Beginners Guide to Divorce

Sometimes these things happen. Either your partner tells you that they want a divorce or you make that decision yourself.
The immediate questions when facing a divorce are most commonly:-
  • What do you do;
  • What is involved;
  • How long does it take;
  • How much it will cost.
Marriages breakdown for many reasons however within divorce proceedings there is only one reason - that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. The breakdown must be evidence by one of five facts:
  • The other party's adultery;
  • The other party's unreasonable behaviour;
  • Desertion for two years;
  • Living apart for two years and both consent to the divorce;
  • Living apart for five years and the consent of the other party is not required.
The actual circumstance of the breakdown of the marriage will rarely affect any issues to do with the children or the finances.
A simple uncontested divorce need only take a few months but every case is different and your solicitor may advise you not to finish off the divorce until all other matters have been sorted out.
The cost of a divorce will depend on its complexity and whether or not you may qualify for legal aid. Your solicitor should advise you of the likely costs during your first meeting. It is important to remember that the costs of a divorce are to do just with the divorce itself, costs of resolving children (when each parent will care for the children) and finances (maintenance, property, debts, pensions) are separate matters.
If it looks like you and your partner are going to divorce then it is important to take advice from your solicitor as soon as possible. Do not wait until the court papers drop through the letter box. If you and your partner can understand the process which has to be gone through, and how to try and resolve issues involving the children and the matrimonial finances, then you stand a much better chance of agreeing the terms of your separation and so keeping your legal costs down.
Finally, where there is to be a divorce it is important that you also review what would happen if you were to die before the divorce is finalised. Your solicitor will advise you on making a Will, ownership of any property, pension and life policy beneficiaries.
For more information on divorce and family matters please contact Lindsey Canning on 0114 266 6660 or email lindsey.canning@wake-smith.com.

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