There are many common misunderstandings surrounding the divorce procedure. Our Specialist Legal Advisors can point you in the right direction, however here are a few of the most common misunderstandings which may make you more prepared during this difficult time.
Divorce on ‘irreconcilable’ differences – to obtain a divorce you are required to prove to the Court that your marriage has broken down ‘irretrievably’. To prove this you will need to rely on one of five grounds; Unreasonable Behaviour, Adultery, Two years separation with the other parties’ consent, Five years separation or Desertion. A divorce cannot be obtained on any other ground, simply advising the Court that you no longer love each other will not get you a divorce. In the event your marriage has broken down without either party to blame then you will need to rely upon the grounds which require either two or five years’ separation.
Divorce is automatic after parties have been separated for two or more years – Divorce is never ‘automatic’. Marriage is legally binding upon both parties so to obtain a divorce you will need to go through a legal process. Regardless of how long parties have been separated for, either the Husband or Wife will always need to apply to the Court for a divorce, going through the proceedings until the final stage – the Decree Absolute. It is only then that the marriage will be dissolved.
You have to live in separated properties to be ‘separated’ for the purposes of a divorce – the Courts are realistic in that they appreciate in the current economic climate there may not be enough money to set up two homes from one. On the basis that you are able to prove to the Court that, although living together you are essentially separated the Court will still consider your divorce. When considering at whether or not two people have ‘separated’ the Court will look at the following; whether the parties are still sleeping in the same bedroom, whether they are doing their own shopping/laundry and whether they are having separate meals/spending time together as a family.
You cannot get a divorce without the other party signing the papers – it is a common misconception that you cannot obtain a divorce if your spouse will not ‘sign the papers’. This is not true. After the divorce proceedings have been issued by one party, they will be sent, by the Court, to the other party along with a document called the ‘Acknowledgement of Service’. The other party to the divorce has 7 days in which to complete and return the Acknowledgement of Service to the Court. If the party does not do this, although it will cause some delay it will not stop you from being able to get a divorce – to get to the next stage of the divorce proceedings you will, in the absence of a completed Acknowledgement of Service, need to prove to the Court that your spouse has received the papers. You can do this in a number of ways, all of which we will be happy to advise you on.
Weston-Super-Mare is ‘divorce hotspot’ – It is true that Weston-Super-Mare County Court processed 2,447 Divorce Petitions in the year 2012 however these Petitions were not all sent in by residents in or surrounding the Weston-Super-Mare area. Weston-Super-Mare County Court in fact receives the majority (92% according to the BBC) of its Divorce Petitions from an online divorce provider. Although when looking at divorce providers, divorce through an online company may seem cheaper, you need to bear in mind that they will not deal with the practical aspects of your separation, specifically finances within their fixed fee. You will also not be dealing with qualified Solicitors who will be able to answer your questions at every step of the way like our Specialists. Feel free to judge for yourselves by booking one of our free half hour consultations when we will be able to provide you with tailored advice to fit your circumstances and meet your individual family’s needs.