Divorce & Seperation

Getting early advice is crucial.  We can advise on how best to reach a settlement or explain the court process to you.  We are members of Resolution and as such, are committed to working in a progressive, mindful manner through the divorce and associated proceedings.

DIVORCE/ DISOLUTION:

If you are married, the process whereby your marriage is brought to an end is called Divorce.  There is only one ground for seeking a divorce and that is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.  You must rely on one of the five facts set out in the legislation as proof of the marriage breakdown.  They are:

  • Adultery (Divorce only)
  • Unreasonable Behaviour
  • 2 Years Separation with Consent.
  • 2 Years Desertion
  • 5 Years Separation.

We will guide you through the options and draft the necessary paperwork on your behalf. And progress the divorce to the first stage 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”.

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. 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.

If you 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 can be settled. 

We are pleased to now offer a Fixed Fee Divorce at Keelys.  We will represent you as Petitioner in the Divorce for a fixed fee of £750 plus VAT and Court fee of £550, as Petitioner where the case is not defended (extra charge will apply if personal service is required) and £350 plus VAT as Respondent (not defended).  Full terms and conditions will be supplied before work commences.  

We are happy to have a  meeting with you at an early stage to outline your legal rights and to guide you

Reaching an agreement or settlement of how to divide up the matrimonial property or assets including the former matrimonial home, pensions and whether maintenance is payable, is often the more difficult part of the whole divorce process. Obtaining of a Decree Absolute does not resolve the financial matters between you and your spouse. The Decree Absolute only brings your marriage to an end, all financial matters have to be settled by a separate order.

Hopefully you and your partner will be able to reach an agreement with each other as to how to divide up the matrimonial assets; but it is important that the agreement reached is fair and is enforceable and will not be overturned at some future date. It is important that you get legal advice at the earliest stage possible so that you can know your legal rights and obligations and so that the negotiations with your partner can be entered into in confidence knowing that you are properly dealing with all the issues and have not missed out any crucial points.

We are happy to have a without prejudice meeting with you at an early stage (even if you are not ready to start the divorce process) to outline your legal rights and to guide you to the points which you should consider and to give you the general advice which will help you to decide your next step. You are under no obligation to take matters any further and the meeting will hopefully put your mind at rest and explain clearly and straight forwardly what could otherwise be a worrying and confusing series of issues.

There are several ways in which you can agree the division of matrimonial assets including:

  • Mediation
  • Solicitor negotiation
  • Collaborative Law  
  • Court proceedings.

If you and your partner do reach an agreement (with or without legal advice and help) we would very strongly advise that the agreement is recorded in a “Consent Order”. This will ensure that financial issues are finalised properly and that neither of you can re-open the issue at some future point. Without this “Consent Order” either of you could at any stage in the future issue proceedings and ask the court to divide up the assets which you and your partner have at that point in time (not what you had when you separated or divorced!).

Most financial settlements are resolved through negotiation but if that is not possible or the finances are complex due to there being business assets or valuable pensions, then it may be necessary to issue court proceedings. Throughout those proceedings there are opportunities to still reach an agreed settlement and we will advise you throughout with the intention of settling matters on a fair and reasonable basis wherever possible.

All sorts of factors and circumstances can and will be taken into account in deciding how the matrimonial property and assets will be divided. We will advise you of all of those circumstances which may then lead to you to settling matters in a way which you would not have otherwise considered or have been aware of. The division of assets on divorce is likely to be one of the largest and most complex transactions that you ever have to deal with and we are there with many years of experience and specialisation in this area of law to guide you successfully through the process and hopefully reach an amicable equitable resolution which takes all of your personal circumstances into account and provides you with a tailor made settlement designed specifically for you.

Family Law Team

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