Divorce and Separation
When a relationship breaks down, not only is there the emotional upset, but there are practical issues to consider, such as the impact that a divorce or separation will have on your children, finances and housing.
It is important to take advice at an early stage to explore the options available to you and the steps that can be taken to protect your interests.
Divorce and Civil Partnership Dissolution
Before you can divorce, you must have been married for one year (or in a civil partnership for that length of time before it can be dissolved). There is one ground for divorce or dissolution, which is that the relationship is irretrievably broken down, which can be established in one of the following ways:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- Adultery (unless in a civil partnership or same-sex marriage)
- 2 years desertion
- 2 years separation and the consent of your spouse/partner
- 5 years separation
- No-fault *
* In the biggest change to divorce law in our lifetime, separating couples will no longer have to assign blame in order to be granted a divorce. The new law allows a ‘No-Fault Divorce’ and will give us a better chance of helping couples resolve the consequences of their relationship breakdown with minimal conflict. There are a number of changes needed to rules, process and procedures as no-fault divorce comes into effect, and it is thought that no-fault divorces will begin to tale place in 2021.
We can assist you by advising as to the most appropriate way forward, by preparing the necessary Court documentation on your behalf, and all steps and advice necessary to progress and finalise your divorce or civil partnership dissolution. It is important to seek advice at an early stage with regard to the resolution of any arrangements for your children or finances and before finalising the divorce.
It may be that divorce isn’t right for you at this stage, and the family department can advise you as to the alternative options, including:
- Judicial Separation. This involves a procedure which is virtually identical to that of divorce. The key difference is that it does not end the marriage, but instead provides for a legal separation. Unlike a divorce, it is possible to apply to the Court within the first year of marriage.
- Separation Agreements. A deed of separation is a way in which couples can record an agreement about financial matters, or in relation to the children, without involving any Court proceedings. This is achieved by entering into a deed, which is a written legal agreement, confirming the terms of any agreement. It is important that both of the couple seek legal advice as part of this.
We can assist with legal advice, support, guidance and assistance geared to your personal needs. We are easily approachable and all of our lawyers and assistants can be reached promptly on their direct dial telephone numbers or by email.