No one wants to entertain the possibility of a relationship breaking down at the start of a marriage, but that is exactly what happens to thousands of relationships every week in the UK. The pain and distress caused during a break up can be hard enough, but the legal and financial aspects of a separation can add to that stress if you don’t have the legal expertise of a divorce solicitor to call upon. If you’re in the midst of a permanent separation from your spouse, you will need to know what lies ahead.
Choosing a divorce solicitor
It is vital that you meet with your chosen divorce solicitor before legal proceedings begin. The intimate details of a relationship can very often be made public during a contested divorce, so you need to know that you can trust your legal counsel and maintain open and honest communications. It is always best to choose a solicitor with specific knowledge and experience in divorce law, so your interests are properly represented.
What will a divorce solicitor do?
Your solicitor will start by giving you a full breakdown of the legalities surrounding divorce. You will be taken through the steps required, and you will be informed as soon as the initial paperwork has been submitted to the courts.
Once the wheels are in motion, your solicitor will continue to keep you updated regarding major developments, as well as providing you with copies of important documents. If there is a risk of violence or intimidation, your solicitor will also talk you through the various options for remaining safe.
What will your divorce solicitor need from you?
Your solicitor will need to know some intimate details about your marriage – particularly if the divorce is to be contested. You will need to disclose a reason for your divorce, the names of any children, a list of jointly and separately held assets, details of current living arrangements and anything else that might be pertinent to the divorce. You will also need to supply a copy of your marriage certificate and any other relevant paperwork.
What are the possible grounds for divorce?
The usual grounds for divorce are adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion and long-term separation. Your divorce solicitor will assess your circumstances and suggest the most suitable reason for filing divorce papers.
What happens next?
Attempts at mediation and an out-of-court settlement will be made if your situation allows it. However, if that is not possible, the proceedings will begin with a letter to the respondent. This letter will include a recommendation that the respondent seeks independent legal advice.
Your divorce solicitor will then petition the court, and you will need to sign a sworn affidavit confirming your intention to press ahead with proceedings. If the initial petition goes unanswered perhaps because your partner is missing or simply refusing to comply – your solicitor will explain your options for overcoming this problem.
A decree nisi will be issued by the court once it has been satisfied that your divorce should go ahead as requested. A judge will make a decision on the division of assets and the payment of legal costs if no agreement can be reached. It is important to note that a divorce has not been granted at this point, and it is still possible to cancel the proceedings. However, six weeks after the decree nisi, the decree absolute will be issued, which is a legal dissolution of a marriage. When you receive this document, you are officially divorced.
The complexities of divorce proceedings in the UK require expert advice and guidance. By enlisting the services of a divorce solicitor, you can ensure that your interests are protected and that your divorce runs as smoothly as possible. Contact us if you would like to know more about our services and how we can help you through this time.