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Frequently Asked Questions about Divorce and Separation

Any divorce/dissolution civil partnership or separation will be as individual as the two people involved. But there are inevitably common factors to all relationships coming to an end and therefore questions that pretty much everyone asks time and again.

Here we look at some of the most Frequently Asked Questions and provide answers that will give you the essential information you need about divorce/dissolution civil partnership and separation, at what can be an emotional and overwhelming time.

FAQs about Divorce/dissolution civil partnership and Separation

Q: What is involved in getting a divorce/dissolution civil partnership?

  • A: If you have been married or in a civil partnership for at least a year and your relationship is beyond repair, then you may be able to bring the relationship to an end provided you are able to prove one of five facts to show how the relationship has irretrievably broken down:
  • Adultery (not available for civil partnership)
  • Unreasonable Behaviour
  • Desertion for more than two years
  • Two years separation by consent
  • Five years separation

There are some key steps to formally ending a marriage/civil partnership:

  1. You must file a petition for divorce/dissolution. This is where you apply to the court for permission to end the marriage/ civil partnership.
  2. If your spouse /partner agrees to the petition, you then apply for a decree nisi/conditional dissolution order, a document that says there is no reason why you cannot divorce/dissolve your civil partnership
  3. The final step is to apply for a decree absolute/final dissolution order, which legally ends your marriage/civil partnership

However, if one of you does not agree to getting a divorce/dissolving the civil partnership, you should each get expert advice and representation from a solicitor as more complex court proceedings may be required.

Q: What is the difference between divorce/dissolution civil partnership and separation?

A: Instead of divorcing/dissolving civil partnership, some couples opt for a legal separation, which allows them to live separately without having to demonstrate that the marriage/civil partnership has broken down irretrievably. Couples may choose this option if there are religious beliefs against divorce/ dissolution civil partnership, they have been married less than a year or they want time and space to decide if the marriage/civil partnership is beyond repair. A Separation Agreement can be made setting out the terms agreed in relation to the children and finances.

Q: What practical matters do we need to discuss and agree?

A: When a couple separate there are many practicalities that need to be addressed and more so if there are children involved. Some of the key areas to discuss and agree on are:

  • Living arrangements, including those of any children
  • How much time the children will spend with each parent
  • Financial matters, including child, and possibly spousal maintenance
  • Dividing assets and belongings
  • Informing people

Q: Can we arrange our own divorce/dissolution civil partnership?

A: Yes but this will only work if you agree on why a divorce/dissolution is needed, arrangements concerning any children and those concerning the division of finances, property or possessions.

If there are no disputes on the petition for divorce/dissolution and finances, the divorce/dissolution civil partnership proceedings can be issued and a consent order on finances filed within those proceedings. If there is no issue on the arrangements for the children then no application/consent order would need to be filed in relation to them.

A DIY divorce/dissolution civil partnership may seem like an attractive, money-saving option but a lack of knowledge and experience particularly in relation to the children and finances in this arena could ultimately cost you more than engaging a solicitor to help you.

Q: We can’t agree on some important issues, so what do we do?

A: Where you can’t agree who is responsible for or entitled to what, then mediation can help. Mediation is where an independent third party helps couples to resolve their differences and come to a mutually satisfactory conclusion. There are also other resolution services such as Collaborative Law and Arbitration available to assist.

If you still cannot agree with the assistance of resolution services, then the matter will need to go to court. This is where the expert services of an experienced solicitor will be required, as they will be able to guide you through the process and help bring this traumatic experience to the most successful outcome.

Expert representation

Edward Hayes’ specialist divorce/dissolution civil partnership solicitors use their experience and expertise to obtain the best result for you. Contact us now to discuss how we could help you – in the South East on 0800 085 9684 or for the rest of the UK on 0845 602 3043.

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