If you are faced with a separation or a divorce it can be daunting to consider everything necessary regarding the process. Our lawyers are highly skilled and can support you through this journey regardless of the circumstances leading to it.
Amelia Smith is a paralegal in the Family Team here at Wollens and has put together this helpful guide looking at the frequently asked questions relating to separation and divorce.
What is the ground and 5 facts in relation to a divorce?
The ground is that the marriage must have irretrievably broken down. This must be proven by using one of these 5 facts: adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, 2 years separation with consent in writing or 5 years separation. The law however is set to change in 2022, so it is important to get advice on the best option.
Do I have to have been married for a certain amount of time before getting divorced?
Yes 12 months.
Will adultery go against me during the divorce?
Many people believe the unfaithful party will be treated less favourably in financial or proceedings, but this is not the case. The court do not take the reason of adultery into account in this way. However, there are times when conduct of one party will be relevant.
Should I tell my spouse that I am applying for a divorce?
It is usually considered best practice to do so. If you do not feel comfortable telling them in person, you could try via letter or an e-mail. Alternatively, any solicitor that assists you will contact your spouse in any event if you do not wish to do so yourself. There of course times when this will need careful consideration, particularly when one person may be fleeing a situation, where they have felt unsafe.
How much does a divorce cost?
Wollens offer different prices depending on the level of help you require. We can assist you for a fixed fee or we can represent you and this will be charged at your solicitor’s hourly rate. Please bear in mind that these prices do not include the £550 Court fee which is payable to file your divorce application with the Court. If you would like more information on prices, please telephone a member of the family department and we would be happy to help.
Do I need a solicitor?
Not necessarily. It is possible to apply for a divorce online by yourself using the appropriate forms on the gov.uk website. However, many people do find it helpful to get advice from a solicitor at the outset particularly, especially if as a result of your divorce you need to sort financial and children arrangements.
How long does a divorce take?
We advise that a divorce takes approximately 6-8 months if uncontested. However, if it is contested and/or finances are also involved, it will take approximately 9-12 months. Currently, due to the effects of COVID-19, there may be some delay.
Do I need to attend Court for a divorce?
If you have agreed your divorce and subsequent financial arrangements, then no. However, if your spouse does not agree to the divorce or you are unable to agree on the financial aspects of your relationship, then you will need to attend Court.
If my partner and I divorce, are assets split 50/50?
In some cases, the starting point may be to consider an equal division of assets. However, the financial settlement will vary in each case depending on your personal circumstances. The Court considers many factors such as (but not limited to) each of your needs, the contributions you have made and the duration of the marriage.
What happens if my partner does not disclose all of their financial assets?
Disclosure of assets commonly happens on a voluntary basis. However, if one party is unwilling to do so, it can be dealt with in Court. During a divorce, you can make a financial application to the Court. The Court will then order that each person completes what is known as a ‘Form E’ – a financial document used to set out each person’s finances.
Will my partner get half of my pension if we divorce?
Not necessarily. This is not automatic. A pension is treated like any other asset to the marriage, such as the family home and may therefore available for distribution between you. As above, specific factors are considered such as (but not limited to) the age of both you and your partner, the value of your pension and whether your partner also has a pension.
How do I prevent my ex-partner from claiming anything from me in the future?
You can obtain what is known as a ‘clean break order’. This is commonly used following a divorce and means that each person’s finances are completely severed from each other. Without a clean break order, your former partner could make a financial claim against you at any point in the future, for example if you win the lottery or come into some inheritance.
What is a separation agreement and how much does it cost?
This is a document whereby separating couples define how their assets are to be divided between them. This can be used by married or unmarried couples. It is often used as an alternative if you do not wish to consider a divorce for the time being. However, it may be best for you to have a ‘consent order ‘agreement in order to ensure a full dismissal of any claims your ex-spouse can make.
At Wollens our family team are experts in this field and can advise you at an early stage.
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South Devon 01803 213521
Exeter 01392 274006
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