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Divorce, Dissolution & Separation
Divorce, Dissolution & Separation
We are now offering free initial consultation meetings for divorce matters for a limited period only. Book now to avoid disappointment (Please quote ref FAM/Web 88, at the time of booking an appointment)
Our family law specialists can advise on all aspects of relationship breakdown and we have the expertise to deal with all circumstances including:
Fixed Fee Divorces from only £250 plus VAT & disbursements
Where the divorce is uncontested and your spouse agrees to the divorce we can offer a fixed fee service. We will guide you through the process advising on the grounds for divorce and the procedure, while preparing all of the relevant paperwork and taking the stress away from you. If the divorce is contested or defended, or even if your spouse simply won’t co-operate, we have the experience to help you achieve the outcome you seek.
We are also able to advise in relation to a separation if a divorce is not the right option for you.
See our Frequently Asked Questions for further information about divorce or call us now on 01234 358080 to speak to a solicitor about divorce.
Fixed Fee Dissolutions from only £250 plus VAT & disbursements
With same sex couples now receiving the legal recognition they deserve under the Civil Partnership Act 2004, you may need specialist legal advice on the breakdown of a civil partnership. Dissolution is the legal process which ends a civil partnership and the procedure itself is similar to the divorce procedure. Our family law team can advise and guide you through all aspects of dissolution or separation for civil partners and where the dissolution is uncontested and your civil partner agrees to the dissolution, we can offer a fixed fee.
We are also able to advise in relation to a separation if a dissolution is not the right option for you.
See our Frequently Asked Questions for further information about dissolution or call us now on 01234 358080 to speak to a solicitor about dissolution.
A judicial separation is a Court Order which stops the obligation of spouses (or partners of a civil partnership) having to live together. It is quite rare to get a judicial separation, but it can be used by couples who have a moral or religious objection to a divorce or dissolution. The order does not end the marriage or civil partnership so neither partner is free to marry or enter into a civil partnership again.
Separating from your partner can be just as stressful as getting a divorce, particularly where there are children or there is a family home. It is often very confusing for unmarried partners as the law in this area is vague and obtaining specialist advice is important.
For unmarried partners we can provide advice in relation to:
- Financial Matters for unmarried couples
- Resolving arrangements for children
- Cohabitation agreements
Can I get a divorce or dissolution in the first year? If not, what are the alternatives?
You cannot petition for divorce or dissolution in the first year of marriage; however you can still use the reasons which made you want to divorce or dissolution as evidence after the first year. Alternatively you could petition for Judicial Separation.
How long must I wait before I can start a divorce or dissolution?
Although you must be married for one year before you can start a divorce or dissolution, there is no minimum period of separation required. You can therefore start a divorce or dissolution immediately upon separation, providing you have already been married for one year. Speak to a solicitor as soon as you reach the decision to proceed with a divorce or dissolution to ensure that matters are resolved as quickly as possible.
How long does a divorce or dissolution take?
This will usually depend on whether the other party co-operates. If the other party agrees to the divorce/dissolution and they co-operate with the procedure, we usually estimate between 4 and 6 months for the procedure. The process can take a lot longer if the other party does not co-operate or defends the divorce.
Often, where there are financial matters to be resolved, the divorce or dissolution will not be finalised until the financial matters are settled, which can take longer than 6 months, particularly if Court proceedings are needed for the financial matters.
What if I did not get married in England?
The English courts have the power to hear certain divorce cases, but only if they fall under at least one for the following:
- Both parties are habitually resident in England and Wales
- Both were habitually resident and one party still resides in England and Wales
- Respondent is habitually resident in England and Wales
- Petitioner is habitually resident in England and Wales and lived there at least one year immediately before the petition
- Petitioner is domiciled and has been residing in England and Wales for at least 6 months before the petition
- Both parties are domiciled in England and Wales.
- If the above do not apply and no other Court has jurisdiction; either parties are domiciled in England and Wales when proceedings begun
Habitual - Person lives in the country voluntarily with the intention to settle. It is possible to be habitually resident in more than one place.
