Divorce (Marriage and Civil Partnership Breakdown)
Divorce is the legal process of ending a marriage and is only open to couples who have a legally recognised marriage and who have been married for at least a year. As the law stands, to secure a divorce, you must prove that your marriage has irretrievably broken down due to one of the following:
- Your spouse has committed adultery, and you find it intolerable to live with them.
- Your spouse has behaved in a way that means you cannot reasonably be expected to live with them – known as unreasonable behaviour.
- Your spouse has deserted you for more than two years.
- You have already lived apart for more than two years, and your spouse consents to the divorce.
- You have lived apart continuously for more than five years (consent not required).
It is not currently possible to apply for a ‘no-fault’ divorce until the parties to the marriage have been separated for a period of 2 years or more.
Many divorces are commenced reliant upon the ‘Fault fact’ of Adultery or Unreasonable behaviour. However, often it is still possible to agree with the other party the ‘fact’ to be relied upon in advance. This helps to limit animosity and ensures the divorce can proceed smoothly.
Whatever your circumstances Tollers Divorce Solicitors can advise you as to the appropriate ‘fact’ to rely upon when commencing your proceedings.
When you read about “quickie” divorces in the papers, this simply describes a divorce that is not being contested.
Most divorces, even those relying on the ‘fault’ facts, are not defended.
You can resolve the financial matters before or after the grant of the Decree Absolute, which concludes a divorce, but you are only free to remarry after Decree Absolute.
It is also important to note that any Will made prior to a marriage becomes null and void on the marriage unless the Will was made “in contemplation of the marriage”.
Civil Partnership and Same Sex Marriages
Same-sex couples who register their partnership under the Civil Partnerships Act 2004 have many of the same rights, privileges and legal redress as married couples.
If the relationship breaks down, registered partnerships also have the same financial remedies currently available to couples who divorce. This gives the courts the power, for example, to make maintenance, property, lump sum, and pension sharing orders.
There are also other provisions dealing with child maintenance assessments, immigration and nationality, employment and pension benefits on death, and fatal accident compensation. On entering a civil relationship, a pre-existing Will becomes void, so you will to need to make a new one.
Talk to Tollers
The experience we’ve gained over the years means we have the sensitivity, empathy, skills and knowledge to advise on the breakdown of any relationship. If you need help and advice and are unsure where to start or would like to arrange an initial consultation. Get in touch with our Family law team, and they will be happy to assist.