DIVORCE AND SEPARATION
At the present time, about a third of all marriages end in divorce. It is an extremely upsetting and distressing time, with both sides often feeling bitter and angry; marriage challenges bring out the worst in most of us.
For that reason, if you are experiencing marriage difficulties, it’s really important to try to keep discussions civil and constructive between you and your husband or wife.
When to seek advice from a divorce lawyer
It is also vital to consider taking specialist advice from a divorce solicitor when you start to think about a divorce or separation, particularly where children and financial issues are involved. A solicitor will tell you where you stand and help you work out your options - you will at least be able to go forward with proper knowledge of your legal position.
Here at Cozens-Hardy, our experienced team of divorce lawyers are able to provide you with initial information and advice through our fixed fee interview, which costs £95 plus VAT.
How we can help you
The legal process associated with a relationship breakdown can appear to be quite complicated, especially at a difficult and emotional time. Here at Cozens-Hardy, we can advise you on a number of factors including:
• Civil partnership dissolution
• Financial arrangements – both for separation and divorce
• Arrangements for children
• Prenuptial agreements
‘Mediation’ is an alternative way for couples to agree the arrangement about children and finances. Usually a mediation service will offer you and your husband or wife a series of meetings with a trained mediator. We can arrange a referral to mediation on your behalf. In these meetings you can talk about arrangements for the children and money and see whether you can reach any agreement. If you can, following advice from your solicitor it can be made legally binding. It is worth considering the ‘Collaborative’ approach, details of which can be found on our collaborative-law page.
If, after full consideration, you feel that you wish to end the marriage, then a divorce is necessary as the only way to achieve a legally binding financial settlement. To obtain a divorce you must establish that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.
You cannot get a divorce just because both of you want one - one of the five facts below must be proved:
• Adultery has been committed by one or other of you
• One or other of you has behaved in such a way that the other cannot reasonably be expected to go on living with that person
• One person has left the other (against that person's wishes) and the couple have lived apart for more than two years
• The couple have lived apart for two years or more and the person who is being divorced agrees to there being a divorce
• The couple have lived apart for five years or more
Do I need a divorce lawyer?
A number of people avoid using a divorce solicitor due to concerns over cost. This is understandable, but when there are financial or childcare issues, it is important to get the right advice and outcome for you and your family. If you are concerned about fees, please speak to one of our divorce solicitors who can provide information on potential costs.
It is sensible to obtain specialist advice if your divorce involves financial issues such as:
• One of you is financially dependent on the other
• Your divorce needs to take into account financial assets ie pension funds, business interests and trusts
• You have joint debts
• You believe your partner is hiding details of their financial position
• You wish to settle all financial aspects with a consent order
Similarly, you may be able to agree arrangements for children between you, but should seek legal advice from a divorce solicitor if:
• You cannot agree on child maintenance, or if one of you believes the statutory figure is not enough
• You cannot agree where the children will reside and what contact the other parent will have
Other reasons to contact a divorce lawyer
There are some other reasons why you would wish to contact a divorce or separation solicitor, including:
• If urgent action is required i.e. if you believe your spouse is about to take your children abroad or file for divorce in another country.
• If you are a victim of domestic abuse, or believe your children are at risk.
• Your spouse owns the home you live in, and you have concerns about becoming homeless.
• You know your spouse if difficult to negotiate with or is pressuring you to agree to their terms.
• You are continuing to have problems after divorce, for example your ex-spouse does not make maintenance payments or refuses child contact.
Divorce is a very serious step to take in life and it can be a complicated process. It is often best to at least have an initial consultation with a divorce lawyer to understand any particular issues and what you can expect from the process. Please contact us to discuss the best course of action for your situation.