With Christmas well and truly behind us many people use this time to reflect on their life. The New Year symbolises a fresh start and is typically a time when people start looking towards the future. It is, therefore, not hard to understand why family lawyers receive many enquiries about getting divorced at this time of year.

If you are considering a divorce here is a brief overview of the process and main things you need to know:

It is not possible to commence divorce proceedings until you have been married for a period of 12 months.

There is currently only one ground for divorce in this country and that is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. This must be proven by citing one of five facts, namely:

  1. Your spouse has committed adultery and you find it intolerable to live with them;
  2. Your spouse has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with them;
  3. You have lived separately for a minimum of two years separation and you both wish to obtain a divorce;
  4. Your spouse has deserted you for a continuous period of at least two years;
  5. You have been separated for at least five years.

To commence divorce proceedings one spouse must file a divorce petition with the Court. This person is referred to as the Petitioner and their spouse is the Respondent.

The petition tells the Court when and where you were married and cites the reason you believe you marriage has irretrievably broken down.

The Respondent will receive a copy of the petition, once it has been issued by the Court, along with an Acknowledgement of Service form which asks whether they consent to the divorce or intend to defend it and whether they agree to the grounds for divorce, amongst other things.

The Respondent should complete the Acknowledgment of Service within 8 days and return it to Court who will then send a copy to the Petitioner.

The next stage is for the Petitioner to file an application for Decree Nisi, together with a statement in support confirming the contents of the petition.

Once Decree Nisi is pronounced, the Petitioner must wait six weeks and one day before they can apply for the Decree Absolute which formally dissolves the marriage.

Many couples pause proceedings at this stage to deal with associated financial matters.

Once Decree Absolute is granted you are free to remarry, your spouse is no longer your next of kin and any will which names your spouse as executor or beneficiary becomes invalid in these respects. Divorcing couples should always consider making a new will.

If you are considering a divorce there are many things to consider, will we have to sell the family home? Where will I live? Will I be able to manage financially? What arrangements will need to be made with regards to the children? Will I be entitled to a share of my spouses’ pension? What will happen regarding joint assets / liabilities?

We can help

Ringrose Law offer free initial appointments and fixed fee divorces. We are here to help. Please get in touch if you need advice. Contact wecanhelp@ringroselaw.co.uk or call 01522 561020.

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