Whilst nothing can prepare you for the emotional upheaval of a divorce, knowing what to expect in terms of the legal process can remove some of the anxiety and enable you to manage and take control of the process. In this article we explain more.
The divorce process itself has become more straightforward, amicable and user-friendly, since April of this year, when it was reformed. There is now no need for a spouse to rely on either adultery, unreasonable behaviour, a period of separation, or desertion, for the purposes of starting divorce proceedings. The Petitioner states in the application for divorce that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, and as long as the divorcing spouse has jurisdiction to bring the divorce, by living permanently in the UK or at least one of the couple having habitual residence in the UK, the other spouse is unable to defend it.
With regard to the child arrangements post-separation, these are not considered by the Court, unless the spouses wish for an order to be imposed, detailing these, in the absence of an agreement. In the vast majority of cases, the Court does not get involved at all in the child arrangements post-divorce and these are agreed, in the course of the spouses’ direct discussions, or within mediation, or some other alternative dispute process.
With regard to the finances, from the date that divorce proceedings are commenced, it is usual for there to be full financial disclosure and this is usually undertaken by way of the spouses exchanging financial statements giving full details of their assets, liabilities and income. Such forms are accompanied by supporting documents including 12 months bank statements, tax returns (if self-employed), P60s and pay statements, (if employed) and pension documentation. This will then enable spouses to start the negotiation process in the hope that at the conditional order stage of the divorce, previously known as the decree nisi stage, they will have reached an agreement, such that the Court can endorse this on the basis that it is fair and reasonable, in the light of the financial disclosure given. If the spouses can agree a settlement and this is approved by the Court, there is no need for them to attend Court whatsoever. It is an administrative process only, for the Court and the spouses/their respective solicitors, if represented. Once the financial settlement has been approved by the Court, the parties can then apply for the Final Order or as it used to be known, the Decree Absolute, which is the final decree of divorce, as long as it has been six weeks since the conditional order.
This article was brought to you by our family solicitor at Kidd Rapinet Solicitors Maidenhead. You can speak to any of the family lawyers across our other offices in Aylesbury, Canary Wharf, Farnham, High Wycombe or Slough, using the form provided. Please use the links provided to find more information on divorce or separation, child arrangements and other areas of family law.
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