A marriage is a legally binding contract between 2 people that recognises the rights and obligations between them.
Divorce is a legal process, where the Court will bring the marriage to a final end. What reason do I need to begin a divorce? You will need to confirm how long you have been married. You cannot begin Divorce proceedings unless you have been married for more than 12 months.
You are also required to state why you consider that the marriage has irretrievably broken down i.e., that you can no longer be expected to continue with the marriage.
Grounds for divorce
In Autumn 2021, the long-awaited no-fault divorce will come into force. Until then, you must cite one of the reasons below for your divorce to support that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.
Adultery – you will have to prove this, or your spouse must agree to this.
Behaviour – This is the most commonly used ground for divorce. You will need to provide examples of unreasonable behaviour and why you cannot be expected to continue the marriage as a result. Your spouse is not required to consent to this.
Separated for 2 years and consents to the divorce.
Separated for 5 years, no consent is required.
Desertion – this is more than separation; it is complete abandonment and rarely used as a ground.
Stages of Divorce
A divorce petition will be sent to the Court, with the ground/s to begin the formal process.
Your spouse will receive a copy of the petition from the court and file an acknowledgement of service.
Apply for the Decree nisi – which is an order by the court stating the date on which a marriage will end unless a good reason not to grant a divorce is produced
The decree absolute can be applied 6 weeks later – This is final and will legally end the marriage.
>How much will it cost?
An uncontested, straight forward divorce will cost £500 + VAT and the Court issue fee of £550.
In a contested divorce, the costs will vary depending on the complexity of the issues and how many Court attendances are required. Other factors will be whether there are Child Custody or financial issues. We will give you an estimate of the time and likely costs one we are aware of the issues and can set up payments in instalments if required to help with the fees.
Division of marital assets
It is very important that any financial settlement Is documented so that there aren’t any issues at a later stage.
If you can reach an agreement regarding the division of the marital property/assets can this is known by consent.
If no agreement can be reached by the parties, this will be determined by the Court although there are no certain rules as to the division of assets, the court will look at various S25 factors
Section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973) namely:-
The financial needs and responsibilities each spouse has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future.
Ages of the spouse and how long they were married.
The standard of living enjoyed by the family during the marriage.
Contributions each person has made during the marriage.
The general rule is that the Court sees Marriage as a partnership and the marital assets should be shared.
The Court will take into account the children of the marriage and has the option to order:-
Selling the property and diving the proceeds of the sale,
transferring to another spouse for a monetary sum,
One party remaining in the property until the children reach 18 years of age or finishing full-time studies.
Unless an agreement is reached the court can make an order as to
Pension(s) of one or both spouses
Debts – to be considered
Child custody arrangements Child arrangement order – is an order for the arrangements for a child/children,
- Who the child will live with, have contact with along with their names. The Child arrangement order Lasts until the child reaches 18 years of age.
- If no agreement can be reached and medication has been exhausted, the court will make a determination, with the assistance of CAFCASS
- (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service). Cafcass are an Independent body that represents the children in family court cases in England. They advise the family courts about what is safe for children and what is in their best interests.
- When making a Child Custody arrangement, The Court must be cautious of the welfare principle and the welfare checklist.
- The welfare checklist requires the court to take into account the following:
- The wishes and feelings of the child considering their age and level of understanding.
- The impact upon them of a change in circumstances.
- The capability of each of the parents and or the Risk of harm, now or in the future.
- The physical, emotional and educational as well as any other needs that may arise.
- The Age, sex, background of the child.
Who can apply for a Child arrangement order?
- Anyone else who the child has been living with last 5 years
What is a Housing Disrepair Claim?
If you rent your home, then your landlord is responsible for making repairs on the property. If they fail to do so, then you’re eligible to make a housing disrepair claim against them for any damages, including personal injury, which may arise as a result of the disrepair.