A Guide to Divorce & Separation

You may be considering, or have decided to, end your marriage and file for Divorce. The Divorce process is an emotionally challenging experience, complicated and often heart breaking.

When a couple decide to separate and begin the Divorce process they usually make joint decisions regarding their children’s well being, finances and property.

However as the process begins and time goes on, views often change which can cause conflict and negotiations are required to try to resolve any dispute.If you decide to handle your Divorce yourself you will be responsible for dealing with the emotional strain and difficulty of negotiating with your former partner alone and you may risk not getting the best you can for you and your family.

What is a Divorce?Divorce

Divorce is the official act of ending a marriage. One spouse will file for Divorce and the court will send the official papers to the other party. These documents must be filled in accurately otherwise the Divorce will be delayed or even rejected.

What are the different grounds for Divorce?

When you apply for a Divorce you’ll need to prove that your marriage has irretrievably broken down. To do this you must identify on what basis you are seeking a Divorce. The grounds are:

•  Adultery
• Unreasonable behaviour
• Desertion for more than two years
• You’ve been separated for at least 2 years with consent of the other party
• You’ve been separated for at least 5 years

Divorce ParentDo you have to be separated?

If you are divorcing on the grounds of separation, then you and your spouse will need to have been separated for at least two years if you both agree to the Divorce, and at least five years if you don’t. If you want to rely on the 2 years separation as grounds you’ll need to have permission from your ex-partner. If they don’t give permission, you can’t rely on this fact.
If you and your spouse are not yet separated or have been separated for less than two years, you will only be able to divorce on the basis of adultery or unreasonable behaviour.

How long does the process take?

There is no exact answer to this as every Divorce is different and specific to the couple’s circumstances. The Divorce can get complicated when there are financial factors and property involved. The process gets especially difficult when it comes to deciding on the well being of any children and child maintenance. All these matters need to be negotiated and agreed on by the couple and/or by the courts, and this can create conflict and tension.

The length  will also be dramatically reduced if a Solicitor is instructed to support the proceedings, as their job is to make the process efficient, as stress free as possible and to negotiate the best settlement for you and your family.

Divorce ChildDo I need a Solicitor to get Divorced?

The honest answer is no, you can apply and file for Divorce alone. However, a Divorce petition will only end the marriage and not resolve financial matters or arrangements for any children between you and your ex-partner. This may not be straightforward, especially if there has been conflict during the process.

It’s also important to remember a Solicitor is not just there to fill in paper work, we are there by your side the whole way through, for professional and emotional support and help take the stress and pain away.

Some considerations to make when deciding to instruct a Solicitor for your Divorce are:

The length of the Divorce process – A Solicitor will make the Divorce process more efficient by ensuring that paperwork is filled in accurately and that communication between you, your partner and the courts is done swiftly.

Financial issues – Over time you and your partner will have accumulated a vast amount of possessions, finances and likely a shared home. A Divorce may also effect investments and businesses you own. Remember, just because you verbally agreed on how your finances and property will be shared before the Divorce process began, does not mean this will be the case when it comes to making any agreement legally binding. A Solicitor is there to fight for your best interests and to make sure you get what you deserve from the marriage. Furthermore, a Solicitor will give sound and professional advice, something you would not receive working alone.
What is best for your children – When children are involved in the Divorce process, this can add an extra element of stress and tension to the process. It’s vital that decisions are made that benefit not only you but your children too and the best way to make this happen is with a Solicitor. Remember you will need to decide where the children will live, go to school, where and when they will visit both sides of the family and there is no guarantee these decisions will be made amicably.

Are you ready for negotiations – Just because you decide to tackle the Divorce process alone, does not mean your partner has. If your Divorce gets complicated and your partner has instructed a Solicitor you will be responsible for negotiating with a trained professional and you may not receive what you are entitled to.

It’s important if you have decided to file for Divorce, especially if you have a complicated or complex situation with finances and/or children, you seek the advice from a Solicitor as early as possible. Even if you are only considering a Divorce you can discuss your situation with a Solicitor.
I offer a free 30 minute initial consultation for these reasons, so you can ask questions and gain some valuable advice before making any important decisions. We can also offer these consultations over lunch periods and on the phone if you require.

The Matrimonial team here at Howells Solicitors is one of the largest in the region, and we consistently receive amazing feedback and praise from other professionals and our past clients. To book a free initial consultation call:

Rotherham office: 01709 364 000
Sheffield office: 0114 249 66 66
Barnsley office: 01226 805 190

Or you can email [email protected] and explain your situation and request a call back at a time convenient for you.

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