Divorce and Separation

Family Law - domestic abuse

Going through a divorce can be one of the most traumatic experiences in your life and not only a difficult time for you but your children and family. We can help you with your divorce or separation by making sure that everything is taken care of in a sensitive and confidential manner, offering advice in a clear and understanding way and helping you through this stressful time.

Divorce or Separation

Anyone who has been married for a period of 12 months or more can file a petition for divorce.

What are the grounds for presenting a petition for divorce?

There are five grounds for presenting a petition for divorce which are;

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Desertion for a continuous period of two years or more
  • Two years separation with consent, and;
  • Five years separation

If you have grounds for divorce then you need to file a petition for divorce.

What is a Petition for Divorce?

The petition for divorce is a legal document which will be drafted by you, the petitioner, based on one of the five grounds for divorce. Once completed, the petition for divorce will be sent to the Court, who will forward a copy to the respondent together with an Acknowledgement of Service.

Acknowledgement of Service

If you have received a petition for divorce you, the respondent, will have eight days to return the Acknowledgement of Service.

Decree Nisi

Once the completed Acknowledgement of Service has been received from the Court a request for directions for trial will be made by providing a statement in Support. The Court will then set a date for the Decree Nisi to be pronounced.

Decree Absolute

This is the final stage of the divorce and cannot be applied for until at least six weeks after the pronouncement of the Decree Nisi.

What if the judge says no?

If the judge says you cannot have a divorce the Court will write to you and ask for more information about the grounds for divorce.

How long does it take to get divorced?

If there are no children involved and assets and property can be agreed on then from the presentation of the petition until the Decree Absolute can take up to four months.

What if there are children involved?

If there are children involved in a divorce or separation a Statement of Arrangements will be prepared which will set out the arrangements as to where the children will reside and what contact is proposed with the other party etc. (Click here for further information on Residence Orders)

What about common law marriage?

There is no such thing as a common law spouse, regardless of how long two people have lived together. No automatic rights arise when an unmarried couple live together. (Click here for more information on Cohabiting Rights)

Can I get divorced if I am in a Civil Partnership?

If you are in a Civil Partnership you can apply for a Civil Partnership Dissolution, which has to go through the Courts. Similar to a divorce, you have to have been in the partnership for over 12 months before you can apply for dissolution.

What can we do to help?

Sadly, 1 in 3 marriages nowadays end in divorce or separation; obtaining legal advice before you start your petition for divorce is really important, you may have initial questions such as;

  • Do you have grounds for divorce?
  • Is your husband/wife likely to agree to the divorce?
  • What will happen to your children?
  • What financial matters need resolving?

We can help guide you through the process, ensuring you have all the information you need, particularly when there are children, property and assets involved, our expert team of family solicitors can guide you every step of the way.

We are proud to be accredited by Resolution as a Specialist in the areas of Private Children Law and Domestic Violence.

Frequently Asked Questions

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