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Divorce

If you are contemplating divorce, or have had it thrust upon you, there are several questions that you will need answering:- "how do I go about getting a divorce?", "how long will it take?", "what exactly is involved?", "how much does it cost?" and "what are my rights?".

A real problem is that everybody is an “expert” on divorce. Currently 1 in 3 marriages break down and we all know someone who is going through a divorce or has had one in the past. The fact is that every marriage is different, you are unique and so every divorce is different. This is why you will need a specialist solicitor to guide you through your divorce, offering reassurance, support and expert guidance.

Everybody has the right to seek a divorce if they wish, with or without the agreement of their spouse. At its most simple, to divorce, you file a document called a petition in your local family court. The Court posts copies to your spouse who is asked to sign an “acknowledgement of service” and return it to the Court within 14 days. You will need to satisfy the Court that you have grounds for divorce. (The 3 most common types of petition are unreasonable behaviour, adultery and living apart for 2 years with both sides consenting to divorce.) Once the Judge has confirmed you are entitled to divorce it will be “pronounced” in open court. A decree nisi is then sent to each spouse, which after a minimum of 6 weeks is made absolute and the divorce is then final. You are then free to marry again (even to each other if you wish).

This is the simple “quickie”. If both sides agree and there are no complicated issues such as children or finances to resolve, it can be concluded in about 4 months. You can do this yourself or use a solicitor but it is sensible to discuss your circumstances with a solicitor before you start to make sure that you are not missing something that you might regret later.

A contested divorce (where one side doesn't want it to happen) or one where financial and/or children issues have to be dealt with takes longer and, subject to the circumstances, can become very expensive. Agreement always saves time, heartache and money but all too often agreement is a hard fought battle. This is why you need the services of a specialist solicitor who can help you identify and achieve your goals.

Following decree absolute the marriage is over but there are other issues to consider. For example there will be an effect on your will. It is also important not to remarry unless you are sure how it will affect any financial claim against your ex-spouse.

If you are planning divorce or have had it thrust upon you, we are always happy to discuss your particular circumstances and consider the best way forward.

  • Why should I speak to a specialist solicitor?
  • Are there any pitfalls to a DIY divorce?
  • What is the process and cost of getting a divorce?
  • How can I prepare for the divorce proceedings?
  • What is the difference between divorce and separation?
Diane Genders
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