Getting Divorced in Stevenage: Understanding Your Rights

Date Added 06.03.24

Divorce, while often emotionally challenging, doesn’t have to be legally confusing. If you are contemplating or going through a divorce or civil partnership dissolution in Stevenage, understanding your rights and debunking common myths is paramount. In this blog we answer some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the current divorce process and shed light on some common misconceptions.

What Is No-Fault Divorce?

No-fault divorce was introduced in April 2022, meaning couples can apply for a divorce, civil partnership, or legal separation without blaming the other person. The only ground for divorce is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. This long-awaited legal change in divorce law means it is a much more straightforward and amicable approach. It also means it cannot be contested, except in extremely limited circumstances. Find out more about Divorce proceedings.

Do I Need a Solicitor for a No-Fault Divorce?

Legal representation is not mandatory in divorce proceedings, but consulting a family law solicitor can be very helpful. A regulated family lawyer with specialist experience in this area of law can provide invaluable guidance, ensuring that your rights are protected throughout the proceedings. Even though no-fault divorce laws have simplified the process, other important factors may be overlooked if you do not seek professional legal advice first. At Tollers, we have an experienced team of family law specialists, including members of Resolution and Accredited Mediators from the Family Mediation Council. We are committed to approaching family law matters in a sensitive, collaborative manner that prioritises your family’s needs, especially when children are involved. Find out more about our Family Law Services in Stevenage.

Can We Separate Formally Without Getting Divorced?

Absolutely. Legal separation allows couples to live apart without officially ending their marriage. Even though your marriage may have broken down, you may decide not to start formal divorce proceedings immediately but still wish to formalise your separation. You can do this through a Separation Agreement or Deed of Separation. While not legally binding on the court, a Separation Agreement can be turned into a legally binding consent order later in the divorce process, should you decide to proceed with a divorce or civil partnership dissolution. Seeking legal advice from a regulated family law professional is crucial to ensure the document is drafted correctly, protects your interests, and avoids errors. Find out more about deeds of separation or separation agreements.

Will Our Financial Ties Automatically End Once We’re Divorced?

It is a common misconception that a divorce automatically ends financial obligations between you and your former spouse. Establishing a formal agreement that sets out the division of assets and financial responsibilities, so that both parties are protected, is essential. Formal financial settlements safeguard your financial independence and can guard against any future claims from your former spouse after the divorce has been finalised. You can formalise terms through negotiation – independently or with the assistance of your family law solicitor – through family mediation or via the family court if an agreement cannot be reached.

Understanding what route is best for you, and how financial issues should be resolved following a separation, can be complex as several factors must be considered. We will discuss the financial circumstances of your case with you and assist you in obtaining any further information that may be required to enable you to quantify the available assets for distribution. Our family law solicitors can then advise you as to what is likely to be a fair and reasonable settlement in all circumstances. Find out more about our legal services for finances in divorce.

Do We Have to Agree on a Financial Settlement Before We Can Divorce?

While reaching a financial settlement before finalising your divorce is advisable, it is not a legal requirement. The termination of your marriage also terminates your status as a spouse and affects rights under life policies, pensions and rights of occupation.  However, unresolved financial matters can mean that the divorce process is prolonged and incur additional legal fees. Seeking professional advice early on can streamline negotiations and facilitate a smoother transition. Read more about financial settlements in divorce FAQs.

What Are the Tax Implications on a Transfer of Equity In a Divorce?

In April 2023, new changes were implemented to update the rules that apply to asset transfers between spouses and civil partners who are separating. These changes eliminate the need to settle their estates within a year to avoid Capital Gains Tax (CGT) bills. Under the new regulations, you are given up to three years to make no gain or no loss transfers of assets between divorcing parties when they cease living together. There is no time limit if the assets are the subject of a formal divorce agreement. Previously, when spouses or civil partners separated, no gain or no loss treatment was only available for any disposals made in the remaining tax year in which the separation occurred. After that, transfers were treated as standard disposals for capital gains tax purposes. Find out more information about the new measures here: Capital Gains Tax: separation and divorce.

My Spouse Doesn’t Want a Divorce – Can They Refuse a Divorce?

Under current UK law, if one spouse is determined to end the marriage, they can proceed with the divorce process even if the other party disagrees. However, certain criteria must be met, and legal guidance is essential to navigate potential complexities.

We Got Married in Another Country, Can I Still Get Divorced in the UK?

Typically, yes, a court can issue a divorce or dissolution for most marriages and civil partnerships that have taken place abroad. If you, or your spouse, are domiciled or habitually resident in England or Wales, you can initiate divorce proceedings in the UK regardless of where the marriage took place. However, certain circumstances could make it more complicated and seeking legal advice specific to international divorces is advisable to ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations.

Where Can I Get Family Law Legal Advice in Stevenage?

If you are divorcing, or facing a civil partnership dissolution, and require the advice and guidance of an experienced family law solicitor, our lawyers in Stevenage can assist you. Having worked with clients in Letchworth, Welwyn Garden City, Hitchin and further afield, we have the expertise to provide practical advice on all aspects of divorce, financial matters and child arrangements.

For an initial consultation – up to an hour and a half for a fixed sum of £125 plus VAT (offer available for Family Law advice only) – please get in touch with the Stevenage Family Law team at Tollers Solicitors. We guarantee that you will leave this initial appointment better informed about your legal rights and responsibilities, with a sense of direction on moving forward and information on possible options available to you for a satisfactory resolution.

If you need help and advice, are unsure where to start, or would like to arrange an initial consultation, get in touch with our Family law team in Stevenage, and they will be happy to assist.

Navigating the legal intricacies of divorce can be daunting, but we are here to help guide you through the process with confidence. Our experienced Family Law Solicitors in Stevenage are dedicated to protecting your rights and best interests. We take the time to explain the legal process and explore your options with you. Our mission is to provide comprehensive guidance and support throughout your legal journey.

Offices mentioned: Stevenage Office

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