If handled carefully, the divorce procedure should be the most straightforward part of your separation; resolving arrangements for children, or reaching a financial settlement, can sometimes be more difficult.
We encourage and advise clients to deal with the divorce process in the fairest and most cost effective, stress free way possible. Our role at bbl family law is to explain the procedure to you and to advise on the options available. No fault divorce will be introduced later this year and we can advise about that, as well as online divorce. The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill has been passed and we are waiting to find out when the new law will come into force.
We listen, to help find out the best way to help you.
The current law usually requires one person to blame the other for the breakdown of the marriage. This is often unhelpful, as it can make things more acrimonious. We try to guide you through the process to cause the minimum of aggravation to either of you. Whoever starts the divorce has to show the marriage has failed for one of the five following reasons:
a) the other persons adultery (this ground is not available for same sex couples); or
b) the other persons unreasonable behaviour; or
c) their spouse has deserted them for at least 2 years; or
d) they have lived separately for at least two years and the other spouse consents to a divorce; or
e) they have lived apart for at least five years (and unlike (d) above, it is not necessary to have the consent of the other spouse).
As a general rule, if handled carefully, the question of who divorces who will not have any knock on effect on the financial settlement or arrangements for the children.
It is possible to defend divorce proceedings, either on the basis that the marriage can be saved, or that the stated grounds for divorce are wrong (and perhaps the other spouse is responsible for the breakdown of the marriage).
Once the judge has certified the paperwork is in order, the court will fix a date for decree nisi, the first stage of the divorce. You remain married until the court pronounces decree absolute. From start to finish the divorce process can take between 4 to 6 months. Things are taking much longer because of covid-19.
These days all divorce proceedings for London and the South East of England (including us in Norfolk) are processed through a central unit in Bury St Edmunds. We deal with them regularly and can also direct you to the online divorce portal on the gov.uk website.
Here are our tips on handling divorce.