When the marriage finally breaks down you need to ensure any arrangements entered into benefit all parties, with the first consideration being given to the children of the family.
When a couple finally decides that the marriage has ended either party can seek to divorce the other.
The person issuing the divorce is known as the "Petitioner" and the person being divorced is known as the "Respondent".
A Court will not grant a divorce unless the marriage has irretrievably broken down and the couple will have to prove one of the five “facts” for the divorce to be granted.
There are five reasons or "facts" when a divorce can be granted:
- • Adultery
- • Unreasonable behaviour
- • 2 years desertion
- • 2 years separation with consent of the other party
- • 5 years separation with or without consent
However, couples cannot divorce within the first year of marriage, they could in this situation have a Separation Agreement or a Judicial Separation which enables matters to be dealt with even if there is not the option of going for a divorce. When this is the case we feel that the advice of a specialist solicitor is especially important.
The divorce process can be very straightforward, once the Divorce Petition has been issued by the Applicant, the Court will send an Acknowledgement of Service to the Respondent who then has fourteen days in which to sign and return the document.
Once the Court is satisfied that there are grounds for a divorce it will be pronounced in open Court, this is called a Decree Nisi and then after no less than six weeks (or when financial matters have been settled) the Decree Nisi will be made Absolute again in open Court and the divorce is completed.
If this is all agreed then neither party will need to attend at Court.
It is not necessary, but is highly recommended, that no matter how amicable the divorce is, that the couple seek independent legal advice.
However, most divorces are not that simple. A divorce may become contested where finances and children issues are concerned, taking longer for the divorce to be completed.
In these situations reaching an agreement can be a long and expensive process. When this is the case the advice of a specialist solicitor is even more important.