Divorce & Family Law
Each divorce has its own problems. But in order to proceed to obtain one, it has to be shown that “the marriage has broken down irretrievably” which can be shown by showing either of the following: 1) one has committed adultery and the other finds it intolerable to live with them; 2) One has behaved in such a way that the other cannot reasonably be expected to live with them; 3) One has been deserted for a continuous period of at least two years; 4) Both have lived apart for a continuous period of at least two years and both side consents to a decree being granted or 5) Both have lived apart for a continuous period of at least five years. This is set out under section 2(a)-(e) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.
Process of Divorce & Family Law
As well with the formal process of the divorce in obtaining a decree absolute, a party may make an application for financial redress from the other. This is usually known as the argument over the marital assets. This area can be straight forward, or can be very complex, depending on the circumstances, facts, assets concerned, and what each party is trying to obtain.
Other family law matters such as Child Arrangement Orders, where predominately fathers wish to obtain access to their children. It’s always best to explore all your options before going to court to settle your children’s care arrangements. Firstly, you can try to come to an agreement with yourselves. Try to consider what’s best for the children and put your feelings of animosity or hurt to one side. This can be really difficult to do alone, so you might want to consider Mediation.
Mediation in Divorce and Family Law
Mediation is where you ask for a professional mediator to meet with you and your ex-partner to help you both come to an agreement without having to go to Court. A professional mediator is impartial and independent and has no stake in your relationship or in the outcome. Their impartiality can help you reach an agreement. Your last and final option is to go to Court to get a Child Arrangement Order and sometimes this is the best way for solid access to your children.
Not knowing how the Court works, the process, what forms to fill in and how to respond to letters you receive can feel very unsettling, particularly when it’s such an important issue. So should you have any divorce or family law matters then please feel free to contact us and arrange a free consultation, I and the team can then see if we are able to help.
David has an LL.B (Hons) degree in law. He was voted one of the UK’s most influential aspiring lawyers. He was also directly involved in the protection of workers’ rights as respected Union Rep for Usdaw, and was the Non-Executive Legal Director for the Humber Taxi Association.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the grounds for divorce?
In order to obtain a divorce you must show the court that the marriage has ‘irretrievably broken down’. To do this you must demonstrate to the court that one of the following five specific circumstances exists:
- Unreasonable behaviour,
- Two year separation,
- Five years separation
- Two year desertion.
There is no such thing as ‘no fault’ divorce in England and Wales ‘currently’, although this is something that the government plans to reform by removing the concept of fault. On 9 April 2019 the Ministry of Justice announced new divorce reforms that include removing the need to assign blame under the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill.
Who can apply for a child arrangement order?
Anyone with Parental Responsibility can apply for a Child Arrangement Order. This could be a blood parent or step parent. If you don’t have Parental Responsibility of the child, you’ll need to request permission from the Court to make a separate application for Parental Responsibility. This can sometimes be avoided if the other parent is willing to sign a Parental Responsibility Agreement with you.
How to apply for a child arrangement order?
Before you can apply for a Child Arrangement Order, you must first attend a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM). The purpose of the MIAM is for the mediator to explain what’s involved with mediation and to try to work out whether this method of alternative dispute resolution suits the parties involved.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible, and a Court Order is sometimes the only way for some couples to achieve a resolution after separating.
There are instances where mediation wouldn’t be appropriate, and in those circumstances, the mediator must sign off the relevant form to say why there might be an exemption to attend mediation. For instance, if domestic abuse has occurred or if the other party is unwilling to attend mediation.
This form is essential if proceedings are to be issued otherwise the court will not accept the claim and require you under go this step.
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