Family Law FAQs
- Unreasonable behaviour (that your spouse has behaved in such a way that you can’t be expected to live together)
- That your spouse has deserted you for or at least two years
- That you have been living apart for two years and your spouse consents to a divorce
- That you have lived apart for five years
In brief terms, the divorce is started by one party (the ‘Petitioner’) lodging a petition with the court. This document (the ‘Divorce Petition’) sets out the details of the parties, the marriage and the grounds for divorce. If there are children, the court requires a further form (called a ‘Statement of Arrangements’) to be sent with the petition along with the court fee. Once received the court will send a copy of the divorce petition and other documents to the other party (the ‘Respondent’). The Respondent will then be expected to acknowledge service of the divorce petition. Once an acknowledgement has been received a judge will look at all documents and may decide to grant ‘Decree Nisi’. This is the first step towards obtaining a divorce and is the court’s acceptance that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. 6 weeks and 1 day from the granting of Decree Nisi the petitioner can apply for Decree Absolute. Once granted, Decree Absolute brings the marriage to an end. Between the stages of Decree Nisi and up until Decree Absolute the marriage is still legally binding. The parties should therefore make a will at the earliest opportunity. Before applying for Decree Absolute, the usual practice is to agree settlement of matrimonial assets as well arrangements of any children of the marriage.
Parties are encouraged to engage in amicable negotiations in an attempt to resolve matters quickly, cheaply and stress free. Sometimes parties are unable to resolve their differences through negotiation.
- By being named as father on the child’s birth certificate with the consent of the mother and the certificate was issued after 1st December 2003
- By entering into a parental responsibility agreement with the mother
- By applying to the court
- By being appointed guardian of the child
- By obtaining a residence order
- By marrying the mother
Parental Responsibility is not necessarily exclusive to parents. For instance, a grandparent can obtain parental responsibility as can a Local Authority.