What is the procedure for a divorce?
Posted on 24th October 2019
Divorce is never easy. Many instruct a family law solicitor to act on their behalf to take away the pressure and to assist in this daunting task. Unfortunately the terminology and process used by some solicitors can add to the confusion and stress of a divorce; therefore as your Local Lancaster Family Solicitors we have created a short guide to the process and terminology of the divorce procedure.
The Initial Appointment
This initial appointment can be scary, but you needn’t worry; our super friendly Family team will instantly make you feel at ease. This appointment is essentially to gather all the information from you, such as the date, length and place of marriage, whether there are any children of the marriage, properties and businesses. Personal questions will be asked, such as why you or your spouse have chosen to end the marriage.
As Family Law Solicitors in Lancaster we understand that this can be nerve-wracking, and should you need the extra support please feel free to attend with a friend or family member. Please note however that we can only take instructions from you as our client. We would ask that if you are the Petitioner (i.e you are the one applying for the divorce) that you bring your original Marriage Certificate with you in order that our wonderful Divorce Assistant, Lucinda, can draft the Petition for you, that day.
During this appointment you will be advised on the grounds of divorce which best suit your situation. The following facts are accepted by the Divorce Court for Ground of Divorce:-
Should your spouse have engaged in a sexual relationship outside of the marriage, then the adultery grounds may be used. Please note you can only issue on the grounds of adultery if the divorce petition is filed within six months of the adultery being discovered. Currently only sexual relationships with members of the opposite sex are defined as adultery by the court. Therefore, a filing of unreasonable behaviour may be appropriate if a spouse is found to have been unfaithful with a member of the same sex. We would advise that you as the Petitioner cannot issue on the grounds of your own adultery. Your Spouse will need to sign a Form of Admission in order to proceed on the Grounds of Adultery, as will any named Co-Respondents, should they chose not to sign the Form of Admission then we are able to file on the grounds of Unreasonable Behaviour, see below.
2. Unreasonable Behaviour
The most commonly used fact as it applies to any behaviour as a result of which you can no longer bear to live with your spouse. This means anything from your spouse not contributing the upkeep of the family and the family home, or that your spouse is not trusted with money, or they are controlling, drink too much or taking illegal drugs, or are engaging in relations with either sex.
Should your partner have left you and the marriage with no explanation or for no reason, and has not returned within 2 years then you are within your right to file for divorce of the grounds of desertion.
4. 2 Years’ Separation with Consent.
In order to file on the fact of 2 years’ separation with consent you and your spouse need have been separated completely for 2 years, this means you have not shared a bed or lived as a married couple with in that time frame, you are able to file if you have been sharing a home so long as you have been “living separate lives under the same roof” i.e. not eating together, sharing the marital bed, or being in each other’s company as you once were etc. Your Spouse will have to sign a Form of Consent in order to issue on this fact.
5. 5 years’ Separation
As above you and your spouse need to have been living completely separate lives for at least 5 years. Again, this includes not sharing the marital bed or living as a married couple. Unlike 2 years Separation, your spouse will not need to consent to this.
Drafting of the Application and Second Appointment
Once the reason for divorce has been established and a marriage certificate provided, (if you are not in possession of the original then we can request an official copy on your behalf for the fee of £14.00) then our Divorce Assistant will proceed with drafting the petition. Once done you will be invited into to peruse and approve the petition with our Family Law Solicitor.
As in accordance with protocol a copy of the petition will be sent to your spouse, or their own representatives for their records. After 14 days the petition will then be forward to the Divorce Court. We would advise that the Court fee is currently £550.00, which is required upfront, but depending on your financial situation you may be eligible for a reduction or an exemption sees the help with fees form for guidance.
Acknowledgement of Service
Once the petition is issued a Notice of Proceedings and an Acknowledgement of Service will be sent to your spouse, they are required to sign and return this to the Court. Should they ignore this, then as your Lancaster Divorce Solicitors we would advise you instruct a local process sever, more information on them can be find by clicking here.
Once the Acknowledgement has been received by the Court, they will then, if they deem it appropriate, issue a Certificate of Entitlement, essentially this means they Court is happy for you to apply for the divorce on the grounds listed.
Decree Nisi – The First Decree
We as, your local Family Law Solicitors, will then contact you with an application for Decree Nisi and a Statement in Support. Your reprehensive will explain the steps to you or invite you in to go over the forms. The Decree Nisi is granted by a Judge once your paperwork is received by the Court, an exhibition sheet marked “A” and a copy of the signed Acknowledgment of Service must be included in the returned paperwork.
If the Judge is happy to grant you Decree Nisi then a time, usually 10:00am, and date will be set for the Decree Nisi to be pronounced. Neither you nor your spouse will need to attend the Court on this date unless the spouse is opposed to the same, however they will need to inform ourselves and the Court of their intentions at least 14 days prior to the date of Decree Nisi. You can find more on this here. https://www.gov.uk/divorce/apply-for-decree-nisi
After the Decree Nisi has been pronounced you are legally require to wait 6 weeks and 1 day before you are able to apply for the final Decree, the Decree Absolute. It is at this time that we, as your, Lancaster Family Solicitors, will discuss the options of finances with you. We would recommend that this is sorted before you apply for you Decree Absolute.
Decree Absolute – The Final Decree
6 Weeks and 1 day, maybe be longer is you have chosen to sort your finances out, you are finally able to apply for the Decree Absolute the document that legally ends your marriage, this is an important steps, many believe that they are divorce as soon as the Decree Nisi is pronounced as with this couple (maybe should have read our guide beforehand aye guys!).
The Decree Absolute normally comes through within 2 weeks of the application for the same being submitted, once we are in receipt of this we will send the original certificate to you for your safe keeping, the Court will forward a Decree Absolute to your spouse for their records. This therefore means your marriage has been legally ended and you are free to move on with your life as you see fit.
Should you have any questions in relation to the divorce procedure then please feel free to book an half hour consultation with our Family Law Team, (£75.00 plus VAT) on 01524 581306. Alternatively enquires can be made on our website or directly through our Divorce Assistant at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information about our fees can be found, here: https://www.mglegal.co.uk/services/family-law/fees/.
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Tagged as: Divorce, Family Law Lancaster, Financial Matters, Solicitors in Preston, Your Local Solicitors
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