“I want a divorce”. Those four dreaded words. They might be going through your head. They might be going through your partner’s head. Whatever the situation is, it is important not to rush to the conclusion. Some people think divorce is a simple thing. It is not. Far from it. It can be one of the biggest decisions a person makes, with so many implications following the result of it, so care and thought must be taken when deciding and going through the process itself.
Before jumping into anything and finding yourself a divorce solicitor, take a read of all the things you should consider first before getting a divorce.
Topics to be answered in this article
1. Why do you feel this way?
Sometimes it can be a spur of the moment thought. Do you actually want a divorce? Do you still love your partner? If the last question is true, then there may still be a way to revive the situation. Sometimes marriage counseling can go a long way, opening up and talking about what parts of the relationship are and aren’t working. This doesn’t always work, but it may be worth a try. If there are very severe incidents which you are worried about, abuse for example, then you need to speak to someone, even just a friend to get some support before sorting the situation out in a professional or lawful manner.
2. What do you want from the divorce?
This question needs to be answered before any decision can be made. Do you actually want things to change? What is the end goal? If you know exactly what you want, then that’s great. If you are still unsure what you aim to accomplish with the divorce, then a bit of thinking time to plan the steps necessary can go a long way.
3. Be prepared
Do your research, like this, but be careful. If you are afraid that the information you are searching could be used against you by your partner in a future dispute, then do it privately.
Of course, this is entirely dependent on your situation. If you trust your partner to deal with everything in a fair and respectful way, then this may not be a problem. However, if the relationship is extremely strained then you will need to be watchful and careful with what you share with your spouse. It may seem odd, but sometimes acting in privacy when going through the divorce process can create the best results when providing facts to win your case in the courts. If the relationship is an abusive one, then this is almost certainly the best way to go about researching before filing for divorce.
What was the financial structure of the marriage? Do you have a joint account? Do you have financial stability and resources to take the step away? All of these questions must be considered before adding the fact that getting a divorce will cost you. To simply apply for a divorce would cost you over £500, and this is before you take into account any solicitor fees you may incur to overcome disputes in the separation process. Learn more about financial settlements in divorce.
Consider the impact that a separation like this will affect the children. Of course, you shouldn’t have to suffer yourself to please your children, but if you truly feel like the marriage can be saved, then working on it could be the solution for everyone. If you do feel like a divorce is the only way to go, then your children will obviously be a key factor in the separation process. You’ll need to be prepared to fight your case if you feel like you deserve custody, but also know that this won’t always be possible, meaning you may have to adapt to make the best of the situation. Learn more about divorce and child custody lawyers.
6. There are other options
You don’t actually have to file for divorce if you are wanting to separate from your spouse. There are, in fact, two other options available to you. The first is legal separation. The downside to this one is that you will still technically be married to your partner, although legally separated. The courts will judge the situation, which will allow you to do things such as amend your Will, but you will still be married.
The second option is to get an Annulment. This can only be applied in certain circumstances, which are stated below.
- Either partner was already married
- Consent was not properly given
- The marriage was agreed under false pretences
- Marriage prohibited by law, such as in the case of incest or either person is below the age of 16
- Either spouse lacked mental capacity
- Marriage was not consummated
If any of these are true, an Annulment would be considered by the courts. Essentially, if the marriage in any way didn’t seem like a legitimate one, whether that’s lawfully or done with any form of consent, then you should be able to get an Annulment, which would rule that the marriage never happened. One drawback to this is that you would normally have to do this within three years of the marriage for it to be annulled, assuming that the criteria for one is met.
7. Legal considerations
The first thing to consider is that, in the UK, you have to be married for a minimum of a year to file for a divorce.
There are a set number of reasons why the courts would deem a divorce viable after this year.
- Unreasonable Behaviour
- 2-year separation (consent needed)
- 5-year separation (consent not needed)
Your partner will almost certainly argue the first two options, so ensure that you have enough evidence of wrongdoing in these departments, otherwise the courts may not side with you or see a legal reason to approve the divorce.
You have to act quite quickly when it comes to Adultery specifically. This is because if divorce is not filed within 6 months of the act, the courts may deem the actions to have been “allowed” even if you were unaware that it happened.
Unreasonable behaviour can be a range of different things. It can be domestic abuse, verbal abuse, financial recklessness, unreasonable sexual demands, drunkenness among others. So if there is proof of any of these actions then the courts will certainly be forced to side with you in any disputes and your decision to get a divorce.
The other three options speak for themselves, if the separation has only been for two years then your spouse will still need to sign the form and give their consent for the divorce, but if it has been at least five years then this no longer becomes an issue.
8. No set way to do it
Despite some misconceptions, there are no formulas or easy ways to decide who gets what in a divorce. Each situation is unique, with a wide range of property, finances and children involved in the process. It is your job to have all the evidence and support necessary to fight for what is rightfully yours or what your spouse should be responsible for.
9. You’ll have to be patient
Divorces are not quick. That is a fact. Even if you are in a mutual agreement about the various details of a divorce with your spouse, it will still take a while to file it through the system. This is something to bear in mind if you are hoping that a divorce will be a quick fix. More often than not, divorce will put more strain on a relationship than anything else it has endured, so you should be sure.
10. Legal backing
In many cases, divorce is a battle. One side wants it to happen but the other may not. If there is a dispute, it will have to go to court, and it is at this point where you will require the best solicitors to guide you through what will inevitably be a trying process. If you know this isn’t a mutual decision, at least initially, then you will need the help. Even if it is a mutual decision to end the marriage, with so many pieces to the puzzle, decisions and arguments to be had about various responsibilities and ownerships, having a lawyer by your side is essential.
Goughs have a number of highly qualified divorce solicitors that can support you, whatever your situation is.