New Year, New Start – Contemplating a Divorce?


Although the Christmas break for many of us is a time of joy, for some, it is a stressful and often distressing time. Throughout the year, relationships are tested but no more so at this time of year when a lack of money, food and resources can make tensions run high.

You may think, "New year, New start" and want to start divorce proceedings as soon as the holidays are over, but you may not know where to start.

Family Law Solicitors - Divorce and Separation Help and Advice

Can I Afford To Divorce in the New Year?

If you would like to divorce in January, finances and monetary concerns will be something that may weigh heavy on your mind. Currently, there is no legal aid for divorces unless you have suffered from domestic violence. However, you may be able to get support if you opt for mediation. Mediation is becoming a more popular option for divorcing couples. Not only does it save money and potentially time when it comes to legalising the divorce, it may lead to a more amicable solution.

Mediation can help you to decide on things like:

  • The reason for divorce
  • Childcare issues (where your child will live, how they will see the other parent etc)
  • How you will divide any property, assets, money etc

Agreeing on any or all of these things makes the actual divorce proceedings quite straightforward. If you cannot agree and it turns into a legal battle it cannot only damage your finances but also any children you may have.

The Process

You can only divorce if you can demonstrate that your marriage has broken down irretrievably along with proving one of 5 facts – adultery, not being able to reasonably live with the other person, you have been deserted, you have lived apart continuously for 2 years and all parties agree to divorce or you have lived apart continuously for 5 years.

Divorce comes in 3 stages:

  • Filing for divorce
  • Applying for the decree nisi
  • Applying for the decree absolute

The court also has the power to dissolve a civil partnership or make an order for separation. An order can also be made called a "presumption of death order" if you believe the other person to have passed away. All orders made in connection to a civil partnership are not usually made final until 6 weeks after the conditional order is made.

Equally, with divorce proceedings, you cannot file for divorce unless you have been married for at least a year.

Is Divorce My Only Option?

If divorce is not a choice you would like to make at the current time but you need some space, the law can continue to give you options. There are many reasons why you may want to separate instead of divorcing, however, separating does not hinder any future attempts to make your separation into a divorce.

You can separate via either a judicial separation or a separation agreement. A judicial separation is a process similar to the divorce procedure but you are still married at the end of it. A separation agreement incorporates any financial agreements you may have made previously. Although the Court is not bound by the financial plans, some people may not need the might of the Court if both parties can be amicable.

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