Hopefully you will find the information below helpful to you.
Along the right-hand side of this page you will find a selection of video clips which explain a bit more about divorce.
Terminology in divorce
In court and in legal documents, the person applying for the divorce is known as ‘the Petitioner’, and
The person they are divorcing is ‘the Respondent’.
Where Adultery is alleged, the person with whom the Respondent is alleged to have committed the Adultery is “the Co-Respondent”.
The application for a divorce is called a “Petition”.
The final Divorce Order is the “Decree Absolute”
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Before the Decree Absolute is the Decree Nisi. This is a Court Order saying that having considered the paperwork, the Court is willing to grant a Decree Absolute. However there needs to be a cooling off period, so the couple can reflect upon whether they really want a divorce.
The Matrimonial Causes Act 1973
It is worth remembering that our Divorce Law dates back to 1973.
The terminology can seem a bit dated.
Unless there is a period of living apart for two years, then one of the couple has to take the blame for the breakdown of the marriage.
Unfortunately, the way the divorce papers will not always reflect the reality of how the marriage broke down. The reasons for the breakdown of marriage are often complex.
As practitioners, we do our best with the law as it stands.
Is a Divorce needed?
Clients should always be clear in their mind that the marriage really has broken down beyond repair.
If the marriage can be saved clients should consider relationship counselling.
It is best practice for a Solicitor to check with a client whether the marriage can be saved.
If the couple decides to reconcile, the Divorce can be stopped at any stage.
Generally, when one of a couple has decided that the marriage is over, it is difficult to prevent a Divorce from taking place.
It is possible to defend the divorce, but this is now very unusual. It is possible for the Respondent to file with the Court a defence (Answer) to the Divorce Petition to prevent the Divorce being granted and/or ask to be granted their own divorce instead (Cross Petition). Generally it is then agreed that each then divorces the other.
This involves extra cost to both.
Generally it is better to focus on the real issues: The financial settlement or the arrangements for the couples children or both.
Sometimes however there may be good reason to seek to block or slow up a divorce.
Getting sensible advice is invariably a good idea.
Sorting out finances and/or child arrangements
It is always worth remembering that the Court will consider financial issues and questions about the arrangements for children separately and on their own merits.
Who divorces who and why, will rarely be of relevance when relevance to finance and children issues.
Relevant behaviour is taken into account in those cases, if it really is relevant.
Generally speaking, the Divorce should be viewed as a mechanism for bringing a marriage to an end. It should be kept as simple and consensual as possible. There it is much better to concentrate time and resources on achieving good outcomes to children’s arrangements and money issues and to ensuring that arrangements are safe.
Legal Advice and Divorce
The choice of a Solicitor to assist through this difficult time is very important. The best starting point is for us to meet and to discuss the best route forward.
Our website contains information. It does not contain advice, because that involves us gaining an understanding of your situation and then giving advice that is tailored to your situation and your needs and the needs of your family.