As a family lawyer one question I have been asked many times over the years is ‘can I deal with the divorce proceedings myself?’ The answer to this question is of course yes. Anyone who has sufficient time, a brief background of the process and an ability to complete forms accurately could complete their own divorce petition and lodge the proceedings with the court.
Figures released by the Office for National Statistics at the end of 2016 show that the likelihood of marriage ending in divorce has dropped to its lowest level in forty years. The figures show that in 2014 less than one couple in every 100 married couples split. Reason to celebrate you might think? Perhaps couples are getting on better and not separating? Dig deeper into the statistics however and you realise the news isn’t all good.
“Why are the Courts sending me on a Separated Parents Information Programme?” is a question many clients ask me when them come away from court with an order to attend the Separated Parents Information programme. They seem to think that the Court are suggesting that they don’t know how to parent or care for their own child. This is some distance from the truth.
Divorce is an extremely emotional and difficult step in anyone’s lives. None of us ever imagine whilst standing at the altar or during that dream wedding in the Seychelles that ultimately it will end up as an acrimonious divorce. The question is does it have to be that way, does it have to be a battle or can a couple remain friends when they divorce? The simple answer to that is no, it doesn’t have to be horribly acrimonious, and yes, it is possible to keep your relationship with your ex friendly. But it all depends on your attitude and that of your spouse – and of course the approach taken by your lawyer.
New enforcement measures in relation to child maintenance are being proposed by the Department for Work and Pensions, and they could bring far reaching affects for parents.