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Family Law Blog

Comment on divorce & family law 

What IS divorce?

More than almost any other word I can think of, divorce comes with a lot of baggage. And there is no pun intended there! Say the word and people immediately think of 1,000 different things connected with it, from conflict and upset, to kids, cost and quickies.

The reality of course is that a divorce is simply the legal ending of a marriage. To get a divorce, you must have been married for more than one year. There are then certain steps which need to be gone through and after four to six months, if there is no contest and depending on how quick the courts are in dealing with the application, the divorce will come through. 

A marriage brings with it certain legal responsibilities, covering such things as property, savings, pension funds, debts and inherited wealth. A divorce brings a legal end to those joint assets and liabilities – but does not necessarily tie up loose ends relating to them.  

A divorce must be based on one of five facts, often called the grounds for divorce. Petitioners will need to elaborate on the ground they use and there are on-going calls for a no fault divorce. This would mean that people could simply agree that things had broken down without being forced to go into more detail, effectively apportioning blame. This can be anything from, “he leaves his dirty pants on the floor” to “I caught her in bed with my neighbour”. Whatever it is, it doesn’t help things. In fact, it can inflame an already charged emotional atmosphere and lead to delays and higher costs in divorce.

The most important thing to know about divorce though is what it doesn’t do. A divorce does not automatically sort our property matters, or settle finances, or decide on contact with any children. All these things must be settled separately and an experienced family law specialist will be able to ensure these are tackled in the most cost effective and comprehensive manner.

Without properly sorting out the financial aspects of a relationship with a formal agreement consent orders and clean break, things can come back to bite years into the future.

Andrew Woolley
Family law solicitor

 

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