A Time For New Beginnings
The new year heralds new beginnings and that often means separation or divorce for some couples. If that’s the case you need a special family lawyer, advises Adrienne Baker, a solicitor within Forbes’ Family Law team
The start of any new year is renowned for new beginnings. It gives people purpose, and you will see individuals set out with good intentions to make positive changes in their lives. With the challenges that many faced in 2020, now more than ever, individuals will be looking forward to 2021 and the fresh start a new year can bring.
For some, that fresh start may mean a separation, or getting around to finalising an end to their marriage. Parties are recommended to contact a specialist family lawyer at the earliest opportunity to ensure that they can obtain the right advice to help their individual circumstances and also, to assist parties who are contemplating a separation, I have put together some answers to commonly asked questions:
In order to get divorced, do I need to cite reasons for the breakdown of my marriage?
If your separation is less than two years, then at this time you can only issue a divorce petition based upon your spouse’s adultery or unreasonable behaviour. It is hopeful that this year will see the introduction of the ‘no fault’ divorce but it is unlikely to come into force until the end of 2021.
What if no-one is at fault for the breakdown of the marriage?
You would need to wait a period of two years and then with both parties consent, you can issue divorce proceedings. The other alternative is if your spouse has deserted you for a period of two years or more or the separation has been five years or more.
Is the global pandemic causing any issues with the practicalities of getting divorced?
There have been some delays with the divorce courts in issuing new applications, but that time now seems to be reducing. In addition, it has now become more accessible to issue divorce proceedings online and this often means a more timely conclusion.
My name is not on the family home, does that mean I am not entitled to any of the equity?
If parties are married then whatever asset is in each of their respective names, whether jointly or individually, will be considered in any matrimonial settlement. Parties will be under a duty to provide each other with full and frank disclosure of their financial information to ascertain what is in the ‘matrimonial pot’ before considering any division of assets.
We have reached a financial settlement, what do we do now?
However you have reached a financial settlement whether it was done directly, through mediation or negotiations between lawyers, it is recommended that within divorce proceedings the agreement is recorded in a Consent Order.
If the Court, consider the agreement to be fair then they will seal the Order making it a legally binding document. If drafted correctly it would mean that neither you or your spouse should be able to bring any further claims for consideration of the matrimonial finances in the future. In most cases the Order can be obtained without the need to attend Court.
What if we are not in a position to get divorced but wish to record our financial settlement?
The Court will only seal a Consent Order if you have obtained your Decree Nisi. If you wish to record your settlement in a legal document you can do so in a Separation Agreement. A Separation Agreement can accurately record the intentions of both parties upon separation. It is not a legally binding document but if drafted correctly and both parties have provided financial disclosure and obtained independent legal advice, it can be persuasive to a Court if ever challenged.
For more information contact Adrienne Baker at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 01254 580000