At Barnes Family Law we appreciate the major impact the breakdown of your relationship can have on your whole family, both emotionally and financially. Our aim is to guide you expertly through each and every stage of the process, clearly outlining your options and providing you with the information you need to make your own decisions. We aim to help you achieve a constructive resolution of your differences by the quickest and easiest route available to you.
Please note the process for dissolution of Civil Partnership is the same as divorce. Where the term “divorce” is used it should be taken to include dissolution of civil partnership. The only exception is adultery which is a specific legal term relating to heterosexual sex and which cannot therefore be used as grounds for dissolving a civil partnership. If your partner were unfaithful then the ground would be unreasonable behaviour.
You need to show that you have been married for more than 1 year and that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. This must be for one of the following five reasons for divorce:
One or more of these grounds may apply to you, we will be able to advise you as to which is most suitable. It may be necessary in some cases to give limited examples of the behaviour and how it has affected you. It is also possible to try and agree this information with your spouse beforehand.
The first stage of the process is to prepare the documents. The “petition” outlines the grounds on which your divorce is based. The person issuing the divorce is known as the “petitioner”, the person being divorced is referred to as the “respondent”. If you have children a further document will be sent to the Court outlining the current and proposed arrangements. Copies of these documents are then sent to your spouse who is then required to complete an Acknowledgement of Service form stating whether (s)he agrees with the divorce.
Decree Nisi is the mid way point of divorce proceedings. It is also the point at which the Court can consider making an order to resolve financial matters if you want to resolve these issues as well.
Six weeks and one day after the Decree Nisi the person issuing the divorce can apply for Decree Absolute, which dissolves the marriage. If they do not do so then the other spouse (the respondent) can apply to the Court for the Decree Absolute four and a half months after the Decree Nisi was pronounced.
If the other party does not agree to a divorce then the position becomes more complicated, we can advise you as to what course of action is appropriate in these circumstances.
Financial arrangements upon divorce may also need to be resolved, please see our fact sheet on “Financial Arrangements upon divorce”
Judicial Separation is the same process as divorce but there is no Decree Absolute, which means the Court officially recognises the separation but you can’t remarry. This process is usually used by people with deep religious or personal beliefs against divorce.
If arrangements for the children cannot be agreed then you may need specific advice, please see our fact sheet “Arrangements for the Children”
The short answer is yes you can, and we are sure that there will be many well-meaning friends who will give you advice. Unfortunately, however, everybody’s divorce & separation circumstances are different, and trying to resolve matters yourself at such an emotional time can often cause difficulties further down the line. We are here to advise you of all the ends that need tying up to ensure that once you have dealt with the issues that arise from divorce & separation you can get on with your life, comfortable in the knowledge that nothing is going to raise its head in years to come. Whilst of course you will have to pay for legal advice, it will be worth it to have this peace of mind.
We would always recommend that you consider making a will if divorce proceedings are being considered so that you can avoid assets passing to your spouse in the event of your death before the divorce is concluded. If you die without a will then your estate may simply pass to your spouse under the rules of intestacy.
You should also consider amending or revising your will once decree absolute has been pronounced as the divorce will affect the validity of any previous will you may have.