When you come to the realisation that your marriage has irretrievably broken down and you need a divorce, it can be an emotionally draining experience. Divorce is never a pleasant task to undertake, but with the right help and guidance, it can make the process that much easier. Whether you and your spouse have decided to mutually split, or there are contentious reasons for the divorce, you’ll need legal advice and representation. Here at Van Eaton, our divorce solicitors in Streatham can implement effective dispute resolution to help you achieve an appropriate divorce settlement.
Divorce law and proceedings can be made even more difficult if children are involved, and custody battles can ensue. Our highly experienced solicitors in London have valuable knowledge in family law to help assist your case and get you the result you require. Are you looking to commence divorce proceedings? Read our article below to gather some advice.
Grounds for Divorce
In England, you must have a reasonable excuse for wanting to divorce. Currently, it is hard to secure a “blameless divorce” if the decision was mutual, and you must state your grounds for divorce when you apply. You can get a divorce if:
You’ve been married for over a year
Your marriage has completely broken down
You live permanently in the UK, and your marriage is recognised as legal (including same sex marriage and civil partnerships)
Once you apply, you need to prove that your marriage cannot be saved and is completely irretrievable. You’ll need to give one of the following reasons as to why your marriage has ended:
- Adultery. This means that your spouse has committed adultery with another person whilst in the marriage. You cannot claim adultery if you have been living together for 6 months after the adultery came to light.
- Unreasonable behaviour. This includes abuse, drunkenness and drug use, and unwillingness to pay living expenses but is .
- You’ve been separate for at least two or five years. For the former, you both must agree, and it must be in writing. If it’s the latter, your husband or wife does not need to agree.
Desertion. If your spouse left you two years before you applied for divorce, you can claim desertion.
There is currently no law for couples who would like a “blameless divorce,” however, this is due to change shortly. A law firm that deals with many contentious areas of law, Van Eaton are a London based legal service who can assist you with your separation proceedings. Our divorce solicitors in Streatham Hill can assess the grounds you have provided and will advise you every step of the way.
Decree Nisi and Decree Absolute
Once you’ve decided that you would like to start divorce proceedings, you need to seek out a family law solicitor for legal representation and advice. You must make a divorce petition explaining why your marriage has ended by stating one or more of the five grounds listed previously. Whether or not your spouse agrees with the petition, you can then apply for a decree nisi.
A decree nisi is a legal document that states that a court sees no reason why you cannot get divorced. You must also fill out a statement confirming that what you discussed in your petition is true. If your spouse does not agree with the petition or the decree nisi, you will need to go to court, where a judge will decide whether to grant the decree or not. If you are successful, you will both be granted a certificate. If the application is rejected, you will be sent a notice of refusal by a judge explaining why you cannot divorce, and what to do next. You will need to wait six weeks and one day after the decree nisi is granted before applying for a decree absolute.
A decree absolute is a document that finalises the end of your marriage. The courts will check if the time limits in line with the decree nisi have been met, and there are sufficient reasons for divorce. If a solicitor is acting for you, they will receive the decree. You must fill out a form for the decree nisi to become a decree absolute, and if you are looking to divide money and assets, you must apply to the court beforehand.
2021 Divorce Reform
As of Autumn 2021, under a Bill which is on course to be given Royal Assent, couples will be able to apply for a “blameless divorce.” If you and your spouse decide mutually to separate, for instance, if you no longer love each other. Couples will be able to issue a divorce petition jointly.
These new laws will end “the blame game,” and introduce an “irretrievable breakdown” law. This new amendment could end animosity between spouses who wish to co-parent, and want a smooth, blameless divorce. Couples may still have to attend mediation sessions to try and save their marriage, and a six-month timeframe would come into play to help couples reflect on their decision.
Here at Van Eaton, our divorce solicitors in Streatham can help you with your case if you’re struggling with “passing blame.” It can be a hard decision to make, especially if no one is at fault. We cover a wide range of family law issues and have experience in dealing with divorce proceedings and separation. If you would like to discuss your case further with us, and would like to book a consultation, please fill out our online form here.