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Divorce & Separation

The law which operates when a relationship breaks down varies on whether you are married, are co-habiting or are in a civil partnership.  Whatever your position you should take legal advice at an early stage so that you know your rights and obligations.

Hopefully you and your partner will be trying to reach an agreement and we are happy to explain the law and give you help and assistance to enable you to negotiate an agreed settlement which is workable and thereby save on legal costs.

Even if you and your partner are unable to reach an agreement on dividing up the property and assets we are able to give you pro-active advice or steer you towards the various ways in which your matter may be resolved such as Mediation; Collaborative Law; Solicitor negotiation or the Courts.

Divorce, Separation and Dissolution

If you are married, the process whereby your marriage is brought to an end is called Divorce.  There is basically only one ground for seeking a divorce and that is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.

The person who starts the process is called a “Petitioner” and the other person is a “Respondent”.

The Divorce process is started by your lawyer who writes an initial letter to your partner and explains the basis on which you are seeking a divorce which are known as the “grounds” of Divorce.

A draft copy of the Divorce Petition may be sent to the Respondent to see if the grounds and particulars are agreed and to avoid the chances of the Divorce being disputed.

Once the Divorce Petition has been issued, the Respondent will be served with a copy and has to complete an “Acknowledgement of Service” and it is important that legal advice is obtained before that document is signed and returned to Court.

Once the Respondent has filed the Acknowledgement of Service the Petitioner will complete a Statement in Support of their Petition and when that is received by the Court they will set a date for the making of the first stage of Divorce which is known as a “Decree Nisi”.

A minimum of six weeks after Decree Nisi the Petitioner can apply for the second and final stage of Divorce known as “Decree Absolute”.

Obviously there will usually be financial issues that need to be resolved so that the matrimonial property and assets can be divided up and maintenance for partners and/or children can be arranged.   This often takes some time to agree and the “Decree Absolute” is usually delayed until the financial agreement has been finalised.

Often it is the dividing up of the matrimonial property and assets which is the more complex and time consuming part of the process.

You may find the following websites useful for further information and guidance:

www.divorceaid.co.uk  and  www.resolution.org.uk  and  www.lawsociety.org.uk

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