What Do I Need To Know About Divorce?

Making the very difficult decision to get a divorce from your spouse is one which will take time.

It is crucial therefore that you know where you stand and what your rights are before you make any firm decisions and to learn as much about the process as possible.
1. On what grounds can I get divorced?

There are five different grounds for divorce in England and Wales (the law is different in Scotland and Northern Ireland). These are:
• Adultery
• Unreasonable behaviour
• Desertion
• You’ve been separated and lived apart for 2 years and you both agree to the divorce
• You’ve been separated and lived apart for 5 years, even if your spouse will not consent to the divorce
You must also have been married for a year before you can commence divorce proceedings.

2. How do I deal with custody of our children?

You will ideally agree on the details of the custody of your children amicably with your spouse before the divorce petition is sent to the court because the Statement of Arrangements for the Children needs to be sent along with the divorce petition. The court needs to be persuaded that the arrangements you put in place are in the best interests of your children. If you are struggling to be amicable, there is the opportunity for you to and your spouse to get a mediator involved to resolve these issues, but not being able to agree does not mean that you cannot divorce. It simply means that you may need to address the custody issues separately.

3. How is the financial settlement worked out?

Each divorce is different and as it is really important to achieve the best settlement possible for you and your children, speaking with a specialist family solicitor will help you to ensure you get sound legal advice on this important area of divorce. There are a number of factors that will be considered before the most common settlement of a monthly maintenance figure will probably be agreed. You should try to work through any contentious issues with a mediator if necessary and try to agree the financial settlement before court.

4. Will I have to go to court?

If your divorce is contested (your spouse does not agree with the divorce) then you will have to go to court and possibly attend a court hearing alongside your spouse. However, if neither of you contest the divorce you will not have to attend court. All paperwork, including your divorce petition and your applications for a decree nisi and decree absolute will go through the court.
If you decide that a divorce is the route you want to take, you should seek advice from a family law solicitor to ensure that you are fully aware about what your divorce will mean for you and your family.
For more information about this article or any aspect of our family law services, please call Charles Goodbody on 01985 214444 or email cgoodbody@mulaw.co.uk  and we will be delighted to help you (there is no charge for initial telephone discussions).