Domicile - Person has their permanent home there. It is only possible to be domiciled in one country at any given time, although domicile can change.
Petitioner - The spouse initiating the divorce and filing the petition.
Respondent - The other spouse who receives the petition from the Court.
What is the ground for divorce?
The marriage must have irretrievably broken down – i.e. the parties have no intention of reconciling.
What facts must be established to satisfy the ground for divorce?
To establish the ground for divorce the Petitioner must be able to prove it through one of the following 5 facts:
- The Respondent has committed adultery and the Petitioner finds it intolerable to live with the Respondent
- The Respondent behaved in such a way that the Petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the Respondent
- The Respondent deserted the Petitioner for a continuous period of 2 years immediately before the petition
- The parties lived apart for a continuous period of at least 2 years before the petition and the Respondent consents to the petition
- Parties have lived apart continuously for 5 years immediately before the petition
It is important to get advice about which option applies to your case as some facts can be hard to prove and certain steps must be taken.
What is the difference between a Decree Nisi and Decree Absolute?
Once you have obtained the Decree Nisi the Court is satisfied that you have established the ground for divorce. The Decree Nisi will be read out in open Court, however, unless you have any objections neither party need attend. The Decree Nisi is the interim certificate of divorce only and you remain married until the Decree Absolute is pronounced.
The Decree Absolute is the final stage in the divorce proceedings in which the marriage will be dissolved. The Petitioner can apply for this 6 weeks and one day after the Decree Nisi was granted.
What is the ground for dissolution of a civil partnership?
The civil partnership must have irretrievably broken down.
What facts must be established to satisfy the ground for dissolution?
To establish the ground for dissolution the Applicant must be able to prove it through one of the following 4 facts:
- The Respondent behaved in such a way that the Applicant cannot reasonably be expected to live with
- The Respondent deserted the Applicant for a continuous period of 2 years immediately before the petition
- The parties lived apart for a continuous period of at least 2 years before the petition and the Applicant consents to the petition
- Parties have lived apart continuously for 5 years immediately before the petition.
What is the difference between a Conditional Order and a Final Order?
Once you have obtained the Conditional Order the Court is satisfied that you have established the ground for dissolution. The Conditional Order will be read out in open Court, however, unless you have any objections neither party need attend. The Conditional Order is the interim certificate of dissolution only and you remain in a Civil Partnership until the Final Order is pronounced.
The Final Order is the final stage in the dissolution proceedings in which the civil partnership will be dissolved. The Applicant can apply for the Final Order 6 weeks and one day after the Conditional Order was granted.
Should I amend my Will once my divorce or dissolution is finalised?
Yes, once you have your Decree Absolute or Final Order, your marriage/civil partnership is dissolved and your status in law changes. All provisions in your Will relating to your spouse or civil partner will be invalid and it is essential that you update your Will at this stage. Click here for further information about Wills.
A forced marriage is a marriage which takes place without the valid consent of one or both parties, due to unacceptable pressure. If consent is freely given, the marriage is not forced and should not be confused with arranged marriages.
Unacceptable pressure or duress can take place in a number of ways such as threats of physical violence, emotional blackmail such as bringing shame and dishonour to the family as well as threats to your freedom.
In cases of forced marriages, immediate action may be necessary to prevent the marriage form taking place. Where the individual is under 18, he or she may be made a ward of the court. This will prevent the marriage from going ahead without the court’s permission. If the individual is over 18, an application can be made to the court for an injunction against the perpetrators applying the pressure.
If a forced marriage has taken place abroad, nullity proceedings can also be issued for a declaration that the marriage is null and void.
Please contact the family team at Premier Solicitors for further advice in this area. Please note that we understand and appreciate the highly sensitive and emotive nature of this matter and all enquires will be treated in the strictest confidence.
Call us today on 01234 35 80 80 to speak to a member of our qualified team.
Arrange to meet one of our understanding Divorce Lawyers at our office in Bedford.
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