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Know where you stand when it comes to divorce and the law

We understand the emotional and mental strain a divorce can put on you. A good solicitor can begin to relieve a lot of that pressure.

Divorce will likely mean changes to your living arrangements, as well as to your finances. And it can complicate things further if you have children to support and care for.

Do you want to begin divorce proceedings? Or are you currently going through the process and need advice? Whatever your situation, First4lawyers can provide you with expert guidance in family law and you can contact us now to help ensure your divorce proceedings and all related issues go as smoothly as possible.

What is divorce?

Divorce is the legal termination of a marriage between two people. This must take place before the death of either spouse. You can get a divorce if you have been married for a year or more. To obtain a divorce in England or Wales, your marriage must be recognised in UK law.

What are the grounds for divorce?

If you wish to dissolve your marriage, you will have to show the court that your relationship has ‘irretrievably’ broken down. You can then begin divorce proceedings, and to do this you must prove at least one of the following five things:

  • Adultery – your husband or wife has had intercourse with someone of the opposite sex and as a result, you no longer wish to be with them. UK law does not recognise homosexual intercourse as adultery.
  • Unreasonable behaviour – this could involve mental or physical cruelty or abuse. It could also involve a lack of care in money matters, drunkenness, or drug taking.
  • Agreed separation – you and your spouse have lived separately for two years and you both agree to dissolve the union.
  • Non-unanimous separation – in cases where your spouse does not agree to the divorce, you must have lived apart for five years or more
  • Desertion – your partner has deserted you. To dissolve the marriage, you must have been living apart for two years or more. This can be difficult to prove, as the court may not view the absence of your partner as desertion, depending on their signalled intention.

What do divorce proceedings involve?

There are three main steps in divorce proceedings:

  1. File for divorce – you must seek permission from the UK law courts to divorce. The success of your petition depends on the reasons you give for wanting to dissolve the marriage.
  2. Obtain a decree nisi – if your husband or wife gives consent to the dissolution and signs the necessary papers, you may receive a document authorising the divorce process.
  3. Obtain a decree absolute – this dissolves your marriage in law. After you receive the decree nisi, you must wait for six weeks before applying for the decree absolute.

Can I arrange my own divorce?

It is possible to arrange your own divorce without involving family solicitors, provided you and your spouse agree on the following things:

  • The grounds for divorce.
  • How you’ll care and support any children from the marriage.
  • How you’ll divide finances, property and possessions.

If you agree on these issues beforehand, it won’t be necessary to go to court. In this case, the divorce process involves filling out and filing the necessary paperwork.

What legal issues might I face during divorce proceedings?

Legal issues you may face during divorce proceedings include the following:

  • Division of property
  • Spousal maintenance

If you are the main breadwinner in your marriage, you may need to continue providing financial support to your spouse before reaching any final agreement. This may include continuing to pay bills even if you have left the home you once shared.

On the other hand, if you depend financially on your spouse, you should ask for suitable financial support. If your spouse refuses, you can apply for an interim financial order from the court. This will require them to meet your financial needs until you reach a final agreement.

It is important that both parties fully disclose their respective financial positions during divorce proceedings. If you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets to avoid splitting them with you as part of your divorce, it is highly advisable that you contact an experienced family lawyer.

In the UK, divorce proceedings are wholly distinct from those related to disputes regarding the care and support of any children from the marriage. Yet the issues of custody, access and support can still be raised during divorce proceedings. A skilled family solicitor will be able to help you if you are facing such problems.

I’m having legal issues related to my divorce – what should I do?

While it is possible to resolve divorce-related issues without the aid of a family solicitor, it is highly advisable that you find an expert to help you reach a fair settlement. At First4lawyers, we are here to help you.

We are able to assign specialist divorce lawyers to your case who will have a great deal of skill and experience in this area of law. So, whether you suspect your spouse of hiding assets, or you just want a mediator to help reach the fairest settlement, reach out to First4lawyers today

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