We know that that this is a challenging and emotional time in your life. Whatever the circumstances, it’s natural to worry about the future, your finances, your home and your children. At RLE Law Solicitors we are here to help you.
Peace of mind can help to better manage the stress of the situation. Contact our friendly team to talk you through the process.
What to expect from you first meeting
At the first meeting you will discuss the reasons for the breakdown of your marriage. You will be asked to provide the date of separation, details of any children of the family, including proposed future arrangements for their care, details of your own and your partner’s assets, income, savings and pension interests. The first meeting is very much a fact finding exercise to enable your solicitor to advise you properly on the best next steps. In that meeting you can expect to learn more about your options including what processes you can use to reach a resolution in your case whether through negotiation, collaboration, mediation, arbitration or litigation. You will also have a better understanding of what your future could look like
Are there grounds to divorce?
In the petition, the party who filed for divorce has to prove that the marriage has broken down irretrievably by relying on one of five grounds:
- Desertion for a period of two years
- Two years’ separation with the agreement of both parties to a divorce
- Five years’ separation (with or without agreement to a divorce)
The facts most commonly relied on are adultery or behaviour. People are often unwilling to wait for two years to divorce without laying any blame. Whether the behaviour of the other party has been of such a nature that you would not be expected reasonably to live with them is both a subjective test (i.e. seen through the eyes of the person issuing the petition) and also objective (i.e. as assessed by the Judge who is reading the particulars of behaviour) however the behaviour in question does not need to be extreme. The other party does not have to admit the allegations made against them about behaviour are true. They can choose simply not to defend the petition.
It is worth bearing in mind that the reason for the breakdown of the marriage rarely affects how the finances are divided. In most cases, the content of the divorce petition is agreed before it is sent to the court. It is always advisable to seek the advice of a qualified divorce solicitor before taking any action.
The divorce process: filing the paperwork and timescales
Whilst the particulars of each divorce will vary from case to case, the divorce procedure in England and Wales follows a process which starts with the filing of a divorce petition with the court and ends with the issue of a Decree Absolute. In the vast majority of cases there will be no need to attend court at any stage and the process can proceed on paper with documents being filed by post. The process can take as little as four to six months though the pronouncement of a decree absolute may be held up if there are financial matters which still need to be resolved. Your solicitor will draft, prepare and lodge the necessary paperwork with the Court.
How much does a divorce cost?
The form-filling element of divorce is relatively inexpensive. Settlement of the financial and child issues can be more costly however. Costs will reflect, firstly, the attitudes of the parties involved and secondly the complexity of their issues. Once we have agreed on the right approach for your case, your solicitors will give you a clear indication of what your divorce case should cost from the outset. Whilst we cannot predict with certainty how your case will proceed we will keep you regularly informed and advise you if there are any reasons why our initial view of your case needs to change.
We also understand that it is really hard to know what service and advice you need from your Family Law Solicitor at the outset, so we offer a fixed price first meeting for a discounted rate of £150 plus VAT for initial advice so that you can find out where you stand and what your next steps would be.