When a marriage has broken down and you want it to come to a legal end, then you may seek a divorce. This can be a confusing time as often it is the only time anyone involved has had dealings with the courts. As divorce solicitors based in Stockport, we endeavour to make the process as easy to understand as possible.
First Stage: Issuing Divorce Proceedings
The first thing we will need to establish in the divorce process is the reason for divorce. We will need to ask you the reason for your divorce, how long you have been separated and what grounds for divorce you have. We will also need your original marriage certificate, or a certified copy. Then will determine if you can legally file for divorce at this time.
There are a few legal requirements for you to apply for a divorce. To file a petition for divorce, the petitioner will need to establish that the marriage has irrecoverably broken down. In order to do this there are 5 possible statutory facts that need to be proved.
Reasons for Divorce:
- Adultery – The respondent must admit to committing adultery
- Unreasonable behaviour on behalf of the respondent
- Desertion by the respondent for a period of at least two years (this one is fairly difficult to prove and quite a rare reason for divorce).
- Separation of both parties for a period of two or more years and where both parties agree that it should end in divorce
- Separation of both parties for five or more years. In this instance the respondent doesn’t need to consent to the divorce.
The two most common facts for divorce are adultery and unreasonable behaviour. The unreasonable behaviour doesn’t need to be extreme, so it is fairly easy to prove.
Once we have determined the reason for divorce, we can use this information to help estimate the costs and roughly the length of time it will take to complete.
Stage Two: Decree Nisi
Once the petition for divorce has been filed and accepted by the court, they will issue a decree nisi. The decree nisi is an order that a court of law issues confirming that the basis for the divorce exists.
The court then has the power to deal with the financial and matrimonial assets. This will include court proceedings to sort out transferring of property, maintenance payments, lump sum payouts and a pension sharing order where applicable.
Stage Three: Decree Absolute
A decree absolute can be applied for six weeks and one day from the day the decree nisi was pronounced. This is the final stage of the process and it officially signifies the ending of the marriage.
If the petitioner fails to apply for a decree absolute for any reason, the respondent may apply three months after the date that the petitioner could have applied.
There are occasions where both parties may agree to delay the decree absolute. This is usually if financial matters have not yet been resolved. If this happens, you will need to apply to the court for leave, explaining why there is a delay.
How Integra Solicitors Can Help You
We can guide you through the process from the beginning to the final stage. We will make sure that you fully understand the grounds for divorce, complete all the relevant documents and have the necessary proof.
All negotiations can be carried out by our family law team and we will ensure that wherever possible, a satisfactory conclusion is reached for all parties concerned.
Integra will work on your behalf to negotiate terms for all financial and child maintenance/living arrangements. As divorce solicitors appreciate that this is a difficult time for the whole family and will support you with care and consideration at all times.