If you and your partner have decided to separate, it is important to get early legal advice. You will find that the sooner you know what you can expect from the process, the sooner you will be able to start planning.
We offer a free or fixed fee first meeting to discuss your circumstances, help you to consider your options, and advise whether you are eligible for legal aid. It may be appropriate to consider mediation or trying to resolve matters using the collaborative law process but these options are usually only available at the start of the process so it’s important to get early advice.
Divorce can be due to many reasons and is often very difficult to deal with, both emotionally and in practical terms. We have the expertise and experience to help relieve some of the pressures and complexities of the divorce procedure. We can help to answer your concerns and we will advise on your rights and the likely financial and other consequences ending a marriage.
To get a divorce in England and Wales, you need to show that you have been married for more than a year and that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. You will also need to prove one of the following facts:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- You have been separated for 2 or more years and both parties agree to a divorce
- You and your spouse have been separated for at least 5 years preceding the lodging of the petition for divorce at court and your spouse does not consent.
- You have been deserted for 2 years
The petition is sent to the court and the court will then send a copy to your spouse. Providing you can prove one of the above facts and your spouse does not defend the petition, you could expect to have the provisional divorce order (decree nisi) within about 3 months. The divorce does not take effect until the court has issued the decree absolute which can be applied for six weeks after the date of the decree nisi. In some cases it may be necessary to deal with financial and property issues before applying for the decree absolute and this is something that we will discuss with you at the time.
The process for dissolution of a civil partnership is the same as for divorce. Where the term “divorce” is used above it should be taken to include dissolution of civil partnership. The only exception is adultery which has a specific legal meaning and cannot be used as a reason for dissolving a civil partnership. If your civil partner is unfaithful the grounds for dissolution would be unreasonable behaviour rather than adultery.
Please get in touch:
E-mail: FamilyLaw@gilbertstephens.co.uk or contact one of our team.