It is difficult dealing with the pain of a relationship that has irretrievably broken. What follows can feel worse as you have to adjust to new lives, especially if children are involved. The divorce and separation processes need to be carefully managed to minimise lasting damage.
At Labrums, we have experience of supporting people struggling with the reality of divorce or separation. We consider all of the alternatives to court proceedings available, including counselling, separation agreements, mediation or even a cooling-off period, as these often provide a less disruptive and expensive way to bring a relationship to an end.
If you do go to court, we will do all we can to settle the case on the best terms possible for you and your family.
One way to avoid the trauma of a contested divorce is to take out a pre-nuptial agreement and our divorce lawyers can advise you on the preparation of these.
If you are looking for divorce solicitors who take the time to understand your specific challenges and objectives and deliver the outcome you want please contact us today.
Key Considerations During a Divorce
Before you begin the divorce process, you and your partner should work out the arrangements for looking after your children and child maintenance. You must also agree on how your money and property should be divided. We strongly recommend you use negotiation or mediation to reach an agreement on these issues to keep matters as amicable as possible.
Our divorce solicitors have many years of experience supporting families as they make these important arrangements. We will use our expert negotiation skills to help you reach an agreement that is fair and, above all, protects your children’s best interests.
What are the Grounds for Divorce?
There is only one legal ground for divorce in the UK: the relationship has irretrievably broken down. For this to have taken place, the petitioner (the person who begins the divorce proceedings) must show one of the following events has happened:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- 2 years separation (where the respondent consents to the divorce)
- 5 years separation (where the respondent does not consent to the divorce)
You must also be married for one year before you can apply for a divorce.
What is unreasonable behaviour?
Unreasonable behaviour is the most common reason used in divorce petitions. It covers any behaviour that means the petitioner ‘cannot reasonably be expected to live with the respondent’. The term can include physical violence, lack of emotional and financial support and spending too much time at work and not with the family.
What is desertion?
Desertion occurs where your partner ends your relationship by leaving you without your agreement and without good reason. For desertion to have happened, your husband or wife must have left you for at least two years within the previous two and half years.
Whatever the cause of your divorce, our experienced divorce lawyers will provide advice on the legal rules that apply to the different reasons you can rely on, the approach of the court to each and how, when making or responding to a divorce petition, you can limit making an already emotionally charged situation worse, saving you stress, time and money.
What is the Divorce Process?
The divorce process in England & Wales involves various steps. Our divorce law team will guide you through each stage to ensure it all goes as smoothly and quickly as possible. Below is a summary of the process; please contact us for advice for your particular circumstances.
- The petitioner issues the divorce petition with the court.
- The respondent receives a copy of the petition and an ‘acknowledgement of service’ form (asking if they intend to consent to or defend the divorce), which they must complete and return within eight days.
- Where the respondent agrees to the divorce, the petitioner applies for a decree nisi, which, if granted, means the court approves your application for divorce. If the respondent plans to defend the divorce or your decree nisi is rejected, your case will go to a court hearing and a judge will make a decision.
- If a decree nisi is granted, you can then apply for a decree absolute (the legal document that officially ends your marriage); however, you must wait at least six weeks and one day from the date of the decree nisi before applying.
What is Legal Separation?
Legal separation allows you to live apart from your partner without ending your marriage. This may be an attractive option if you and your partner have been married for less than a year, you are unsure about the future of your marriage and do not want to commit to a divorce just yet or your religion or beliefs prevents you from divorcing. You must apply to the court to legally separate and can rely on the same reasons for divorce (adultery, unreasonable behaviour, etc.) in your application.
In these situations, a separation agreement can be useful to set out the agreed terms of your separation, including the payment of bills, where you will both live and the living and financial arrangements for your children. It is important that you and your partner receive independent legal advice when making a settlement agreement, to ensure its terms are fair and would be taken seriously by a court.
Contact our Expert Separation & Divorce Lawyers, St Albans
Our divorce solicitors have been helping families from St Albans and the surrounding areas deal with personal and sensitive legal issues for over 25 years. Our clients trust us to achieve the best possible results in the most difficult and emotionally charged situations. If you are looking for legal advice for divorce or separation from divorce solicitors who will identify and understand your specific challenges and requirements to deliver what you want, call our team on 01727 858807 or use our online enquiry form and we will be in touch.