Do I Have To Go To Court To Get Divorced?
Posted on 16th March 2020
So, why is the Court involved when getting a Divorce?
Well, because you are legally ending a contract there are some documents which must be filed with the Court.
Do I have to see a Judge when I get divorced?
Not necessarily. The Court is used to resolve legal disputes so if you and your spouse can agree to the divorce then this can result in a fairly straightforward divorce process avoiding the need for you to attend Court in person. In most cases it is unlikely you will need to appear at Court because most of the process will be dealt with entirely on paper.
That said, if you are unable to agree matters then you may both be required to attend Court.
When might I have to go to Court?
You may need to go to Court if you or your spouse does not agree to the divorce and attempts to defend the divorce.
Does my spouse have to agree to the divorce?
Not necessarily, we at MG Legal Solicitors in Lancaster, have come across cases whereby the divorce petition is issued by the Court and the respondent has chosen to defend the proceedings. Our family team are saying that this happens often, but it does happen. What happens is, the person who receives the divorce petition will be asked whether or not they wish to defend the proceedings. If the respondent chooses to defend the divorce proceedings and files a defence then the Court will list the matter for a hearing called a “Case Management Hearing”. In these circumstances all parties are required to attend the hearing and if matters are not agreed and the divorce remains defended then the Court will arrange, what is known as a, “Final Hearing”.
Like we said, this doesn’t happen often, and most of clients who attend upon our solicitors in Lancaster and Preston are well and truly aware that the marriage is on the rocks, and that, at least one party concerned is seeking expert family law advice, in order to protect themselves, and their assets.
What if I don’t agree to paying legal costs when I am going through a divorce?
The person starting the divorce proceedings can claim their legal costs from the respondent. Your family law solicitor may be able to assist you in reaching an agreement as to who pays the legal costs but this is not always possible. When an agreement cannot be reached a Judge would decide the issue of the legal costs at the Decree Nisi hearing. You should be aware that you would be expected to attend the Decree Nisi hearing although we have seen a recent trend of Judges considering the issue of costs on paper by each party writing to the Court to set out their positions in such instances you would not be required to go to Court.
Will my finances and child arrangements be dealt with when I divorce?
Divorce, finances of the marriage and child arrangements are treated as three separate matters. Again, if the finances and child arrangements cannot be agreed between the divorcing couple then it is likely that you will need to attend Court but it should be remembered that Court is always the last resort and you will be asked to attend mediation first. An application to the Court is only required when all other avenues have been exhausted.
Would other people be allowed into Court to watch my divorce case?
Family law proceedings are heard in private so this means if you did have to attend Court there would be no jury or spectators.
Who would be at Court, would my in-laws be there?
You, your spouse, the Judge and any required experts.
If you need specialist family law legal advice tailored to your own personal circumstances, then contact MG Legal’s Family Law Team via firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01524 581306 who will be more than happy to assist.
MG Legal – Your Local Solicitors
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