Divorce is an emotional, distressing process, and is something that no one wants to experience when first taking their vows. Once entering proceedings, it is always in the best interest of both parties to have the divorce completed in a way that it is efficient and quick, whilst still getting the best outcome for everyone involved. Here at St Helens Law, we can help. As each case is individual, there are a lot of variables to be taken into consideration such as grounds of divorce and child custody. Here we outline the divorce process to make you feel more at ease about using our family law solicitors in St Helens.
Grounds of divorce
When looking to file for divorce, there are some grounds that you need to prove in order to lodge a successful case, these are:
- Adultery – If your spouse has committed adultery and you find it intolerable to live with them, then you can file for divorce. However, if you have found out about the adultery for more than 6 months and still live together, you are unable to give this as a reason.
- Unreasonable behaviour – If you feel that your spouse has behaved in a way that is not reasonable to expect you to expect you to live with them, then this can be used as a ground for divorce. Behaviour could include physical violence, verbal abuse, alcohol and drug abuse, or refusing to pay for shared living expenses.
- Previous separation – You can apply for divorce if your spouse has left you beforehand, without your consent, for at least 2 years. However, this ground is very rarely used, as this requires the mental intent to divorce through the whole 2 year period, which can be difficult to prove.
- 2 years of separation – If you and your spouse have been living apart for at least 2 years, then with consent from your spouse, you can apply for a divorce through the courts.
- 5 years of separation – This ground for divorce is the same as the above reason, except if this period is at least 5 years, you do not need consent from your spouse to apply for a divorce.
Getting a divorce
Now you know the grounds of applying for a divorce, it is time to start proceedings. Ideally, a divorce takes between 4 and 6 months, however if there are multiple disagreements or complicated financial issues then this can take a lot longer. These stages include:
- Petition – The petitioner (who files for divorce) must state the ground for divorce, as well as stating child custody and finance arrangements as required. This will cost £550 (unless you are eligible to receive a court fee remission) and you need to provide the court with your marriage certificate. It is essential that this document is completed correctly, and this is where our divorce lawyers in St Helens can assist you.
- Acknowledgement of Service – Once this document has been sent off to your spouse, they have to need to complete and return an acknowledgement of service in 7 days. This confirms that they have received the divorce papers and agree with the reason or divorce and the wording that is used. As well as this, the document states if your spouse agrees to the divorce or would like to contest.
- Decree Nisi – Once this has been agreed, you can then apply for a decree that states that the court cannot see a reason why you can’t divorce. If the judge agrees with this then the Decree Nisi can be pronounced and a date will be set for when you can apply for the final decree.
- Decree Absolute – This decree legally finalises your divorce but cannot be done sooner than 6 weeks and 1 day after the pronouncement date of your Decree Nisi. This application normally takes 2 weeks, with your marriage being formally and legally ended after this.
If you would like to contact our family lawyers in St Helens regarding an enquiry about a divorce settlement, or to find out more information on the matter, we would love to hear from you. You can request a free interview of 30 minutes using our online enquiry form. Alternatively, you can get in touch by calling 01744 454433 or by giving us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.