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Handling a Divorce

By: Dave Howell - Updated: 16 Nov 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Divorce Living Apart Petition

Divorce is on the rise in the UK, but if you’re thinking about taking this step it’s a good idea to talk over your feelings with a councillor first before starting the divorce proceedings.

You can locate your local mediation team in England and Wales by calling the Family Mediation Helpline on: 0845 60 26 627, or online at: www.familymediationhelpline.co.uk.

If you live in Scotland Help information can be obtained from Family Mediation Scotland by calling: 0845 119 2020 or online at: www.familymediationscotland.org.uk.

And if you live in Northern Ireland more information can be obtained from Mediation Northern Ireland by calling: 028 90 438614 or online at: www.mediationnorthernireland.org.

Legal Advice and the Courts

If you do decide that divorce is your only option it is a good idea to get some legal advice so you know how you stand. You can only apply for a divorce if you have been married for one year in England, Wales and Scotland, and 2 years in Northern Ireland. Getting legal advice is particularly important if your family has substantial assets that will need to be divided between you and your spouse. You can locate a solicitor in your area by searching on the The law society website.

These days you can get a divorce quickly by simply completing the appropriate forms. This is a straightforward process if you and your spouse are in agreement about your divorce and there are no children or substantial assets to consider. You can get the forms you need from your local County Court. In most cases you won’t have to attend a court hearing unless you live in Northern Ireland where all divorce cases go before a judge.

The cost of your divorce will depend on how much expert help you require. Your solicitor will charge you by the hour so it’s a good idea to do as much of the work as you can yourself. You will also have to pay court costs if you are the person who wants the divorce (called the petitioner) unless you are exempt from these charges if the court rules you can’t afford to pay them. You may also be able to get legal aid. Check with your solicitor if you qualify.

Children and Divorce

One of the most important aspects of a divorce is deciding what will happen to your children. One of the recommendations in the Children Act 1989 was that as far as possible parents should try and decide which of them their children would live with after the divorce.

The divorce court would prefer not to get involved with the allocation of access rights to children, but they have powers (called court orders) to do so if the parties in the divorce can’t decide themselves. The court is concerned primarily with the welfare of the children and not the parents. It’s therefore in your best interest to try and come to an amicable arrangement with your spouse about your children.

Older children and young adults will most likely be asked by the court what their preferences are. There is a leaflet called ‘Keeping in Touch’ that gives information about how children are affected by divorce and how you as a parent can help them through this. The leaflet can be downloaded from the YoungMinds website.

Most divorce cases take up to 8 months to complete after the day you send your petition to the court. Remember your divorce isn’t complete and legally binding until you’ve been granted the final decree by the court dealing with your divorce.

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[Add a Comment]
APG - Your Question:
I married a french man in 2005. We split up roughly 18 months later. I haven't seen him for at least 4 years and he has since returned either to France or Switzerland. There are no children involved, nor did we have any form of property. I now want to re-marry but am at a loss as to how I first obtain a divorce. I really don't know where to start; for example, I live on benefits - does this mean I can get help with court costs? I'm not sure what questions I should be asking and any information you can give me would be much appreciated.

Our Response:
You can see more via the gov.uk link here . However, this will cost. You can see more about the financial side of things via the CAB link here .
CourtroomAdvice - 16-Nov-17 @ 2:34 PM
I married a french man in 2005. We split up roughly 18 months later. I haven't seen him for at least 4 years and he has since returned either to France or Switzerland. There are no children involved, nor did we have any form of property. I now want to re-marry but am at a loss as to how I first obtain a divorce. I really don't know where to start; for example, I live on benefits - does this mean I can get help with court costs? I'm not sure what questions I should be asking and any information you can give me would be much appreciated.
APG - 16-Nov-17 @ 3:55 AM
Nick - Your Question:
How can I go about getting an order to be carried out?I received my divorce early February 2016 in Houston, TX.The other party was order to pay me money owed & the sale of their property, halving the proceedings with myself. This has not taken place. Who or where can I seek help with seeing that the order is carried out?

Our Response:
As a UK-based website, I'm afraid we can only advice on UK-based family law, not US.
CourtroomAdvice - 16-Jun-16 @ 2:15 PM
How can I go about getting an order to be carried out? I received my divorce early February 2016 in Houston, TX. The other party was order to pay me money owed & the sale of their property, halving the proceedings with myself.This has not taken place.Who or where can I seek help with seeing that the order is carried out?
Nick - 15-Jun-16 @ 5:58 PM
I will keep this as brief as possible just to lay out the bare facts. My wife and I moved here to southern Italy in 2007. Unbeknownst to me she had already started to make 'just in case' plans before we left and started looking for and paying a deposit on a house before she even left the UK to join me in our new dream home. Myself and everyone who knows us really thought that we were Mr & Mrs ideal. She left here without any warning on the 29th August 2013 and moved into a flat in Bristol. I have since discovered that for over 7 years prior to leaving she was slowly moving money from our accounts into a private account that I was unaware of. I have now accumulated all the bank statements, various solicitors letters, tax returns that clearly show how much she has in her private account and that she has left me almost penniless in a foreign country. I certainly cannot even consider employing a solicitor, I really am broke and can just manage on my UK state pension. Of course I could say a lot more and have actually written over 5, A4 pages just listing all of her despicable, underhand and deceitful actions. How can I regain some of MY money? If you need any further information I am happy to provide it. I am desperate. Regards Gerry Rigley
StonyBroke - 5-Sep-15 @ 2:24 PM
i live in northern ireland can i apply for scottish legal aid
alfie - 19-May-15 @ 7:30 PM
@ransacked - if you have been left with the house then you need to change the locks asap and see your solicitor about her legal right to the possessions and whether it is worth your while taking this back to court.
Phil - 23-Apr-15 @ 10:50 AM
The court order detailing the financial settlement of our divorce has been implemented a few days ago. The order stated that she was to receive cash, I would keep the house and take on the existing mortgage. It also stated that we have to agree how items would be split and that disputed items would become posessions of the holding party unless the court is asked within 30 days to resolve this. Since then, I have discovered that she has taken things from the house we agreed would stay. What can I do to remedy this situation? what is the legal process?
ransacked - 21-Apr-15 @ 2:53 PM
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