Are you thinking of getting divorced? We are sure that you will have many questions for us, here are a few of the most common questions received answered for you. Q How long do I need to have been married for before I can start divorce proceedings? A You must have been married for at least 12 months before you are able to start your divorce. Q Things are amicable, can you represent myself and my spouse? A Unfortunately not. We can only represent you, not both of you. This is due to the fact that we must act in your best interests, and by acting for you both there would potentially be a conflict of interest if later down the line matters did not remain amicable. Q Is there a way that we can separate formally without having to get divorced? A Yes this is possible. We can assist you in the preparation and drafting of a separation agreement which will evidence the agreed terms between you upon your separation. It can cover any agreement that you have reached in respect of the family home and how assets and savings will be divided amongst other things such as child maintenance arrangements. Q What reasons can I use for divorcing my spouse? A In England and Wales, there is one ground for divorce and this is that your marriage has broken down ‘irretrievably’. You must be able to satisfy the court that there has been an irretrievable breakdown, in that you can no longer be expected to remain married to your spouse. This is shown by providing the court with one (or more) of the 5 facts below: \tYou have lived apart for over 2 years continuously and both agree to the divorce; \tYou have lived apart continuously for a period of 5 years (you do not need the consent of your spouse for this); \tYour spouse deserted you over 2 years ago. \tYour spouse has committed adultery, no longer than 6 months have passed since you found out about it, and you do not feel that you can remain married. \tYour spouse has behaved unreasonably, and you feel that you can no longer remain married. Q How to I start divorce proceedings? A We can assist you in the drafting of a divorce petition, which must evidence the reason for divorce. This is sent to the court together with your original marriage certificate and a court fee of £410.00 (in some cases you may be eligible for a court fee remission depending on whether or not you have a low income). The court will then consider the divorce petition, and issue the same if it is satisfied that you have shown that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of your marriage. Q I have lost my original marriage certificate, what should I do? A If you were married here in the United Kingdom, we can request a copy of your marriage certificate from the General Register Office, or from the church at which you were married. There is usually a fee of around £10.00 - £20.00 for this. Unfortunately, you must have an official copy of the marriage certificate, a copy of the original you may possess will not suffice. Q I was married overseas and so the marriage certificate is in another language, what should I do? A You will need to provide the marriage certificate together with an official translation of the document. Q How long does an undefended divorce take? A Providing there are no complications, we estimate that it would normally take anything between 4 and 6 months to complete. This will of course depend on the courts ability to process the documentation, your spouse’s response time and also includes a period of 6 weeks and 1 day whereby following Decree Nisi (the first stage of divorce), you must allow this time to lapse before applying for Decree Absolute (the final stage of divorce). Q Will I have to attend Court for any reason? A Usually, no. Unless the divorce is defended and the matter proceeds to a hearing, or there is an argument regarding costs, it is unlikely that a judge will wish to see you. In respect of financial or children matters however, you will have to attend court hearings. Q What happens with our finances? A We can assist you with all aspects of divorce and financial proceedings. It would be helpful if financial matters could be dealt with promptly, and we would advise you not to apply to the court for your Decree Absolute (final stage of divorce) until all financial matters have been resolved. If you re-marry without sorting out your finances, you will enter what is known as the ‘re-marriage trap’ and so will not be able to claim money or property from your ex-spouse. It is sensible for you to agree how your finances are to be divided whilst divorce proceedings are underway. Q How much will it cost? A We offer all clients an initial FREE no obligation 30 minute consultation to discuss your legal issues with us and as part of this service, after assessing the issues, we will provide you with an estimate as to what your legal fees will be. Why not arrange your appointment now? Contact us on 01244 506 444.