The topic of divorce requires no introduction, but for better or for worse, divorce is a very common event these days. According to recent divorce statistics over 40% of marriages in England and Wales end in divorce but on the upside, fewer marriages these days end in divorce overall.
There also seems to be a trend for “conscious uncoupling” and luckily, especially where children are involved, the break-up of a marriage does not necessarily have to mean a complete break-up of the family. Another way of looking at this is a good divorce can be better for the children than a bad marriage and often divorce is the beginning of a new family life, with two sets of loving caregivers. But what exactly getting divorced entails?
For a start there are currently five grounds for divorce:
- Unreasonable Behaviour;
- Two years separation with consent; and
- Five years separation without Consent.
Unreasonable Behaviour is the most common ground for a divorce and it usually means that husband or wife has behaved in such an unreasonable way that it is no longer tolerable to live with them and therefore it has led to the breakdown of the marriage.
In order to apply for a divorce, you will need to fill in a Divorce Petition (Application D8). The Divorce Petition is filed in the court in the county where one of the spouses reside, regardless of where the marriage took place. When filling this form in you will only need your marriage certificate handy.
Other Applications that you might want to consider at this stage are any Child and Financial arrangements, Spousal Support and in less amicable cases even Non-Molestation and Occupational Orders. These are usually filed at the same time or soon after the Divorce Petition is filed. It is very important to agree these as soon as possible especially where children are involved.
Each part of the divorce process is separate to the extent a different application and court process needs to be addended to. The main areas that need to be considered alongside the (more basic) dissolution of the marriage are:
Child Arrangements Orders
Child arrangement order is an agreement concerning where a child lives, who is the main care giver, how much access the other parent be granted, how school holidays will be split and who a child can have contact with.
It is usual for the parties to fill out a Form E upon divorce in relation to Consent Order, amongst other financial Orders that can be applied for. For example, Maintenance or Lump Sum Orders. Form E is a formal disclosure of assets, income etc. This form allows both parties to set out exactly how their assets and finances will be split. Doing so is essential as it prevents both parties from bringing any potential future claims against each other. The other big advantage of being able to agree the split of your assets is that this enables you to then send a draft Consent Order to the Court. If the Court is satisfied with the application and the asset division, the Consent Order will be granted without the need for a hearing.
Non-molestation and Occupation Order
This type of Order is aimed at preventing your partner or ex-partner from using or threatening violence against you or your child or intimidating and harassing you. This type of injunction is usually granted by Court to ensure the safety and well-being of yourself and your child. Occupation Order is a type of injunction that regulates who can and cannot live and/or enter your house.