Divorce is an incredibly stressful event for any family to go through. It is therefore important to get the right legal advice from the get-go. A divorce solicitor can guide you through the process quickly and efficiently.
At Eric Robinson our team of experienced family lawyers are fully authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and they offer specialist advice in respect of any divorce or dissolution. Regardless of the nature of your divorce and separation our lawyers offer a fixed fee divorce service.
Ground for divorce
There can be many reasons behind the breakdown in a relationship. It is however a legal requirement in England and Wales that your marriage has lasted for at least one year before you can submit a divorce petition. Furthermore, it is also your responsibility to demonstrate that your marriage has irretrievably broken down. Until the potential introduction of no fault divorce the break down of a couples relationship must be demonstrated by proving one of the following grounds:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- Two years separation with consent
- Five years separation
Getting a divorce and dealing with family law can be a complex process. Having divorce lawyers involved early on can provide crucial information that may enable you to avoid the need to attend a court hearing. All members of our team can advise clients on the key aspects of divorce law and they will be able to discuss with you the option of mediation and collaborative law. Both mediation and collaborative law can be offered on a fixed fee basis and they are processes that seek to resolve family disputes in a way which avoids a need to go to court thereby reducing the level of court fees incurred.
The first stage of divorce begins when the petitioner (the person seeking the divorce) fills out a Petition at court as well as a Statement of Reconciliation. The statement proves that the petitioner has discussed with a solicitor the possibility of reconciliation with their ex partner. The Petition is sent to the court with your marriage certificate and a court fee is payable to begin the process of judicial separation.
After this, the respondent (the other party involved) is sent correspondence from the court including the original Petition, the Notice of Proceedings and an Acknowledgement of Service. Once the Acknowledgement of Service is completed by the respondent, and they agree to the divorce, they are no longer involved in the process.
The next stage in divorce proceedings involves two decrees. The first is known as the Decree Nisi. This begins an administrative process in which divorce papers are placed before a judge. If all is in order a Certificate of Entitlement is issued and the Decree Nisi is pronounced. Once pronounced you can apply for the Decree Absolute. This is the final decree/court order in the process, leaving just financial matters and any arrangements concerning children to be settled.
If you don’t have grounds for divorce, or don’t want to divorce your partner, you can still legally separate. Our law firm can offer legal services including drafting a separation agreement for you. This agreement can include details of child or spousal maintenance (maintenance that is paid to former spouse following a divorce) as well as details concerning the financial separation.
How can our family law team help?
Our family solicitors deal with all aspects of divorce in England and Wales, ensuring divorce proceedings are dealt with promptly and efficiently.
At Eric Robinson, our expert divorce solicitors offer a divorce service we’re proud of- guiding you through the complexities of the divorce process. We can offer a fixed fee divorce package that is tailored to your specific needs.
There comes a time after every relationship breakdown when the practicalities of separation must be tackled head on. When that relationship is a marriage, it’s more complicated, especially when there are financial issues to agree and matters concerning children to resolve.
Sensible advice at the outset of a separation can avoid acrimony, costs and unnecessary court proceedings. In some cases divorce may not be the appropriate course, so seeking early advice is always best.
If you wish to learn more about how Eric Robinson Solicitors can assist with your family problems, or if you are ready to get your divorce case underway, our expert team is only one telephone call away, or alternatively, please contact us via our website, or via our telephone number, today.
Am I ready to divorce?
It’s not unheard of for divorce proceedings to reignite a couple’s relationship. Strange as it may sound, the prospect of a line being drawn under the marriage and embarking on separate lives can bring home the value of what a couple had. That realisation can dawn some way down the line when things have already started to get expensive, so it’s important to be as sure as you possibly can be that your marriage is over before heading down the divorce route.
Am I eligible to divorce?
Your marriage must have lasted at least one year before you’re able to divorce.
Another prerequisite is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. In real terms that means proving one of the following: adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, two years’ separation with your partner’s consent, or five years’ separation. It’s worth looking at these individually:
Adultery is where a married person has sexual intercourse with a person of the opposite sex who isn’t their husband or wife. If they had sexual intercourse with a person of the same sex then that can instead be used as an example of unreasonable behaviour. If you are alleging adultery then be aware that you cannot rely on it as the basis for your divorce if you carried on living with your spouse for more than six months after finding out about the adultery.
Unreasonable behaviour does not need to be extreme for it to satisfy the definition – it can often be quite mild. Examples are the lack of affection or emotional support, but it also includes aggressive or controlling behaviour as well as physical violence.
Desertion is rarely relied on these days. That’s mainly because it is difficult to prove and there are usually other reasons that can be relied on instead. The desertion has to be for a continuous period of at least two years immediately before the petition is filed at Court. In many cases, that continuous period is broken and so desertion cannot be established.
Two years’ separation, if you are going to rely on this reason then you need your partner’s consent to the divorce. Legal separation means that both parties are living completely separate lives. You can still live in the same house but you aren’t living as a couple – for example, you don’t sleep together, cook and eat together, or carry out domestic tasks for one another.
When a husband and wife have been living separately for five years then either one of them does not need the other’s consent to divorce.
When should I seek advice from a lawyer?
The idea of going to see a family lawyer may seem like a big step to take and one which will bring home the reality of your situation. The support of a good lawyer really can make the divorce process a lot easier to handle. Find someone you like, who understands your situation and who you trust to fight your corner.
Will I need details about finances?
Many of our clients have never had to deal with family finances. Relationships often work that way, with one spouse handling the mortgage and investments and the other playing a different (but just as significant) part in running the house. When it comes to dividing assets and apportioning liabilities, each person needs some understanding of where they stand. We can help with that – it’s what we do – but any lawyer will ask you for certain pieces of financial information. So start pulling these together as soon as you can.
What if I don’t quite understand part of the process?
We understand that you’re going through a very difficult time. You need advice, reassurance and support – and you should never be afraid to ask your solicitor a question because you think you should know the answer. You can count on us having been asked every “silly” question plenty of times before.
Will I need to go to court?
Not every divorce culminates in a court hearing. There are alternatives which your solicitor will be able to discuss with you. Mediation and collaborative law are just two frequently used routes to amicable settlement; they may be right for you.
Is it useful to try to see things from your spouse’s perspective?
This could well be the last thing you’re inclined to do, but it can make a positive difference to the divorce process. Imagine, for example, that you accepted some time ago that your marriage was over. Your spouse might be taking longer to come to terms with that. Recognising this will help you understand why they now behave as they do (perhaps they are reluctant to move the process on). We’re not saying that you should accommodate your spouse at the expense of getting the resolution you need, but it’s helpful to get the measure of them and of the situation.
Will there be a need to compromise?
We fight hard for our clients, but we always advise them to be realistic and reasonable. That doesn’t mean giving in and it doesn’t mean losing; it’s about being clear on what really matters.
Will there be formalities and deadlines to deal with?
Your lawyer will explain the divorce process to you. As you’d probably expect there are rules about what must be done and when, and it’s important to take these on board. For example, your lawyer will ask you for your original marriage certificate because this will need to be filed at court when you issue your divorce petition. There will be court deadlines to adhere to and documents to be prepared on time, so you should expect your lawyer to be contacting you fairly regularly.
Can divorce be a positive experience?
Divorce is all-consuming. It can be stressful, emotional and tiring, but the process won’t go on forever. Treat it as a stepping stone to a new life in which the past is an influence, but the future is what counts. We are alongside clients when things are tough and we’re there when they come out the other side – and they do!
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