Divorce and Financial Settlements
We are experts in divorce and other family matters. Our solicitors have the skills and expertise to make the divorce process smooth and less stressful. We deal with all divorce matters whether straightforward or in the following cases:-
- Defended and undefended divorce proceedings
- Dissolving Civil Partnerships
- Nullity Petitions
- Resolving issues associated with international marriages
- Dealing with issues where the Respondent cannot be traced or has refused to acknowledge service of the divorce petition
Before you can issue a divorce petition, you must have been married for at least 1 year and you must satisfy the court that your marriage has broken down irretrievably. You should be able to satisfy one of the five legal facts which include; adultery, separation for two years with consent to divorce, desertion for two years, unreasonable behaviour or five years’ separation. Although more than one fact might apply to your case, we would be able to advise you on the best fact to rely on. We will be able to identify from the outset any issues you are likely to encounter and advise you on the best approach to take in eliminating or alleviating any issues and progress your case swiftly.
It is normally expected that the divorce process will conclude in a maximum of 6 months, however the Respondent Spouse might attempt to make the process difficult by either defending the proceedings, refusing to acknowledge service of the divorce petition, challenging the costs or cannot be traced. We have the expertise to assist you where such problems arise. We also represent Respondents who wish to defend divorce proceedings or costs claimed against them.
The Family Court has the jurisdiction to decide on financial matters following the breakdown of the marriage and on either party issuing an application to court.
The law that governs financial relief matters is the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. Section 25 of this Act lists factors which ought to be taken into account when negotiating and in deciding how the matrimonial assets should be divided. Normally, the starting point is a 50:50 ratio division of assets; however the factors contained within Section 25 can influence the 50:50 ratio.
At AGR Law, we will do the best to represent your interest and negotiate that you retain the share you are entitled to. We have expertise to identify any loopholes within your case from the outset. As members of Resolution, we will not encourage you to pursue litigation where we believe the matter can be resolved by way of negotiations or mediation with a view to maintaining an amicable solution and keeping costs down. However if court proceedings become necessary, we will be in a position to fight your corner all the way.
Before an application for financial relief is lodged at court, parties are expected to attempt mediation unless they are exempt from mediation, for example where domestic abuse applies. If an agreement is reached either through negotiations or at mediation, we would draft an agreement reflecting the agreement reached with your ex-partner and would ask the court to approve the agreement, which becomes a final order dissolving financial matters.
It is advisable to resolve any financial issues alongside the divorce proceedings in order to ensure a clean break. However it is not always practicable, for one reason or another, to deal with both divorce proceedings and financial relief matter concurrently. If financial matter is left unresolved and the marriage is dissolved, either party can still apply to the court for financial relief. It is advisable for any party who wishes to make an application to resolve financial matters to do so within three years of dissolution of marriage otherwise their claim would be seriously compromised. For the party who believes their future earning capacity is likely to improve or they are likely to acquire some assets or indeed just for finality, it is strongly recommended that the parties dissolve the financial matters by way of clean break, irrespective of whether they have assets.