Family Law Solicitors Essex
Your marriage has irretrievably broken down. What do you do next?
Ending a marriage is difficult and emotional for everyone involved, but unfortunately you can’t just simply walk away at the end. Instead, there are a number of things that you need to think about and sort during divorce proceedings such as child arrangements and finances.
You may be considering starting divorce proceedings or you may have already been served a Divorce Petition due to your former partner having already begun the divorce proceedings. No matter what stage you are at, we are here to help and guide you every step of the way, no matter how complex your circumstances.
What are the grounds for divorce?
First and foremost, in order to obtain a divorce, you will need to prove that your marriage has irretrievably broken down. In order to prove that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, the Petitioner (who applies for the divorce) needs to give one of the five reasons below.
- Adultery – your spouse has had sexual intercourse with a person of the opposite sex. Please note that the Petitioner cannot issue a Divorce Petition on the basis of their own adultery. A divorce may not be granted if you are still living with your spouse six months after you found out about the adultery. You do not have to name the person with whom your spouse committed adultery with.
- Unreasonable behaviour – your spouse has behaved in such a way that you can’t be expected to live with him/her. Your spouse’s unreasonable behaviour does not have to be as extreme as domestic violence but can consist of allegations such as your spouse being too critical or negative or even spending inadequate time at home. At least one example must have taken place within six months immediately before the start of divorce proceedings.
- Desertion – your spouse has deserted you for a continuous period of at least two years immediately before the start of divorce proceedings.
- Two years separation with consent – you and your spouse have lived separately for a continuous period of at least two years immediately before the beginning of divorce proceedings. A divorce can only be granted on this basis if the Respondent consents to the divorce.
- Five years separation without consent – you and your spouse have lived separately for a continuous period of at least five years immediately before the beginning of divorce proceedings. A divorce can be granted on this basis without the Respondent’s consent.
What does Petitioner and Respondent mean?
The party who applies for the divorce is known as the Petitioner. The other party, who will receive the Divorce Petition, is known as the Respondent.
What is the procedure for divorce?
- Divorce Petition (application for divorce) is sent to the court with a fee of £550.
- The court will send the Divorce Petition to your spouse with an Acknowledgement of Service Your spouse has eight days to complete, sign and return the Acknowledgement of Service form to the court stating whether they agree to the divorce or disagree with the divorce and intend to defend it.
- If your spouse fails to return the form to the court within 21 days, we will instruct a Process Server to personally serve your spouse the Divorce Petition and Acknowledgement of Service form.
- Once we have received the Acknowledgement of Service form from the court or proved that your spouse has been served the divorce documents, we can apply for the Decree Nisi (a provisional decree of divorce).
- When the court is satisfied that the Petitioner has met the legal and procedural requirements to obtain a divorce, the court will issue a Certificate of Entitlement to a Decree Nisi detailing the date of the pronouncement of the Decree Nisi.
- We can then apply for the Decree Absolute six weeks and one day after the pronouncement of the Decree Nisi. The Decree Absolute is the court of law’s final order officially ending your marriage. If a financial settlement or Child Arrangements Order is unresolved at this stage, you may be advised to delay your application for Decree Absolute until these matters are resolved.
Get in touch – we are here to help
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Please note that you do not have to attend our offices and we can take your instructions by email, phone or Zoom video call conferencing. Please email email@example.com or phone us on 0203 876 7136.