A divorce is a formal termination of a marriage. The process is structured and prescriptive and you should make sure you fully understand the procedures and your rights from the outset to ensure you protect your interests as much as possible. Here are our top tips on the legal aspects of the process if you have decided that your relationship with your spouse has come to an end.
You cannot start divorce proceedings unless you have been married for at least one year.
2 Consider mediation
Pursuing an acrimonious divorce settlement through the courts can be expensive and traumatic, particularly if children are involved. Mediation is often a better way to decide who gets what in a more collaborative way. Before you can apply to the court for a settlement you will have to prove that you have considered mediation.
3 Be clear about your grounds
The only ground for divorce is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. The court will need evidence proving adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion for over two years, or separation – two years if both parties agree or five years if they don’t.
4 How to start proceedings
Instruct a divorce solicitor who will complete the Petition. This is the document that starts the court proceedings. The solicitor will send the Petition to the court who will then issue it and send it to your spouse.
5 What happens next?
On receipt of the divorce Petition your spouse will have to send a form to the court saying whether or not they oppose the divorce. Your solicitor will be sent a copy. If your spouse does not oppose the divorce you will sign a statement in support of your Petition, which is the evidence that the court needs to enable the divorce to proceed.
6 What if my spouse doesn’t agree?
Sometimes the person being divorced refuses to sign the papers or becomes obstructive. Ultimately, if your grounds for divorce are sound they can only delay rather than prevent the process occurring. An experienced solicitor will help you find a solution that allows the process to continue with or without the consent of your spouse.
7 Decree Nisi
If the case is straightforward and a judge is satisfied that grounds for divorce have been established, your solicitor will be sent the time and date when the court will pronounce the ‘Decree Nisi.’ This is the form saying that you are entitled to a divorce.
8 Decree Absolute
Six weeks after the Decree Nisi you can apply for Decree Absolute. This makes the divorce final. Only at this point is the divorce finalised.
Even straightforward uncontested divorces can become complicated when it comes to dividing assets and agreeing custody. The Family Team at PowellsLaw have the experience and sympathetic approach to help you through the process. Contact us today on 01934 623 501 or click here for more information.