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90 seconds on… Divorce

Our family law expert Dimple Patel answers your questions on divorce, finances and children.

Woman stretching at sunset signifying divorce and a new start

I definitely want to divorce this year. How do I start?

First, you’ll need to have been married for at least a year. There is currently only one ground for a divorce – that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. This needs to be evidenced by one of five facts:

your spouse’s adultery; their unreasonable behaviour; two years separation and you both agree to a divorce; five years separation; desertion.

You will need to complete a divorce petition and lodge it at court together with your marriage certificate and court fee.

What will happen about finances?

You will still remain financially linked to your spouse until a financial order setting out how your assets are to be divided has been approved. You can reach an agreement any number of ways, either directly with your spouse, at mediation or through solicitor negotiations. It is important that you both have a clear picture of the family finances before negotiating the terms of a settlement. Begin by making a list of all your assets and gathering all relevant financial documents.

What about our children?

Will you be able to agree with your spouse about where the children shall live and how much time they should spend with each parent? If so, you won’t need a legally binding order. If not, you should seek legal advice on obtaining a child arrangements order through the courts.

Start discussions with your spouse as early as possible and most importantly seek legal advice tailored to your particular circumstances. If you have further questions about the beginning the divorce process, please contact our family team on 020 8944 5290 who will be happy to help.

This article was written by Dimple Patel

Please note the contents contained in this article are for general guidance only and reflection the position at time of posting. Legal advice should be sought before taking action in relation to specific matters.

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