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Divorce & Separation

Identify the issues and talk through the options

If you are undecided at this stage whether or not to instruct a solicitor, we can offer you a Fixed Fee Interview which enables you to discuss your concerns with a specialist lawyer while knowing exactly what the cost will be. This will enable us to identify the issues, talk through the options available to you and provide an indication of what future costs might be involved.

For information on the importance of discussing your case with a Solicitor, please click here.

As accredited, specialist family lawyers, we know how important personal contact and good communications are to you at times like this. Our aim is to find practical solutions for you, provide good advice and to minimise the costs both emotionally and financially.

To apply for a divorce

The person who applies for divorce must prove the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, relying on one of these five facts:

  • Adultery by the other party and it would be intolerable to live with them
  • Unreasonable behaviour of the other party
  • Desertion
  • Two years’ separation, with the other party’s consent
  • Five years’ separation

A straightforward divorce can take approximately six to eight months to the pronouncement of the decree absolute (final divorce).  However, it can sometimes be delayed by unresolved financial matters or delays of the Court.

What is a Legal Separation

This follows the same general procedure as a divorce but no decree absolute is pronounced and the marriage is not dissolved.

What is a Deed of Separation

This document can reflect the parties’ agreed intentions in relation to children, finances and potential divorce proceedings.  This is commonly used where the parties intend a two years separation, followed by a divorce with each other’s consent.

What is a “Quickie” divorce

We sometimes hear through the national press that household names such as Gary Lineker. Billie Piper and David Walliams have all joined the realms of celebrities having a “quickie divorce” from their spouses. Something that, it seems, the rest of the public are not permitted to have.

So how and when can you get a “quickie divorce” and why is it the preserve of the rich and/or famous?  The answer: it isn’t!  The term has grown up in the media to describe the moment when the Court pronounces ‘Decree Nisi’.  This is when the Court gives its formal approval of the divorce and is a pivotal part of the divorce process but by no means the end of it.

The Decree Nisi is pronounced by a Judge who reads out the names from a list of cases all being dealt with together. It is in “open court” which means it is open to the public to attend – hence the media can attend if they wish, which they do on such occasions.

The couples themselves rarely, if ever, attend and will only do so if there is a dispute over the legal costs that one is being asked to pay the other.

So while the actual pronouncement of Decree Nisi may take a matter of seconds, it is by no means the full extent of the divorce procedure.  Often there have been many months leading up to the date of pronouncement. Also, the Decree Nisi does not mean you are now divorced – it simply means the Court has approved the divorce and the parties can apply to make it final and absolute in a minimum of 6 weeks and one day later. However, frequently the Decree Absolute does not then get pronounced for many months, sometimes more than a year later, if there are issues surrounding the couple’s finances still to be resolved.

Furthermore, this is when the divorce is undefended, i.e. it is accepted by both parties that it should proceed.  In the rare cases where the divorce is being defended by the other party, the process will last even longer.

Therefore, the term “quickie divorce” is a misnomer because when it comes to divorce there is a rigid procedure to follow with an enforced built-in waiting period of 6 weeks.  It’s a simple and straightforward procedure if you get it right but very difficult and time consuming if you do not and celebrities are required to follow the same rules and regulations as the rest of us mere mortals – you just hear about them more frequently!

For further advice please contact us on 01689 822554,
or email us at family@thomasdunton.co.uk

Family & Children

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