Family Law Frequently Asked Questions
There may be some things that you are unsure about, we have covered our most asked questions below.
Family Law: Do we offer fixed fee appointments?
Yes we do, there is a fixed costs for a family law initial consultation. This is a no obligation appointment of up to an hour and can be done remotely over the telephone or video platform, or face to face at our offices. Call Sharon in the Family Team for further details.
Family Law: When can I apply for a divorce?
The first requirement for you to make a divorce application to the court is that you have been married to your spouse for at least a year, and you can only present an application at the point you have been married for a year. You will need your original or a certified copy of your marriage certificate to provide to the court when making your application.
Family Law: How do I get a divorce?
A divorce is obtained by first making an Application for Divorce and file it at court or online after which it will be issued. The fee for doing this is £550.00 however there are exemptions available in certain circumstances. Your spouse will then be provided with your application from the court with an acknowledgement of service which requires a response from them.
Family Law: What is the difference between a Decree Nisi and Decree Absolute?
A Decree Nisi is the interim Decree of divorce. This is pronounced when the court is satisfied that you have met the legal and procedural requirements to obtain a divorce. A Decree Nisi however does not yet mean you are divorced. You are required to wait a period of 6 weeks and 1 day after the Decree Nisi has been pronounced before making an application for Decree Absolute. The Decree Absolute dissolves the marriage and you are divorced.
Family Law: Is a divorce the same for civil partnerships?
The procedure for a divorce is the same for dissolving a marriage and a civil partnership. The terminology is however different. Instead of granting a Decree Nisi the court will grant a Conditional Order. You must have met the legal and procedural requirements before a court will do so. Instead of granting a Decree Absolute the court will grant a Final Order. It is upon the Final Order that the civil partnership is dissolved.
Family Law: What are the grounds for divorce?
Although it is hoped that we will reach a point where we have a ‘no fault’ based divorce system in England and Wales, this is still being dealt with through parliament. Currently you have to show that your marriage has irretrievably broken down by being able to prove one of five facts.
You will need to demonstrate that your marriage has irretrievably broken down, by being able to prove one of the following five facts:
- Your spouse has committed adultery
- Your spouse has demonstrated unreasonable behaviour
- Your spouse has left/deserted you for a continuous period of 2 years
- You have been separated for at least 2 years and you both agree to the divorce
- You have been separated for at least 5 years – it doesn’t matter if your partner doesn’t agree to the divorce
Family Law: How long will my divorce take?
Each case is different but as a rough guide a divorce, without resolving financial matters, usually takes 12 months. It is common to wait to resolve financial matters before applying for Decree Absolute as often it is best to finalise the financial aspects of the divorce first before applying for your divorce to be made final.
Family Law: Does a Decree Absolute mean the matrimonial finances are dealt with too?
No! You should take legal advice as to the financial matters arising from your divorce.
Family Law: How do we sort out our matrimonial assets?
There are a number of ways in which you can deal with the division of matrimonial assets including pension. By agreement with your former spouse. A solicitor can assist in preparing and submitting the consent documents to ensure this closes all financial claims you may have against the other. Family mediation is also a way to discuss and decide how to divide matrimonial assets. Court proceedings are an option to determine how assets should be divided. Every one’s circumstances are different, and a solicitor will be able to help you determine the best option for you.
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