Thinking about divorce?

Your marriage is in question and you’re facing a hard decision; a decision that you hoped you would never have to make. Are you thinking about a divorce?

You may be the one who is deciding to end the marriage, it might be your spouse, it may have been a gradual process to come to this conclusion or it may be sudden, either way It’s not easy – divorce is not an easy word to say, it’s not an easy decision to make, and it’s not a easy process to go through which makes it important that you understand the process.

What things to think about when getting a divorce

There are many things to think about when getting a divorce. After all the decisions you make now are going to have an impact on you for the rest of your life. It is therefore important to assess and explore your options properly before making decisions.

You may want to consider the following if you relationship has broken down:

  • The reason for ending the marriage. This is a requirement for when filing for a divorce
  • Childcare Arrangements both in the short and long-term. There is a separate court process for child arrangement.
  • Child Maintenance (this stops when the child reaches 16 or 20 if the child is in full-time education)
  • Division of Assets, including the matrimonial home
  • Spousal maintenance if you were not in a short marriage

Several reasons for thinking about a divorce?

There are several reasons for getting a divorce these are:

  • Adultery – you must have admission or sufficient evidence that your spouse has partaken in sexual intercourse with another person
  • Unreasonable behaviour – this can be abuse (both physical and verbal), substance abuse and refusal to contribute to the marital home, financially irresponsible or refusal to engage in sexual activity
  • Desertion – they left you without consent for over a 2 year period
  • Lived apart for more than 2 years by consent or your spouse
  • Separation for at least 5 years without the consent of your spouse

What are the next steps if you are thinking about a divorce?

In order to obtain a divorce you must have been married for at least 12 months and be able to demonstrate that your marriage has suffered “irretrievable breakdown”. If you have been married for less then 12 months, then you may wish to consider a separation agreement.

The next step when thinking about a divorce is to file a divorce Petition; you have to fill in a divorce petition form which must include:

  • Your full name and address
  • Your spouse’s full name and address
  • Marriage certificate
  • Names and dates of birth of any children, however this information is not essential

You will need to send 3 copies to your nearest divorce centre and also keep a copy for your records.

At this stage of thinking about a divorce you will need to prepare a Divorce Petition.

If your spouse has started a divorce against you then you will need to respond by agreeing or disagreeing to the statement of case within the divorce and the divorce proceedings themselves.

If the facts within the statement of case in a divorce against you are untrue, you should not look to accept them because they could have an impact on financial proceedings depending on the extent of such allegations. You may want to seek legal advice from a divorce solicitor at this stage if you are you unsure.

Instruct a solicitor to assist with your divorce

If your relationship has broken down and you are facing a divorce or separation, you may be feeling anxious, angry and confused. By instructing a solicitor to manage the divorce it can relieve the extra stress that can be caused throughout the process allowing you to better cope emotionally through a tough time and process. Your divorce solicitor will be there for you each step of the way to advise you on the situation that is most suitable for you.

Your divorce solicitors will discuss the reason for the marriage breakdown and can help to understand whether the marriage can be saved. You will be asked to provide information in regards to the separation such as the date of the separation, details of any children of the family including the future arrangements for the children; details of your own and your partner’s assets, income, savings and pension interests.

Speaking to a family lawyer can help you to explore your options and prepare both a short and long term plan to your new life.

There are two types of divorce

Other things to think about when getting a divorce is that there are the two kinds of Divorces; Contested and Uncontested:

Contested Divorce

If you or your spouse cannot agree over the ground of the divorce or the statement of case within the divorce petition then the divorce is considered to be contested. In these cases the terms of the divorce may be decided by the appointed judge.

Uncontested Divorce

In cases when both you and your spouse agree to an amicable divorce and in doing so have agreed to the grounds of the divorce, then this is considered an uncontested divorce.

An uncontested divorce is advisable as the best route because it instils less animosity and is also less costly with minimal court input.

Decree Nisi/Decree Absolute

After you have filed your petition for a divorce, you will be required to make an application for a decri nisi.

The judge will make the decision whether to grant a decree nisi. Once the decri nisi has been received, petitioner can after a six week period make an application to apply for a decree absolute.

You should strongly considering consulting with a financial settlement solicitor before applying for the decree absolute if you wish to secure a financial settlement.

Once you receive your decree absolute, you are officially divorced and are free to marry again.

It is strongly advisable that you seek legal advice before filing your decree absolute to avoid being disbarred from certain financial claims.

How long can the divorce process last?

All divorce circumstances are different so there are no set time frames however, in a straight forward case where both parties are in an agreement with the proceedings, it can be effective within six months to a year. More complicated divorces can take much longer.

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