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Divorcing a partner is stressful. We encourage the parties to try and see if they can reach an agreement on their own or with the use of a mediator. Matters to be settled are arrangements for the children, the family pet and division of matrimonial assets. Mediation is actively encouraged by the legal profession; but it does not necessarily work for everyone.
We encourage amicable settlement where possible.
Factors you must consider if you are contemplating a divorce:
· Children (if under 18)
· Financial orders
Mediation before divorce
Mediation is compulsory before issuing divorce proceedings unless there is domestic abuse or some other exemption applies.
Mediation is when a third party is used by a couple involved in a family break-up to help the couple to try and reach an amicable agreement regarding divorce, the future arrangements for the children of the family and division of the family assets.
For further information or assistance please contact the College of Family Mediators here.
(a) Divorce (if married)/Dissolution (if Civil Partnership). Divorce here applies to both
There is a bar to divorce in the first year of marriage.
In order to commence proceedings, you must issue a petition. In the petition you have to prove to the court that your marriage has broken down irretrievably. The court cannot hold that the marriage has broken down irretrievably unless one or more of five facts have been pleaded in a divorce petition. These are:
1. The respondent has committed adultery.
2. The respondent has behaviour is in such that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with him.
3. The respondent disserted the petitioner for a continuous period of at least two years.
4. The parties to the marriage have lived apart for a continuous period of two years preceding presentation of the petition on the grounds of two years separation by consent.
5. The parties to the marriage have lived apart for a continuous period of five years preceding the presentation of the petition.
In order for a petition to succeed, one of the five facts must be proved.
To commencing divorce proceedings the petitioner will have to complete the petition and file it with the relevant documentation at the Family Court. The petition will be allocated a court number. It will then be posted with to the respondent (person who accepts the petition) for him to confirm receipt and that he does not intend to defend the claim.
Provided there is no dispute, the applicant (petitioner) will apply for decree nisi. Provided the Judge is happy with all the relevant paper work; decree nisi will be granted. Both parties will informed by the court decree nisi has been granted.
Six weeks later, the petitioner can apply for the decree nisi to be made absolute. Provided there are no outstanding matters and the court accepts the application, decree absolute will be granted. Copies of the decree will be sent to both parties.
Children of the family
In part 7 of the petition you will have to identify the children of the family. The court expects parents to agree with each other regarding the arrangements for the children of the family. That is the whole purpose behind the push for mediation. A mediator will help if parents cannot agree. If no agreement is reached regarding the children; then a separate application will have to be made. Please refer to our guide on children.
When the petitioner has commenced divorce proceedings he/she can make an application for financial relief. This referred to as a financial order (previously called ancillary relief). A petitioner can make an application for the following financial provision:
- Maintenance pending suit. This is an application for maintenance before the court deals with the main financial application;
- lump sum orders;
- periodical payment orders;
- property adjustment orders, for example the transfer of property from one spouse to another;
- Financial provision such as *periodical payments, secured periodical payments. (*This is payment of a sum of money on a monthly basis from one spouse to another).
- Pension sharing or pension attachment orders.
(c) Financial Support for the children
Courts can make orders relating to children in limited circumstances.
Need help, why not contact a divorce lawyer today!
© Johanna Cargill, Andrews & Monroe Solicitors