Getting a divorce can be one of the most stressful times of your life. Here at Jordans Solicitors we aim to make the process as smooth and easy as we can for you. Here’s a quick guide to divorce to cover the process you may be entering into over the next few months.
You have formed the view that your marriage has irretrievably broken down; you can no longer live with your spouse. English law says that on this basis a Divorce can be granted provided that the Petitioner (the spouse bringing the proceedings) can prove this.
To do this there are five facts which can be relied on; the other spouses’ unreasonable behaviour, the other spouses’ adultery, confirming that you have both lived separately and apart for two years and both consent to the divorce, confirming that the other spouse has deserted you for at least two years meaning you do not know where they are or that you have both lived separately and apart for at least five years.
The Divorce Petition is drafted confirming which fact you intend to rely on a Statement of Case is prepared in support. If either of you have young children, the Court will also want confirmation that all matters in relation to them are agreed. You will therefore need to also complete a Statement of Arrangements for Children.
Acknowledgement of Service
The Divorce Petition and Statement of Arrangements for Children are then sent to the Court who will issue the proceedings. The Divorce Petition is sent to your spouse (known at the Respondent) and they have 14 days to confirm to the Court (in a document known as the Acknowledgement of Service) whether or not they agree with the contents of your Divorce Petition or if they intend to defend the proceedings. If they do not return the Acknowledgement of Service within that time you will need to prove that either your spouse has had the papers and is simply ignoring them or that you have done everything you can to ensure that they are aware that you have commenced proceedings against them (known as service).
There are two stages of a divorce, known as Decree’s. Once the Acknowledgement of Service is returned or service is affected you can apply for the first, the Decree Nisi. This document confirms that the Court acknowledges your intention to divorce and gives a six week notice period. The court will also confirm at this stage if they are content with your arrangements for the children and whether or not the Respondent should pay anything towards the costs you have incurred in bringing the divorce.
Six weeks and one day after the Decree Nisi you can apply for your Decree Absolute which confirms that you are legally divorced. This is a relatively straightforward application; however, its effect can be detrimental if badly timed. We would always advise you to ensure that financial matters are sufficiently dealt with prior to obtaining the Decree Absolute and it will end certain rights you may have against your partner’s assets.
We usually ask our clients to turn their mind to financial matters shortly after the Divorce Petition is issued. This means that matters can be dealt with more efficiently and hopefully means less time and stress for you. As a result of a marriage all spouses gain a claim against the other for financial relief. What relief you will receive depends on many factors applicable to your case and it is always advisable to ensure that you have full advice regarding the financial implications of a divorce before applying for your Decree Absolute.
Divorces can be vastly different for each couple. For some it will be a very straightforward procedure with minimal time and cost involved. Unfortunately however this is not always the case and sometimes complicating factors can arise which are not covered in this brief guide.
Should you wish to discuss your particular circumstances, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our Family Team who will be more than happy to assist.