Me and my partner have split up and want a divorce - What should I do?
Provided you have been married for more than a year, then either party to the marriage can ask for a divorce. The person who files for divorce is known as the Petitioner. The other person is known as the Respondent.
There is only one ground for divorce and that is that your marriage has “irretrievably broken down”. The breakdown is then proved in one of five possible ways; alleged unreasonable behaviour, adultery, two years separation with consent, desertion, or five years separation.
It is best that the husband and wife try to agree the grounds for divorce as divorce is largely a paperwork exercise designed to bring the marriage to an end. There is a fee you have to pay to the Court when you file your divorce of £410, although you may be exempt from paying the fee or able to pay a reduced fee depending on your financial position. The divorce process takes around 5 – 6 months and it will end with a Decree Absolute of divorce, which replaces your marriage certificate and brings the marriage to an end. It is important to note that it does not bring to an end financial claims that the two of you may have against each other, which can remain open. It is often, therefore, sensible for a Court Order to be made which sorts out your finances as part of the divorce process.
Smiths Partnership offer fixed fees/tailored packages with regard to divorce proceedings and can provide advice about your financial options.
Ruth is a Partner in the Family department specialising in the financial aspects of marriage/relationship breakdown including the growing area of cohabitee disputes. Contact Ruth by email email@example.com.