending the divorce’ and this will normally result in a court hearing. If this occurs then your solicitor can present your case to the judge.

However, if they agree to the petition then the divorce will go ahead. You will then need to focus on deciding on issues such as which possessions you keep, where family members will live and, if there are children, when and how often you will see them. Mediation is the suggested service to use for confirming the details.

What is mediation?

Mediation is when you and your partner try to agree on solutions to problematic settlement issues, carried out by a mediator. Following this route is often favoured by judges because it can help you avoid going to court to settle disputes, and solicitors can help you on the decisions you should take.

Children and divorce

If you and your partner have children, protecting their well-being is paramount in the divorce process. A divorce is an exceptionally difficult time for children so they need to be cared for as much as possible. You and your partner will need to arrange where they will live, how much contact they will have with each parent, how they will be supported and the process for any holidays. Due to the importance of this issue, you should ask your solicitor for guidance.