Divorce & Separation

Divorce

The breakdown of a relationship can be one of the most traumatic experiences for a person. It will raise all kinds of difficult questions and potential problems that will need resolving. We will help you answer those questions and guide you through the legal, emotional and financial consequences of divorce and separation. We regularly work in teams with other professionals such as financial advisers, pension specialists and therapeutic professionals to ensure you have the full support you and any children involved need.

Our Family Law Solicitors will work with you to decide on the best approach when dealing with your divorce or separation, ensuring that the best interests of any children involved are the priority throughout.  The family court is rarely the best way of resolving family matters and there are many other ways of coming to sensible solutions such as MediationCollaborative Practice, round table meetings, solicitor negotiation, Earley Neutral Evaluations (ENE’s), Private FDR’s, Arbitration and the HFLS process. These are just some ways of resolving family issues in a much more constructive, amicable and cost effective way.  We will talk with you to help you to choose the best approach for you, and most importantly we will help you decide on the next steps to be taken and how to progress matters in a positive way for you.

The divorce procedure itself is now a simple paper or online application, particularly where a couple have mutually agreed that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. Before you can apply for divorce, the couple must have been married for at least one year. The divorce process is now a ‘no fault’ system, meaning that neither party has to blame the other for the breakdown of the marriage. The divorce application can be made by one spouse, or both, and you simply have to confirm to the Court that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.

From the date the court have issued the divorce application, the sole or joint applicants cannot apply for Conditional Order until 20 weeks have passed. This time period will allow a couple time to reflect and to enter into negotiations regarding their financial settlement. Once a Conditional Order has been granted, the sole or joint applicants then have to wait a further six weeks and one day before applying for the Final Order in their divorce. Once this is granted the couple are no longer legally married.

International Divorce

It is not unusual these days for families to travel extensively and relocate abroad. In such circumstances, when a relationship breaks down, it is essential that specialist advice is sought as to which country any divorce or family proceedings should be initiated in.  There must be a careful and detailed analysis of the benefits and drawbacks of issuing in a particular country.  The likely financial outcome in each particular country will often determine the country of choice, which may include consideration of whether there is a binding pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement in existence.  Decisions about where children will live, with whom, and in which country may also need to be made which could involve child abduction issues or consideration of moving abroad with children. It is not unusual these days for families to travel extensively and relocate abroad. In such circumstances, when a relationship breaks down, it is essential that specialist advice is sought as to which country any divorce or family proceedings should be started in. There must be a careful and detailed analysis of the benefits and drawbacks of issuing in a particular country. The likely financial outcome in each particular country will often determine the country of choice, which may include consideration of whether there is a binding pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement in existence. Decisions about where children will live, with whom, and in which country may also need to be made which could involve child abduction issues or consideration of moving abroad with children.

Separation

A married couple may experience relationship difficulties but may not have reached the point of irretrievable breakdown. A reconciliation may be possible, and perhaps some form of marriage counselling or guidance will assist the couple. A period of separation may be the best way forward for the family, whether temporary or permanent. It is important that agreements are reached regarding the financial arrangements on separation as soon as possible and that they are recorded in a formal separation agreement. It is also important that specialist legal advice is obtained before negotiating or entering into any separation agreement as in most cases the agreement will be upheld at the point of any future divorce.

A couple may feel that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, but they do not wish to proceed with divorce due to religious beliefs or for other reasons. In such circumstances, a Judicial Separation may be considered appropriate. A Judicial Separation involves proceedings similar to that of divorce, and specific financial applications can also be made to the court if an agreement cannot be reached.

Annulment

An annulment is a legal declaration by the court that the marriage was not legally valid when entered into, or has become legally invalid subsequently. The grounds for annulment are very limited and are not always easy to prove, therefore it is essential that specialist family solicitors are consulted before any application of made for an annulment. Some examples of when an annulment may be appropriate are as follows:

  • Bigamy
  • Mental incapacity
  • One spouse is under 16 years old
  • The couple not being fully male/female
  • The couple are related
  • Mistaken identity
  • Non-consummation of the marriage
  • Not conforming to the legal requirements of marriage
  • If one spouse was pregnant or had a sexually transmitted disease at the time of marriage and the other was unaware of it

For specialist advice in all areas of Family Law, please call us on 02380 713 060, or email [email protected].

Make An Appointment

We will assist in many complicated and specialised areas of family law. Discuss your options and contact us on 02380 713060.

Make An Appointment

We will assist in many complicated and specialised areas of family law. Discuss your options and contact us on 02380 713060.
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