In my experience as a divorce and family law solicitor I find that people often feel embarrassed asking basic legal questions as they feel that they will look stupid. I am asked the same questions time and time again and clients should never feel silly asking as it is important that they understand the basics so that I can do the best job for them.
Here are the most common questions I am asked.
Can we even divorce here if we got married abroad?
Your place of marriage is not really relevant when it comes to a divorce. Your living arrangements and other factors such as where you were born are more important. The court will need your marriage certificate and if you got married abroad then a translation will be required, but if you have a connection with England or Wales chances are you will be able to divorce here.
We have been living apart a while now, I don’t have to show my ex my bank statements or other private information, do I?
If a financial settlement is to be negotiated fairly, then it is important that both parties provide full and frank disclosure. Unfortunately, this will include things like bank statements and wage slips. The law states that until you have a legally binding agreement (known as a Consent Order) then everything remains up for grabs. This includes the contents of your bank account and your spouse is entitled to see what you have been doing with your finances since the separation.
Can I get a quickie divorce like the celebs?
There is no such thing as a quickie divorce and there never has been. The media does give a rather unrealistic view on the time frames involved with divorce in this country. In England, the average time for a divorce is around 12 to 15 weeks. Whilst I have obtained a Decree Absolute in around 9 weeks, this is quite rare. This is because the divorce happens in stages and is not simply a case of putting a piece of paper into court and waiting for it to be stamped.
Do we need to go to court to finalise the divorce?
The divorce and the finances are two separate issues under English law. If the divorce is dealt with on an agreed basis, then the case will be dealt with by post and no one need ever attend court. The parties will only ever need to go to court if the grounds for divorce or the finances are in dispute and we need the Judge to assist with a decision.
Can we both use the same solicitor?
Divorce solicitors and their firms are not permitted to act for both parties in a divorce. This is known as a ‘conflict of interest’. Each party will need their own separate divorce lawyer to provide them with legal advice to be sure that the process is independent. This applies even if all matters are agreed.
If you have questions about divorce or separation, however silly you think they are, contact an experienced family law solicitor. Make sure you get the answers you need before you make any important decisions about your family or relationship.
Family law solicitor, Burton upon Trent